Lent Bumps Day 4 W2

Christie Bates, WII, 6

After having been robbed the chance to catch Hughes Hall on 2 of the 3 days, WII was champing at the bit as we set out. There was a marked silence amongst the crew. Were we psyching ourselves into the game-day mentality? Were we so exhausted that conversation seemed too taxing? Did our kits reek to the point where we didn’t want to have to take in more air than necessary? Probably a mix of all three, but there was no doubt a gravity about us.

After one amazing practice start, the crew was roaring to go. As the seconds were being counted down by our illustrious leader, who may have displayed a slight difficulty with subtraction, the tension was palpable. We shot off at the sound of the canon, and after a dozen strokes, the piercing cry of the whistle could be heard. But this had happened before, and we knew not to be lulled into a false sense of security. We had been warned this would be a bitter fight to the end, and so we pushed on even harder, our legs searing with pain after several days of giving it our all. A symphony of whistles could be heard, and then, suddenly, it was done. We had reigned victorious, and the shrubbery would be ours for the taking (well, we had foliage, but if there had been shrubbery, we would have happily adorned ourselves accordingly).

All in all, it was an outstanding week. While our results display a categorical improvement, more importantly, the crew as a whole became more satisfied with our performance as the week drew to a close. WELLL HARD GIRLS!!! WII, WE DID IT!!!

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Lent Bumps Day 3 W1

Reana Maier, W1, seat 5

Day 3 of Bumps, and after yesterday’s gut-wrenching row-over, W1 is facing the unpleasant prospect of chasing Peterhouse W1 again. The day is bright and sunny, however, perfect for our bumping shades. Re-rows in both the M4 and W3 division cause delays, and we spend an unusual amount of time marshalling on the reach. Before finally heading up to the starting stations, we got the pleasant task of giving a raucous cheer to our W2 as they row past, decked out in greenery signalling their first bump of the week.

The row up has a decent lift and good cover, and we’re feeling nervous but determined. We know what we need to do, but we also know that Peterhouse isn’t going to make it easy. When the starting gun goes, we make a good start, then try to settle into the long, powerful strokes that will inexorably close the gap. The row today is more spirited, more controlled and more committed than yesterday’s. We slowly gain on them, getting single whistles, then two, then three, even continuous whistles signalling overlap, but each time we squeeze close, they manage to slip away. By the time we’re on the long reach closing in on the railway bridge, we’ve had continuous whistles three times, but haven’t caught them. We chase them closely all the way to the finish line for another heartbreaking row over. The crew is frustrated and angry, but we know Peterhouse had to fight tooth and nail with everything they had to stay those few inches ahead of us. I have a feeling this is a race that’s going to stick in our minds for a long time.

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Lent Bumps Day 3 W2

Gaby Rimmer, W2, 5.

What a glorious day for W2. The sun was out and our spirits were high, everyone keen to get some bumping action after two days of tiring row overs. Chasing Clare Hall and being chased by Anglia Ruskin we set off. We pushed hard and strong and took down Clare Hall just after the motorway bridge. First bump ever and it felt good! We may have been the cause of Clare Hall's boat getting stuck in a marshy bank but nothing could bring our happiness levels down as we rowed back to the boathouse with all our greenery, singing out ABBA, Queen and S Club 7 tunes. Bring on Hughes Hall tomorrow!

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Lent Bumps Day 2 W2

Christina, W2 Cox

Bit grey and cloudy but no rain, and not much wind!
Start went really well, but boat ahead bumped before we had a chance. Really good, solid race, pity we didn’t bump and rowed over!
Will hopefully be bumping Clare Hall tomorrow!!

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Lent Bumps day 2 W1

Georgie Field, W1, Cox

W1 were excited for the second day of bumps, and as it was only my second bumps race I had that feeling of nervous excitement as we rowed down to the start (in our awesome matching sunglasses 😉 ). We were chasing Peterhouse in the race to claim the top spot of the division. The row down was strong and we were getting some nice cover. We did two practice starts on the way down, one technical and one with power to get ourselves ready for those all important first few strokes off the gun.

We pulled in at our station filled with excitement and anticipation- and a slight sugar high caused by copious amounts of wine gums! We heard the one minute gun and prepared to be pushed out. When the final gun fired I dropped the bung and we were off!  The start was looking strong and we gained some ground on Peterhouse and coming onto the long reach had three whistles on them. Unfortunately the dirty water and Peterhouse’s strong will got the better of us and we rowed over, to fight for that top spot another day.
As always I praise Octopussy’s beautiful steering capabilities and secretly hope that through some act of God the sun will come out so that we actually have justification for the sunglasses!

