Saturday, 5 March 2011

Lent Bumps - Day 4

This is late because I went to see Reel Big Fish last night, so didn't have the time to do a proper write-up until this morning. The gig was good, although my voice is now struggling a bit. If I can speak audibly by tomorrow morning then I'll be disappointed. The Day 5 blog post is almost certainly going to be a day or so late as well.

I said in the last post that I didn't really know how yesterday would pan out, but it turned out pretty well. Sidney didn't bump Caius, and we held station with them off the start, and moved up a bit through the corners. We came onto the Reach just under a length away, and then we basically just wore them down. The race had been fairly solid up to then, with a near-crab from Will in the five seat around Grassy, which he managed to keep under control before it put took any real speed off us (he blames it on being distracted by Wolfson M1 mounting the bank behind us and then Jesus M2 ploughing straight into them.

We knew from the results already this term that we're fairly decent over a head course, and that our fitness is pretty good, and we basically just used this to hit them. I called pushes down the Reach, and each one took us closer to them, until they eventually ran out of steam and we caught them under the railway bridge. I was getting a bit worried by the end that I'd be calling pushes with nothing left in the tanks and we'd just burn out, but we dug deep and it was a really satisfying bump to get. It was good revenge for them stealing pots from us at Bedford Head by not being in the IM3 category.

One thing that I did learn yesterday is that being 7th is really shit, because it puts you on the station directly underneath the A14 bridge, right next to the cannons, and they are fucking loud. They're a few metres away, and they echo and amplify underneath the bridge. You can feel the vibration in the boat.

W2 rowed over, apparently not being too far off an overbump, and W1 rowed over comfortably at head. M1 also rowed over, but Caius bumped FaT, meaning that today is now set up to be a grandstand finish. Obviously I hope we keep the headship, and I'll be cheering along from the bank, but it's going to be a close-fought race.

There's video footage of M1's bump on FaT on Thursday, a notable moment being Ian's forward roll after jumping off his still-moving bike:

There was also a fair amount of carnage yesterday, with Magdalene M1's boat being pretty badly damaged after they parked on the outside of Grassy and Fitz smashed straight into them. Bumps always has a reasonable amount of carnage, but I think there's been an exceptional amount this year, and notably so in the higher divisions. You expect crashes and re-rows in the M4 and W3 racing, but the number of first and second crews which have stacked it into the bank this week has been truly remarkable. It's like all of the senior coxes graduated last year, and there's pretty much only novice coxes who haven't quite grasped how the steering works yet. Even out of the crews that have stayed out of the bank, a huge number of crews have been taking awfully wide lines round Grassy and Ditton.

Not sure how things are going to pan out for M2 today. It'd be awesome if we can hit Caius M2, the question is more whether they'll hit FaT M2 first or not. If they do, then there's always the hope that St Catz will crash out again and hand us an overbump...

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