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Lent Bumps 2017

Tuesday 28th February - Saturday 4th March

Previous event: Lent Bumps Getting-on Race - Following event: Women's Eights Head of the River Race

1st Men's VIII

Bow: Matt Simpson, 2: Adam Harrison, 3: James Henderson, 4: Rory Fairhead, 5: Stephen Kindness, 6: Gabriel Bliard, 7: Euan Beck, Stroke: Jordan Ward‑Williams, Cox: Julia Kelsoe

BLADES! Day One: Bumped King's, Day Two: Bumped Churchill, Day Three: Bumped St Catz, Day Four: Bumped Queens'

Euan Beck reports:

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Day 1: Chasing King's, chased by Girton:

Turning up at the boathouse today , we knew that the other crews had already had some solid results behind them and we were keen to continue that trend. We had a somewhat untraditional day one row down without any of the normal jitters, with a really solid half-slide rate build (that weirdly did not go to shit when we rowed past W1), followed by a nice sharp start at the Plough. We knew that all we had to do was keep that same intensity for the proper start, and not tighten up. With a motivational speech from Andy J, we got back into the boat.

The first stroke was a little sloppy, but after that it got sharper and the boat was really moving once we got out to full length. After about 30s we'd brought it inside station, and we got our first whistle just before the motorway bridge. We got a bit of a push from the outflow, but I guess we handled it better than King's because we rapidly moved forwards and got two, followed by three whistles. A 'fire' call from Julia quickly got us the bell, which seemed to last for a while until shouts of "JULIA, CRASH INTO THEM" were heard from the bank - a quick jab of the steering led to them bump, just before First Post.

King's closed to within 3/4 of a length of Churchill, so we're looking forward to tomorrow. Bring it on!

Day 3: Chasing St Catherine's, chased by Churchill:

I think we all got a bit of a shock yesterday after the slog to our bump - we chalked it up to underestimating our opponents, and we resolved to not let it happen again today. We made an effort to avoid any of the normal pre-race mindgames and instead just concentrate on rowing as fast as we can for as long as we can, and especially nailing the start and staying long through the rough water under the motorway bridge.

We had a good row down with a couple of solid half-slide rate builds, and a really chunky start at the Plough. We were buoyed by seeing W1 smash Newnham, so we knew we had to follow their good example. As Andy J said, we had to go off and not let Catz think for a second that we were going to do anything else but bump them.

The start felt really sharp, and we quickly moved away from Churchill. We made the most of the relatively calm water before the bridge and gained our first whistle just as we hit the rough stuff. However, in a change from our previous rows, we really held the length and the finishes, and proceeded to move on Catz. We got two whistles before Headship station, and three on our exit from First Post. The crew sensed that the bump was imminent, and we kicked it up a notch in the Gut, and with a sublime line around Grassy we made the bump on the exit. Easily our best row of the week so far.

Really though, I think today's bump was Julia's more than anyone else's - an excellent composure call as we entered the rough water kept us on it, and two excellent lines around our two corners nigh on guaranteed the bump. Let's go get Queen's tomorrow!

Day 4: Chasing Queens', chased by St Catherine's:

Going into the last day, we realised that the main obstacle to our success would be complacency - sure, Queens' were on for spoons, but if anything that would just mean they'd fight all the harder today. We knew that all we had to do was believe in the procedure that had carried us to success the day before and we'd be alright. We set off with another tidy start, but it didn't seem to convert into quite as much of a solid rhythm as in day three. Regardless, we moved away from Catz from the first stroke and gained our first whistle on Queens' before First Post. I think they took a poor line around the corner - not a mistake that Julia would make - and as a result we shot into them in the Gut, quickly gaining two and then three whistles. At this point we smelt blood and were rewarded with the bump just before Grassy. A good effort from Queens' - they made it further than they had in any of the preceding days - but I'm glad we could convert our pace into some mad blading bumps action.

I realise this report doesn't sound quite emphatic enough - maybe it's because we felt we had to do it after seeing the success of W1? Regardless, I'm very happy with the performance of the crew this term and I'm glad we're starting to rise back towards the top in the Lents order and close the disparity between the two competitions. Bring on Mays!

Uploaded Friday 14th April, 12:01

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Julia Kelsoe reports:

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Talk about a race! I want to start by thanking the guys for staying robust and getting the bump on Churchill halfway down the Reach. We thought it was going to be a short race--it wasn't--and yet we were still able to pull it off, with no help from me I should add. To watch the overlaps, crash and bump in all of its glory, check out this video, from 4:20 onwards: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXqmgAL9r6Y

Following Andy J's sage advice, we've broken down Bumps into three stages, the first of which starts as we enter the boat and push off from CBC boathouse and includes our warm-up paddle to the marshalling zone of the P&E. Unfortunately we weren't able to have as steady of a paddle as we had the previous day because a Euan-named 'tubble' (tub double) decided it would be a great idea to learn how to scull as all of the M1 crews were pushing off for the division. It was consequently a lot of stop-and-go, but the guys were switched on and were able to get some good rowing in when possible. In stage 2, marshalling down to starting station, we were able to get in some nice half-slide builds and a 15-stroke burst, although our standing start at the Plough--while powerful--almost brought us into the toe-path bank. The boys pulled it back, however, and were able finish the start and the strokes after very powerfully. Robustness paid off--this would clearly become the theme of the evening.

