Lent Bumps 2010

Day 1

M2 Tuesday – Bumped Darwin I

Given the usual pre-Bumps anxieties, this was a gem of a race to start off the campaign! We’d hardly seen the Darwin crew around the boathouse, so they were something of an unknown quantity. Luckily, it turns out we needn’t have worried! After a decent enough first three strokes, we got the first whistle as we started lengthening. Before we knew it we’d got two whistles, three whistles, and then the bell as we were about to go into the stride. All over in 30 seconds!

When the bigger tests come our way later in the week, we’ll be ready…

Chris Hinde

W2 Tuesday – Rowed Over

After a strong row down, W2 were excited and ready to race by the time they reached the start line despite a long and very cold wait marshaling. It was the first Bumps experience for the majority of the crew and so there were some very nervous rowers in the boat by the time we were pushed off and lined up waiting for the final canon to go. We got off to a quick start when the canon sounded and were soon a length off Robinson W1. Unfortunately first day nerves kicked in and we were almost halted by two over-the-head crabs as we were trying to find our rhythm past the motorway bridge. Despite rowing momentarily with only six rowers and with two blades dragging in the water the crew dug deep to keep going and we were soon back to eight rowers.

Determined not to let this mishap ruin our race, we pushed hard and fought to get back into a solid rhythm. The next few hundred metres were a fight to keep away from the now worryingly close Anglia Ruskin as we’d unfortunately lost our gain on Robinson whilst dealing with the crabs. Murray Edwards were close to a Bump on ARU and so the race was on for us to keep away from Anglia Ruskin long enough for them to be bumped out. Some determined rowing and great coxing meant we were able to do this and so we rowed over the second half of the race with no-one behind, using the lack of immediete pressure to concentrate on producing a controlled row to the finish. Now that the first day nerves are out of the way and we know we can row fast out off the start and keep strong under pressure we are itching to have another go at Robinson on Thursday!

Alex Page

M3 Tuesday – Rowed Over

We’d been optimistic for the crew’s chances on the first day; from past performance they are clearly one of the fastest (if not the fastest) crews in this division. The getting-on draw had placed a little-known St Edmunds II ahead, whilst Emmanuel IV provided little in the way of danger behind.

Shakiness both on the bank and in the boat led to a sketchy start, by no means the best this crew can deliver. Nevertheless, the pace was good once the rhythm kicked in. We steadily took ground off St Edmund’s, who soon had clear water ahead of them after a swift bump by Robinson III on Christ’s IV. The boat pushed away from the motorway bridge with decent pace, snatching the first whistle on First Post Corner.

Had it not been for a nightmare crab at this point (tearing the footplate clean away from the fibreglass!) we would have continued to gain on them, and the bump would surely have presented itself. As it was, Alex was left to row valiantly arms-and-body all the way down the Gut, past the Plough, and onto the Reach. With everyone bumped-out behind we rowed over the course, but still the crew left the boathouse today with disappointment at what might’ve been.

Tomorrow is a new day; tomorrow we push for the bump.

Chris Hinde

Day 2

W1 – Rowed Over

We’ve had a great term so far, with quick race results and no interruptions to our training and progress. Going into the first day, we were chasing Christs, a crew that has won races this term, but we fully expected that our recent improvements would see us comparable to their speed. We had a good start against the strong current and coming into the Gut we had closed on Christs by a quarter to a half a length. Christs then caught Queens’ at the Plough, and we shifted our focus to the overbump (some might say unrealistically in the W1 division!) on Caius. Sticking to the race plan, with a fairly good rhythm going down the reach, we closed steadily on Cauis. Inch by inch, from starting six lengths behind them, we clawed Caius into our sights, earning our first whistle as we rounded the final bend before the finish. At the end, it was 3/4 of a length… if only we had twenty more strokes! In all, the day’s result bodes very well for the rest of Lents, and indeed the rest of 2010.

Samantha Bennett

M3 – Technical Row Over

Today’s start was much improved on yesterday’s and the crew went off nicely. There was trouble settling into a sustainable rating; after the stride things were unsustainable at 37 and it took a while to drop to 32. It became clear after about 45 seconds that this would be another long race, as St Edmunds quickly caught Christ’s IV just after the motorway bridge. Still, the crew pushed on in the knowledge that an overbump could be theirs for the taking.

The lengths were steadily eaten away down First Post Reach, and by the corner the distance was down to 2 ½ lengths. Robinson were struggling after clearly having gone off too strong.

