It was the final day of lent bumps and we were feeling optimistic. We had soon forgotten about the disaster that was Friday and were sure that we would be able to catch Sidney Sussex w2. We had a strong row up, a great practise start on the reach, and we were looking forward to having the foliage in our hair as we triumphantly rowed home.
Unfortunately this was not to be.
As the gun went off and Iila called the draws, we pushed as hard as we could and began gaining on Sidney. Soon enough we heard the sound of one whistle and we carried on pushing. Queens, in front of Sidney, had bumped as Pete predicted, so we had the whole course to catch up with Sidney. However, today would not be our day. Wolfson crashed their boat, meaning that as Sidney overtook them, closely followed by us, they had effectively over-bumped so we had to settle for a row over.
Though disappointed by the result, we were able to row home proudly knowing that there was nothing more we could have done, and that had luck been on our side we may well have bumped. Despite not being presented with foliage, we have had a great time in Lent Bumps and come out of it feeling confident and ready to bump in the summer!
Rosanna Gregory, 6
After yesterday’s miserable downpour, it was nice to have the sun shining on us as we rowed away from the boathouse. We had two good practice starts and a solid row down the river. As we waited for our 4 minute canon and passed around sweets, there was a positive atmosphere among the crew. We felt ready to revenge-bump St. Catz.
At the canon, we had a strong start and immediately gained on St. Catz. The rhythm of the boat felt good and we soon heard one whistle, and then two, as we moved closer. Unfortunately, a slick Darwin crew were gaining on us. We rowed a hard power 10 in a sandwich between Darwin and St. Catz but sadly Darwin caught us before we could reel in St. Catz, just as we passed under the motorway bridge.
Despite being bumped, we were proud of our ‘honourable row’ and our attitudes remain positive for tomorrow. With our full crew, we look forward to an awesome day to finish our Lent Bumps campaign.
Chloe Legard, 4
Final day of Lent Bumps and what a fantastic end to the week! Although the weather was not quite as nice and sunny as the day before, we set off in good spirits that we would have a successful final day. With many of our parents and other family members watching, we were especially keen to do well. Our row up was strong and steady, although our practise start was a bit messy. As we waited at our new station (station 10) for the cannons to go off, Mark gave us one last motivational speech on how to catch Caius. We thought it might be slightly more of a grind down that the previous days relatively quick bump against Catz, and we were prepared for this. We waited nervously, talking with Dame Barbara and Robert the Bursar before the one minute cannon went off and we focused in on the race.
We got off to a good start and before we knew it we had one whistle on Caius. We kept focused and didn’t start to rush as we had done the previous day when we started to gain on Catz. The strokes felt long and strong as we followed Christina’s calls to extend. As we moved up to two whistles we kept calm and picked up the boat speed ready for the bump. The boat was moving well and we still had lots of power to give. Then we had three whistles which very quickly became continuous whistles, with the Caius cox conceding just before grassy corner. We moved over to the bank before starting the celebrations. For most of the crew their second bump ever! It was an incredibly exciting moment and a great way to end Lent Bumps! There was plenty of time to fix some greenery in our hair, take lots of photos and have a chat with our bank party before our victory row home began.
Well done girls! We’ve shown what Murray Edwards W1 can do, bring on Mays!
Katharine Moore, 3
It was a beautiful day and the whole crew arrived at the boathouse in good spirits. The sun was out, and this gave us a legitimate reason for wearing our crew sunglasses. There were many jealous glances from the other boats, but, hey, we can’t help being uber cool.
The row down was composed and clean; everyone was focused and looking forward to the race ahead. We were met at the tow-path by Dame Barbara (holla at the grooviest President in Cambridge!) and Mr Bump. Their presence only strengthened our resolve to deliver a good bump!