From previous races and from the previous day, we knew that we had a very good chance at catching Churchill, it was more a matter of when. I think after our quick bump of King's before First Post the day before, we were a bit too complacent as we set off, and I think that Andy J's advice that we should improve with every race will have more resonance after today. Our first three strokes were an improvement from yesterday and we started off cleanly and controlled, but we were a little thrown off when we reached the motorway bridge and the outflow. That said, we quickly got a whistle and then two whistles on Churchill and by First Post, although we hadn't gotten the bump yet, we were clearly closing in. The problem was that Churchill was equally closing in on Catz in front of them, and I think that extra fire of having a potential bump in front of you and some strong yellow blades coming in fast from behind helped sustain Churchill for longer than we expected. We took a tighter line around First Post than Churchill into the Gut and got our *first* bell. We continued to gain into Grassy, both us and Catz taking sharper lines than Churchill in between us. Into the Plough Reach, however, Catz decided to hug the Plough-side bank, with Churchill following them very closely from behind and looking like they'd get the bump. Trusting that my crew was faster on the straight than the other two, I kept to the racing line, hoping to catch Churchill as they crossed the river to get around Ditton Corner. While the plan worked in theory--you can see from the video that we just missed them--I lost my head going for the bump and took too tight of a corner around Ditton. At least James and Stephen's blades hit the bank and we lost some of our momentum and our tight line around the bend. Thanks to big pushes from Rory and Adam, we were able to get right back on our lines and back into the attack. Surprisingly, the jarring effect of the Ditton hit seemed to be sufficient to spur us on once more. We came into the Reach about 3/4 of a length away from Churchill and thanks to the Churchill cox who seemed happy to hug the toe-path bank into the spinning zone, we were able to gain so more length. Focusing on sitting up on the front and hanging onto the finishes in the back, we quickly closed in on Churchill, getting the bump just past the railings.

Again, this bump goes to the guys. This was not the race we were expecting--and great job to Churchill for holding us off for so long--but in the end we did what we set out to do. Tomorrow we'll head into the race with our fire renewed, ready to take it to Catz. Cave Adsum!

Uploaded Friday 3rd March, 8:20

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1st Women's VIII

Bow: Katie Irwin, 2: Philippa Slay, 3: Tamsin Bell, 4: Robyn Hamer, 5: Edith Ross, 6: Anna Peel, 7: Ariane Dupas, Stroke: Ada Krzak, Cox: Harry Ellison‑Wright

Day One: Bumped Emma, Day Two: Bumped Christ's, Day Three: Bumped Newnham, Day Four: Bumped Downing, BLADES TO SECOND

Anna Peel reports:

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Tami Bell reports:

Day 1: Chasing Emma:

We were all very excited (and nervous) for the first day of bumps! We tried to stay really focussed on the row down, keeping our eyes in the boat, with cheers from Clare crews in the previous division boosting our morale.

So, we are starting at station 6, luckily just past the motorway bridge so we are not deafened by the cannon. It all happened so quickly, before we knew it Andy pushed us off the bank and Nigel started counting down from 25 seconds. We started with a powerful first set of strokes and soon Harry was calling our 30 second “LEGS” call. I was pleasantly surprised when I heard Harry call for me to lead bowside through grassy corner. The rest of the race was a painful blur of seemingly never ending whistles. I was so relieved when I finally heard those evil whistles turn into the sound of a bell. This was it, the final push into Ditton corner. We were not letting them get away. About 10 strokes (maybe, felt like more) past the corner we finally felt a satisfying thud onto Emma’s stern and the urgent “hold it up” calls.

We are all so pleased to have started this week with a bump!

Anna Peel reports:

Day 4: Chasing Downing:

At the beginning of the week, we never imagined that we would be in this position - third on the river and seriously gunning for second, pitting brother upon brother, yellow against magenta... it seemed like a fever dream then and it felt like a fever dream as we arrived at the boathouse and began getting ready. Gripper had left yet more inspirational notes in our shoes, and we pushed off with a storm of cheers from M1 on the balcony. Marshalling at the P&E was an interesting experience, as the bank encountered our bow with the bump we'd hoped would come a little later in the day! But Phil dug the floating bow ball out of the river and Gripper screwed a new one in place once M2 had come charging by - no harm done and a shiny new bow ball to (hopefully!) ram up in Downing's asses (as Julia's lovely inscription on the side of the cox seat still clearly reads.)

With a couple of good bursts and a fast practice start under our belts, we waited at our start position for what seemed like interminable minutes of stress as the four-minute cannon didn't go off... and didn't go off.... but Gripper's declaration that this would be the real row of our lives, Chrysa's unshakeable belief in us and Harry's quiet words of encouragement got us through that eternal purgatory before the cannons and before we knew it we were at frontstops and going. A solid start and Harry's calls kept us fast even as we didn't get the whistles we had hoped for as early as we had wished, but that was because Downing was, apparently, so terrified by having us behind them that they almost, almost managed to bump Jesus around Grassy - our supporters on the bank cheered wildly for Jesus and they managed to hold Downing off and pull away again. Once around Grassy (although we didn't know it in the boat at the time) Gripper could see that Downing were dying, and we ate into them with every stroke. By the Plough we'd cut the distance between us in two. Coming up on Ditton Gripper finally gave us the whistle, and it seemed that every time Harry called for a whistle response we got another whistle! Coming round Ditton we had two. Out of Ditton we had three, and before any of us could believe it we had the bell - and OUR FOURTH BUMP. We held it up; stroked it almost at race pace over to meadowside; Harry stood up in the boat and WE HAD BLADED!! Truly a dream come true for absolutely everyone in the boat.

