Lent Bumps 2014 Day 4: W2

A nervously tense atmosphere hung over the boat house in the morning. After a frustrating and slightly disheartening start to the week, W2 were keen to turn their results around, but unsure whether this was possible now that they were bitterly aware of the notoriously unpredictable nature of bumps racing. Today, it didn’t seem likely that we would catch Wolfson before they caught Caius II, and the chasing boat, Sidney Sussex, were a bit of an unknown quantity.

Despite our nervousness, the solid row up and wise words from Mark at the start – reminding us that unpredictability could work in our favour as well as against us – steadied our minds, and we were determined to prove ourselves in true Murray Edwards style. Off the start, even though it wasn’t our best, we seemed to be holding Sidney off. In the boat all you can hear is a cacophony of splashing, shouts, and whistles, and it’s nearly impossible to distinguish what is going on around you or which boat the shouts and whistles are for. Luckily in the midst of all the noise Mark’s voice broke through – yelling at us to hold it up and saving us from a collision with Wolfson, who had caught Caius II but failed to clear the river quickly.

My heart fell. I could see Sidney gaining and they would surely catch us now. But, as soon as we had space, Nadia called a restart. We snatched back our focus and furiously dug in our heels. A few strokes in, we glimpsed Sidney wedged into the bank. We didn’t know what had caused this, but it didn’t matter to us – with a clear river ahead and behind of us, we knew that we could row a clean, powerful course. This we did, and at one point thought it may be possible to catch Clare II ahead, who had encountered some steering problems and hit the bank on a corner. They recovered however, and whilst we gained a good amount of distance on them, weren’t able to try for an over-bump. A row-over was enough to lift our spirits though, and although tired, our morale was significantly improved by the day’s success and the anticipation of tomorrow.

Harriet Christie

Lent Bumps 2014 Day 5: W2

After a disappointing start to what were the first Bumps for many of us, we were quite optimistic that today would be the day that we finally bumped. Having mentally and physically prepared ourselves, with motivational team talks and a collection of our favourite stretches, we were ready to hand Caius some spoons as we rowed down.

As the canon went, we got off to one of our strongest starts of the week, getting our first whistle on Caius during the start sequence. During cox Katie’s calls for a power 10, we saw that Queens had been bumped, and knew that all we needed to do was to keep chasing down Caius. Despite our cox’s calls to lengthen out and settle, a very determined stroke decided that we were just going to power through, and soon we were getting more and more whistles! After a final push for 10, we gave Caius ‘a firm tap on the rear’, as our classy coach Robert Gardiner would say.

Rowing back to the boathouse just behind W3, both of the crews covered in greenery, was the best way to end Bumps!

Maria Rust

Lent Bumps Day 1: W2

It was bright and breezy on the Cam as a boatful of excited Medwards ladies rowed up to marshall in Owen for the first day of Lent Bumps 2014. Four of the crew and the cox had never been in a Bumps race before and this was the day we had been anticipating all term.

We had a good practice start just after the Plough and the boat felt powerful and balanced. As the cannons counted us down we got into our racing mindset, and by the time the final one blasted we were as prepared as we were ever going to be. We had a fast, smooth first few strokes, but unfortunately it did not last long. As we completed the winds in our three draws, five winds, power ten sequence, the bows realised they were headed into the bank and the rest of the boat soon followed. As we attempted to disentangle ourselves from the reeds, a sluggish Clare boat bumped us and our collective hearts sank.

The true test of a woman is how she holds herself post-defeat. We had indeed been defeated, but the ladies of MECBC were not ones to be ashamed. We cheered Clare’s good fortune with the loudest “hip hip hoorays” the Cam has ever heard and rowed home with straight backs and vengeance in our hearts. Tomorrow, we would row again. And when we did, we would row WELL HARD.

Olwen Wilson, 7

Support MECBC in Lent Bumps 2014

Map with helpful tips on where to watch the races, and where you can and can’t cycle.

MECBC have three boats on for Lent Bumps this year. W1 is a mix of familiar and fresh faces, who made a strong showing at Newnham Short Course placing 4th of all womens’ crews in very windy conditions. Let’s see how much they have come on since then! W2 and W3 has had a very interrupted term, full of flags, flooding, wind and subbing… but all the erging has paid off in the getting on race, with both securing a spot in Bumps. In the week ahead they will show that they are faster, stronger and tidier than the other crews around them. For many this will be their first set of Bumps and they are SO excited!

As per usual not all crews will race every day from Tuesday to Friday. See schedule below for details. Aim to arrive before the start of the race as some races can be very short (several minutes!)

Tuesday 25 February
W2 and W3 racing in women’s third division at 1440

Wednesday 26 February
W2 and W3 racing in women’s third division at 1440
W1 racing in women’s first division at 1600

Thursday 27 February
W1 racing in women’s first division at 1600

Friday 28 February
W2 and W3 racing in women’s third division at 1320
W1 racing in women’s first division at 1600

Saturday 1 March
W2 and W3 racing in women’s third division at 1320
W1 racing in women’s first division at 1600

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/679596275412021/
Twitter supporters: our hashtags are #supportmecbc and #mecbcwellhard

Lent Bumps Getting on Race: W2 Race Report

Overly enthusiastic about the sunny weather we got our boat out, insufficient kit on and proceeded to row up. During our approach to the start we were faced with two dilemmas. One was the weather; despite the sun being out, the wind was fierce. The second was “what will Jesus do?” as our cox, Nadia, so elegantly put it. The wind was attempting to make marshalling more haphazard than necessary, but fortunately we had six bank partiers there to challenge mother nature, yell at our crew and suggest Jesus’s next move.

Rolling up to the start, it took us a few moments to fall into a rhythm. Despite having rowed together only once before (that same morning) we eased into a comfortable rhythm, rate 29, and we could feel the boat slide over the water efficiently as the team moved as one. As soon as we turned onto the reach the wind hit us. The water was choppy. However, we didn’t panic. We unleashed our Haribo power, sat up against the wind and kept the boat sat. We kept calm and rowed on – and secured our spot in the second division. Cannons, chains & whistles… see you next week.

Ginny Levrini (W2)

Fairbairn Cup 2013: W2 Race Report

Rowing in December is an invigorating challenge for some and absolute insanity for others. ‘Cold’ is a description most would agree on however, and the morning of December the 6th was no exception. Yet the boaties of the Cam are hardy folk, and so when at 11.20 W2 arrived at the boathouse we were greeted to the sight of a river full of crews all shivering slightly in their coordinated lycra, and all with the same look of gritty determination in their eyes.

It could only mean one thing: Fairbairn’s.

With our boathouse position for once being advantageous, we took our time with the warm-up and got Owen out in a leisurely fashion. A nearby Robinson boat provoked some discussion as we settled into our seats- gold tinsel had been wrapped around each rigger, with the cox dressed as Santa. While some appreciated the effort as ‘cute’, others deemed the frivolity a folly: ‘Fairbairn’s is no joke’.
It was soon time to leave the shelter of the boathouse behind and push out ourselves. By this point, we had a full complement of coaches (2- Alex and John, the latter of the two having just raced the course himself) and a respectable bank party. With a wave from the college President and a deep intake of breath as we removed the last of our fleeces, we were off.
Jesus boathouse was seemingly suddenly upon us and the race had begun. We started off strongly and settled into our race pace. It was after the first few minutes that the realisation dawned upon me and I suddenly realised exactly how long five kilometres was- namely: really really long. The cold wasn’t helping- soon the muscles in my lower arms were protesting loudly and numbness was spreading from my fingertips. Visions of amputated fingers due to frostbite crossed my mind…what an infallible excuse for not handing in an essay!
But I deemed it was too high a price for the loss of limbs and so resolved to finish the race as quickly as possible. I’m sure everyone in the boat felt similarly. At points my mind started to wander, filling up with images of warmth and comfort- duvets, mugs of hot chocolate, volcanoes… At other points, parts of my brain were just screaming ‘WHY?’, while the parts controlling my muscle movement carried on regardless. However, cox Nadia’s calls kept us focussed and kept my internal existential inner monologues at a minimum. Timely input from our bank party also ensured that we kept up our power but didn’t forsake our technique. The sight of Ying’s infamous video camera forced us all to sit up a little straighter.
We knew we were being chased distantly by Corpus, and so were anxious when on the Reach a similarly dressed crew appeared to be gaining upon us. If anything, this stiffened our resolve (Mollie had made it very clear that we were NOT getting overtaken) and we kept pushing hard against the footplates. With some excellent corners from Nadia we were through the stretch of river I know only as ‘the wiggly bit’, with an excellent burst in front of the Plough.
Then Nadia uttered the words we had been waiting all race to hear…’I can see the finish!’. I now fully realise that on this straight stretch of river, the eye can see a pretty long way. We rallied valiantly and prepared to empty the tank (not that there was much left at all in my tank at this point). Digging hard, and with the mystery crew in front still bearing down upon us we sailed through the finish line, which thankfully wasn’t a mirage (in my delirious state mid-race I had wondered if this was a very cruel joke and we were actually going to have to row forever and ever).
Calls to wind it down were music to our crew’s ears as the identity of our mysterious chasers was revealed: a Fitz alumni boat! Worthy opponents indeed. We paddled down and settled next to our W1, with Octopussy and Owen slotting sweetly together like sibling boats. With some deft acrobatics, Mollie was able to manoeuvre herself out of the boat (having to run off to be a Varsity rep) and Pauline joined the crew for the row home. After replenishing our energy stores with copious amounts of Haribo, we set off back to the boathouse.
All in all, an exhausting yet rewarding experience- and one that affirmed for me what rowing in December (and year round) is all about- certainly the cold (which I think I’ve mentioned once or twice in the above paragraphs) but also overcoming the cold and working as a crew in the face of muscle cramp and even frostbite (cold fingers for the less melodramatic) to row across the finish line. A heart-warming and frostbite-dispelling feeling indeed. Brrrring on next year I say.

