Today was the last day of Lent Bumps and so spirits were high, especially when we had sporadic spurts of sunshine. We knew we had a tough row ahead as Wolfson weren’t going to give us an easy bump! However, pumped on Robert’s pep-talk and the copious amounts of sugar we were gulping down in Haribos, fizzy colas and chocolate buttons, when the final canon went we had a great start. We kept the momentum up and pushed through HARD. We were however facing a cross-wind which made the catch more challenging than we’d anticipated. We caught a few crabs and a few shipwrecks but we charged through to the finish line. As Wolfson managed to bump before we bumped them, we had a smooth row-over the finish line. It was the toughest of the four races we’ve rowed in but ultimately we remained un-bumped over the course of Lent Bumps and therefore we are undefeated! Our cox Julia was also potentially the greatest driving factor in how well we’ve done- her energy and dedicated coxing definitely got us those bumps! All-in-all it has been a really enjoyable experience and has brought the team much closer together.
Sofia Akhtar, 6
We set off on a grey Friday afternoon, determined to have another good race. We were excited but nervous at the prospect of taking on Queens II for the second time, only this time we would only have one and a half boat length between us. We rowed confidently down to our position and arrived in good time. We took the time to warm up, experience Julia’s intriguing face painting skills and to gorge ourselves on Haribo. The cannon went off for the first time and we all jumped into the boat.
We went off to a good start taking the rate up to 40, however Queens II had an equally good start, we knew we were going to have to fight for our bump. We then settled into a strong rate 34-35 and started gaining on Queens II, spurred on by the whistles, we knew we were getting closer. Unlike yesterday we didn’t let the rate rise and channelled our excitement into strong and controlled stokes. Queens II had no escape and we bumped them!! We pulled into our usual spot on the bank and the whole boat exploded with happiness, excitement and relief.
We then rowed down and Robert proceeded to denude a whole tree to present us with our well-earned foliage. We made our way back to the boat house, concentrating on our rowing.
We know that our last race will be the hardest, Queens II will be up for revenge and will be on our tail. Additionally, we will be attempting to bump Wolfson, a very strong crew, before they bump Clare II (whom have rowed over 6 times already this week). We will put into practice everything we have learn this week and will at the very least give Wolfson a good scare.
Audrey Bellis, stroke
We boated in good time to head up to the first checkpoint where we waited in the sun, eating many a Haribo on the bank. We were all in high spirits as the boat was being sat beautifully on the row to the checkpoint, so much so that Julia was even pleasantly surprised when we sat it at easy there, one of the most menacing things a boat can do to stir up the opposition. Then, with a good few race starts on the way down (which in total lasted longer than our actual race) we felt confident.
And we were off! We started off at rate 40, which we have done in training. What we did not do however was relax the rate and settle as we normally do, sure we went down to 35 at some point but then straight back up to 40 despite poor Julia’s calls to slow the slide down. It was probably a combination of the glucose, adrenaline and the whistles telling us we were close and gaining still. There was this unanimous, unspoken decision to keep the rate up and give it everything and when we found out we had bumped the atmosphere within the boat was indescribable.
What will stay with me was the Newnham College passing by, and we cheered them on, call it all girls solidarity if you will. They smiled and pushed on… into another boat. For some reason the Newnham cox didn’t ask to hold up until it was too late and the cox of the other boat, and stroke received a smack to the head with a blade. It was incredibly tense but all seemed to be okay afterwards. I will also never forget discovering the tree tradition, it just adds a touch of fun (and foliage in hair that refuses to come out) to the whole event.
I can only hope that the next bumps is just as successful or, should it not be, that we row with the same amazing quality, focus and determination that we did on Wednesday, as I had not felt anything like it this term… perhaps it was Dame Barbara’s lucky bear and its magical powers.
Elodie Burton, 7
Bumps began for W2 on an unusually sunny February afternoon – some say it was warmer here than in Morocco, but I wouldn’t go that far. There was excitement, nerves and apprehension in the air as the majority of the crew faced their first ever bumps campaign. The more experienced members of the crew shared their wisdom with the less experienced as we prepared ourselves for the afternoon of pain that was to come.
As we marshalled we took the time to fill up on Haribo and jelly babies, a well-known recipe for success. The journey to the start line was focused until our practice start drove us straight towards the bank. We recovered and another start settled us and brought back our confidence in that we knew what we were doing.
When the start cannon finally went, we did what we had trained to do. We worked our way through the start sequence and finally settled to the sound of a whistle. Darwin had gained half a length on us. But we were gaining on Wolfson so that didn’t faze us and we pushed harder. Moments later some confusion went through the boat as we passed Wolfson and FaT. They had bumped out in what must have been no more than 30 seconds. A restart or a jump 10 as Robert calls it brought the focus back as we had a new target. Many of us in the boat were not aware of this new target as we were so focussed on our own boat. But this new target was Queens W2. We went through our start sequence again what felt like the hundredth power 10, which closed the gap further between us and we pulled away from Darwin. We were going for the over bump. The boat started to become unsettled as we came into their dirty water but we got the focus back and fell in line again with stroke. The sound of the Whistle and the excitement from the bank kept us powering on. Darwin were chasing us but they had failed to gain further were falling back with every stroke. One more restart and we were within one length of the over bump. We could feel the dirty water from their boat and the excitement from the bank.
Then we crossed the finish line and it was over.
We pulled into the bank and the whole boat began to realise how close we had been. We almost did what many cannot even dream of and we would have done it had the race been longer. Another minute and we would have had them.
We may not have bumped today but we know now what we can do. Tomorrow is another day…and FaT W2 better watch out!!
Taine Ranaghan, bow
W2 set off early on a cold windy morning for our first race of term. We had already won our first race as Robinson scratched, probably in fear of having to face us. We ended up being rather early for our division so Mark took it as the perfect opportunity to get a couple of pieces in and so we headed on to the lock. With a sub in the boat who had never done a standing start we thought we would be best practising some of those and get warmed up with some high rate work.
When the time came to race Pembroke we lined up on the start line. The countdown started but alas our Cox box did not. We began the race with only the sound of the oars in their gates and the Pembroke cox pushing the opposition on. The lack of sound made the start sequence somewhat of a challenge and as a crew we struggled to properly lengthen the stroke. We began the race rating 37 and maintained this excruciating pace for longer than any of us would have liked and becoming somewhat frantic at times. However we got it together and held off Pembroke for the first half the race pulling ahead at times before they stated to pull away from us for definite.
We may have lost but that will never take away how we worked together and never gave up. We fought until the very end that is the fighting spirit we need for a successful bumps campaign. Pembroke W2 may be 10 places ahead of us and in a different division this bumps but they should still watch out because you never know what the Well Hard ladies of MECBC are capable of.
Taine Ranaghan, Bow
During the row down, the boat was slightly unsettled and unbalanced – not the impressive low rate firm paddling that we’ve been working on in our outings. The weather was cold and windy and the river was chaotic with boats and colours from so many different clubs and universities. But we started the race well, winding up to a 29 rate which we kept quite consistently throughout. As we got to the reach, Emily called for more pressure on the legs and the boat started moving really well with lots of cover. Unfortunately we were unsettled from our rhythm by a couple of experienced crews overtaking us and then hitting the dirty water they left behind, so the end of the race was not as composed and powerful as we may have wanted. Overall, the race was a good experience for us in our preparation for Fairbairns, highlighting both technical and fitness points that we need to focus on for the next couple of weeks.
Day 2 brought with it hotter weather and a more determined feeling to W2. The row up started solid and we returned to our starting place all ready to finally make up the last foot on Trinity Hall. The last few minutes were tense, with the sun beating down and Robert giving us some last encouraging advice.
The canon went off! As an eight, we surged forward through our start sequence, much more together then the first day. Before we knew it, we had one whistle and Joaquina, our cox, called for another power ten. Within another 30 seconds we had the second whistle and the third came soon after. The whole crew, encouraged by our swift catch up, pulled harder and just as we reached the first corner, the continuous whistle came and finally the complete overlap. It was spectacular as we pulled into the side cheering and overwhelmed. We had bumped Trinity Hall 2 in less than 3 minutes! All of the first days pain was worth it and now that we have experienced success, we are all ready for tomorrow and another bump!
Nadia Blackshaw, 3
The sun was out. Exams were (for some of us, literally just) over. Stash was prepared. W2 were ready to start their 2015 May Bumps campaign.
After a steady row up and encouraging practice start we made our way to Station 6. Being situated very close to the motorway bridge and right on top of the outflow made the start slightly more nerve-racking, but when the almighty cannon was fired we didn’t let it bother us and were ready to put all the hard work into practice.
Despite a slightly less balanced start than we know we are able to do, we went off with a solid row and managed to get one whistle fairly quickly. We knew it was going to be a hard fight, with Trinity Hall 2 not looking to go down without making us work for it. We stayed at about ¾ of a length for quite a while, but after a huge surge of power after Ditton managed to get down to 3 whistles and so close to an overlap. Although we didn’t quite realise it at the time, we were frustratingly close to bumping for the whole final stretch, but in the end had to settle for a well fought row over.
We know we were the faster crew, and we know we can get them, so bring on tomorrow when we will fight even harder for the bump.
Eleanor Gell, 2
The weather was perfect as we moved into position to start our first race of Easter term. The start was good, quick out of the draws and we pushed forward taking the first bend onto the reach. As a crew, we used the straight to settle our rhythm, putting into practice all the techniques worked on each morning. The boat was moving well through the river as we continued to push as hard as we could under the bridge. Far behind, we could now see the next boat racing and Joaquina shouted encouragement at us, one stroke for each crew member and one big push for Robert! We took the next bend a little less stable but quickly recovered for last stretch of the race. As the call came for the final ten strokes, as an eight we swung backwards, lengthening our strokes until the end.
With the call to wind down, we all celebrated, exhausted, knowing that we had completed our first race as a crew in very good form. In the end, we were rewarded for all the early morning starts as we finished first in our division!
Nadia Blackshaw, 3
It was the final day of lent bumps and we were feeling optimistic. We had soon forgotten about the disaster that was Friday and were sure that we would be able to catch Sidney Sussex w2. We had a strong row up, a great practise start on the reach, and we were looking forward to having the foliage in our hair as we triumphantly rowed home.
Unfortunately this was not to be.
As the gun went off and Iila called the draws, we pushed as hard as we could and began gaining on Sidney. Soon enough we heard the sound of one whistle and we carried on pushing. Queens, in front of Sidney, had bumped as Pete predicted, so we had the whole course to catch up with Sidney. However, today would not be our day. Wolfson crashed their boat, meaning that as Sidney overtook them, closely followed by us, they had effectively over-bumped so we had to settle for a row over.
Though disappointed by the result, we were able to row home proudly knowing that there was nothing more we could have done, and that had luck been on our side we may well have bumped. Despite not being presented with foliage, we have had a great time in Lent Bumps and come out of it feeling confident and ready to bump in the summer!
Rosanna Gregory, 6