This was W2’s first race of term, and for two of its rowers, their first race ever! We were keen to see how much we had learnt so far this term and to get some much needed race practice before Fairbairns. It had been a difficult week leading up to the race, with one rower injured, a change in crew and Christina stepping in to cox for us. However, thanks to Reana we had 8 rowers and were ready to race.
By the time our division was marshalling, it became clear that the event was running quite behind leading to a very congested river. However, this gave us lots of time to check out the crews that had come from around the country to race on the Cam, especially some rather good looking men from the University of London! After the men had set off, we had just enough time to get our focus together and pull out towards the start line. The racing conditions were ideal, with very little wind and no rain. We got off to a good start, settling into a steady rhythm. Christina’s calls for power seemed to be working as she told us we were keeping pace with Robinson’s W1 boat in front of us. However, by the time we reached The Plough, it became clear that we were struggling to find the power required to keep up the same pace and we started to lose our togetherness. As we were overtaken by the University of London’s women on The Reach we pushed harder trying to make it difficult for them, but we didn’t have the stamina to keep going. We crossed the finish line a respectable 6th in our event out of 14 boats, showing that we have potential but still have lots to work on both technically in the boat and in fitness training before Fairbairns.
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
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
Pembroke Regatta was the first race that the full W2 members made together in this term. Everyone was excited about the race and the sunshine. We parked under the railway bridge where we got the chance to watch the races among other crews. We had a nice warm up and cheered for the racing crews passing by and then headed to the start line of our own race. After the “Attention…Go!” order, we put all our efforts together and quickly built up the speed. We took the lead after a couple of strokes and extended the advantage in the following course of the race. We kept pushing hard on every single stroke and maintained the lead until we passed the finish line. Yes, we WON! Everyone was excited and motivated from the first win and headed back to the start line again for the second race. Our second race started with some small clashes of the oars with the other boat but we managed to get our pace back. We were behind the other boat but we kept pushing hard and gave it a beautiful finish. We made it to quarter final and we all enjoyed the experience. I am so proud of my crew and now we are looking forward to the Lent Bumps.
Yue Zhang, bow
After just one week of rowing in our crew we had our first race last Saturday. Full of excitement everyone arrived punctually at the boat house and we were all surprised by the nice weather and the warm sunshine. Since some of our rowers could not make it to the race, we quickly set a new crew order, took the boat out of the boat house and did some last minute repairs to the boat. Then we set off and made our way along the boat houses to the P&E for marshalling. At the P&E we finally met the bank party our cox had organized only a few minutes before! After just a couple of minutes of waiting we set off again and started the first leg of the race from the railway bridge to the motorway bridge. Our cox was very encouraging and everybody was pushing hard so that the boat behind us was unable to overtake us. After a short break we started the second leg of the race. Since the boat behind us was able to catch up with us close to grassy corner we had to change the line we were taking and unfortunately we didn’t quite make it around the corner and one of the rowers hit her back in the process. This could not discourage us so as soon as we could six of us continued to row until we finally reached the railway bridge.
Lisa Kreusser, stroke
The sun was out again and perfect rowing weather greeted us today. After yesterday’s strong row-over where we held Trinity Hall at comfortable distance behind us over the whole course we felt confident that this day was OUR day. To finally get our first bump, chasing Christ’s W2, just as our W3 bumped their W3 today.
Our division was delayed due to some carnage and re-row before and we entertained ourselves with some team weight-lifting exercises at our marshalling station (everyone can lift their cox, but we can lift our coach!). Our row-up felt strong, we were winding it up beautifully on the Reach and had a powerful, controlled practise start at the Plough. We felt confident to get that bump on Christ’s, and wanted to get it quickly. We felt the excitement, and the energy from all the Haribos we munched on when waiting for our row-up longer than usual.
To regain the lost time the 4-minute canon went off earlier than we expected, when we were not yet tucked in to our station. Slight panic could be felt in the boat after the 4-minute gun, and nervous excitement in anticipation of bumping today. After the start canon went off, we had a beautiful start with controlled powerful draws and winds. In contrast to Thursday, we didn’t quite manage to find a composed, sustainable rhythm straight away. We gained on Christ’s continuously, but not as quickly as we would have hoped. We had one whistle at first post corner, realised that we had to work harder to bump and finally managed to settle into a more powerful rhythm. We continuously gained on Christ’s from that point on. Encouraged by continuous whistles and the cheering crowd at Grassy Corner we managed to bump up on Christ’s W2 just out of the corner. Clearing away quickly and hugely pleased with our success we watched the division go past and then finally crossed over to get our first greenery and celebrate!
On the row home we proudly showed our greenery, sat up and looked strong, enjoyed the sun and the cheers from the bank. Tomorrow is the last day of Bumps and we are back to where we started from on day 1, station 4 chasing LMBC. We gained on them the first day, so we are confident to catch them today. It will be an exciting last race and we will give it our all.
