First day of bumps for us W2 rowers. We knew we were chasing Kings W2 who we’d beaten in Robinson head but were being chased by Caius W2 who looked pretty scary. We arrived at the boathouse with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. One of our crew members, Beth Holmes, also arrived having just been hit by a car on her cycle down. This was cause for much concern and we scrabbled around for any knowledge of concussion that we might collectively have. With some of her scrapes patched up and like the champ she is, Beth decided to soldier on with the race. We hoped her collision wasn’t a bad omen for being bumped by a different, more water-ey, vehicle in around half an hour. (and also hope she is feeling better now!)
We had a good row down to the motorway bridge, fitting in a few starts along the way which felt balanced and fast. Once in our starting position we were treated to a rousing speech by Ben, our coach, who had made the unfortunate fashion choice of wearing a Caius one-piece for our big race day (for which I’m not sure he’s been forgiven?)
The canon went, the race began, and we got off to a quick start, pushing our heels into the footplates. The other thing that began was a constant bleeping from the cox box, which some of us mistook for uninterrupted and aggressive whistles from the bank. Nevertheless, we powered on gaining on Kings. We got a whistle on them, and then a second but Caius were rushing up behind us. In a matter of seconds and only inches away from Kings, Caius started overlapping with us; we’d been bumped. The race had gone so quickly that it felt like only 10 seconds had passed, although we were assured we’d been rowing for about two minutes.
The result was disappointing, especially because we had been so close to bumping but as a crew we’ve got a taste for it now and will be back for day 2 of bumps with even more determination.
It was a warm day, spring was nearly around the corner. We gathered at the boathouse. Most of the crew had had an excellent Medwards brunch and were ready for the races ahead.
We paddled downstream to begin our first race against Magdalene. Once in race positions against Magdalene, side by side, our oars square and still in the water, sitting tall, we set off! We quickly got a good head start of about a boat length on Magdalene. We kept the gap between us constant until our lovely Bianca caught a crab. The gap closed and we rowed on side by side. Suddenly the umpires called stop. Disorientated we wound it down and looked behind us. A rogue houseboat had arrived and was coming towards us! We spun around and rowed it back towards the start so we could race again. Tired but determined from an impassioned and inspiring speech given by Mark we got back into positions. And we set off! After 3 draws, 5 winds and 2 lengthens we were up to our race pace and gliding across the water. We overtook Magdalene and once again held a strong lead. Heeding Mark’s words we focused to keep on hitting the key parts of the stroke and the pushing through the legs. Before long we came into the finish ahead of Magdalene!
Our second race (or 2.5th) was against Downing, we did not have high hopes of winning but our morale was high, we now knew what we could achieve as a team. The race passed in a blur. Downing won our race. Both Downing and Magdalene rowed very well and we had a fun races against them both. Despite losing to Downing we had a great time and improved a lot as a crew.
Despite the extreme
weather conditions, W2 arrived enthusiastic, if slightly terrified, to the
boathouse. High winds and the fact that it was our first race as a crew meant
we didn’t know what to expect!
An eerily quiet row down
to the start gave us time to adjust slightly to the wind and rain, expertly
guided by our cox Felicity. After a chilly wait for our timeslot and a surprise
appearance from our coach Ben, we were off! Immediately it became clear that
the wind was much stronger than us, but we weren’t going to give up easily.
Barely a minute into the race and Haley of us caught a crab, injuring her arm,
but with determination she pushed through the pain like a champ and we picked
the pace back up again.
With helpful shouts of
encouragement, we fought against the wind and kept going, holding tightly onto
the blades that the wind was trying to steal from our hands. At stroke, Fiona
kept an amazing pace which we managed to hold for the rest of the course. The
whole boat felt really connected, and as a crew we felt more in sync than ever.
After what felt like only
a few minutes, we were passing the finish line, exhausted and exhilarated,
thoroughly drenched by the splash and the rain. Even with the weather, we’d set
a respectable time and come second in our division!
While the race could have been awful, our camaraderie meant we stayed in high spirits throughout, and it was definitely a bonding experience for all of us – bring on Bumps!
It’s that time of year again – find out what MECBC got up to in Michaelmas Term 2018! Features include our Lower Boats Captains’ account of the term, an article detailing an Erasmus student’s experience of rowing in Cambridge, and our Captain of Boats Giulia’s amazing success in Christmas Head!
If you want to join MECBC as a cox or a rower, this is the time!
No prior rowing experience is needed!
Taster sessions will be held during the first week of term, and we will be hosting a Boatie Tea in the walkway of college on Monday 1st October (3-6pm), where you can ask us any questions about what being part of MECBC involves.
Sign up here to be part of Cambridge’s most iconic sport, and the biggest sports society Murray Edwards College has to offer:
In the meantime, if you have any questions, just drop the Lower Boats Captains an email at email@example.com. If you have previous rowing experience and would like to try for our senior squad, please contact the Captain of Boats (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
Determined to have a longer race than day 2, we all set off to row up to First Post Reach in high spirits. I had come prepared with jelly babies as we knew today would be a tough race – we would have to be quick to catch up to Catz W2 before Emma W3 caught up to us. We paddled up to the starting stations and awaited the (now increasingly distant) cannon.
We set off, pushing hard to keep Emma off our tail. We made progress towards gaining on Catz – afterwards Mark commented we were only a few feet from a first whistle, which was the closest we’d got to another boat so far. We approached First Post Corner and Felicity got excited at the prospect of using her corner skills for the first time this week, but sadly Emma caught up with us as we were making our way round.
We rowed back home determined to make Saturday our best race yet – we were definitely improving as a crew as the week progressed.