Today we knew it was going to be hard; Emma V appeared stronger than us and so we had to choose one of two options; row as hard as possible at the start in the hope of catching them quickly but then risk being caught due to tiredness, or play it safe and do a decent steady row over. We chose the former option, and so our start was very strong and we kept up the speed for the first part of the race. However, tiredness inevitably kicked in and despite leaving Fitz far behind us, we found they were slowly catching up. Once the first whistle was blown they seemed to release a lot more energy and then suddenly they were gaining on us. Very quickly they were given two and then three whistles, and we had been bumped. We made it past the plough but it was in the final stretch that they caught us. So near yet so far! But tomorrow is another day, and having seen how quickly we rowed away from them initially, there is every possibility of a bump.
W4 was still on a high after bumping Girton in what was the first Bumps race for a lot of us when we rolled Winston out again this morning at 11.47am.
The anticipation was building and we were all eager to relive the success of the day before as we numbered off from bow and took our first stroke.
Motivated, we had a solid row down the river. We were determined to manage a better, more synchronised start than we did the day before when the nerves got the better of us.
When the four minute cannon went off, we checked our gates and the anxiety started mounting as the final preparations were being made. When the one minute cannon went off and Watson started counting down the seconds, the adrenalin started coursing through my veins. When the cannon finally went off, our start was a lot stronger and more synchronised than it had been the day before. We pushed hard against the strong headwind, and quickly gained speed.
However, by the time we had our first whistle and we were less than half a boat length away from the Emmanuel boat we were chasing, we were already starting to lose stamina and the other crew’s endurance overcame ours, and they broke away at the Reach.
Despite the unfavourable conditions, we managed to maintain a strong rhythm and rowed over. We were all a little disappointed at first but quickly realised that a strategy change and a motivation boost would be enough to get us back on track for day 3 of Bumps. Our start, rhythm and balance were better than they were on our first Bumps experience and we are confident that we can keep improving!
So today was W4’s first experience in Bumps, and what an experience! After a difficult start to the term, we were really happy to have managed to become a strong crew and so excited to be able to take part in Bumps.
After waiting for one crew member to rush over from her last exam, swapping the champagne celebrations for a further stressful situation, we were eager to row down to the start, making sure that we looked good as we passed our rival crews. Haribos at the marshalling point helped us to settle our nerves, but then as soon as the 4 minute canon went off, no amount of sugary jellies could calm the nerves. I really grasped at this point what the coaches had told us about Bumps – that the countdown to the final canon is the tensest moment ever. Boom. Suddenly we were off! After a messy start we managed to power through and it wasn’t long before our cox, Laura, shouted the words we’d all hoped to hear “we’re getting closer girls, we’re gonna catch them up!” The whistles were blaring, the bank party were cheering us on, we were driving like mad. Sitting directly opposite Laura, I could really sense her determination and excitement as we neared Girton.
Bumping them was an incredibly fulfilling moment, and we all lapped up our glory row back to the boathouse, greenery in our hair. Such a great start to Bumps. Let’s repeat it tomorrow, and Friday and Saturday!
At first, we were losing hope of taking part in the Getting-on Race. Almost all of our bowside rowers were struggling with either illness or exams. It wasn’t until Thursday evening that we knew we could have a go, thanks to two people subbing in and Constance spontaneously forgetting about her imminent exams.
Of course we were determined to qualify for Bumps and to redefine the meaning of W4, which used to be a term for a rather disorganised bunch of individuals. But we still had our coach and captains believing in us, and several members from higher crews stepping in as coxes and making us believe that in fact we weren’t that awful. After all, Laura agreed to do her first race as a cox with us!
It was a hot and sunny afternoon when we pushed off for adventure. With 11 boats fighting for 10 spots, we knew we could stand a chance even with our heavy Winston. There were no major mishaps on our way down to the start, and the minor ones happened out of the sight of our rivals! But could we really make it through the race without catching crabs or crashing into the bank?
After spinning at the lock and a short break, we soon found ourselves in the middle of the river again, hearing Laura’s first call for a power ten. It seemed impossible to respond to it when our arms and legs had turned to jelly. But this was serious now. We settled at a pace that made me almost regret leaving the cool shadow of the Motorway Bridge behind. But very soon, our bank party started shouting that we were catching up with Jesus IV, which gave us that extra bit of power and prevented our energy from melting down all too quickly under the relentless sun.
In the final 100m, we eagerly responded to Laura’s call for emptying our tanks, already guessing that we had “got on”. That feeling didn’t deceive us! The very fact that we’re going to take part in the May Bumps is a happy end by itself, but moreover, we’re now determined to translate our new crew spirit into the language of whistles and bumps. The story of W4 must go on!
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
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/132639153603135/
Twitter supporters: our hashtags are #supportmecbc and #mecbcwellhard