The second day of bumps saw all the crews in action for the first time, here’s how they got on:
It was gusty and drizzling – clearly yellow flag conditions – but clearly, no one bothers on race day. Knowing we had the ability to catch up with Darwin was a great morale booster, but our high hopes were shaken a little during the row to the start point. The crabs and an unbalanced boat did not bode well for our race later, but Ali and our bank party made sure we were settled going into the race. There was an issue with bow’s footplate, which was quickly resolved by Tom.
We began the race with a good start and a plan to maintain a comfortable rate that allowed us to power on towards the end of the race to catch Darwin. 30 seconds into the race, however, equipment failure happened and everything went south. A seat didn’t just derail — it broke. Frantic resetting ensued. Chris rowed with arms and back. Wind up. Lengthen. Catch, there. But alas, things were not meant to be and another crab ended our race hopes. As we rowed back to home base with 6 rowers (leaving the other 2 freezing in their wet clothes), cheers from several crews by the bank helped to temper our disappointment. Ironically enough, as we tried to disentangle our blades from tree branches by the bank, we were bumped by another boat behind us, probably the only bump we’ll get this race season as footship.
Today nicely sets up our massive comeback tomorrow — we’ve got a new seat, the two dents caused by the broken seat are cleanly covered up by black tape, and we pushed Darwin while conserving our energy! You could say it was all part of the plans. We’ve got this, let’s destroy them tomorrow.
Darren Wong, 5 Seat
Bumps day 2 was rather short for W2. An unforunate early crab caused us to be bumped rather quickly. But W2 rowed home in high spirits. Tomorrow is a brand new day and we’re going to absolutely smash it!
Maddy Elliot, 6 seat
A frustrating day for the Torpedo. We started the day behind Fitz and despite a decent start from Churchill, we couldn’t catch them before they inevitably bumped Maggie’s sitting ducks. But we rowed strong and before we knew it we had Clare Hall M1 in our sights for the overbump. We came out strong onto the reach and with some well-timed power calls from Danny and a massive effort from the whole crew, we quickly narrowed the gap and in true torpedo style impaled the M1 crew as their cox conceded the race. But the cheers and celebrations would be short-lived – we were soon informed that due to a bump in front of Clare Hall earlier in the race, which had apparently impeded their progress, they had in fact been awarded the row-over. Thus we were left bump-less, and will have to settle for torpedo-ing some sitting ducks in our next race on Friday.
Max Campman, Men’s Vice Captain and 7 seat
The aim was simple: hold off Trinity Hall long enough to bump Girton. But fate had other plans, providing a very dramatic first Bumps experience for more than half of W1 today.
After bonding with several other crews while marshalling in very windy conditions by the Green Dragon, we had a solid warm-up on the way to the lock and were feeling excited to race. Our start was solid, and by the gear change we had a whistle on Girton, while Trinity Hall hadn’t gained on us. We were feeling strong when suddenly, the call came to hold it up.
It transpired that LMBC (three positions ahead) had forgotten a life jacket, so Pembroke had only had to row onto station to get the bump. At this point, Girton held it up – we think they must have thought they’d bumped – and so our cox responded by also holding it up, to avoid a potentially dangerous collision with a stationary boat. After Girton began rowing again, so did we, but by this point Trinity Hall were close behind us, and after rowing on only a couple of strokes our cox had to concede.
A row-over was granted to the boats behind Trinity Hall, but their bump on us was declared valid by CUCBC. Ultimately, today served as a reminder that truly anything is possible in Bumps, and has only provided us with more motivation to row over tomorrow (while holding station with Trinity Hall until they bump Girton, proving to them that we are a formidable opponent) and then catch Girton as quickly as possible on Friday. Forward!
Xanthe Malcolm, 6 seat
Bumps. Day 1. The build up, the hours on the erg, every early morning, all M1 could think about today. None of the crew could focus in their lectures, their labs, and their meetings. The excitement was pallpable at the boat house. Everyone trying to remain calm, everyone knowing how hard they’d worked for this. Nobody could question that M1 deserved to do well today. Nobody could question how hard this crew had trained every member from Bow to Cox (even three seat) had devoted themselves this term to improving their skill with the blade, their speed in the water, or their motivational calls and coaching in my case.
The focus from the crew from the very push off was clearly one of determined athletes, although they weren’t as bulky or bullish as Magdalene they were definitely harder than Girton. What they lacked in bulk on Magdalene they more than made up for in professionalism, and committment to being good athletes.
The row down was one of the most beautiful times the crew had spent on the river together, they knew what they wanted, they knew who how to do it, and they knew all of the people they needed to prove wrong. Each of their pratice starts were fast and it was obvious Girton were starting to get sheepish.
At the lock the crew huddled together for more inspirtational words, to reflect on how far we’d come as a crew, and more important how close we’d all become as teammates and friends. Everyone in M1 was prepared to give their all for everyone else in that boat.
The race began.
This was definitely one of M1s finest moments. Our start sequence, we knew this inside and out. Most of us had been training for it in our dreams. And we did it well. Nobody in the crew let anyone down. Everyone did what they could and what they needed to do.
M1 was still in their build up phase, but the gains on Girton were obvious. They could clearly get them. Everything they worked for was going to pay off. But then they looked up. Magdalene were like something out of a nightmare. We knew they were fast, their position in bumps no way reflecting their actual speed. But damn they were close.
But we were Churchill, we wouldn’t let it get to us. We knew we had the mental strength to keep going.
It was time to start making moves, this was obviously going to happen far faster than anyone thought.
The gap to Girton was rapidly shrinking. But just over my shoulder the beast was obvious. Churchill kept pushing.
And with that my hand went into the air, there was nothing we could do. Well within half a length on Girton, but we simply had a faster crew behind us, there was no hiding. We all understand what a fickle beast Bumps can be. We cleared.
If you gain anything from reading this race report, I want to make it perfectly clear M1 rowed well. Everyone in M1 loved every minute of that race. M1 pulled it off beautifully. I’ve had the great pleasure of Coxing M1 with their ups and downs this year, but today they really pulled in out of the bag. Nobody can question how well they rowed today. Nobody can question their professionalism: the entire row home everyone was focused, still trying to improve. Nobody can question that M1 are fast, they showed that today, and bumps is nowhere near over.
Over dinner we were asked what our main emotion was for today, were we annoyed at Bumps for our cruel fate? No. We all agreed we were happy. Happy with how well we had rowed, happy for how much we had improved this term, happy to be part of the best club on the Cam whether bumps reflects that or not.
FORWARD, to tomorrow.
Kieran Heal, Coxing Rep (and a cox very proud of his crew)
Everyone bar M2 is in action tomorrow. To clarify the overall Bumps situation so far, here’s a pictorial summary: