Day 4 of May Bumps 2011 – W1 Race Report

Day 4 of May Bumps 2011 and Bumps Round-Up – W1 Race Report

It’s Saturday, the last day of Bumps. It’s been an amazing week; both
our boats are on course for blades. Just one more bump each, and our
boat club will have a perfect record. No pressure.

The weather is undecided today, cloudy then sunny, a sprinkle of rain
that moves quickly on. As the crew warms up, we try to listen to the
radio for news of our second boat’s progress, but a mixture of poor
reception and the noise of the ergs means we miss the crucial update.
We get the boat out and are preparing to push off, when we finally get
the word. They bumped! Blades for W2! They’re beaming as we pass
them on the river, decked out in greenery, and we can’t help giving
them a raucous cheer.

Now, it’s all up to us. By the time we’re on our way up to the
starting stations, the weather has decided which way it’s going.
Unfortunately, that way is a steadily increasing rain. Today we
marshall under the motorway bridge which gives us some protection from
the rain, but it also means we’re right next to the cannons. The four
minute warning reverberates off the concrete, and I’m getting really
nervous. Jesus II is our target today, and we’re expecting this to be
our most difficult race so far. One minute cannon. Twisty stomach.
Rechecks. The rain has stopped. Push out.

BOOM. We draw out from under the bridge, and our cox, Akiko, calls
for a big push on the legs after the start sequence. It feels as
though the first whistle is forever in coming, but once it does, the
second and third are not far behind. As with yesterday and the day
before, we don’t need to make it past first post corner before we’ve
caught them. We clear the river, and it starts to sink in. Day four
and bump four. We’ve done it – blades! We adorn ourselves in foliage
once again and break out our boat club flag for the victory row home.
More people line the bank than previously in the week, and our
greenery and flag draw cheers and well done’s not only from our
friends in the crowd.

When we get back to the boathouse, champagne, crew photos and the
traditional swim in the Cam follows. We even managed to throw our
coach in. Sucker. The celebrations will continue tonight and
tomorrow morning at our Bumps Breakfast. I think we deserve it.

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Day 3 of May Bumps 2011 – W1 Race Report

Day 3 of May Bumps 2011 – W1 Race Report

The third day of Bumps is windy, cold and wet – a rather miserable day
for mid-June. But Bumps doesn’t stop for something as trivial as
inclement weather, and my crew and I have a boat to chase.

We gather in the boathouse, discussing the weather, the race ahead,
the possibilities for tomorrow. We know that our W2 rowed over at the
top of their division earlier in the afternoon, and we check for
updates on their race to secure a spot in the next division up.
Success! Eager to keep the boat club’s spotless record intact, we get
the boat out and head up to the marshalling station.

The wind has really picked up, and it’s colder than it has been the
last few days. Delays because of a re-row mean an extra long wait,
but eventually we row up to starting stations. We’re getting closer
and closer to starting near the cannon, which means the four minute
warning causes my heart to skip a beat again. Last minute checks.
One minute cannon, countdown and push out.

BOOM. Three strong draws get our start sequence underway, and we’re
winding up to close the distance between us and Robinson quickly. We
get our first whistle just out from under the motorway bridge, which
is followed not long after by two whistles. Two whistles again, and
we push harder. Three, then continuous, then we get the call to hold
it up just before first post. Third bump! Greenery all around.
Though enjoying the cheers and well done’s from the spectators, the
rain has started in earnest, so it’s back to the boathouse as quickly
as possible.

Tomorrow is the last day. If we bump again, we have blades. If not,
we’ve still had a great week, one we can be proud of.

No, forget that. We want blades. Day 4, we’re coming for you.

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W2 May Bumps 2011 Day 2


W2 report, day 2 May bumps

Buoyed by our victory on day 1, and eager to taste success once again, even the drizzling rain could not dampen W2’s spirits on arrival at the boat house. After a long wait marshalling, we arrived at our station. With the rain dried up and the sun shining down on us we were nervous, but ready for good race.
After a strong start, we were rapidly gaining on Addenbrookes. A big push for ten strokes put us hot on their tails, and with whistles blowing in our ears, we knew it couldn’t be too much longer. We kept it strong and together and not much longer than a minute after starting, we’d done it again! Yes W2’s second bump of the week, putting us top of fourth division. As the sandwich boat between two divisions we had to row again in the third division. Feeling a little more apprehensive we resolved to give it our best shot. The aim; bump Newnham, and bump them quick. Alas, it was not to be. Newnham bumped out catching Jesus III very quickly. We pressed on, with Clare Hall and an over bump in our sights. However Clare Hall also bumped out, gaahhhh, meaning a row over for us! We kept up a strong pace and good pressure and valiantly battled on to the finish line.

Tomorrow: we remain at the top of division four so we must row over again, and then aim to bump Jesus III in the third division. Fingers crossed!

Chloe Wallis

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Day 2 of May Bumps 2011 – W1 Race Report

Day 2 of May Bumps – W1 Race Report

With yesterday’s victory still fresh in my mind, I’m cautiously
optimistic. I’m not a terribly superstitious person, but allowing
myself to imagine a second bump this afternoon too confidently seems
like tempting fate. I note with some dismay the gloomy weather,
thinking how miserable it will be to marshall in the rain.

Fortunately, the skies clear somewhat as I listen with friends to
radio commentary for the women’s 4th division in which MECBC’s W2 is
racing. Another terrific performance from them, bumping Addenbrooke’s
with ease, puts them at the top of their division and has us cheering.

The wind picks up a bit, but the rain holds off as W1 departs from the
boathouse to head to the marshalling stations, then up to the lock.
We’re chasing Anglia Ruskin today, and I’m sure they’re intimidated by
our practice starts as they follow us up the river. Yeah.
Intimidated. Not that I actually see their faces or anything because
my concentration is, naturally, in the boat, but I assume.