Nina Jones, W2

Winter Head 2013 W2 Race Report

We arrived at the boat house in good time to have some pre-race banter, moan about the cold weather and finally get the boat out. We were quite far down in the division so got to the Lock in plenty of time to get out of the boat, stretch and devour two big bags of sugar-loaded sweets while subtly sizing up the competition. I have never discussed kit and technique in as much frantic detail as I did before Winter Head.
After the tense waiting, it was time to get back in the boat and the familiar, inevitable sense of adrenaline kicked in as the marshals tried to hectically organise the myriad of boats out on the river. Then before I knew it, we had started racing. Our cox asked us to individually put the power down for the rest of the crew and the rate shot up. We managed to have a surprisingly balanced and relaxed race; for the first time, I did not feel like I might die when we were finally asked us to wind it down.
If anything stood out, it was Reana’s heavenly race baking, which I completely forgot about until we got back to the boat house and rediscovered it patiently and lovingly waiting for us.
I’m probably going to regret this, but for the next race, I hope we are able to push the rate even higher and emerge slightly more exhausted than we did this time around. After all, we are supposed to be well hard.

Ana Diac

May Bumps Day 4 – W2

W2 met at the boathouse on Saturday determined to prove that whilst lucky crews get blades, good crews go up three. A combination of the warm, though very breezy weather and the fact that W4 had managed to bump again meant that our row down was relaxed; we made the most of our marshalling by sunbathing (or in some cases having a nap in preparation for May Week!)
The race itself was short – our start reflected the unsettled weather, but we managed to have a whistle on Selwyn as we passed under the motorway bridge and bumped them before First Post Corner. Wearing greenery for the third time this week was amazing (even if the branches seem to have a habit of getting tangled in our hair) and we’re already looking forward to chasing Girton W2 next year!

Felicia Lane, 3, W2

May Bumps Day 2 – W2

When I opened my eyes on this morning of the second day of May Bumps, the very first thought that came to my mind was “REVENGE”. This was to be the day to make up for the long epic row-over of Day 1.
We all turned up to the boat house, willing to bump FaT II to get back to chasing Magdalene II for our revenge bump. Passing our victorious W3 crew under Chesterton Bridge, we arrived at the marshalling station in good spirits, singing songs and picking flowers. But we left this bucolic mood on the bank and went back in the boat as fierce as ever. The row down had to be focused and technical, the bump quick and clean.
And it was to be so. The first whistle came during our start sequence, 2 and 3 whistles as we rowed under the Motorway Bridge and the bump happened a couple of lengths after the bridge.
With the first greenery of the week in our hair, we braced ourselves for the row home in the wind but enjoyed some victorious pausing around Grassy, past the Plough, at the marshaling station of the next division, showing everyone that Murray Edwards W2 was not to be trifled with! WELL HARD

Pauline Pilote, 6, W2


Additional race report from Ola Janusz, stroke, W2 : “We got fat”.

May Bumps Day 1 – W2

Ola Janusz, stroke, W2

We rowed. We stopped. We thought we bumped. We didn’t. Magdalene did. We rowed some more. We went into a bridge. We stopped again. We thought we should have over-bumped. We didn’t. It hurt. They told me foul language is unacceptable so this it what’s left of my race report. Love, Ola Janusz, stroke, W2,

* I promise I will clean up my karma by tomorrow, just please please let me bump FaT