Day 1, Lent Bumps 2017: M1

M1 awoke to a rose-coloured sky for our morning pre-paddle, the wind having dropped to almost nothing, with only a slight whisper of "SCCBC, SCCBC, SCCBC" in the air. As Basile and Jack rumbled through the door an average of 10 minutes late between them, and Jon began his obscenely long stretching and contact lens ritual, the rest of us felt a strange sense of calmness. Everything was as it should be. Everything was ready.

The morning row reflected our new mindset, the turns felt sharp and the pause felt long (this is a good thing). I was still sending backsplash reminiscent of the tsunamis that followed the eruption of Krakatau backwards over bow six but anyway, that's missing the point, we all (well stern pair at least) felt good and more importantly, we were having fun.

After a hearty breakfast in the bar (attended by stern pair) we all parted agreeing to meet (ON TIME) at 1500 to kick off our Lents campaign. At this point I realised I had completely forgotten to rearrange my chemistry practical, so swiftly commenced a rescue mission to save as many tripos marks as I could before this time. Having saved basically none at all, I arrived at the boathouse at 1500, to find the crew already there (apart from Chris, Chris was late, shame on Chris). Following some questionable music choices (e.g. "Waka-Waka" by Shakira, (metal version), and "Give it Up" by KC & The Sunshine Band) we headed downstairs and, cheered on by a W2 that have now got the same number of bumps in the last two days as I have in my entire life, rowed off down the river. (Well done W2)

bla bla bla... marshalling.... bla bla bla (you get the idea)

And we were off, scything through the water like Stuart through the heart of seemingly every girl on the Spotted: River Cam Facebook page. We hit a strong rhythm at rate 38 and drew within station on Christs, holding Churchill on station. Hitting the wave-tank that is the gut, we lost some send and then slipped further back after following the wide-line around Grassy as instructed by our marshall (Churchill obviously not getting this memo). End result: we had a crew only three-quarters off our stern and Basile was starting to squeak. I've been in crews where that would have been the end of that, but not today. We found our tempo past the Plough and locked it in round Ditton, hardly feeling the gust and sending the boat effortlessly.

At the end of the day we were three lengths up on Churchill, still feeling fresh and ready to have a go at 'Binson tomorrow. Watch this space.

Day 2, Lent Bumps 2017: M2

We were greeted by much warmer, drier weather today. Down our trusty coach, we had some old stooges to keep up our spirits at the P&E. Some technical issues meant that James’ usual sultry tones over the cox box were reduced to static, deciding that in the absence of clear calls it could only mean ‘row harder’. Being chased by Maggie off the line we were pulling away as Magdalene drew them in and bumped them in the gut, exacting revenge from the previous day. We stayed on station with Hughes much of the way, Pembroke having bumped back against Emma by Ditton, but couldn’t draw them in any closer over the still-gusty Reach. Buoyed by cheers from W1 from the bank coming up to the P&E, our rowing mysteriously tidied up and we finished off the row over. Bring on day 3.

Day 1, Lent Bumps 2017: M3

On paper at the start of term M3 seemed destined for mediocrity, on the water even more so. Pembroke Regatta came and went with little to show for it. A loss to Pembroke M3, followed by a calamituos start against Emma M3 in a second race (though apparently we did close them considerably) did little to strike fear into the mass of crews marshalling for the Getting-on Race. Nevertheless, M3 pulled out all the stops to row onto Bumps where they can now really prove their worth.

The first day of Bumps provided much encouragement for a crew comprimised of German post-grads, the odd Hungarian, and a raft of inexperienced freshers. Starting third in the division meant little as Clare M3 bumped King's M2 to clear the way for the mighty SCCBC M3 whose strong start had St Edmund's kept well at bay. Coxed expertly through the corners by Hannah, the boys pushed hard along the Reach into strong winds to hold their place and ensure they did not suffer the same fate as Jesus and St Edmund's who respectively crashed their way into being bumped and overbumped. A row over in such conditions is nothing to be sniffed at. 

With the experience of a row over under their belts, and ever increasing faith in their start, M3 move on to Day 2, itching to give King's a run for their money.

Day 1: Showing the rest how it is done

Day 1, Lent Bumps 2017: M2

M2 pushed off onto a windy, cold river Cam shaking with a mixture of cold and anticipation. With over half the crew new to bumps there was a lot of excitement and hope as we did our squat jumps by control. The remainder of the more experienced had stepped up from the M3 boat last Lents and were keen to exact revenge on Emma, who had kept them from their blades that campaign. After a typically stoic speech from Chris Eddy and some dirty jokes from Joe we were invigorated and put in some solid rowing to scare the other crews. We pushed onto Emma off the start, despite their fly-or-die move on Pembroke. Unfortunately they quickly caught up with Pembroke, who panicked and caught more crabs than you can find off Cromer pier. Hughes started to reel us in around first post, quickly coming within half a length. They had three whistles coming into the gut, an ambitiously large canvas that even Michelangelo would struggle to fill. But coming around grassy they dug deep and the game was up coming just up to the Plough. A valiant attempt: we’ll be coming back at them tomorrow.

Pembroke Regatta 2017 W2

On Saturday 18th March W2 competed in the second women's division of Pembroke Regatta.

We squared up against King's W2 in the first round (who Matt very kindly "backed us" against). Despite their start being at a higher rate than ours, we pulled away from the beginning of the race thanks to the power we'd developed in practice starts during the week's outings. We settled into a rhythm and continued to draw ahead throughout the race, comfortably finishing 2.5 lengths ahead.

The second round saw us up against Pembroke W2 who were a much more formiddable opposition, being 18 places ahead of us in the bumps starting order. Cheered on by W1, who were marshalling as we rowed past to the start, we prepared ourselves for a strong effort, eager to put the term's large number of high-rate ergs to good use. It was fairly close from the start, though we got our nose in front, and we continued to widen the gap as we settled into a steady pace. We once again had clear water between us by about half way through the race, and the final 500m were almost a victory parade past the cheering M1, as we continued to pull away to finish 2 lengths in front.

Now came the semi-final against Emma W2. 20 places ahead of us for bumps, we knew that they were a strong outfit and would be difficult to beat. Matt's arrival to bank party after his exploits with M1 (and some well-timed sweets provided by Kloe) gave us the motivation we needed as we lined up to start on the towpath side of the reach for the first time that day. It was neck and neck from the start and both crews were level for about the first half of the race. Not used to the pressure of a boat right alongside us, our stroke rate crept up and we got a bit messy with the catches, allowing them to pull ahead in the third minute. As we passed under the railway bridge, we had nothing to lose and regained our composure. Everyone dug deep and we gradually began to close the gap towards the end of the race, but were unable to do so before crossing the finish line a length behind.

Overall, it was a very successful day with signs of exciting things to come for this crew. Matt was "happy to admit you surprised me with your performance today" - it's always good to know you have your coach's unfailing backing. Thanks to Izzy Short and Laura Paterson for subbing, and to Joe Cooper for bank partying and fishing Laura's hoodie out the river. We now turn towards bumps, reenergised and excited for what will be the first bumps campaign most of this crew have experienced - watch this space...

W2 racing in the semi-final

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