As a crew it is fair to say we were all fairly apprehensive as we rowed up to the start on day four- knowing we were facing the possibility of spoons. We were hoping that for once the bumps luck would work in our favour. We had a wonderful bank party made of our coaches Robert and Sarah as well as Mark and Emilie Cousin all of whom seemed positive that we would row over. All we needed to do was row solidly for 3 minutes as within that time it was assumed that the strong st catz w2 would bump Jesus w3 leaving us clear to aim to grind down FaT ahead of us. As we set off from the gun we settled into a far better rhythm than that of day 3 and were paying good attention to our cox. Jesus were gaining on us but as predicted st catz were approaching them faster than they were catching us. As the first whistles began to be blown as we came into the first corner we headed for a stride five and pulled away but then disaster stuck and a crab was caught. Jesus kept gaining and so did catz it looked like Jesus were about to be bumped but the st catz cox took the first corner far too wide and clashed blades with a bumped out crew on the far bank. This was the last straw for us unfortunately as the Jesus crew were spurred on by their sudden luck and as we came into grassy the overlap became continuous. This was accompanied by a very abrasive bell being constantly wrung by the Jesus coach and as we pulled out of grassy we had to concede. Getting spoons is a fear of all Cambridge rowers and it definitely wasn’t what any of us were hoping for (it was the first bumps campaign for 7/9 of us) and the mood in the boat was definitely one of dejection and sadness. However when faced with Robert’s tales of his own experiences of being in this position we were reminded that though bumps may be a cruel mistress she is one who will continue to call us back for many years to come. We took out our frustrations with the outcome by forcefully scrubbing and sponging Owen to within an inch of his life in the hope that next time we row in him his gleaming hull will glide faster through the Camb. As we left the boat house our minds were quickly turning to the quickly approaching lent bumps dinner and stories it was destined to produce.
Barley Collier, 7
It was the final day of bumps, the weather was glorious compared to yesterday’s grey rain, and therefore so were our moods! We felt optimistic as we gathered in the boat house and, in anticipation of success, took our crew photo. We set off in high spirits, Robert stylishly sporting my rucksack so that I could make a quick swap out of the boat post race. Having been bumped the previous three days, we agreed that we would not give up and this would be the day we rowed over. With Jesus behind us and Catz behind them, we hoped that we could hold off Jesus long enough for Catz to bump them, and we were relatively confident that with a strong start we could manage this. We marshalled rather closer to the starting canon than the day before, in what was described as a rather difficult starting spot due to strong currents. The race started well and there was a good amount of distance between us and Jesus, and it looked like Catz might be gaining on them. However, soon disaster struck – Catz fell behind and Jesus began to get closer. We kept pushing on but were bumped at grassy, however this was the furthest point we had managed to row to all week! We were all disappointed with the outcome, but despite winning our spoons, we can be happy with the small success that every day we came in with a renewed attitude, and every day we rowed just that little bit further before being bumped. For a crew of mostly novices, I can only see us going up in strength next term, and making May bumps something to be proud of.
Tilly Farmery, 6
After the somewhat accidental success of the first day of bumps, the Medwards W1 crew was eager to show off our skills properly. While fending off death-stares from the angry Girton crew during marshalling, and some heat from a none-too-happy Churchill crew behind them, W1 pondered their race tactic. We were chasing Pembroke; they were catchable, but could we do it without first getting caught by Girton bent on revenge? The answer was clear: trust ourselves! Propelled by the success the previous day, our paddle home had been one of the strongest of the term. We had found a rhythm and a confidence that had been at times elusive to the crew, but that everyone could feel now. So the tactic for the race was simple: ignore Girton, focus on chasing Pembroke. The gun went, we were off, and soon found a steady rhythm for the race. Girton, fuelled by anger, went hard off the start and appeared to be gaining on us. We followed our tactic and ignored them. Instead, every single stroke we focused on grinding it down in pursuit of Pembroke. At the first whistle Christina called for a power ten and the crew responded amazingly; we could really do this! After no more than 20 strokes we had gained another half a length, and Girton was nowhere to be seen. We caught up with them at grassy corner – it was a proper and well deserved bump! We were very excited, for some of us it was our first proper bump. Maybe a bit too excited in fact, as we for a few seconds forgot that we had to swiftly clear the river… Some carnage was caused, mistakes were made and we went away happy that no one got hurt but with a hefty fine, and maybe even fewer friends in the boats behind us than we had before… But all the while pleased with a job well done.
