May Bumps Round-up!

W1 (Louise, 3rd year Medicine, ex-Captain of Boats)

W1 started Easter term with a few new faces compared to the Lent crew who for most had their first experiences of not only racing but also bumps. Building up from COVID with not much bumps experience, our crew tried to get experience racing against other crews side-by-side in 99s regatta and getting a win under our belts against a Wolfson crew who had beaten us the week before at Champs Head. My first ever win at Medwards!! This prepared us nicely for bumps in the nice sunshine after most (but not all) exams had finished!!! 

Day 1 

On day 1, we tried to build ourselves up not knowing much about the crew ahead, Jesus W2, or the crew behind us, Lucy Cav W1. Convincing ourselves we were faster than Jesus W2 based on race results previously, we were excited for a good bumps campaign, trying to improve on the spoons we, unfortunately, got in Lents #notspoons2022. Ben and Forbes, our coaches, reassured us that Lucy Cav’s starts looked not great, and we definitely had a chance of catching Jesus W2 over a longer race.  

Lining up to the start doesn’t get any less daunting even if you have done it a few times before. This time in position 8 we were quite close to the cannon which meant the loudness just added to the atmosphere. And we were off, keeping our heads very much in the boat and trusting our fabulous cox Anna to guide us through the race. One whistle on Jesus off the start gave us the confidence we were gaining but alas we did not hear another. Instead, we had Lucy Cav showing us that although they might have looked messy on the way up, they were speedy (this was shown by the end of the week with them getting blades!). We gave them a good show and held them off all the way to Ditton Corner but unfortunately, we could not hold them off any longer especially with them taking the corners very tight! Although we did get bumped, we had newfound confidence completing the first day of bumps (the first ever for many) and nearly getting to the reach before being bumped, much better than Lents!!! 

Day 2 

We came back the next day with a new race strategy, fly or die! Today was the day we were going to be chased by Sidney Sussex W1, a top 5 crew on the river. Therefore, the only choice we had was to try and catch Lucy Cav first. Briefed on how to reset after every 50 strokes we were confident we would have a chance as our starts meant we got half a length up even on the best crews. 

We got a whistle then another and another off the start but as this is happening Sidney after a slow start was building their speed to match their reputation! We were 1 length ahead of Sidney going into first post and 1 whistle down. When we had got round the corner it was ½ length and two whistles. In about 10 strokes just into the start of grassy, a ¼ length. Honestly, their kill strokes as we call them, were so scary they were ¾ length down and the next thing we knew we were bumped on grassy. We all gave it our all and unfortunately fly and die didn’t work but we had given it everything so we were not too disheartened and quickly moved on to the next day when we might have a chance of completing #notspoons2022. 

Day 3 

I arrived with a newfound excitement without a feeling of impending doom of being chased by Sidney W1, chasing them instead on day 3. We had Wolfson W1, who we had beaten in 99s, chasing us so we had more confidence and had a race plan of rowing over with a tiny chance of an overbump of Lucy, but this was unlikely. Having rowed up to the start, we sat on the start line more confident but still, I felt extremely nervous knowing to never underestimate the team behind, having two previous bumps campaigns under my belt. The cannon went and we were calm as Wolfson gained,  warned by our coaches that they probably would at the start. They gained and gained and gained until they got within a ¼ of length looking increasingly ragged as they went. We did not give up hope and started our finishing wind, hoping this would save us and complete #notspoons2022. Suddenly, they caught a crab, a boat-stopping crab, we had got away! We did a push, Wolfson got bumped by Selwyn on first post corner and we rowed away.  

I had a slight suspicion this boat-stopping crab might have checkmated the division behind us as they took up the whole river, but our coach told us to race on just in case. We went for it we raced the whole course although it was obvious no one was chasing us, we just hoped that we had done enough to catch someone ahead. It became clear that this was going to be unlikely as we went past Sidney and Jesus bumped out followed by Lucy and Emma, but we were cheered on! We finally got to the bottom finish, all very tired but we had completed our race plan and we had succeeded in #notspoons2022! 

Day 4 

Onto the final day, where we had another chance of catching Jesus W2, as they had also been bumped by Sidney and Lucy as well! We were also hoping to build on W2’s success of bumping Homerton W2, payback after our W1 was bumped by theirs in lent bumps! This time we were being chased by Selwyn W1, who we didn’t know much about, but they had had several rowovers throughout their campaign.  

The cannon went for the last time, and we went off and we got off to a good start a length off Jesus then ¾ length and then half-length and two whistles! Selwyn in the meantime were slowly closing in on us as well. We did our finishing wind going into first post as we saw them weaving from one side to another at our stern. They had overlap when they thought they had caught us, but no our excellent cox once again had ensured they had not had but they held it up while we kept rowing. Unfortunately, we were not as lucky as the previous day as they recovered miraculously by doing a start again and quickly gained the half-length that they had lost from holding it up. Before we knew it, we were bumped on the outside of first post corner with Selwyn clearing into us so we were attached while all the boats passed. Our brief conversation with the Selwyn girls was lovely and they were so happy to bump, hopefully, we see them on the river again next Michaelmas!  

Disheartened we rowed back to the boathouse, past my parents who have yet to see me row in bumps always being a corner too late to see me! For 4 of us, this was our last time potentially rowing in an eight, at least at Medwards, so there was a sense of sadness for us. My one goal of bumping a boat while at Medwards was now unlikely to happen with unreliable clinical placements next year.  

