May Bumps Day 1 – W3

Emma Heydon, W3, Bow

We’d been dubbed “the banter boat, who approach everything with inspiring spirit and optimism”. So we weren’t about to be fazed by a change of boat & blades (including a blade that was taped up because it had been taking on water…), an extended marshalling time, being told there wasn’t time for practice starts, a few drops of rain or a lot of wind. Not when we’d seen the greenery adorning W4 as we passed them on our row up.

Alas it was not to be our day for greenery. One station back from the cannon there was no way we could miss the thunderous call to launch W3’s May Bumps campaign. As our cox and bank party set their eyes to Queens’ W3 ahead, the rest of us were distracted from the effort of our first power ten by the sight behind as we watched Selwyn W3 set off at right angles and plough straight into the opposing bank. With our focus returning to the chase, the call from the bank that we were down to a boat length drove us on. Sadly the continuous whistles soon after were for the boats ahead as Queens’ bumped before we could catch them. Any hope of trying for an overbump disappeared as we were forced to hold it up to avoid an otherwise inevitable crash. But wait. Our race was not over. Out of the confusion came the call to carry on and go for the row over. Rapidly pushed back out and Christina called us back into time as we set off again. Yes the way ahead was clear and we weren’t threatened from behind, but W3 has “inspiring spirit” and we weren’t slacking off as we powered into the wind and headed for the finish.

Row over today. Tomorrow we get that bump. And the next day. And the next day. Because then Christina promised we can throw her in the Cam despite today’s result!

Support MECBC in May Bumps 2013

View Cambridge May Bumps 2013 in a larger map
Map with helpful tips on where to watch the races, and where you can and can’t cycle.

MECBC have FOUR boats on for Bumps this year. W4 had an excellent row in GoR and secured their spot, and will be racing in Winston. W3 will be looking for a repeat of last year’s blades in Greta. W2, in Owen, can’t wait to show the Cam that they are the fastest boat in their division, and W1 in Octopussy will be aiming to continue their upward trend into the first division!

Wednesday 12 June – Friday 14 June 2013
W4 starting 3rd in 5th division, racing at 1pm
W3 starting 8th in 4th division, racing at 2:30pm
W2 starting 12th in 3rd division, racing at 4pm
W1 starting 3rd in 2nd division, racing at 5:30pm

Saturday 15 June 2013
W4 racing at 11am
W3 racing at 12:30pm
W2 racing at 2pm
W1 racing at 3:30pm

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Lent Bumps Day 4 W3

W3 awoke on Saturday in a positive frame of mind and for once, it wasn’t just the thought of brunch that enticed us out of our beds.  The day marked the culmination of our Bumps campaign, which, despite lacking the outright success of our club’s more senior crews had definitely shown a gradual improvement. Thus, we felt that the elusive bump we had chased all week could surely be within our grasp; a hope that was supported by our incredibly complex but (not entirely) reliable statistical analysis of the results so far – the simple fact that having been bumped, technically bumped and rowed-over the only feasible outcome would be to continue the upward trajectory and bump today.

It was with this in mind that we came to front stops and sprang into a strong start; leaving Darwin to trail behind us as we were greeted by the encouraging sound of whistles. However, no matter how hard we seemed to push, the Catz boat remained an inch ahead; taunting us in the same way its feline namesake taunts its prey. Perhaps we had been over-zealous in our consumption of bananas and had finally succumbed to potassium poisoning, or maybe the fact that a wing (or, more specifically, foot plate) had detached itself from our galactic craft was partly to blame, but either way we found ourselves unable to convert our overlap into a bump. Then, amongst the chaos of the chase we felt a shadow fall across us as we realised that Darwin had exploited our weakness and pulled back from three lengths to nudge alongside; bumping us before we could push ourselves around Ditton and to safety.

Although we never quite managed to win ourselves some greenery, W3 gained a lot from what was, for all but our cox Christina, our first ever Bumps – including countless awful photos, an unnatural sense of excitement at the sound of canons booming and the knowledge that our performance in Mays will only be better.

Felicia Lane, 6, W3

Lent Bumps Day 3 W3

We where starting to think that we were punching above our weight. We were a 3rd boat in the midst of a 2nd boat game. We’d played our cards. We’d lost twice. First fair and square – King II were fast; second by a mere technicality, Queens II had got the luck of the draw.  The grit, the goal, the determination of the galactic unit that once was Murray Edwards III, was it to waver once more? We stood together in the boathouse, revenge in our eyes. No. Not this day, we said. This day Darwin II cannot snatch the elusive victory from us.

With the canons absent, it was a scramble at the start. Time had to be collected; stopwatches synchronized. The start was shouted from the core of the coaches and marshals; no gun was to fire today. And so Murray Edwards III was not to be shot down.

We were off the start fast, pushing, pulling, driving away from Darwin; the fire within raging. Carnage was to ensue before us; Queens II caught Catz, like a lion upon a mouse. Kings II seized Churchill II. After weaving and meandering across the river we bid farewell to the elusive bump, all that was left was the abyss until the end caught our fall.

Or so we thought.

We were complacent, sloppy, we had already unleashed the tiger within and it had drifted off behind us. The survival of the fittest had come to take us down; Darwin II had appeared like the grim reaper tapping our collective shoulder. A whistle shrill, cold as as our imminent demise pierced the air.  They crept up on us; two whistles arose from the bank – canvas. We where thrashing, panicky; the end was nigh and yet so distant. We drove through, pulled away a morsel of water between us – but was it too late?

Ditton came to save us, as angelic as a corner can be. We had the faster line; Darwin was as wide as a hippopotamus’s bottom. We crossed the finish line with full speed, and full power, in galactic warp drive once again. The risk of spoons had finally been obliterated.

Tomorrow, with the prospect of a forthcoming “spoon-barge”, the taste of success clings to the air.  But we cannot be complacent; we must row hard and we must fight well.

One must learn how to lose before one can triumph. Tomorrow; we bump.

Christina Larkin, cox, W3

Lent Bumps Day 2 W3

On our second day of bumps we returned to the river with vengeance on our minds, sunshine in our eyes and teeny-tiny bananas in our hands. With our full crew reunited once again we rowed up to the reach in the now familiar Greta and after an excellent practice start we queued to wait to spin.

We rowed up to our starting position, sandwiched apprehensively between Homerton 2 and Kings 2. We waited in fidgety anticipation for the stomach churning boom of the canons. Well aware we had to build on our start from yesterday we came to front stops, legs tightly coiled, eyes in the boat, game-face grimaces prepped, ready to unleash the starting piece we knew we were capable of.

At the final canon we pushed hard off the footplates, focused on making our first strokes strong. We kept the rate up, pushing off of the motorway bridge and settling into our race rhythm.

But it was not to be. We were suddenly met by calls from all sides to hold it up, and digging our blades into the water we turned to see carnage before us. We looked to our bank party with furrowed brows and bewildered expressions, what had happened? Would we re-row? What even is a re-row? We pulled up to the bank as a crowd of coaches and officials discussed the situation. We were eventually told that a “technical bump” had been awarded to Queens 2.

We rowed home with our backs straight and our heads held high, knowing we had done ourselves proud. Bolstered by the knowledge Carla had retrieved her long lost hot-cross-bun from the depths of her hatch we vowed to return to the river with renewed spirit, (after much sleep and much pasta) to row once more into the unknown in search of that ever achievable but oh so elusive bump.

Beth Sherwood, bow, W3

Lent Bumps Day 1 W3

With the crew mood somewhere between nervously excited and terrified, the galactic unit known as W3 assembled at the boathouse for what was (for everyone except for lovely stand-in cox Ola) their first ever bumps. Despite having collectively trawled through hours of YouTube footage, we all weren’t entirely sure of what to expect, or crucially exactly how many bananas it was necessary to digest pre-race. Erring on the safe side, we loaded up Gretel with all the bananas we had, and set off to our marshalling point. We rowed confidently down, with only one minor disaster in the loss of one baby banana to the cruel Cam. Rest in peace little soul. We then paddled nicely up to our starting point, where we were welcomed by a very distressed dog, whose whines and screeches interfered somewhat with our attempts at a collective boat aura of calm. However, the poor beast did provide something tangible to push away from (in addition to Kings W2) so with this glass half full attitude we settled down and waited for the cannon, which coach Mark called expertly. The next four minutes flew past and finally it was time to go.

The cannon signalled blast off and it was launch time. While our start was solid, it was soon clear that Kings W2 had got off to a flying start and were almost upon us. Yet the valiant W3 spirit kicked in both metaphorically and literally, and with Ola’s calls for a second start sequence and more pressure on the footplates, we were able to hold them off…until they finally managed to catch us.

