On Friday 1st March, W2 and M3 competed in a 2km time trial on the Cam for the chance of a spot in Lent Bumps. Here’s how they got on:
For their first race together, Churchill W2 had a brilliant performance. The team aimed to complete the 2K course for the ‘Getting On Race’ within 9 minutes. We casually made our time goal by completing the course in 8:52 with 3 subs in the boat and celebrated with a copious amount of cake afterwards. W2 is looking forward to Lent Bumps this coming week and is confident we will perform well against our competition.
Namrah Shahid, 4 seat
The Churchill M3 crew rowed in the Getting On Race, on a mission to be a part of the proud tradition of Lent Bumps. The crew gathered at the boathouse this afternoon under a grey sky, chilled by the breeze and the nerves of the impending race. After training constantly since January, we were finally prepared to face the final hurdle to the Bumps. A short warm-up on the erg indicated that the crew was feeling great, with split times falling dramatically even at a steady, maintainable rate. It was now time to take out our boat: the ever reliable, sturdily built Jim. We pushed off from the bank, ready to ride with Jim through 2 kilometres of agony and hopefully a place at the Bumps.
Our row to the starting line was marked by a number of moments where the boat felt incredibly set: a good sign of things to come. By time we had made it to Newnham Bridge (the Motorway Bridge) the crew was limber, warmed up, and ready to race. We waited along the bank in anticipation as other colleges were marshalled around us. While on the bank, we looked up to see a wonderful sight — a significant fraction of both the M1 and M2 crews had come out to support us. At this point, our bank party nearly outnumbered the crew, and the feeling of support and encouragement was palpable.
On the signal of the marshal, we pushed off the bank. “All 8 to back-stops. Ready and…” the blades struck the water together, propelling our boat to the start line. Suddenly the order came: wind up the rate. Three strokes later and we were at peak rate under the Newnham Bridge, accelerating the whole time. The boat lurched forward with every stroke, power coming through the footplates from stern to bow. The first 500 meters had a few rocky points as the excitement of the moment hit us like a freight train. At one point, a footplate was jarred loose by the pressure and a knocking sound could be heard in the boat. But soon we settled into our rhythm, put power down through the legs, and pushed hard at our cox’s orders: “Catch! There! Catch! There!”
The shouts of encouragement from our bank party drove us on, energising us and driving us to higher rates. While previous outings had us reaching our race pace around a rate of 30 strokes per minute, we held a minimum rate of 33 spm during the race, a clear indication that our months of training and conditioning had paid off. The boat was held tight to the ideal race line, and the crew navigated turns with relative ease. Throughout the race, the boat was remarkably well set, with only a few moments where massive waves were thrown toward the bow. The exception may have been when the crew really went all out during our “Power 5s” or “Power 10s,” but the lack of stability was easily compensated by the increased thrust. We were feeling good going into the long reach.
With 1 kilometre to go, the crew began the painful process of “emptying the tank,” keeping Jim up to speed as the finish line came into view. The middle 500 meters of a 2k makes or breaks a crew, and I’m proud to say that today we were unbroken. The fields around the reach came further and further into view, and we knew we were nearing the end. With lactic acid pooling in the legs and burning in the lungs, we were given the order for the final power 10. This was the sprint for home. “Eight! Nine! Ten!” and the shadow of the railway bridge cast over the boat. We were done, and we knew we had rowed our best race of the term. A wave of relief cascaded through the boat as the “wind down” order was issued, and technique flew out the window as we all finally breathed a sigh of relief.
Our goal going into this race was to improve on what we had done at the Newnham Short Course just one month ago. While I can’t release any specifics, I can proudly say that we smashed our former time, exceeding any of our expectations by a significant margin. It is now official: M3 will be competing in the 2019 Lent Bumps. I’m beyond happy to be a part of this crew, and I can’t wait to see what we do next week in the Bumps!
Christopher J. Bambic, 6 seat.