W1 – Bumped by Lucy Cavendish/Hughes Hall
W1 rowed down to the start on Friday knowing we were in for a tough row. With a Lucy-Hughes crew behind us who were on for Blades, we knew we would have to give it everything to try for a quick bump on Magdalene before they could catch us. We had a strong start and quickly wound it up and settled to a solid rate 36, pushing away from the Lucy crew behind us. As we rounded First Post corner, we had closed the gap on Magdalene to about a length, but at this point Lucy found their rhythm and began to gain on us. Nevertheless, we kept pushing and stormed down the gut, closing the gap on Magdalene as Lucy continued to bear down on us. As we swung round Grassy Corner we had two whistles on Magdalene and could see Lucy approaching rapidly, so we dug deep to give a big burst to bring us ever closer to the boat in front. We kept up a solid pace down Plough Reach but alas we didn’t have quite enough. With just six feet between us and Magdalene, Lucy managed to catch us by the Plough. It was a tough bump, but we knew we’d given it our all and with a couple more minutes we would have easily caught Magdalene. We are also quite proud of the fact that we gave Lucy their longest row of the week, being the only crew to get past Grassy Corner before they caught us!
M1 – Bumped by St Catharine’s
After realising the weakness of our ways (and legs), we adjusted our tactic for day 3 – give it all we’ve got to each checkpoint on the river before thinking of the next checkpoint. The in-the-zone o’clock kicked in at 15.20, and our plan was repeated in our brains. Our warm up reflected what we planned to do today – powerful and strong strokes, keeping the quality with that much more leg power. However, we could feel that we were nervous, and our bowman seems to be distracted by the quality of St Catharine’s. Our practice start was tense with a small disaster, however we settled down in our usual 40s, giving us some confidence that we are still in control of our rowing. After the cannon, we blasted off with our strong and powerful start – with classic airstrokes from our 7 and 3 man just to keep the rest of the boat on their toes. We flew down First Post Reach and attacked our rhythm like we meant it – all of us could feel the difference. We held station with Christ’s in front and St Catherine’s managed to gain half a length behind us – and we held them there for most of the course until the Plough. Alas, there we had the final effective push away. It wasn’t enough to close the door. Our lifts away from the danger zone were becoming less and less effective. Our final attempt at a great escape as their bow ball began to pass the stern proved futile. So close to the safety of a row over, yet so far. Half of the Reach, and then some, and we’d have made it.
W2 – Bumped Magdalene
As the third day of Bumps for W2 dawned all were excited for the race ahead. We were still riding the high from bumping Caius two days prior, well-rested from a day’s break and slightly comforted by the knowledge that we would be chasing Magdalene: the boat we almost over-bumped on the first day. However we knew we could not get complacent. Anything can happen in Bumps, and to add to this, only half of our original crew would be racing – with the other four off gallivanting with other commitments (though quite what could be more important that rowing at this time, nobody is sure). Upon arriving at the portacabin, we soon pushed off having briefed the three of our subs that had never rowed Bumps before on what to expect. We rowed straight down to the start, taking the opportunity to get a feel for rowing together as a boat. We pulled in and the 4-minute cannon went, then the 1 minute, and before we knew it we were pushed out to the middle of the river with the 30 second countdown ticking by. And we were off! After a messy start with some lost timing we quickly regained composure and found our rhythm. For a worrying moment just before the motorway bridge, Caius gained a whistle on us but we pushed them right away and within the next 10 seconds we had our own first whistle on Magdalene. From here we kept our heads in and pushed on, closing the gap in no time to hear that continuous whistle. We bumped them halfway between the motorway bridge and first post corner so were extremely pleased. We pulled in and adorned ourselves with greenery before rowing proudly home. We wish to especially thank our four subs for today, without whom we would have been unable to race.