Day 3, Lent Bumps 2017: M1

Bumps can suck sometimes. Time-wise the crew this year could have bumped the crew that went up-two last year. Likewise when you row over for two days in a row, you'd hope a spooning crew would come down to you at least as quickly as a blading crew was coming up. As we all know, however, that isn't how this works.

We held Clare off the start, winding to 44 and striding to 38 which we held into first post. Here Clare put in a solid push, our response again seeing the rate rise into the 40s to escape the bump. However, many of this Clare boat were in the crew that went to Henley last year, after blading to fourth on the river in Mays. Unfortunately, the bump was fairly inevitable coming out of Grassy.

We could all give a dozen reasons why we weren't quite fast enough, we could have pushed earlier or had cleaner finishes, but in the end we just weren't strong enough. Not all of our goals this term have been based on immediate results, so with the power in the crew and the aerobic base we have the potential to cause some serious damage next term. For now though, it sucks to be bumped and we've got to accept the shortfalls of this training cycle.

Day 3, Lent Bumps 2017: M2

Come day 3 and the top of Div 3 was looking surprisingly similar to day 1. Greeted at the P&E by the now all-too-familiar faces of Hughes, Emma, Magdalene and Maggie we prepared ourselves for a tough start against the fly-or-die tactics that Magdalene had used to dispatch Maggie with such ruthless efficiency the day before. Chasing our perennial scourge of Hughes, we were hoping they could gift us a chance to chase Emma on day 4. So we were settling in for what we hoped would be a solid row over. And unlike yesterday the oracle that is Chris Eddy was right on the money - we pushed hard off the start to keep Magdalene at bay, coming inside half a length in the gut before we ground them down round Grassy and into Plough Reach, stretching out to a length. We broke them coming round Ditton, pushing them back past station. Our target then was Christs II at the head of division, but the overbump wasn’t looking likely there. Unfortunately for Magdalene the overbump was manifesting itself behind us - they went backwards into the now-on-for-superblades Robinson crew. Very proud of what was certainly our best row all term. The goal for tomorrow is to smash Emma, staying level for the campaign, and deny Robinson their blades. Bring it on.

W2 Lent bumps: 3 from 3

After a rest day on Thursday (following the well-taken opportunity on Wednesday evening for some mid-bumps celebrations of our success so far) W2 took back to the water on Friday ready to tighten the screw on the Lent bumps campaign. Today's target would be Darwin W2, who had been bumped the previous two days so we knew we could catch them. After two very speedy bumps earlier in the week, we knew that we needed to work on implementing the stride more effectively, as there was a risk of failing to develop the sustainable pace that might be needed later in the week (in case - shock horror - we might have to row for more than two minutes). However we were perhaps a bit too calm on the row to the start, as Matt was unimpressed by our "pedestrian" practice starts which needed "a bit more zip". Despite my negligent failure to provide sweets today, we were very relaxed as we awaited the one-minute cannon; a sign of the rapidly increasing amount of bumps experience within the crew. Bank partied by two of our trusty LBCs, Liv and Izzy, and boyfriend/flatmate/glory-hunter James, we put on our game faces and pushed off.

With suitable zip in the start, we already had one whistle coming out of the railway bridge, followed swiftly by a second and then a third. But Darwin were not to be taken down so easily and put on a spurt, keeping us at three whistles for about 30 seconds. We had a second stride and continued to grind them down. We once again upped the pressure and, despite physical contact that could be heard and felt by all in the boat, put in another few stokes before their cox eventually conceded.

So another quick bump to make it 3 from 3; all eyes turn to tomorrow, which is set to be our most challenging day yet as we chase a strong-looking Jesus W3, who are themselves chasing a Medwards W2 crew on track for spoons. It certainly won't be easy but there's everything to play for.

Day 3, Lent Bumps 2017: W1

From the start we tried to gain,

and we pushed through the pain.

The doublé was the goal

and Queens' dignity we stole.

Making Catz great again.

With the rain stopping just before our division it turned out to be a lovely day for we wee row. Today we were chasing Queens W1, who we had beaten at sparring last week. As before we were being chased by HHLC, so we were in the ideal situation with a crew had a chance at in front and pressure from behind to keep us hot on our toes. As expected HHLC gained on the start while we kept station with Queens. The whistles from behind didn’t phase us and we used them to gain whistles on Queens. The whistles progressively increased but Queens kept putting down the pressure and didn’t make it easy for us. After about 2 minutes HHLC faded and we started to pull away just as on day 1. Lucy WHO? Round grassy corner Queens took a dodge line and a final kill call saw us make contact, going from three whistles to a bump in a short space of time. While we committed to the entire race, rating higher than our usual rhythm (still silky), we owe a lot of this bump to the slick lines taken by Alex, taking advantage of Queens at grassy. We had to work hard for this bump and Queens put up a strong fight, but we really gritted down and for that we were rewarded. Tomorrow we face our second battle against Caius, and it certainly won’t be an easy race. Whatever the outcome we will likely be racing the majority of the course so we need to face the final day with focus and determination. Tune in tomorrow for the final day of our lent campaign to make Catz great again.

“Deny them of thy blade on day 1 then deny them of thy bump on day 3.” —Catz W1 (2017)

Day 2, Lent Bumps 2017: M1

This one was tough. We knew Churchill would push us hard with Clare behind them, especially after we gave them more than we should have done yesterday. However, we weren't quite prepared for just how close it was going to be.

Hitting the outflow off our start, we couldn't get the engine to turn over, stuttering down first post reach with only brief flashes of the rhythm we know we could achieve. With the infamous Clare bell ringing loud, Churchill pounced, making a big move through the swell in the gut. Drawing clear of Clare, Churchill's attention turned to their own whistles, rising to a deafening and continuous tone. Sending each stroke through the white noise we attacked Plough reach, sixteen legs smashing down and eight backs swinging through. We were rewarded, the Catz engine had begun to fire once again as Churchill's bow slipped back. From two feet of overlap, we had found clear water and we began to feed off Churchill's doubt, their whistles becoming few and far between.

As we pressed past the railings at 38, Clare bumped a defeated Churchill and we secured the row over. Possibly one of the tightest row overs in bumps history, and it felt good. We've got a job to do tomorrow. Clare will come for us, but let them come, we're not going down without a fight.

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