What an amazing Bumps campaign. What an amazing crew, cox and coach. It all came together when it needed to - we couldn't be happier. Second on the river in Lents!!

Uploaded Sunday 5th March, 9:59

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Edith Ross reports:

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Day 3:

Having been beaten by Newnham in Pembroke Regatta just 2 weeks ago, the conclusion was that we luckily didn’t have to worry about them, because they were starting three places ahead of us in bumps. But two days in, we suddenly were in the position of chasing them and with our newly found confidence drawn from two strong results the days before, we were ready to put up a good fight. The motivational notes that Andy had hidden in our shoes were a sweet surprise before the push off and made us even more determined.

We had a strong row down with some splashy bursts and a start as usual. While marshalling on station, Andy talked us through the race and the plan was to go all out until Ditton and to then reassess our situation. The canon went off soon after. The first whistle came as we went into first post corner and we kept it long and strong pushing our way further towards their stern. Moving into grassy corner, we gained the second whistle. We kept fighting hard all along plough reach by which time Christ’s had vanished in the distance behind us. The third whistle finally came moving into Ditton corner, but as Newnham were pushing out of the corner, their wash hit us sideways. This and the realisation that it was going to be a long race slowed us down. However nobody in the boat was ready to give up and coming out of the spinning zone we started to inch our way back. Half way down the reach we were back on three whistles. After a bit more time a great call from Harry made us find the strength for another big push and a tentative bell from Andy gave us the final energy we needed to ram our bow into Newnham at the pink house before the railway bridge.*

YES W1!!! Highest Lents position since 2008!!!

* Thanks to Rosie V for the video. I can’t actually remember anything from the race “due to all the lactic acid in my brain” (quote Katie).

Uploaded Friday 3rd March, 19:16

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Philippa Slay reports:

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Day 2:

We were all excited for racing today - it was an absolutely beautiful day and we were safe in the knowledge that Emma had gained on Christ's yesterday before we'd bumped them. We set off in high spirits, executing a good row down and practice start. We were starting one position higher today which was nice since we were no longer in the stream of the outwash channel and we were also slightly further from the deafening canon.

We set off with a strong start and quickly gained on Christ's. We got our first whistle sometime around first post and shortly after that our second. By plough reach we were well onto three whistles and coming past The Plough our bow was in line with their stern, much to the delight of our supporters on the bank who were going absolutely mad at this point. Coming up to Ditton corner we heard the bell and we knew this bump was ours for the taking. I definitely did not take a look over my shoulder to look across and be greeted by the sight their cox just across from my seat at two!! At that point there was no way we weren't going to get them - and a couple of strokes later we had clinched the bump! Well done to Harry for even more fab coxing, Newnham better be ready for us tomorrow.....

Uploaded Friday 3rd March, 18:57

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2nd Men's VIII

Bow: Ollie Dutton, 2: Michelangelo Chini, 3: Hector Epanomeritakis, 4: Alec Downie, 5: Harry Perkin, 6: Austin Jaspers, 7: Alistair Brown, Stroke: Toby Roeder, Cox: Clement Chan

Day One: Rowed Over, Day Two: Bumped Queen's II, Day Three: Bumped Darwin, Day Four: Rowed Over

Alistair Brown reports:

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Day 4:

Day 4 saw us once again chasing Downing M2. After a spectacular crab from Queens' had allowed Downing to get an early bump and escape us on day 1, we were all determined to make the most of this second chance to assert our dominance. We knew that Downing wouldn't go down without a fight, but were confident that if we remembered all of the improvements we'd made going from day 2 to day 3, then we had a solid chance of catching them.

Off the start, we settled into a strong rhythm quickly and started pushing for that first whistle. But it wasn't long before the faint sound of Downing's own whistles reached our ears, and we began to feel a strange sense of deja vu. By the time we reached the motorway bridge, Downing were already two whistles up on Selwyn, but we fought on undeterred. Clem and Gripper assured us that we were gaining on Downing ourselves, and we rounded first post corner still furiously battling for that first whistle. Our row down the gut was a huge improvement from the same point on day 2, as we maintained composure and power in our relentless pursuit.

Sadly though, as we rounded grassy corner, Downing finally got their bump on Selwyn. Grassy was now a mess of stationary boats, and we had to temporarily hold it up, but some great calls from Clem got us moving again quickly. The sudden increase from stationary back up to race pace made for a couple of messy strokes, but we corrected quickly and sped off down Plough reach in pursuit of an overbump on First and Third which Clem assured us was still on the cards.

We made some initial gains down the Plough, closing the gap from 4 boat lengths to 3 by the time we rounded Ditton corner. Once on the reach though, FaT finally realised their peril, and though we pursued them valiantly, our gains over the last stretch of the race were small. Still a couple of lengths off by the finish, we were nevertheless proud of our effort, having produced some of our best race pace rowing to date. Clare M2 will be chasing Downing M2 again in the first race of Mays, and we are so ready.

Uploaded Sunday 5th March, 20:40

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Alec Downie reports:

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Day 3:

Day 3 of bumps looked like it would be cold and rainy, but the weather had cleared up by the time M2 arrived at the boathouse, and, although overcast, it was neither windy nor cold. The day before had been much more challenging than any of us had anticipated, and we were suitably chastened after seeing footage of our ... poor ... technique during our chase of Queens'. In retrospect, we'd been overconfident. Still, we'd managed to get the bump, and we knew that Darwin M1 were also gettable, as they had dropped down 2. Plus, although Queens' had put up a solid fight the day before and were rowing reasonably well, we knew we were faster, even if we rowed horribly. So we arrived at the boathouse serious but confident.

