Lent Bumps 2015 – Wednesday

M1 – Bumped Girton
We knew Day One was going to be a tough one – behind us we would face the pressure of Clare and Robinson, who have both looked fast this term. In front was Girton, who was much more of an unknown. Our start was pretty scrappy, however we didn’t panic and managed to get onto a reasonable rhythm coming into the motorway bridge. Clare behind had gained to a length, but we were focussed and onto our race speed past the outflow. Approaching first post corner we were outside station on Girton, but holding Clare – who were about to be bumped out by Robinson. We cornered well and started to close in on Girton. Lifting up in the gut we got our first whistle having closed to one length and still gaining gradually. Along plough reach we had moved to half a length on Girton, but stopped gaining coming around Ditton. Out of the corner we lifted and started gaining again, three whistles. The Girton cox steered towards meadow-side allowing us to get clean water in front, and continue our advance to overlap. Half way up the reach Girton conceded as their bowside blade clipped our bows. We showed great focus and attack, but still have some improvements to make for tomorrow.

W1 – Bumped by Girton
It was an excited and nervous crew that rowed down on the first day of bumps. With half the crew never having competed in bumps, including our stroke, it was sure to be quite an experience! Despite a bit of blade trouble luckily spotted before the race, W1 was feeling confident and prepared. We knew keeping away from Girton was going to be tough, but were ready to put as much effort in as we could. After a quick start, W1 gained slightly on Churchill as we tried to put lots of water between us and Girton. Yet despite our best abilities, as we approached first post corner it was clear Girton was coming up strongly from behind. Bumped just before the corner, we were disappointed but sure that we’d given it our best. Looking forward to tomorrow, where we’ll be doing our best to get Girton back, and failing that row over and stay in the first division.

M2 – Rowed over at Head of Division 4 and Sandwich Boat
M2 have been preparing intensely for the Lent bumps this year. Indeed, having not got on last year, some might say that they have in fact been preparing for the last two years, with last year’s failure merely being an attempt to lull the opposition into a false sense of security. This stealth approach continued this term, with the final crew order only being revealed to the crew two thirds of the way through the final outing before the getting on race. While part of the plan, it was a little painful to watch bow 6 being horribly out of time with stern pair in the lead up to the crew changes. However this is a small price to pay for success.

Having got on magnificently the crew decided that they would skip the final preparation outing for bumps owing to the need for rest and a desire to focus mentally on the task at hand (again to lull the opposition into a false sense of security this was disguised as the stoke man oversleeping – a commendable effort was made by all to act out a pretence of anger in the boathouse at 6:40 am). The first day of bumps dawned with a strong determination on the part of the crew to put their training over the term to good use. Their position at the top of a division, and the fact that most of the training had been long stamina building ergs made this a realisable goal. Nowhere else was it possibly to prove manly stamina and row over twice in one day. The only regret being of course that the shortened bumps course meant that rowing over was shorter that it might have been in the glory days of the past when Will was stroking M2.

The first race allowed the crew to show their worth, with boats bumping out behind to relieve some of the pressure on the crew, allowing them to enjoy their first bumps race with the sort of calm relaxation that can normally only be found in monastic communities. Serene progress was made through the bends to the finish of the course and thereafter back to the marshalling point for the second race of the day, in the higher division. The second race was largely uneventful. Being unable to gain sufficient ground on the boats ahead before they bumped out was ideal, as otherwise it would have meant needing to take a break owing to bumping, thus interfering with the ideal situation of rowing over.

Having demonstrated the superior fitness and mental powers of concentration of M2 on day 1, it is likely that the aim for day 2 will be to row over again, at least in the first race. To avoid the prospect of a faster crew (who don’t have the same appreciation for the finer arts of stamina) bumping them later on the in the week, the aim for the second race will be bumping out just as the bows of the boat ahead cross the finishing line.