There were a few nerves at the push-off; we knew we wanted a strong start in order to gain on Catz as quickly as possible. Perhaps we pushed a little too hard too soon, as there was definitely a slight lull in between getting two whistles and three whistles (the longest thirty seconds of our lives!). Luckily we re-focused and, with the help of some fantastic coxing from Christina, we caught up with Catz in dramatic style coming up to grassy.
Unfortunately Catz had a bit of trouble clearing in a timely fashion, which led to a bit of a pile-up for the crews behind us. However, once we were disentangled, we were able to row home wearing the best bumps combo: sunglasses and foliage crowns. We were so stylish it was unreal.
Laura Robinson, Bow
Today we pushed off planning on cold revenge on Queens’ W2 who bumped us on Thursday. We did a good practice start and we were ready to give it all to try and catch a really fast Queens’. However, despite a powerful start, we were soon bumped by Sidney Sussex W2 as a loose gate cause a blade to fall out. Despite the heroic effort to put it back, we couldn’t compete with the other crew and had to concede a bump. But fear not – after a warming crew hug, W2 is ready to bump back tomorrow! Stay tuned!
Olimpia Onelli, 7
Today, none of our speakers worked during the race, they worked again after the race. At the start, we got one empty stroke and one crab, but managed to get closer up to Wolfson than yesterday. We were bumped by Queens at Grassy before we turned the corner. My tight cutting of the corner gave no space to Queens, who were poking their bowball to my left.
Our rowers worked hard today. Tomorrow, we should aim for less panic at the start with just the right amount of pressure. We had awesome practice starts today, and we should translate them into more confidence and control over the boat during the actual race. All of us value the chance to race in Bumps after all the hard work we have put in this term!
Iila Li, cox
No messing round today.
The boathouse was a much calmer place than yesterday; we know now that we have the strength to stay ahead, and that if we could just stay calm then Newnham could really be in some trouble. However we also knew that Catz were ahead of Newnham, giving them a fairly easy target, and that Pembroke would be gunning for us following the messy row yesterday. We would be ready for them!
Our lovely cox Christina was unfortunately absent, so Chloe was very kindly subbing for us; she kept us controlled and focussed on the row up. This wasn’t quite as tidy as it had been the day before, but we felt strong and together, and the two practice starts went fairly smoothly.
Waiting at our station the atmosphere was noticeably calmer than the day before; our pre-row speech from Mark was all about keeping cool and getting settled. He had hardly finished speaking before the 1 minute canon sounded, and before we knew it we were off!
Pembroke started stronger than yesterday, having watched us fall apart the day before, they were hoping for an early bump. Their bank party gave some overly optimistic whistles, but we were far calmer and in control; the rate had settled to a steady 35, and there was no way we were letting Pembroke touch us. Before long they were fading back into the distance; they clearly pushed too hard too soon, and we weren’t so easily caught.
Newnham bumped out Catz ahead as predicted, and Queens bumped Cauis ahead of them, so there was nothing to aim for. However we had learnt from the mistakes of the day before, and kept pushing Pembroke away right to the end, finishing with around 4 lengths between us. Compared with the scrappy row yesterday, it felt like a victory!
We’re getting the experience and learning from our mistakes. Catz had better watch their backs!
Harriet Alford, 6
On a cloudy and chilly Valentine’s Day morning, the mash-up boat of W2 and W3 gave a calm and strong row-down to the start of Pembroke Regatta. Parking at our marshalling station was humorous and we all learnt that boats do not parallel park easily but luckily a helpful marshal managed to save us and land us neatly in our niche to begin our wait to race.
We saw crews start and disappear into the distance with great splashes and shouting, eagerly and nervous anticipating our own race.
We were up against the ladies of Pembroke W2, and as we lined up next to each other we knew we were in for a tough one. As the race started we pushed off hard but the Pembroke gals pushed ahead harder and within minutes had a commanding lead. The Murray Edward’s W2.5 gave it their all and put up a fight before the beasts *ahem* beauts of Pembroke pushed away into the distance. Moral decreased as they pushed away but we rowed it through like pros and cheered the Pembroke champions on their well earned success.