The row up wasn't our best effort, with the set of the boat remaining a perennial challenge for the "rough diamond." But we shrugged off the occasional misfire, and by the time we reached the starting area we were rowing fairly smoothly. Our race plan was essentially to correct the mistakes of yesterday. We'd panicked after taking a while to move between whistles, and we'd lost the bell because we'd rushed the rate and failed to stay together. Only Clem's lines around the corners managed to get us the bump and save us from Eddie's. We wanted to keep the rate under control, take strong finishes, and continue to push into Darwin gradually. Whistles were just signs to keep doing what we were doing. We knew we had the strength, so we hoped for a bump somewhere before Ditton.

We had another strong start and quickly settled into a comfortable rate, sitting up and pulling as a unit. Under the motorway bridge we had a brief spot of balance trouble, but unlike yesterday we managed to quickly reset and settle back into our groove. Not long after, we got the first whistle, and we kept the pace steady, with plenty of power. Although Queens' were hanging with us, Eddie's were creeping up on them. The next whistle took a little while to come, but Gripper and Clem told us we were continuing to dig into them and we remained calm. Shortly before First Post Corner we heard our reward - two whistles. Staying in control, we swept closer and closer along the Gut, gaining the third whistle more quickly. As we came into Grassy, we heard the bell, and with Clem's tight line we managed to get the bump on the corner after 10 or 15 more strokes.

The crew was thrilled with how the race had gone - everything had been executed according to our plan and we'd rowed as a unit, with serious power. We were faster than the day before but still had plenty of energy left. It was far and away our best rowing of the week. A reasonably smooth row home followed, although, as always, the set of the boat came and went a bit.

Tomorrow we're up against Downing M2 again. After missing the bump on Tuesday, we have no intention of letting them get away, but we know we have a challenge on our hands. And if we row like we did today, then we've got a shot.

Uploaded Friday 3rd March, 19:26

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Harry Perkin reports:

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Day 2:

Day 2 of bumps started with quite a lot of expectation in the M2 boat. The first day had ended with disappointment largely due to Downing M2 piling into Queens ahead of us after someone in the Queens boat caught the most spectacular three-piece crab I have ever seen. In wake of this monster-crab – which I would strongly recommend googling for personal entertainment – we had high hopes of catching Queens early. It didn’t go quite to plan.

We had a great start, but so did Queens and they actually got a whistle on Downing before the Motorway bridge. But we then managed to get a good push on and pretty soon it looked like an early bump was inevitable.

And then Gripper’s M2 “rough diamond” label came into full force. Collectively as an eight, we decided that it would make sense to abandon all technique, and instead splash our way into Queens. We did a very good job of churning up the water, but not at actually gaining on Queens - in fact, they were slowly starting to push away.

This was really getting quite worrying as the technique wasn’t getting any better and we were beginning to flag. In the background, Eddy were making steady gains on us – maybe ¾ of a boatlength away. They looked strong and unless something changed it looked like that the bump was theirs for the taking. In the end, we managed to squeeze the bump out – it wasn’t pretty but we got major overlap heading onto the reach partly because the Queens cox took a bad turn.

Ultimately, we were really glad to just get the bump (a first for 4 of us in the boat!). And if we can bump when rowing atrociously (but with guts!), we know we’ve got a great chance tomorrow when things will hopefully come together more!

Uploaded Friday 3rd March, 10:28

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Tobias Roeder reports:

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Day 1:

When we looked out the window in the morning, all of us probably thought the same thing: What a lovely weather for rowing! But alas, the sunshine did not hold and when we put our boat into the water, it had turned into rain and a rather uncomfortable breeze. But who ever said that Lent was a great term for rowing? Notwithstanding, our state(s) of mind was somewhere between nervousness, excitement and determination. For some, it was to be the first time they would hear the Bumps-cannons; others had already told their stories from bumping days of yore at the crew meal the night before. VERA had surely seen a lot already and was so eager to head off that we had to briefly rush from our shelter under the boathouse balcony to keep her by the bank.

After rowing up through the cold and wet, and spending some time freezing on the bank next to the Railway Bridge, we went through the usual bursts and test starts. Clem spun us round with the usual precision and we took up our position a few minutes before the 4 minute cannon. Luckily, it had stopped raining and we got ready for the race.

When the cannon went off, an excellent start and a clean line by Clem made sure, we were never in much danger from Sidney M1 behind us. However, Downing M2 again proved to be a worthy opponent, on whom we were only closing in slowly, while, unfortunately, they were closing in quickly on a scrappy Queens’ M2, who finally broke down between the Motorway Bridge and First Post. At that point, we had only just gotten a whistle on our preferred prey of the day. Unsurprisingly, there was some confusion amongst the crew, when our cox told us to hold it up. But we followed his orders, and when he told us to restart, we promptly jumped into action again and rowed through an accumulation of four boats, who had apparently all bumped out. At roughly the same time, St Edmund’s M1 had caught Sidney, which left us fairly on our own. At first, we still tried to go for the Double-Overbump, but, notwithstanding our commitment, this turned out to be a rather unrealistic undertaking and listening to Gripper’s advice, we took down the rate, fairly ignoring the far-off Christ M2, and rowed it home. This was, obviously, not the result we were hoping for, but, as Gripper pointed out, we rowed our best and just fell prey to the unpredictable bad luck of Bumps. We know one thing, however: on Thursday, Queens’ M2 are ripe for the taking.

