Robinson Head

M2 laid down the marker for Lent term this afternoon with a stunning performance to take 2nd in the M2 division in Robinson Head. The rain started falling as soon as we left college, but had cleared by the time we reached the boathouse - a good omen for the race? We were missing a bowman and a cox, so Krzysztof and Emma kindly filled in for Nick and Tash. After a bit of faffing about with shoes, we headed off from the boathouse, with sunglasses required in February! Marshalling behind some slow crews (Magdalene M3), we had to work on technical issues most of the way to the start, occassionally doing long periods of pausing to get far enough behind to be able to do a 10-stroke rolling start. After more messing around with marshalling at the far end, we were ready to go. Our rolling start took us to a rate of 31, 1 higher than anticipated. Whilst all the practices on the way to the start had been either very unstable, very rushed or very washy, this felt surprisingly calm and solid for a race. When the balance started to go in to and out of first post corner, the power didn't, with the bow 4 doing their best to take us round the twisty bit of the course. Coming round Ditton onto the reach we were at a steady 31 1/2, approaching 32. It was clear that everyone was hurting, but the commitment was unwavering and each stroke maintained the boat speed, watching Peterhouse M2 disappear further into the distance. The final push that we'd asked for to get to 34 at the Railway Bridge never materialised, but a strong finish at 32 brought us across the line in 9:26, beating Ivan's target time of 9:30. More than that, for the first time, it felt like we could actually row solidly at a high rate. The news got better though after the release of the results. Our 9:26 placed us 10th overall, only 3 seconds behind Queens' M2, who are 21 places ahead of us in the bumps charts. Our 2nd in the M2 division not only meant we beat every boat in the 3rd division of bumps (we are currently 2nd in division 4), but also 4 M1 boats (including Christ's, who are currently in the 1st division!) - all in all, a great result! However, it will be the results in 3 weeks time that matter most, and training will continue to ensure the best possible result come the Saturday of Mays.