We made it the best row back we could and the people staying are now aiming to train towards a bump or multiple next year! Having learned so much from this year, building up after covid with half of our rowers in Lent and Michaelmas being novices the term before this was a transitional year with hopes of winning more things next year! Overall, a good group of people meant everyone enjoyed this Easter term and it was a great way to potentially to leave MECBC with such lovely people in my boat. 

W2 (Shivani, 1st year NatSci)

W2’s bumps campaign this year has been one to remember. The first bumps for many of the crew, we were excited to get going.

On day 1, W2 were on the chase for Homerton, with Jesus following behind. The race began well. Our bow ball began to overlap with Homerton’s stern on Grassy Corner but Homerton fought back and pulled away, leading to us having to row over, inches away from the bump!

Day 2 saw Pembroke, a formidable crew, on our tails with us chasing Homerton again. It was bump or be bumped. The start cannon blew and Pembroke gained quickly. We pushed hard and maintained a high rate but we were caught within the first 2 minutes.

Following their impressive performance on the previous day, Day 3 saw us row over as we were unable to catch Pembroke who swiftly bumped Jesus.

The final day started with bumps breakfast. You could feel the anticipation in Dome. We were chasing Homerton one last time: this would be our final chance to get a bump.

At the start line we were nervous but focused. The 1 minute cannon blew. It was time. Blades were buried and deep breaths were taken as we sat waiting in the middle of the Cam for the start cannon. And we were off. A high rate, powerful start from the crew pushed us away from Lucy Cavendish. The start felt good, each of us working together to move Owen swiftly through the water. Whistles began to blow – 3/4 of a boat length, 1/2, 1/4. On Ditton Corner I could hear Homerton’s cox shouting to his crew, “Get moving now!”. I yelled to Maya in 2 seat “They’re there! They’re there!”. My blade began to overlap with the stern of their boat: We had bumped! Cheers from the crew quickly ensued as we cleared the river. Spectators on the bank were clapping for us, handing us greenery, taking pictures. Tamzin and Mark, our bank party, were equally elated. We’d never felt so good. I looked towards the rest of the crew, who were now dressed in greenery, and smiled. Our hard work had paid off. To Flo, Sophie, Jess O, Sarah, Jess W, Liv, Amy, and Maya, thanks for a great year and an amazing bumps campaign. Thanks to Alex for amazing coaching, and Tamzin, Mark and Tiarnan for your advice and support. Bumping was the encouragement we needed for next year and I can’t wait to get going again.

W2 with their well-deserved greenery!

All in all, an exciting Bumps week to end the term. We are so proud of all of our rowers this year and are thankful for everyone who has supported us. Bring on Mich 2022!

May Bumps 2015: Day 1 W1 Race Report

This was the beginning of the end for some of the members of our crew, with two of them graduating after this bumps campaign – we all wanted to do them proud. A good practice start in front of the plough helped ease some of the nerves in the crew as we made our way to station seventeen, but the wait at Baitsbite lock allowed them to creep back in. The four minute cannon fires in the distance, a lot quieter than the roar of the cannon that was heard in Lents from closer to the motorway bridge. We hurry back into the boat and try and calm ourselves. Suddenly the countdown hits 30 seconds remaining and Mark starts to push us out, then bang and we’re off. The start was fast, faster than usual. We settled to rate 38 but it all felt frantic – we can do better than this!

After what seemed like an age we were pulled up on the bank – we had been bumped by an extremely strong Jesus II. This was the first time many of the crew had ever been bumped so it struck a particularly hard blow.

We all felt like we had let ourselves and the crew down, the start we did being nowhere near our best, but with the worst case scenario out of the way, we would enter the next days of bumps better prepared for the stress and the toil that would be awaiting us.
Tomorrow would have to be better. Tomorrow will be better.

Emilie Cousin, 4

May Bumps 2015: Day 2 W2 Race Report

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

May Bumps 2014 Day 1: W3

Gauging from the great results in Lent, W3 pushed off knowing that bumping a second boat is a very achievable target. The row up in the sun was quite calm and in controlled; once we had pulled in at station 11, our coach Robert joined us and gave the final motivational speech. We tried to keep calm and focused but one could feel the tension in the silence that preceded the countdown.

The start run smoothly, the boat was well sat and we had good cover since the very first few strokes. As we passed under the bridge, there were some minor issues in the “bucket” and this gave Clare III the opportunity to get as close as a length away from us. However, we recovered very promptly and we started gaining on our boathouse buddies Peterhouse II, giving coach Robert the opportunity to use his brand new whistle. When we reached the first corner, everything became quite confusing as we could hear many whistles and bankparties yelling at their boats. However, our cox Katie did not lose focus and asked for more power. The crew was very responsive to the calls, and after a chase that lasted two minutes, we bumped Peterhouse II!!!

Covered in greenery, we headed back to the boathouse to return Owen and wish good luck to our W2. Tomorrow we will be chasing after Sidney Sussex II who was bumped today by Homerton II. Hence, we have a solid opportunity to bump again!

Stay tuned!

Olimpia Onelli

May Bumps 2011 — Double Blades and Pegasus Cup

MECBC ends this May Bumps with double blades from W1 and W2.

W1 bumped Darwin, Anglia Ruskin, Robinson and Jesus II, finishing 6th in division 2.

W2 bumped Darwin II, Addenbroke’s, Jesus III and St Edmund’s, finishing 16th in division 3.

As such the Club has won the Pegasus Cup this year, sponsored by Milton Brewery.

It has been a great year for MECBC: here are some highlights collected by Eve Bonner. More photos and videos can be found on our gallery and Youtube channel.

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