As first bumps races go, we conceded that while we wouldn’t be accessorising with foliage this time, we had done ourselves proud and we saluted Kings as worthy opponents. We rowed back content in the knowledge that our crew grit and determination were still strong and intact- and this positive mood was boosted further by the news that Richard had finally managed to capture his dream selfie shot (#woowoo) reminding us that anything is possible if you just believe and persevere. With that in mind, we are now looking forward to the next few days of racing…we’ve got the guts, we’ve got the grit and most importantly we’ve got the bananas to go out and do our boatclub proud. Bring it on.

We’d like to thank the amazing Ola and the equally amazing Emma H for subbing in for our cox and 3 respectively- we’re all really grateful you came aboard.

Nina Jones, 5, w3

W3 Race Report for the Getting on Race

So after having had sun for our last race, suddenly we were punished with snow. Ok, so it wasn’t exactly heavy, but we definitely saw a few flakes (which counts!) and our freezing hands were enough evidence. But did that bother us? Of course not! However we were very reluctant to de-kit just before the race. On the plus side, the hilarity of watching guys rowing past in shorts and t shirts, turning bright red, made the cold weather slightly more bearable. We rowed up in Winston, and then we parked, got out and awaited the return of W2. To keep warm, Richard’s penguin moves worked wonders. We finally managed to swap boats; a huge relief rowing in Owen again!

After a slightly awkward start because of a crab, (which was recovered from very quickly), W3 came out in fine style and kept up a decent race pace throughout. (Although poor Ellie lost her hat to the water!) Very soon we were drenched in the Cam water, but before we knew it, the end was in sight! Calls to ‘empty our tanks’ were heard from the bank party, and the boat picked up speed for the last few hundred metres. All in all it felt like a successful race!

We finally returned to the boathouse, to Reana’s delicious race baking. The thought of these cakes and biscuits was enough to get us rowing home with sufficient speed. The quantity of brownies and cookies eaten was enough to reclaim our calories lost from the race and the cold, and then some. Now for the hours of waiting to find out if out speed was fast enough…and it was! Lent bumps here we come!

Carla Bardua – 3

May Bumps Day 2 W3

After a very successful first day of bumps, spirits were high when we met at the boat house for the second round, and lifted even higher by the unexpected sunshine. But as our rhetorically honed coaches had emphasised during one of their inspirational speeches, “things don’t usually go to plan in bumps”, and a crab during a practice start reminded us that now was not the time to be complacent.

Well, we weren’t. We started off strong, kept going strong, and finished strong. Clare in front of us just seemed to surrender the moment we had a whistle on them, so that the second and third whistles followed in quick succession and our bank party shouted at us to “hold it up” mere seconds later. We had also gained half a length or so on Trinity Hall behind us, vindicating yesterday’s result, and adorned ourselves with plenty of shrubbery for the row home.

More of the same tomorrow, girls!

–Teresa Krieger, W3, 7

With the sun finally managing to peek out of the clouds at the boathouse, we set off feeling optimistic, despite the strong winds that seemed to be trying to emulate the gales we experienced at GoR. After a long, tense wait by the lock, we drove off chasing Clare Hall for around two minutes until they were forced to concede. More greenery for W3!

–Siena Carver, W3, 3

May Bumps Day 1 W3

First day of bumps, and with W1 and W2 backed by the Tab for blades, each crew set off with determination to completely obliterate the boat ahead on the river. W3 started off the show, bumping Trinity Hall within a few hundred meters after a catastrophic restart broke one of their riggers. This success was quickly followed by W1 finishing off Emma II with W2 gaining greenery from Newnham. An altogether successful first day at Bumps for the boat club.

Siena Carver, W3, 3

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Support Murray Edwards in May Bumps 2012

View Cambridge May Bumps 2012 in a larger map
Map with helpful tips on where to watch the races, and where you can and can’t cycle.

Wednesday 13 June – Friday 15 June 2012
W3 starting 16th in W4 division, racing at 2:30pm
W2 starting 16th in W3 division, racing at 4pm
W1 starting 6th in W2 division, racing at 5:30pm

Saturday 16 June 2012
W3 racing at 12:30pm
W2 racing at 2pm
W1 racing at 3:30pm

Facebook event:
Twitter supporters: our hashtags are #supportmecbc and #mecbcwellhard