Lent Bumps 2016 – Saturday

W1 – Bumped by Homerton
We rowed up to the marshalling point not knowing what to expect from Homerton. Whilst being another one of Lucy’s victims on their way to blades and the first division, Homerton also had a very quick bump on Selwyn on their record. We waited at the marshalling point for longer than expected as the M3 division before us had to rerow due to Churchill M2’s ejector crab. Since the division was running late, we didn’t get to do a practice start on our row up to the station. This didn’t worry us, as our start had already proved to be better than those of any of the crews we raced this week. The gun fired, and we went off at a steady rate of 35 strokes/min. Soon after the start, we passed Lucy and Magdalene, who had already bumped in front of us and managed to clear the river promptly. We powered through every corner and kept Homerton at station for the first third of the course. As we went onto the reach, we heard the first whistle, announcing they were one boat length behind. We maintained our rhythm and kept going, but it turned out that Homerton discovered new energy in their legs. They started gaining steadily and bumped us just before the railway bridge. We rowed home quite pleased with our performance – although we got bumped, we had a great row and we all did our best.

W2 – Rowed over
So Saturday has come, the end of Lent Bumps is nigh and W2 are psyched! Having bumped twice already, we are determined to end our week of rowing on a winning streak. The sky is blue and the sun is out, the swans are dancing and we are ready! We had a gentle row down to the marshal point and then onto the lock to get in position. It was slightly windier today, but luckily we were not racing against it. Eight nervous but pumped rowers of W2 de-kit as the four-minute cannon goes off. Sally, our cox, gives us some last minute advice, demanding that we give it our all, getting down into that “pain cave”. At thirty seconds to go, we are pushed out, oars at front stops. Ready. The cannon goes and W2 are off! We had a slightly rocky start, but rapidly establish a rhythm as Sally starts to lengthen us up. We start to gain on Trinity Hall but almost immediately, Trinity Hall bump Churchhill. Incredibly, the boats behind us also drop out of the race, having bumped as well. So King’s W2 have the river to ourselves and we are going for the over-bump. We power past the railway bridge, maintaining a steady rate of 33 and our heads are still very much in the game. Sally calls out some power 10s and we gradually make some small gains. Nearing the end of the course, we all realise that it is unlikely that we are in for an over-bump. However, we don’t give up, determined to row our best. Our rhythm stays strong and we are catching together as we make our way onto the reach and down the final stretch. With the final few strokes, we row over the finish having rowed-over. Despite not bumping, we are proud of ourselves. Two bumps and two rows-over. Good job W2!

M2 – Bumped by Sidney Sussex
The final day of bumps, was, alas, a sad one for the men of M2. After a day of well-earned rest, the boys were greeted to a windy afternoon on the Cam, an ill omen, considering how much yellow flags had hampered the crew this term. The row up to the first post was a difficult one too, with the wind and our M2’s signature unwillingness to sit the boat bracing them for a long day. The boys lined up between the Queen’s boat which had slightly gunned them the previous day of bumps and a Sidney boat on for blades. There was a great sense of determination to right the wrongs of the week and the boat was tangibly tense as the gun went. The start was amongst the best rowing the boys have done, it was rapid. Initally rate 42, they settled nicely into a 38 as first post corner was reached. A cheeky whistle from Willer, Queen’s were in the crosshairs, spurred the boys even further, and into the gut they were flying. Alas, Sidney loomed up behind quite quickly. A rather speedy boat, M2 had been too concerned with bumping their old rivals than to notice the new enemy at their stern. Try as they might, the crew was too quick for them, and panic set in. Strokes were missed, splashed made, and the attempt to avoid spoons ended with a whimper. M2 found themselves on the bank behind a victorious Sidney boat. Oh that we did not live to see these days, with M1 and M2 both ending with spoons. Lamentations rang out in every corner of the Cam’s many twists and turns at the decline of a rowing institution. But M2 shall rise again, like the proverbial phoenix, from the ashes of this defeat. It shall be a day of ringing blades and shattered spoons as the age of other crews comes crashing down! It was not that day, but that day we fought!

M1 – Bumped by Churchill
During the first three days of Lent Bumps, our crew had demonstrated significant improvements in rowing quality at reasonable speed. Having been bumped three times in a row, however, meant it was now up to us to combine all the elements of our previous rows in one final successful piece. The sharp and aggressive standing start, the lifting up to a lively and sustainable rhythm, and the input of considerable leg power were all necessary to step away from Churchill and put pressure on the crew in front of us. With this in mind, M1 showed up at the Boathouse with one clear objective: to demonstrate our authority as fastest crew of our combined boathouse. The race warm-up on the way to our station reflected our desire to assert King’s as a competent and fast crew. Our start was aggressive and we gained considerable speed. The setback of our initial enthusiasm was the comparative lack of stability and consistency straight after this standing start. Despite the fact that the whole crew had put in all their power in this final race day, some less-than-technically-flawless strokes slowed the boat ever so slightly, which allowed Churchill to lift and bump us rather fast. Unfortunately, spoons were to be awarded during Lent Bumps dinner after our performances over the last few days. Yet, the resiliency of our focus on every single day of racing exemplifies the fact that our crew simply rowed very well irrespective of the final results.