I think we learnt that not all battles have to be won and we were all glad to have been able to make a crew to compete. No-one regretted signing up for the race and it was a wonderful experience as a first regatta. Such bonding and teamwork within a crew which had only ever had 2 outings together is highly indicative of MECBC spirit and determination. You win some, you lose some. But you always come back fighting. MECBC #wellhard
Heather Dudley, 6
Bumps is quite a paradox. No matter how many times you have rowed a Bumps race, the simple thought of cannons and countdowns gives you the chills. And yet, any rower will tell you that Bumps are the most exciting races they have ever had. Some might even tell you that Bumps is the most fun one experiences at university!
As I walked into the boathouse today, that paradox was palpable. For six of us, today was their first Bumps race ever, and as we were getting ready to get in the boat, you could tell we were still trying to figure out that one question: to hype it or not to hype it? Serious pre-warmup chat from our cox; not hyping it. Rocking the Bumps shades; hyping it. As soon as we pushed off, there was no more question: head in the game, mind in boat, looking fly as we rowed past the boathouses.
The M2 division finished and rowed past us at the P&E, and quite a few of us were relieved to see our coach Mark arrive, his presence somewhat making things right, and alleviating our nervousness. The row up to the lock is always especially interesting for Bumps, because you row behind the crew that will be chasing you. It was time for some mind games. We had a strong fast practice start around Ditton, and a firm, low-rate paddle to our station, seriously closing in on Pembroke, and having to do some pausing. As we spun the boat into station 11, we were feeling calm, confident. We barely had time to start worrying again, the 4 minute cannon was fired. Time to check gates and footplates – even more so for Bow who had rowed our previous race in Bedford with an open gate! The one minute cannon went off, and silence fell in the boat as we were mentally preparing ourselves. We knew we were in for a long grind down if we were going to get Newnham.
As the cannon fired, and a “DRAAAW” came through the speakers, we started our Lent Bumps Campaign with a powerful, fast start, rating 40 as we later found out. High rate starts? Definitely our thing; Settling? Slightly less so. We were too eager to get away from Pembroke, to eager to start closing in on Newnham, to hear that first whistle that brings you so much hope, and the energy and strength that goes with it. All that eagerness was misdirected, and as the rate stayed sky high, our legs were struggling to follow. We were losing power, stroke after stroke, the blades were not coming through, there was no time to breathe. Eventually the rate started coming down as well, and with no sign of a whistle, we started to lose our focus, our determination. As we got round Ditton corner, onto the reach, it felt like we were slowly giving up, providing Pembroke with an opportunity for a Bump. As we heard their bank party give them a first whistle, we were still trying to figure out how to pull through, how to clean this up. Our cox tried calling for another start, hoping for a mental reset, but the concerted crew effort that required was still missing. Pembroke then got two whistles on us, and that was our wake-up call. We finally found it in ourselves to make a change as a crew, halfway down the reach. As we got our rhythm back, properly lengthening it this time, and pushing hard on those legs, we pulled away from Pembroke again, going for that final stretch to the finish line, and rowing over, safely to the other side of the Railway Bridge.
As we rowed back to the boathouse, our usual loud, cheerful, and chatty crew was rowing in silence, hard on the legs but with rather heavy hearts. Obviously, we would have preferred a bump. But that was not really it. We knew how much better this race could have gone, and this is what the silence was about.
“That was a scrappy row, sure. But we didn’t get bumped, and we learned a lot for tomorrow.” said Christina as we got to the boathouse. Sitting down with cakes and doughnuts in the boathouse, we had a long debrief with the crew, and our awesome Reana who gave us the “from the bank” angle. By the end of it, everyone had been convinced that rowing over in the first division was already an achievement, and was ready to try again, cleaner and more efficient the second time round!
We shall see tomorrow if lessons were put in practice!
Laurane Saliou, 5