The first day of Mays was, for many of the W2 crew, the first experience of Bumps. Our boat consisted of a mixture of novices and original W2 members, who had had just a few weeks of preparation together. Understandably there was a significant amount of nervousness in the boat but also a great deal of excitement and motivation from our cox Felicity (the self-proclaimed sassiest cox on the river!).
We had a gentle paddle up to marshalling in preparation for our race at 16:00. Some coaching from Felicity and a practice start en route helped us prepare for our first race. We were starting at station 7 so were sure not to miss the almost deafening canons on the bank right next to us, which seemed to resonate particularly loudly, given we were under the bridge. The final few minutes before the race began seemed to go by very quickly. The four-minute canon went, and then the one-minute canon, and soon we were being pushed out into the river by Mark and preparing for the final canon to signal the start.
Going into the race we knew we were against strong opposition, as we were being chased by Hughes Hall W1 – a crew with significantly more experience and time training together. The start canon went off and we worked through our start sequence somewhat frantically. Our slightly messy start meant that Hughes Hall were quickly gaining on us, and despite an improvement in our strokes through the lengthens, we were unfortunately bumped.
Despite the prompt end to our own racing drama, we enjoyed watching the rest of the carnage unfolding on the river behind us. Safely tucked away in the bushes, we watched on as several boats behind us all came to a halt in the middle of the river, narrowly avoiding any major crashes.
Overall, the crew enjoyed our first day of Mays, and we are hoping to learn from our mistakes and improve throughout the next few days.
Felicity Coan, 5