Anna, now you know how it feels to bump! Let’s do it again!
Manuela Gross, stroke
In typical W2 efficiency, we were sat in the boat, ready to push off 12 minutes early. Having had a super enthusiastic number off, we began our classic front stops warm up. Abs were fully engaged, eyes were in the boat; today we meant business. An adrenaline fuelled row down meant we were ready to marshal in no time and did a perfect ‘easy, drop and a hold’. Such was our keenness, we bagged the perfect shady spot, and fuelled up on numerous Haribos (‘sour bears’ are a new crew favourite).
Our practice start was perfect, powering past the Plough and in to our start position. The canon sounded. We all braced ourselves and race faces were on. Canon sounded. Front stops. Blades buried. Canon. And Julia’s voice came booming through, we were drawing and winding and the boat was flying. We then, having decided the chaotic yo-yo technique of day 1 was not efficient, settled to a steady, powerful state. We gained on Caius but they managed to bump too quickly for us to make any significant headway. With Tit Hall visible, we now had to maintain this pace for the entire course.
Having powered round the first corner, we responded to Julia’s favourite call: POWER TEN. Powering out of the corner, to be met with the news we were gaining on Maggie and had the potential of an overbump only made the crew push harder. Coming around to Grassy and a particularly enthusiastic cheer meant we pushed through the pain. Within no time, we were at the reach and the end was in sight. With Tit Hall in the distance, we pushed on and rowed to the crowd as the home straight came into sight. A final power ten saw us glide through the finish line and the crew pant a sigh of relief as we realised we had accomplished the entire course, with substantial cover throughout.
Robert’s comment that “he couldn’t have asked for anything more”, summed up today’s race. We may not have bumped but we gave it all we could and put in a solid performance. Having proven how much the crew are capable of, the bump is definitely going to happen tomorrow. Without question. WELL HARD. (See below if uncertain).
Anna Gibbons, 3
The sun was up. The wind was high. Visors were brought and lycra was worn. We were all ready to get those fancy tan lines and that mythical bump. We were being chased by a crew coached by ex-Goldie cox Will McDermott and chasing a crew coached by the victorious lightweights coach Dan Janes. Yet we felt confident in our Caius-Medwards-Lady Margaret sandwich. We were going to go out there and row our best today. And most importantly of all, not let ourselves be bumped.
During our practice start, we settled at rate 34. We were nervous and pumping adrenalin a little too high. This reflected in our real start. 4 minute cannon. Our Haribos were taken away. 1 minute gun. Push your oars out. 30 seconds. 10. GUN! Our start was strong but scrappy, our motivation strong. We gained half a length on LMBC W2 by first post corner, but by then they had bumped Christ’s W2. On we had to plough. We made it to Grassy, took a slightly wide corner, my one responsibility, and then Caius started gaining. We did a re-start, they wound it up. Right in front of the pub on Plough reach, they bumped us. We had a strong but slightly too frantic row, and Caius W2 bumped us fair and square. The air kiss from their coach did nothing to make up for our disappointment.
Tomorrow. Tomorrow is a new day. And tomorrow, we shall row better. Revenge is the sweetest kind of victory. We bumped you last year, we can bump you again. This is not over yet, Caius.
Simona Sulikova, bow
It was a very hot, sunny day – the perfect setting for the start of the May Bumps campaign for W3. The row down was focused and calm, showcased by a couple of nice roll-ups, something we’ve been trying to perfect in the last couple of weeks. Unfortunately, our practice start was a bit rushed but we tried to make the most of it despite some confusion about the countdown. Although we had done much better starts in the past, it was a good way to relieve some nerves and get used to rowing at race pace amongst spectators.
We were directly under the motorway bridge for our starting position with a bit of crosswind in our area. Therefore, we were pushed out quite late to avoid having to excessively readjust our position, however this meant our start was, again, unfortunately quite rushed, with the boat starting in quite a diagonal orientation. Nonetheless, we still began our start sequence as we normally would and began settling into our racing rhythm. Churchill W2 chasing us got some whistles but did not gain on us a significant amount, but before we knew it we were told to hold it up hard by our cox.
King’s W2 had bumped Sidney Sussex W2, incredibly quickly, but failed to clear the river, which resulted in our crew, as well as Churchill W2, having to stop. Some boats were able to squeeze through the gaps but overall around 4 of the boats were affected in the division. Consequently, we were awarded a technical row over by the umpires, which worked quite nicely in our favour.
For tomorrow’s race, we are hoping for a bump! We will aim to push out slightly earlier on in the countdown, giving us more time to establish a stable platform for our start, which will hopefully give us a good opportunity to catch up to Sidney Sussex W2 before Churchill W2 make any progress towards us.
Sushmita Ramanujam, 6