This crew have had a couple of misfortunate days; as we turned through First Post Corner, the Boatman called to ‘wind it down’, a call met with bemusement in the boat. Alisdair made it known that he was less than pleased as we learned that Downing III had failed to clear after their bump on LMBC IV, blocking the river and forcing the race to be abandoned. If we’d have been able to row the course, we should have got the overbump.

Tomorrow we’re on the charge for a bump on Christs IV. This one is ours.

Chris Hinde

Day 3

W1 – Bumped Queens’ I

After the tough, committed rowover on Wednesday, we were keen to follow Christs up the bumps charts. First to catch was Queens’ W1. We put in a good start and gained steadily down First Post reach. Going into the Gut, Queens’ held us at a canvas, but not for long… as we bumped them just on Grassy corner. Brilliant corners from our cox, Alex Whiscombe, and a very solid row from W1!

Samantha Bennett

M2 – Rowed Over

We started out today with some uncertainty; could we manage the bump on Downing before they caught Homerton, or else would we have to go for the overbump on Wolfson? We had a lush practice start outside the Plough, which inspired confidence, but when it got to the real thing we went off well but couldn’t quite replicate our prior brilliance.

Downing caught Homerton on First Post, and we were left to slog it out for an overbump. The rowing wasn’t the neatest we’re able to produce, and a couple of us had some rough old strokes, but the pace was fine and we were making up ground. Things seemed to fall into a bit of a lull at times (at the top of the reach for instance), but when we were called for power strokes the energy was clearly still there. Rowing over isn’t the end of the world, and we can take a good deal away from our performance today in terms of concentration, application of power, and simply sticking together.

Chris Hinde

M3 – Bumped Christ’s IV

Today we were chasing a much weaker crew than the previous two days and we rowed up to the start with confidence. Having been in this position twice before, the crew was much more relaxed waiting for the cannon and got off to a solid start rating 40, something this crew hasn’t done since rowing with women’s blades at Pembroke Regatta. After problems settling in to a sustainable rhythm on the previous races we were determined to stride well down. Shortly after doing so we heard our first whistle and pushed the rate back up. Powering under the motorway bridge we quickly received the signal that the gap had closed to half a length. Christ’s responded and it felt like an age, even though it was most probably only 15 seconds for the whistle to sound for a third time. Eventually Kev started ringing his bell and the bump came well before First Post Corner.

On Saturday we’re chasing Robinson III, the crew we may have over-bumped on Wednesday had it not been for an obstruction. Let’s hope we can finish our first bumps on a high!

Paul Ledwon

Day 4

W1 – Bumped Caius I
With a bump under our belts, after nearly overbumping Caius W1 on the first day, we were very keen to get racing on the third day of Lents. After a thunderous bang from the cannon next to us, we had a very good start and rhythm down First Post reach. Although we struggled with our rhythm a little bit coming through the Gut, we had three whistles by the time we got to Grassy. An extremely well-executed lift out of Grassy, followed by a middle four push, took us the final distance to bump Caius at the Plough. A great row!

Day 5

W1 – Bumped Jesus I
Most of those reading this will realise just how much this year’s W1 was looking forward to lining up on the start this final day of Lent bumps to chase Jesus W1. After years of trading headship in the Mays, with Jesus usually winning, well, everything, throughout the year, we knew we’d put together a crew that was stronger in every way than the Jesus crew we were chasing. With a mantra of ‘First Post is the new Grassy’ to catch them even quicker than we caught Caius the day before, we bumped them in style, just coming out of Grassy. I enjoyed it far too much… and we’ll be working hard to continue such enjoyment through to the end of the Mays! Well done Pembroke W1 Lents 2010.

Samantha Bennett

M3 – Bumped Robinson III
For our final day of bumps we were expecting a harder challenge than on Thursday since the crew ahead, Robinson III, had already shown that they were faster than Christ’s IV. Wanting to prove the Robinson coach wrong, who was overheard saying that we were “all power and no technique”, we got off to a good start and settled into a comfortable rhythm. We soon began to hear whistles but everyone stayed relaxed and just continued rowing like they had been. Our race pace was simply a lot faster than theirs and we caught them soon after the motorway bridge without Alisdair needing to call any pushes. This was by far the best we had rowed all week and was a great high on which to end our first bumps. BRING ON MAYS!!

Paul Ledwon