Amanda Sjödahl, 5
The third day of Lent Bumps started on a high after MECBC W1 bumped Girton W1 and Pembroke W1 on the two prior days. The crew were mentally prepared for the possibility that it was going to be a longer race than the last couple of days, and were up for the challenge that was going to be bumping First and Third W1. After maintaining distance all the way until grassy, MECBC W1 started closing in on FaT W1 till the two boats were about a length apart, and constantly moving in and out of this distance, as we approached the corner to the long reach. But the race had been going exactly as planned since the crew knew that if we were to bump FaT W1, we would have to stay strong and stay consistent with our pace and determination, especially as we came up along the Long Reach. However, just as we took the last corner, FaT W1 closed in on Emmanuel W1’s boat ahead of them, a little faster than we had anticipated, and bumped them, thus leaving us with a long row over. However, the crew were able to sustain the same rate and continue rowing strong in spite of a head wind and no one chasing us, and this truly showed the progress we had made as a crew over the entire term.
Neeraja Bhamidipati, bow
It is the third consecutive day that we row over. Some of us were somewhat tired after rowing 2K at a rate of about 35 on two consecutive days. However, we kept encouraging one another and kept the morale high.
The short delay before the start of the race added to the suspense of the wait. After having only nearly missed the chance to bump Maggie yesterday, we were determined to bump them today. Initially we did gain on them by about a quarter length but they kept the distance constant. Some of us started panicking when Queen’s started gaining on us but we got it back together soon afterwards. It was quite nerve-racking when we heard the sound of whistle which we were not sure was for Jesus gaining on Queen’s or for Queen’s gaining on us. It was not before long when Jesus bumped Queen’s and Maggie bumped Lucy Cav/Hughes, leaving only us and Clare which was three boats ahead of us. We didn’t stop putting pressures down our legs in case Clare accidentally crashed. Unfortunately, we had no luck of bumping Clare although we caught up with them slightly.
We are resolved to bump Lucy Cav/Hughes on Saturday with a full crew!
Katherine Wong, 6
Wednesday was the first day of Lent Bumps for W1. It also was their first Bumps race for three of our crew members, making the day even more exciting. We arrived at the boathouse full of positive energy and determination. We knew it would be a tough day, but we were ready to fight! After a confident warm-up, a few decent practice starts and encouragement from President Barbara, we were finally ready for the race. After the canon went off, we had a solid start that propelled us at a good race pace, keeping Churchill W1 away. However, Churchill constantly reminded us every stroke counts by slowly gaining on us, getting one whistle on us after the first post corner. In the meantime, the distance between Girton W1 in front of us and our boat didn’t seem to shorten. We had a good rhythm and lengthened our strokes to try to reduce the gap. Suddenly, as we approached grassy corner, Christina said in the cox box she was about to overtake Girton! Everything went very quickly from there. As there have been no whistle for us, we were very confused to see Girton’s cox surrender. We then realised they made an unforgiving bad line on grassy corner and crashed their boat. Christina’s perfect steering finished them off: it is a bump!
Emma Roth, 7
After a thorough warmup that had W3 feeling limber and ready to fight for our place in the bumps, we were making our final preparations when we saw that we were lucky enough to have the college president, our very own Dame Barbara Stocking, as our cheerleader! With this encouragement we felt sure that we would bump, and were as prepared as we had ever been. As we sat there on the bank, the distant thump of the cannon marking each passing minute matching the thumping of our hearts, feeling a cocktail of anticipation and adrenaline running through our veins, we thought back to all the hours of preparation that had built up to this moment; the brutally early starts, the back-breaking work and the nail-bitingly close qualifier.
W3 entered the race with high hopes – having witnessed Lady Margaret III have a spectacular altercation with a tree the day before, and now being behind them, we could not help but wish for a repeat spectacle. Sadly, this was not to be, as throughout the race they remained tantalisingly, frustratingly close to us, by the end less than a foot away. Though we pumped at our oars with the power and regularity of machine pistons, rapidly outpacing Queens’ III and leaving them in our wake, ignoring the pain in our screaming muscles and the pent-up fatigue threatening to overwhelm us, try as we might we simply could not close the gap.
