M1 – Bumped by Peterhouse
It was the first day of bumps and the nerves were evident in the boat as we rowed down towards the motorway bridge on our warm-up. In comparison to Lent Bumps earlier in the year, we could have a more extensive warm up due to having much better facilities in our newly built boathouse – rather than just a Portakabin, which allowed us to feel more prepared. The sun was out and the conditions were optimal with a slight tailwind in the direction of the race. We knew going into the day that Clare, the boat we would be chasing at eighth on the river, were having a very good term and looking to be one of the fastest boats on the Cam. So a bump was unlikely, however, we didn’t know much about the boats behind us. We had a good start and we were hitting good rates along First Post Reach, so things were looking good, however we didn’t anticipate how powerful Peterhouse would be off the start. They were a big crew and we didn’t necessarily have a bad race but Peterhouse were on our stern by the end of First Post Reach and managed to bump us coming around the corner. Thinking of the next day, we knew would be a very tightly contested race with Emmanuel, who would be chasing us, and had the potential to be a long and important race.
W1 – Rowed Over
Spirits were high as we rowed down to the start for our first day of Bumps. We were chasing a strong Peterhouse crew and we knew that our best chance of catching them would be straight off the start as we’d had fast starts in training. Sure enough, our practise start at the Plough was strong, and when the cannon went we flew away, quickly winding it up to rate 38 and gaining a whistle before the motorway bridge. Peterhouse took longer to get going but after the first whistle they settled into their rhythm and managed to hold us at one length. Meanwhile, Magdalene were steaming up on Catz behind us and managed to bump them before First Post Corner, taking the pressure off our tail. We settled into a steady rhythm, hoping we might be able to catch Peterhouse over the full course but alas they pulled away on the reach, leaving us with a strong rowover and hoping we might be able to catch them the following day!
M2 – Bumped by Clare
The training and preparation done by M2 over the course of Easter Term aimed to improve our crew’s performance relative to the achievement of ‘spoons’ back in Lent. Continued coaching has indeed paid off in terms of notably improved rowing quality. Strong steady state rowing as well as decent performance and endurance during pieces meant that M2 anticipated and desired a much better result this time round. King’s M2 arrived at marshalling more confident than it had ever been. The aim for Day I was therefore twofold: to bump Corpus M2 while pushing away from Clare M3 chasing us.
A washy but nevertheless solid start set us up well enough to gain length on Corpus and it did not take long before our first whistle was heard. Clare M3 was however closing in steadily in the meantime. From our station just upstream from the outflow of the Motorway Bridge we managed to go round First Post Corner quite well. A lift from the corner set us up strong for the start of Grassy Corner and our anticipated bump further upstream, past the Plough. Insufficient awareness of the location of the crew in front of us made it rather difficult to push away from the ever decreasing distance between Clare M2 and our stern. Nevertheless, having managed to pull away from Clare into Grassy Corner, we were still gaining on Corpus who were increasingly showing signs of fatigue. Charlie’s excellent coxing prevented a bump in the latter part of this corner while two whistles informed us of the fact that we were now just about half a length away from our desired Corpus bump.
At this point, the crew was in need of a lift. Despite Charlie’s solid line through Grassy, the wash from crews upstream had made it increasingly difficult for our crew to sustain the set rhythm. Chaos which had ensued from previous crews passing through had made communication between our bank party and Charlie difficult. Indeed, it did not take long for Clare to close in on us, resulting in an unfortunate bump right outside of Grassy Corner. Despite this disappointing result, our crew remained hopeful for the days to come. Corpus had not decisively shown their ability to keep us off; we may well have bumped them long before Ditton Corner if we had been able to keep Clare M3 at greater distance. Our expectation that Clare would be sending down less strong crews in the days to come meant that M2 could definitely remain optimistic about finally achieving a well-deserved bump sooner or later.
W2 – Bumped Sidney
Having been the fastest boat in the getting on race in Lent bumps, W2 began this bumps in a respectable place in the W4 category. Accompanied and spurred on by our bank party (including our cox’s delightful mother, who took some lovely photos and videos of the race) we marshalled in good time and set our sights on Sidney II. Although the first stroke wasn’t as connected as we had practiced, our strong start meant Murray Edwards were left a long way behind and Sidney were bumped before first post! There was a minor kerfuffle with clearing due to Churchill attempting to bump Murray Edwards behind us, leading to a pile of 3 boats and a £50 fine for KCBC. Nevertheless, an auspicious start to a glorious 4 days of bumps, we rowed back down resplendent in purple, willow crowns and the beginnings of some very stylish Lycra-tan-lines.