Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Lent Bumps 2010 - Days 1 & 2

So we're at the climax for this term's rowing: the Lent Bumps races. As much as I'd rather not link to First & Third Trinity's site, they have the best guide to bumps that I've seen, and which can be found here. The basic format is that you have boats starting behind each other, and the aim being to hit the crew in front over the course distance. Boats that collide swap places for the next day, and there are four races each year (each for Lents and Mays), with the results being carried on from year to year and have been since 1887. Downing are looking really strong for this term, with the women's second crew being the fastest WII crew on the river, MII also being one of the fastest crews in their division, and both the men's and women's first boats aiming for headship.

I'm not actually directly involved this term, given I haven't got a crew, but if I'm honest I've been busy as fuck the last two weeks, and I'd have struggled even more if I'd had rowing commitments as well. It was fun subbing in for Goodchild while he was ill and coxing M1 earlier in the week though. I'll save myself for the Mays, and in the mean time make do with being on the bank.

Tuesday was the first day, for everyone aside from the top men's and women's divisions, who had days off. Downing MIII got overbumped, so went down three, though frankly I don't think that was too unexpected given some of the quick crews around them. The other two boats, Downing MII and WII both overbumped themselves and went up three places each, which was a fucking great result.

I bank-partied MII on Tuesday (photo above), and the weather was absolutely fucking awful. It was cold as fuck, and it was pretty much constantly snowing, sleeting or hailing. The water is also really high right now, as you can see from the flooded path under the bridge in the photo. I also made a massive error and didn't bother putting my coat on as I left, or going back to get it when I started cycling out the college and realised. I was fucking cold, and cycling in snow is always utterly shit, even when you're wrapped up. Was also carrying the kit for the crew, which was probably about 10-20kgs of weight on my back while cycling. Plus I was given the kit late at the start, so was still packing it in when the starting gun went off and didn't even catch the race. Also had an error in using a boat club bike on the towpath instead of mine. Usually it'd be a better choice, because the towpath is bumpy as hell and destroys road bicycles like mine, but when it's wet the bumps tend to soften out into mud. My bike has mudguards while the DCBC ones don't, meaning I came back utterly covered in mud.
But still, the crew overbumped so still a happy day, and brightened up what would have been an utterly shitty afternoon if we'd lost.

Day 2 was a rest day for the MII crew. MIII bumped, which is a great result for them (and stops them getting spoons), WII bumped again, so they're currently +4 overall. WI bumped and are now in 3rd place and with a really good shot at headship. I bank-partied MI, who were looking to bump First & Third Trinity to get headship. It was pretty nervous stuff, and not helped by Piran being ill and us having a sub and therefore a bit more of a scratched crew.

I was given the stopwatch to time down to the starting gun, being told multiple times by Ian to count down clearly and also to make sure I didn't press any buttons on the stopwatch. Even I was nervous just holding the fucking watch. It's also surprising how little faith you have in yourself on not being a complete retard at times. I was nervous as hell holding it in case I accidentally pressed a button, which would have been an utterly retarded thing to do, and there's no reason why I would do it by accident. It's like how when you're standing in front of a large drop you don't quite trust yourself not to throw yourself off the edge.

Anyway, Downing got off to a decent start, and closed the gap down, but FaT were strong and managed to hold them off for the rest of the race. Should be an interesting battle over the next few days, really hoping for Downing headship, even more because FaT have held it in Lents for way too fucking long. Hopefully Piran will stop being ill and we'll have the full M1 crew to ram into the back of them.

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