Then, almost as soon as it had started, the race was over. Another hundred metres and we would have bumped, I later learned from my coach. As we rested, shivering in the February wind, allowing our bodies to at last acknowledge the aches that come from such exertion, we were not swayed. Perhaps we did not make this bump, but I believe that victory awaits us on Thursday! To quote Dame Stocking, as she had been yelling at us throughout the race:
“COME ON MURRAY EDWARDS!”
Zoe Ye, bow
W2 arrived at the Boathouse on Wednesday afternoon keen and ready for their second day of bumps, with some nerves present for those of us crew members who had been unable to row on the previous day! Being keen beans, we pushed off with plenty of time to spare, and were the first crew to make it to the P&E to marshal. Having had a moment to stretch our legs, we were soon back in the boat and doing some good practice pieces on the way to the start. At this point, we heard that Eddie’s, the sandwich boat, had failed to turn up! This meant that the head boat, Clare, would be awarded a technical bump, provided they could get past the first post, and so Hughes/Lucy in 2nd would be rowing the full course – unless we could bump them first! The cannon sequence soon started and we got going. We made a strong few starting strokes, however we seemed to struggle with our rhythm and ratio, and soon this translated into our power output. Although we pushed up and got a whistle on the Hughes/Lucy boat, unfortunately Queen’s W2 were very hot on our tails and ending up bumping us around Grassy Corner. We were disappointed, as we know how well we can row together. We hope to come back on Friday after our rest day with renewed focus and prove to ourselves and our supporters the true extent of our abilities!
Jules Thompson, 3
It was the first day of Lent Bumps, and W2’s first race since our brilliant performance at Pembroke Regatta a couple of weeks previously, and I think we were all simultaneously excited and terrified! As third in our division, behind Wolfson and Clare, it’s safe to say we were all feeling the pressure, but I endeavoured to keep everyone calm and collected (or as close to that as we could get, because after all, it is Bumps). We had some brilliant subs with us, who hadn’t rowed with us and almost certainly had no idea what to expect, but they were all amazing, and we’re very grateful to them!
Most of us hadn’t rowed (or in my case, coxed) in Bumps before, but we had been practising standing starts and doing plenty of pieces in anticipation. This certainly paid off on the row down, as we managed to get in some good rowing, and our practice start outside the Plough was also great. However, the nerves that had ebbed and flowed since getting into the boat made themselves known again once we were parked at our station; this was probably not helped by the weather, which had begun to deteriorate between marshalling and finally reaching our station, and would eventually descend into rain on the row home. The adrenaline seemed to kick in, though, when the four-minute and one-minute guns were fired, and when the start gun eventually sounded, we made a strong start, gaining half a boat length on Clare pretty quickly. Unfortunately, Clare then pulled away, and we had a very strong Hughes Hall/Lucy Cavendish crew bearing down on us from behind. W2 gave it all they had, though, and we managed to pull away from their overlap three times before we were eventually bumped! We then had an excellent row home, with some particularly nice timing when squaring and at the finishes.
I’m so proud of W2 (and again, so grateful to our subs), and hopefully we can take our lead back against Hughes Hall/Lucy Cav tomorrow!
Alice Levin, cox
I think it’s safe to say W3 felt surprised and scared to have made it onto Bumps – a new experience for us all!
After the success of our races this term in the Newnham Short Course and naturally the Getting On Race there was a certain expectation amongst us for our first ever Bumps.
We were racing in fourth place in our division: Lucy/Hughes, Maggie and Clare in front, Jesus and Queens behind. As we were lining up the tension was rising; we had only practised Bumps starts that morning and the weather seemed to be (quite literally) turning against us, as the wind became fiercer.
We heard the cannons sound and suddenly it was the final countdown and then we were off! Jesus seemed to be gaining on us at first, but caught a crab and the rest of the way were fending off Queens for as long as possible before they were inevitably bumped. So the pressure was off in that respect…. However with continuing calls from Emily and Païvi that we were approaching Clare quite quickly we put everything we had into our strokes. Unfortunately Maggie had crashed into a tree allowing for Clare to bump them too, leaving only us in the race to row over.
It was an exciting but terrifying first experience of Bumps. Hopefully we’ll catch up to Maggie tomorrow.
Clara Percival, stroke