Uploaded Wednesday 1st March, 20:39

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2nd Women's VIII

Bow: Rosie Vince, 2: Marta Uncio‑Ribera, 3: Rosie Ugur, 4: Eilidh Thompson, 5: Amelia Fitch, 6: Jamie Fox, 7: Abbie Currington, Stroke: Rachael Young, Cox: Alex Horne

UP 3 - Day One: Rowed Over, Day Two: Bumped St. Edmund's W1 then Rowed Over, Day Three: Rowed Over as head of division then bumped Corpus W1, Day Four: Bumped Christ's W2

Alex Horne reports:

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Day 5:

Chasing Christ’s II, Chased by Hughes Hall/Lucy Cavendish II

Everyone likes to prepare for Bumps a little differently: whether it’s listening to a playlist of absolute bangers, carb-loading with your umpteenth bowl of pasta of the week, or chilling out with a Netflix binge, we all have our preferred routines.

Personally, I like to read other boat clubs’ race reports for some juicy intel, and forecast the coming day. The detailed pre-race analysis of Day 5 is still under peer-review, but I’ll reprint the conclusions here: Hughcy would probably be chasing us, but we’d be ok for the first part of the race at least. Wolfson (2 boats ahead) would get LMBC, leaving Christ’s with nowhere to hide. Time to go hunting.

Saturday, March 4th.

Scattered cloud. High of 12°C.

Chance of rain: 20%. Chance of bump: 80%

As we arrived at the boathouse we heard Hughcy had caught Corpus and would indeed be chasing us - Chrysa reminded us that we were better off the start and that we had nothing to worry about, but there was still a tense atmosphere in the crew: no Clare boat had been bumped yet, so the pressure was on to maintain a clean results table. We put it out of our minds and got on with the pre-boating routine - echoing M1’s technique, we’ve broken down pre-boating into three stages: 1. Apply so much race glitter that you can taste it, 2. Prepare for battle with war paint, 3. A cheeky warmup on the ergs “but nothing too strenuous after that trip to Tattie’s”. The anticipation was palpable - we were done with being sandwich boat and ready to cement our spot in Division 2. I lowkey pocketed a certain yellow sash, “just in case”.

We had a decent row down to the P&E, spurred on by a great cheer from W3 on the way, and marshalled by the railway bridge. After an exciting M3 division, a quick science lesson on expansion joints and bridges by yours truly, and a beautifully co-ordinated “intimidation stare” at Hughcy, we pushed off and rowed up to the lock. Our rolling starts on the Reach were a baptism of fire for supersub Jess as she experienced our beastly rate-42 winds for the first time, but they were handled well and our standing start by The Plough left us feeling confident for the race ahead. On the last stretch of river before the lock I shared my intel with the crew and gave them their focus points: controlled aggression on the start sequence, and patience on the slide at high rate. The crew’s thoughts immediately turned to Robot Wars ( https://soundcloud.com/ross24/style-control-damage ) , and we span and banked up.

To keep things exciting for the final day, and to spare themselves from any more of my previously mentioned science lessons (highlights of the term have included “Why trains don’t fall off the tracks” and “Yes the river really does only flow one way”) bow pair had sabotaged their speaker at the end of the previous outing, and despite Gripper’s best efforts and a constant supply of “test chat” down the mic we couldn’t get it working before the cannons. Fortunately this was not an issue for the race…

By now you may have noticed this report has been rather heavy on scene building but light on racing. I’d like to address that with a detailed rundown of the race as it unfolded: a dramatic retelling of an epic battle between crews at the peak of their performance, giving it their all at the culmination of a week’s racing and a term’s training; a battle of wits between coxes fighting for the racing line, willing their crews onto glory. But with fewer than 15 strokes to play with I’ll have to resort to Haiku:

Crabbing off the start

Not recommended in Bumps

No time for the bell

Shout out to bow pair for dutifully following the start sequence with no input from myself, and handling the unexpectedly instantly choppy water. Marta “Couldn’t work out what was going wrong” at the time. It’s a shame we didn’t get a chance to properly spar with Christ’s - it would’ve been a good race. But a bump’s a bump - greenery in, sash on, back home (with a couple of cheeky builds for the crowds on the way). Job done.

Can I quickly take this opportunity to thank the whole crew for their work over the term - it’s been a privilege to be chauffeured up and down the Cam by you, and your focus in our outings and races has got us through may a spicy situation unscathed. You should be so proud of everything you’ve achieved so far - the road to Mays starts now, so let’s get heads in the boat and get ready to #smashIt

W2 love!

Uploaded Thursday 9th March, 22:30

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Rachael Young reports:

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Day 4:

Whilst we were technically in sandwich position yesterday, due to the third division having its day off, we had actually been more of a toast boat (apologies for the shit bread analogy, but you get my drift – we’d only had to row once). But today both divisions were on, and we were the filling. We were ready to rye(s) to the occasion.

There were chatters throughout the boat of how we were going to bump Corpus I, however Chrysa and Alex’s wisdomous words reminded us of what we should really be doing - focusing on the first race first and the second race second. We had a pretty solid row down, and reverted to our well-practiced start, really focusing on getting the control into the boat after the winds. We knew we had to row over, but wanted to push Eddies as far away as possible to start with, to ‘rub salt into the wound’, especially after our ‘bump’ on their non-existent boat on Wednesday. However, we had little to worry about with regards to Eddies, who were bumped by Lucy Cav soon after the get go. Having a bit of clear water behind allowed us to settle into a steadier rate, and we held it at about 34 down the reach, keeping Queens at bay whilst saving some energy for the next race.

The plan for the second race was to go for an unsustainable start, and hope we caught Corpus before death hit. We gained the first whistle relatively quickly, but the second took a bit longer to come. Corpus were managing to hold us off. Some power calls from Alex gained us the second whistle and then finally the third. The sound of the bell then seemed to go on forever, but finally, just after first post, Alex called for us to hold it up. We were out of sandwich position! After the earlier row over it was nice to have a short race; here’s hoping for a similar result with Christs II tomorrow!

Uploaded Saturday 4th March, 10:47

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Jamie Fox reports:

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Day 1:

Amelia Fitch reports:

First day of Lent Bumps! Clare W2 started the bumps campaign as the second boat of division three, very close to the critical sandwich position. The race started off with an incredible 42 pace, quickly gaining on Wolfson W1. Before the halfway point we earned the first whistle. But as we turned the corner down the reach, the wind got the better of the powerful start, and we couldn't hold the pace to bump Wolfson. That being said, we battled through adverse winds and choppy water to the end of the race. Behind us, Murray Edwards was bumped by Lucy Cavendish. On the way back to the boat house, we witnessed one boat T-bone another oncoming boat which had veered too far to the other side of the river under green dragon bridge. The race was a solid one. We are in a good place to bump Eddies in the next race, our boat intact, and our bellies full of pancakes.

Day 2:

The weather was almost sunny and having heard that Eddies might not be rowing due to a lack of rowers we were feeling cautiously optimistic as we left the boathouse.

We did few practise starts on the row down working on controlling the rate and early catches, and the second start we did felt a lot more powerful despite the lower rate.

While marshalling we were told that Eddies wouldn’t be rowing today, so we’d only have to row up to where they would have started to get a technical bump. Waiting for the cannon we tried not to get too confident, but we were feeling good. This was our chance to get to the top of division 3.

We barely finished our start before Alex called for us to wind it down, and I think we were all glad not to have to row the whole course again like we did yesterday. We also got a great view of all the other crews rowing past (including W3 – yeah Clare!) and even got a short burst in on the way back.

Hopefully we can work more on putting down power even at higher rates and getting our blades in early throughout the week. Bring on division 2 tomorrow!

Uploaded Friday 3rd March, 21:58

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Abbie Currington reports:

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Day 3:

After two days of racing already this week, the row down and marshalling was pretty uneventful, as we all knew exactly what to expect (other than Jamie, it seemed, who started to row whilst not on the seat). We took our position at the lock, and channeled our focus into catching Wolfson ahead. Given that they'd rowed over ahead of us at the top of division three two days ago, we knew it would be a tough race, but if we could get a good start and bump them, then we'd be out of the sandwich boat position, and avoid having to row twice on the following day. The difficulty would lie in catching Wolfson before they bumped Corpus W1 ahead. We had discussed implementing a new start sequence to throw Wolfson off, as they'd seen our start earlier in the week, however when the cannon sounded, in the excitement of the race, we reverted to our original three draws five winds.

We held on to Wolfson, but they rapidly caught up to Corpus, and we missed our chance of bumping. Expecting Alex to call for us to settle into a steady state to preserve energy for tomorrow, it came as a bit of a surprise when he called for more power. We were going for the overbump.

And when Newnham bumped Christs ahead of us, we kept pushing, going for the double overbump. The 12 boat-lengths which had separated us from LMBC II at the start of the race had shortened to four, and we were gaining on them, but couldn't catch them, and we finished the race still in sandwich boat position.

Given that we were bottom of the division, the fact we rowed over doesn't - in my opinion - reflect how well we actually rowed. It felt much more powerful and controlled over the length of the course than on our row-over two days ago, and to have such a good race - even if it doesn't change our position - was really assuring. This bodes well for tomorrow - provided that we manage to row-over as head of division three, we stand a good chance of catching Corpus W1, moving up and out of sandwich boat position.

Uploaded Friday 3rd March, 15:57

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3rd Men's VIII

Bow: Amaru Araya‑Williams, 2: Sergio Rossoni, 3: Ruaridh MacDowall, 4: Elliot Lynch, 5: Felix Kreis, 6: Tom Hilbourne, 7: Will Broadbelt, Stroke: Geoff Macintyre, Cox: Izzy Rudd

Day One: Bumped King's II, then Bumped Sidney Sussex II, Day Two: Bumped Queens' III, Day Three: Rowed Over, Day Four: Bumped Fitz II

Tom Hilbourne reports:

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Day 3

After having a rest day on Thursday, the entire crew were psyched for what lay ahead although we knew it would be a tough day. Today’s race was not really a test of how well we could row but more how badly Fitzwilliam II were. As it turns out, they were quite awful. We rowed up well with the boat sat but knew we had to get Jesus III quickly. We underestimated how quickly we would have to get them. Starting on the corner between the lock and the motorway bridge, we had two whistles on Jesus by the time we got under the bridge. For Fitz, however, this was enough rowing for one day. To borrow my predecessor’s turn of phrase, a ‘clusterfuck’ occurred in front of us with ARU bumping Churchill II and Jesus bumping Fitz at roughly the same time.

The debris that remained was us having to hold it up whilst they got out of the way, giving Peterhouse II a chance to get away (which would be for the overbump). By the time we had room to row, not only were Peterhouse long gone but Queens’ III were steaming up behind. We managed to hold them off long enough to get up to speed and away. We were then informed that we had been given a technical row over due to the said balls-up. We had a go at trying to get the overbump but it was a tall order. We rowed over and vowed to make sure that Fitz either didn’t turn up tomorrow due to being scared, or that they wouldn’t be able to row home due to us bumping so hard, that their boat would become a permanent feature on the riverbed.

Uploaded Friday 3rd March, 21:03

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Amaru Araya-Williams reports:

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Day 2

Day 2 rolled around a bit too quickly, with most of us still feeling grim from the long effort to bump King’s M2 on Day 1. Just before we got in the boat, we found out that King’s had managed to bump Sidney M2 as well, so we knew they’d be chasing us as the sandwich boat. We were feeling the pressure of today, as King’s would be pushing for revenge – and we knew that if they got us back, we wouldn’t get that much needed rest day tomorrow.

The row up to the start was fairly clean, and we got in a fast, smooth start in front of the adoring crowds at The Plough (all 3 of them). Shortly afterwards, Queens' M3, who we were chasing today, were seen rowing into the bank at Grassy…

We got ready for the race, but in the anxiousness to bump Queens', our start was fairly messy. Because of that, it took a while for that first whistle to come, though we were still pushing King’s M2 away. Once the first whistle came, we pushed even harder for that second whistle. After that, it was a bit of a blur. We’re reliably told that Queens' stroke man, having seen his impending fate, attempted to bail out of the boat but only made it as far as coming off of his seat. Gripper struggled to blow the three whistles and reach for the bell at the same time – by the time it was ringing loudly and proudly, the bump was done, just after the motorway bridge once again.

This however, is not the end of the tale. On the paddle back home, we easied up into traffic along the reach. Queens' however, did not get the memo, and were steaming straight for us – only to hold it up to terrified screams from both our boat and the bank – it seems like the Queen’s M3 cox has been taking lessons from their W3 cox (https://www.facebook.com/SpottedRiverCam/posts/878494935623795:0)!

With disaster narrowly avoided, our relentless march forward continues on Friday.

BOYS!

Uploaded Wednesday 1st March, 21:23

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Geoff Macintyre reports:

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Day 1

Lying in the fetal position under my duvet wishing the leg burn away, I managed a wry smile as the events of the day finally set in - we had attained what can arguably be the dream of most young lads around the world - two bumps in one day!

Up first we had Kings M2. While we had dispatched of Kings M3 with relative ease a week earlier at Pembroke Regatta, we knew their M2 was going to be another league. With the NEWNHAM road bridge graffiti in sight, it was nice to start our bumps campaign as far away from the lock as possible (especially for those of us who were ex-kraken). We got off to a cracking (not kraken) start and must have caught Kings napping as we had our first whistle before we even settled. That, however, in hindsight was the problem. Opting to forgo our settle down to 34 we kept things pumping upwards of 36. Taking the finest of corners (according to the bank party we had an inch to spare), Izzy gained us another half a boat length and we were at 2 whistles. 3 whistles followed shortly after and so did the profanities from the cox box. Past grassy and finally a bell, or was that three whistles, or a bell, or three whistles....(down plough reach).....three bells? a whistle? am I dying? definitely a bell, now whistles....(coming around onto the reach I had a sudden flashback to Gripper in a santa suit) - no it’s definitely a bell! Time for one last push. Finally Izzy utters the magical “hold-it-up”. We got em!

Hands down the most effort we had put into anything, ever, and although only 7 admitted to a chunder while we were banked up on the reach, the rainbow coloured patches floating past stern hinted he wasn’t the only one. After the final boat had passed we started our journey home....or did we?

As we had just bumped to head of the division - we had to turn ourselves around and head down to our old friend the lock to take on Sidney M2 in the third division. Thankfully the thought of having to row twice the next day was enough to make this one clinical - when we heard the bell we knew what to do and it was over before first post. Once anointed with greenery, a gentle whisper of “can we go home” from the ghostly faced (usually boisterous) Derry summed up the boat well.

So with two M2 scalps as a pillow, I turned my wry smile into a snort, and I, like my crew members, slept like a baby.

(Actually we didn’t sleep like babies - they don’t sleep. We slept like someone who sleeps for a long time).

Uploaded Wednesday 1st March, 21:20

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3rd Women's VIII

Bow: Bethany Mason, 2: Kerry Smith, 3: Ella Witts, 4: Georgina Brown/Eva Roney, 5: Olivia Brett/Vashti Davies, 6: Julie Ramambason, 7: Josie Newman/Megan Jones, Stroke: Katie Wilkinson, Cox: Ben Williams

UP THREE Day One: Bumped Lady Margaret III, Day Two: Bumped Lucy Cav/Hughes Hall III then Rowed Over, Day Three: Rowed Over as head of division then bumped Churchill II, Day Four: Rowed Over

Vashti Davies reports:

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Technically Day 5:

The rest day hadn’t gone quite as planned on Friday, having bumped up into the position of sandwich boat on Wednesday. However after a solid row over on Thursday at the top of division 4, and bumping up into division 3 on Friday, we were relieved to only have to row once on Saturday. We had hoped that Churchill, who we had bumped the day before, would still be chasing us, but passing them without their foliage on our row down, we realised we would be chased by Maggie. Our practice start was a little messy, with nerves setting in with the pressure of getting discretionary blades taking its toll. Our retake was much better, and by the time we came to the actual start, we had it sorted. We set off at a comfortable rate, keeping our distance from Maggie, and waited to hear the whistles early on as we hoped we were gaining on Trinity Hall as quickly as we had Churchill the day before. Unfortunately the whistles we heard were Trinity Hall gaining on Newnham (?). Newnham managed to pull away, giving us hope of catching up on the tiring Trinity Hall, with motivational calls from Ben announcing ‘they are dying!’, on the plough, then the reach... but we must have been fading to a similar extent, as we struggled to gain any distance on them. With a lot of shouting from the bank, we still put our all into a solid row over, keeping our distance from Maggie. We thought we had finished, with Ben calling just before the P&E to wind it down, only to get shouts from the bank telling us to keep going. We hadn’t reached the finish line yet, and with Maggie approaching, and 5 off her seat, the last few strokes finished what had been a painful race. We fought hard and it was a satisfying end to an incredible week. We topped the day off by sitting on Grassy, cheering on any yellow blades that came into sight, whilst eating amazing vegan brownies that Ben made us. We may not have gotten the blades we had thought were within reach at the start of the day, but we came near and made history by even being in bumps in the first place! Yellow fire!!

Uploaded Monday 6th March, 21:11

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Ben Williams reports:

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Day Two:

Having gone from no idea of what to expect to all of a sudden being in the driving seat of the division, W3 rowed up with optimism and chat levels maintained. Marshalling a solid 25 minutes before the race started, we had time to reflect, eat sweets, get cold and stay hyped, the words "They definitely look slow" echoing up and down the boat. With Ollie timing (having made the Old Court-Lock run in record time) and Nigel pushing us out, soon we were off! In all honesty the next bit was a bit of a blur. The upshot is that everything worked out perfectly - we had an awesome start, cruised at rate 32 with awesome pressure going down (Maggie unfortunately left in our wake) and bumped Lucy/Hughes in around 400m just past the motorway bridge. Nice! Quick spin, time to grab some foliage and then back to the lock for an immediate round 2.

This time the task at hand was far more daunting, and this showed in the toilet breaks from various crew members. Thankfully the wait for the division to begin was far shorter than before and once again Nigel pushed us out ready to begin. The start was excellent and for the first 100m we gained on Newnham, slowly reeling them in. Newnham's strength showed though and we held them at the same distance until first post, that length and a half staying painfully solid. Some excellent cheering from W2 spurred everyone on, but with a few mishaps and resets the bump was getting further and further away. Full credit to everyone though - the power didn't let off for the whole run, bringing it up with every few strokes and the focus staying high. Creds to Newnham for overbumping - once this was on the cards ahead, we wound it down and coasted to the finish, ready to fight another day.

2 Days down; 2 up! Who knows what the remaining days will bring.

Day Four:

A clear day ahead and Churchill W2 in our sights. Game faces on as the crew in pink rowed past the boathouse, and a steady row up (not for the W4 division!). Having been previously overbumped it looked as though Churchill was on the way down, but there was very little we could judge from the first half of the week. No marshalling at the P&E for the first race of the day, so the cannon came pretty swiftly. The start was possibly the best of the week and immediately we began to gain, slowly reeling them in. The first whistle arrived within what felt like seconds and suddenly the burners came on - screams of "GO GO GO" from the bank and a very excited cox didn't really make much difference; Clare were on sensational form and caught Churchill about 100m after the motorway bridge with ease. Perhaps rowing back at a low pressure rate 15 wasn't quite the way to let it all sink in, but it felt fantastic :D.

Uploaded Monday 6th March, 17:26

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Kerry Smith reports:

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The joys of being sandwich boat shone down upon us as we arrived at the boathouse today. At the head of the W4 division we were looking for a row over - no bells or whistles attached. The 1 minute canon was a bit delayed due to some of the M4 division: apparently rowing 3 boats side by side at the gut is not a good idea.

Boom! ...and we're off. A strong start allowed us to get some distance on Lucy Cav/Hughes Hall. Not long later Maggie bumped Lucy Cav/Hughes Hall giving us a lovely bit of clear water to look at as the lactic acid set in. We powered round Ditton then brought the rate down a bit along the reach. A solid row into the wind eventually carried us across the finish line, as Murry Edwards were just emerging around the corner.

Following a beautifully sunny row back and ample race cake we turned our thoughts to tommorows race. Get buzzing, get pumped, tommorow is going to be a good day!

Uploaded Thursday 2nd March, 23:25

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Josie Newman reports:

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Day One:

Having already made history by being the first Clare W3 to get onto Lent Bumps, we had few expectations for what lay ahead. The plan was to go for it for as long as we could, because we were unlikely to have to race the whole course. We had a solid row down in the sunshine, with a good practice start on the plough. As we marshalled and counted down the cannons for the division starts, nerves were building. Very soon we were off. We didn’t have the best of starts, but by the motorway bridge we had recovered it. Ben promptly informed us “You’re rating 38… take it down 5!”, and we settled into a rate 32. Feeling the pressure from Medwards behind us we pushed on round first post, and this was followed by shouts that we were gaining on Maggie ahead. Maggie then caught a crab they were unable to recover, and we rowed past their stationary crew just before grassy. A lucky escape from what could have been a challenging rest of the race, but a bump all the same! Bring on the rest of the week!

Uploaded Wednesday 1st March, 18:46

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