M1 Lent 2020 - Day 2

Weird that getting bumped serves as such a good reminder of why we row, but it does. Yes, today didn't end with the result we wanted; Tit Hall were too rapid for that, giving us a nifty bump instead. I admit it was well-earned on their part, as at no point in this Bumps campaign have our Catz rowers not given each stroke everything they've got. Our start was strong and healthy from the very get-go and our determination to catch Jesus (and, in turn, bat away the approaches of the impending Tit Hall VIII) carried us through from the motorway bridge to the site of our eventual demise on the infamous Reach. Despite this perhaps unfortunate result, especially after the comfortable ending of the row-over yesterday after all the boats around us bumped out without coming within a country mile, I was reminded after all why we sacrifice so much to row: the exhilaration of such a primal chase that comes down, in the end, to do or die, to win or lose, to breaking them back or breaking your own. The thrill of Bumps, victory or not, makes it all worth it. 

M1 Lent 2020 - Day 3

3 Minutes to push-off, the boys settled into their seats with a couple of jokes lightening the nerves. As the last checks were being done, we suddenly realised the cox box had stopped working. The time was ticking down and while scrambling to salvage for any life signs of the microphone, the second canon had gone and Carmen pushed us into the river. We knew it was going to be a tough race. The final canon blew, adrenaline kicked in and time slowed down as the Catz M1 pushed against the heavy water in unison and accelerated Lady Helena towards Trinity Hall. We rowed in a powerful rhythm to the drum of Nick’s stroke and Carmen blew the first whistle, which set our minds firmly onto Trinity Hall. While taking a wide line through grassy corner, a gust of wind almost pushed us into the bank. Yet Stephen kept his cool and held on strong, but Kings was coming closer. After getting out of grassy corner, Kings was now half a boat length away, but we were ready to fight. With lactic acid pumping through our veins and our hearts beating up to our throats, we powered down the plough reach. The intensity kept mounting and we held on through sheer willpower in this competitive brawl. Then as we rowed past the spinning zone, we had to concede the bump to Kings. But the Catz crew stood tall and proud, as we knew we had given it everything.

M2 Lent 2020 - Day 3

After the rather eventful second race, we were determined not to let anyone bump us again. It was clear it would be a tough race from the start in the strong headwind and rain, but we were confident we could get Robinson before they got Christ’s. Everyone was soaking wet by the time we got to the motorway bridge.
I don’t know what exactly went wrong when the start cannon went off, but it seemed like everything did. We were not ready, only 3 people took a proper stroke on the first draw, we were pointing in a completely wrong direction because I didn’t manage to get the boat perfectly straight and with most of stroke side not rowing we couldn’t make up for it. I managed to turn it just before we hit the bank and the guys did the rest of the starting sequence well, we didn’t panic. 

Nevertheless we got to hear the first whistle of Tit hall behind us very quickly as they gained on us during our complete disaster of a start. The dream of catching Robinson left us quickly after that. By grassy, the Tit Hall bow ball was just centimeters away from our stern. I called a power ten as I heard the cox behind us scream ‘kill’ and we pulled away. I, the bank party and some of the other people all yelled at the boys to stay on it and they did. The continued whistle dropped down to 3, I looked over and saw them quite far behind. I tried to take every corner as narrow as I could as I heard the whistling slowly cease. The next high pitched sound I heard was Will’s ‘YES!’, clearly completely out of breath. I looked over and more than a boat length behind us Tit Hall got caught by Churchill just at the top of the reach. It felt amazing and I know that we earned it.

We all had our little moment of relief and celebration and kept on going at a steady rate 32. I went through all the different coxing calls I could think of as we were passing the boats lined up for the next division, but we knew no one would catch us anymore and there was no one left for us to catch. We rowed over (and then a bit more, sorry about the coxing confusion), but even if we bumped tomorrow, I don’t think I could be more proud of the guys than I am today.


M2 Lent 2020 - Day 2

We started today’s race with confidence after the strong row-over on day 1. From the start we were again very quick and about thirty seconds into the race we heard Carmen blow her whistle for the first time, meaning we were within one boat length of Christ’s II. In stroke-seat, I had been wondering why Maya, our cox, did not give us a rhythm call. She saw that we were catching up to Christ’s so quickly, that she did not want to lower our rate, as it would likely be a short race. At this point we suffered an unfortunate turn of events: Eli’s seat popped off his slider, and he was constrained to using only his upper body and arms. Although he never stopped rowing, the loss of power was too severe. Robinson II steadily advanced on us, until finally getting the bump. Despite an unlucky second day, we remain optimistic, knowing how close we came to bumping Christ’s. 


- Max Luedecke

M1 Lent 2020 - Day 1

It was a really big day, first day of Lents 2020. We have been training hard all term for this, all the early mornings and evening erg sessions were finally going show themselves as pure power on the river. The previous year had been a strong one, and we would have to fight hard to hold our position. Christ’s were behind us with an unearned cocky attitude, but with First and Third in front of us it looked like we were in for a potentially long and painful chase. As nervousness set in with the one minute cannon, we got a well-practised push off from the bank and set ourselves up in front stops. With the final cannon blast we went into the starting sequence, putting all our power through the blades. With adrenaline rushing through my head, I couldn’t tell if I was rowing well, what our rate was, or even if I was pushing hard. Minutes passed in a single moment, in a state between pain and euphoria. We got cheered on by FaT from the side of the river, giving us fuel to keep Christ’s away from us, FaT had evidently bumped Jesus, thus confirming our targets for the next day. We were determined not to let Christ’s bump us, and seeing them get bumped behind us was extremely satisfying, especially as it looked like they blocked the river behind us as they were going in to the side, although it was hard to tell for sure because we were speeding away from them at high velocity and soon were invisible to the unaided eye. With no more crews fit to challenge us on the river, we confidently rowed through to the end posts. I felt like I was flying.

- Gustavs Mežciems

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