Tomorrow is looking up- we are all fired up and ready to finish off Peterhouse and get into that first division! Remember girls, sit tall and lets show them what we are made of!! MECBC- WELL HARD!

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Lent Bumps Day 1 W2

Hannah Grealish, W2, 3

The row down was tense but confident as we were all excited if not slightly anxious about our first day of bumps and what on earth was going to happen to us! Weather was mild but grey although this didn’t dampen our spirits one bit.

When the cannon let off we jumped into a strong start and it wasn’t long before we could hear the whistles going from the bank as we gained on Hughes Hall II and we were all pushing our hardest (as can be seen from some beautiful photos)! Unfortunately, despite being so close to bumping we lost momentum after catching a crab and fell behind slightly. However, despite rowing flat out and tiring slightly we managed to pick it up just before the Plough and gave a final push to catch up with Hughes Hall again but unfortunately not quite bumping them.

Needless to say, we were all thoroughly shattered after an epic row over and ready for Reana’s scrumptious ginger snaps. Highlight of the day was definitely Watson’s attempt at coxing us back to the P&E, which proved surprisingly inspirational and highly entertaining.

Tomorrow Hughes Hall are going down… BOOM…and we shall adorn ourselves in lots of greenery. 😀 😀 D

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Lent Bumps Day 1 W1

Amy Crow, W1, 3

On the row down we were all feeling pretty confident as we had had a strong outing on the weekend and were brandishing our ‘bumping shades’ with pride. After a good couple of practice starts and hearing the low-down from Mark on our competition it was just a case of keeping our nerve. Although Girton had a fast start, our length and power saw us gradually close the gap between us until coming out of grassy where we succeeded in catching them (after bow took a cheeky look). After adorning the boat in greenery we proceeded home triumphant ready to face the possibility of joining the W1 division on day 2!

Winter Head 2 Head 2012 – W1 Race Report

It’s barely a week into the term, and MECBC is already back racing on the Cam.  Yesterday was City of Cambridge Rowing Club’s annual Winter Head 2 Head event, a 2x2km timed race from the railway bridge to the motorway bridge and back.  While we’re always excited for a race, there was a little extra anticipation this time – it was our first race in our brand new, and as yet unnamed, boat.  Set to race in the first division of the day, we arrived at the boathouse bright and early to find a very windswept river awaiting us. 


Georgie called for our rolling start just before the railway bridge, and as soon as we were onto the reach, it became obvious that we were in for a real fight.  Though the wind was in our favour in the first leg, it made the water on the reach, where there’s no protection from the wind, extremely choppy.  Our blades hit the crests of the waves as we squared, making the boat difficult to balance and giving us all the kind of epic backsplash normally only seen from Marina, our Captain of Boats.  We were soaked within a minute.  Once off the reach, however, and into a bit more shelter, we managed to level things out a little and get some decent lift going, though still not up to the level of finesse and power that we had accomplished by the end of last term.


After completing the first leg, we spun and marshalled again, glad of the rest, but not wanting to wait too long before heading off on the second leg – the wind was chilly, and our damp kit wasn’t helping.  Mark warned that, with the wind against us, we’d really have to push hard and push together on the way back, especially once we got back onto the reach.  The mood in the boat was focused and determined as we rowed up to the starting line.


The rolling start to begin the second leg was more stable, and it quickly became clear that we were moving the boat along with more power and control than we’d had in the first leg.  Counterintuitive though it may be, we almost always row better in a headwind.  In between her usual calls, Georgie gave us the added incentive of closing the gap on the King’s boat in front of us.  As we rounded Ditton corner, we all sat up in preparation for rowing the reach, knowing the wind would be strongest there.  The combination of the headwind and the narrowing gap between us and King’s brought out a palpable fighting spirit in the boat, and we pushed hard toward the railway bridge.  As we drew near the finish line, from behind me, I heard Ola shout, “I can hear them!”, meaning that she could hear the King’s boat’s catches.  We were really close now.  A last set of ten power strokes brought us under the bridge and across the finish line, less than two lengths behind King’s.  Our first race of term and our first race in the new boat was finished.


The results posted later that afternoon showed that we had completed the first leg of the race with a time of 7:48 and the second leg with a time of 8:49, for a combined time of 16:37, placing us 1st in Mays Division 2 (a full 40 seconds faster than any other Division 2 women’s boat) and 6th of the college W1’s.  We also managed to beat half a dozen Mays Division 1 boats.  A respectable result, though, as always, we have much to improve upon before our next fight on the Cam.  The prize for topping our division turned out to be glass tankards which we happily used to hold our celebratory drinks later that night.


Reana Maier


Lower Boats Captain 2011-2012

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