Four minute cannon scares the bejeezus out of me. Forgot how close we
were to it. One minute cannon, and the countdown starts.

BOOM. Bit of a shaky start, but nothing we can’t smooth out as we
wind up. Today, we actually finish our start sequence before we get
our first whistle. We’re gaining. Single whistles, and the water is
starting to get choppy. Two whistles, followed quickly by three, and
the water is really bouncing us around in the bows. Fortunately, we
didn’t have to cope for long as we catch them at first post. Woo-hoo!
Another bump! We collect and arrange our greenery, and then take
another gratifying victory row home.

Halfway there. Carb up and sleep well, ladies. Day 3 awaits.

Reana Maier

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W2 Day 1 May Bumps 2011

The day is hot, muggy and wet. My nerves are doing cartwheels in my stomach. After the disappointments of Lent Bumps 2011 for W2, the pressure is especially on. Due to delays to the men’s division, we have a lengthy marshalling at Chesterton before arriving at the starting post with quite literally four minutes to spare. We observe our target, Darwin II, and then we are pushed into the middle for those few awful seconds awaiting that awful cannon blast. KABOOM! “Build one, build two!” screams our cox Chloe as we power through our carefully prepared start. Another 8 builds later and I force myself to look at the boat chasing us, Sidney II, is being pushed into the distance. Then during out power for ten I hear BEEEP BEEEP and then about a second later BEEEP BEEEP BEEEEEP!! We’re gaining on Darwin fast until the continuous whistles sound seemingly forever in our ears (as it turns our Darwin’s cox did not concede until she was reprimanded by an umpire). We bumped! And after a mad, fumbling scramble to park, the elation hits and for the first time I finally get to wear some greenery! Day one is over in just over a minute and now I am more than rearing to go for the next.
Eleanor Dickinson

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Day 1 of May Bumps

Day 1 of May Bumps – W1 Race Report 

Here is the long and short of my history with the Bumps: popped gate, broken boat, row of shame, spoons and finishing at the bottom of the bottom division. Not terribly auspicious. But that was last term, and it’s time for a fresh start. Hello, Bumps. I’m Reana. Let’s try to like each other.

Having moved up a crew this term into the first boat (who got blades in the Lent Bumps, no pressure), I’ve been helpfully reminded that there are a few girls in the boat who have never been bumped before (no pressure). I anxiously tuned in to CamFM to see how the second boat, my boat last term, fare in their division. Yes! An impressively quick bump (just over a minute, no pressure), and Darwin II are out of the way.

Thanks to delays, marshalling takes what feels like forever, though thankfully the clouds that kept threatening rain never followed through. It’s incredibly humid. Nerves build. Finally, we’re on our way up to the starting stations, squeezing in a couple of practice rolling starts along the way. In a somewhat poetic twist, we are also chasing a Darwin boat, their W1. We’re not long at the starting
stations when the four minute cannon goes. De-kit and recheck gate. Stomach is quite twisty now. One minute cannon. We push off at twenty seconds, and get into position. Front stops, blades buried, back straight, tension radiating off every one of us.

BOOM. Draaaaaw 1, draw 2, draw 3. Did we just get a whistle? Already? We’ve barely finished our start sequence, and the whistles are going like mad, two then three then continuous. It doesn’t even feel like we’ve settled into a race pace when we’re getting the call to hold it up, and we pull off to the side as quickly as we can. The whole thing is over in less than a minute.

After all the build-up, do I wish it had gone on longer, that I really had a chance to savour it? Uh, no. No, that’s fine. I will not look a quick-bump-gift-horse in the mouth. Besides, if savouring is what we were looking for, there was the entire victory row back to the boathouse, adorned with our foliage, basking in the cheers from the spectators. Not gonna lie – that didn’t suck.

Bumps, this may be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Bring on Day 2.

Reana Maier

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W1 Champs Head 2011

Last week W1 raced in the Champs Head, a race for all crews to get an idea of where they stand for May Bumps as they draw closer.
Despite appallingly windy conditions, the crew held together really well, coming second in the Mays W2 division and fourth overall out of all college women’s crews: a terrific performance for a crew containing three ex-novices! These results shows how our hard work has paid off, and that we are set to do really well come May Bumps.

W2 Champs Head 2011

Our hearts sank as we arrived at the boathouse to be met by hurricane conditions. However, we W2 girls are made of sterner stuff and were resolved to fight back against the blustering wind, power through the stroke, and just generally row really good and all that.

Despite the wind, the row down the river to marshal was uneventful, and our spirits were lifted by the abundance of liquorice allsorts, courtesy of Eve, which got us through the seemingly endless wait under the motorway bridge. After this wait, we proceeded to the start line.

Then we were off! After a strong start, we raced around the corner only to be met with a wall of wind! However, we were prepared and the power remained strong (both epically and manly so). We battled on gallantly down the reach, I crying out calls from my carefully prepared race plan- which to my immense delight, did not blow away straight into stroke’s faces [Ying: it was a head wind, would have blown off the other way!]. A few (painful) minutes later and the finish line was in sight (which I observantly informed the crew of). Spurred on by this knowledge, we made a final sprint to the end, finishing completely exhausted, but with an intact boat and no crabs caught. And to add to that, a generally solid performance from everyone all round. We returned with heads held high and ready for some more action. Bring on bumps!

–report by Chloe Wallis (cox) and Eleanor Dickinson (stroke)

Result: winner of W4 division, beating 8 W1 crews and 11 men's crews overall, time 6:38

taken and made by Eve Bonner

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