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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