Tuesday, 28 June 2011

May Bumps 2011 - Day 4

The alternate title for this post being "better late than never". It's actually been a week and two days since Saturday of bumps, but in fairness I have spent that week being pretty drunk, searching for a place to live next year, and competing in the UK Mahjong Open (post to follow).

The focus for M2 on the final day was fairly simple. We knew FaT II were fairly slow, and we knew we could hit them. We also figured that Girton I behind us would be pretty quick, and that they'd probably expect us to bump FaT and as a result come out of the blocks as hard as they could to try and hit us first.

As it happened, things went pretty much exactly to plan for the first race. We went out hard, we hit FaT pretty much within the first minute of the race, at Grassy Corner, and Girton didn't get anywhere near.

Credit to Malcolm Scott for the video, and for NOT ACTUALLY GETTING THE BUMP ON CAMERA. Thankfully City of Cambridge RC were somewhat better at getting the action.

I'm not really sure why Girton went that wide around the corner. The obvious answer could be that we cleared to the inside and forced them out, but we cleared to the inside specifically because I looked around when we made the bump and saw they were going wide, and that if we cleared to the outside of the river we'd probably crash straight into them. Maybe their cox anticipated us bumping out and was already going wide to avoid that, I don't know.

So we hit them, we did our best to stay out of harm's way on the inside of the corner, and then when everyone had gone through we moved across to collect our greenery, and parked on the opposite side of the bank. Right next to a wasps' next.

As it happens, Alex is fairly allergic to wasps, and as a result is also fairly prone to panicking when he sees one. Which meant that as a dozen or so wasps flew out at us, he shouted and flailed around a lot and got stung three times. There was some mildly frantic searching on the bank asking people for an EpiPen, we rowed back with just bow six, and spoke to the paramedic in Chesterton. Turns out that if he was going to go into anaphylactic shock then it would have long happened by then, and he was probably going to be fine. But we should be careful to note any heart palpitations or shortness of breath - not particularly easy to discern from the standard state while racing.

So somewhat distracted and slightly unsettled we got back in the boat, spun, and rowed up to marshall as the last boat in Division 1. And Pedro caught an absolutely phenomenal crab right before Ditton corner. In the two terms I've coxed him, he's never caught a crab, and he chose his moment to be in front of the biggest crowd that is ever likely to see him row.

The row itself wasn't particularly brilliant. It was OK, but we never really got close to Robinson, and I wouldn't say it was one of our best races ever. So not the best way to end the week, but the fact that we were even able to end the week that way, rowing over at the bottom of the first division, is a pretty awesome result.

M1 rowed over in second place, having apparently given Caius a fairly decent fight on the last day, and W1 comfortably rowed over to secure their second headship of the year. And we finished up three, at the bottom of Division 1 and having taken the M2 headship from First & Third Trinity. It's sort of the nature of bumps, but I don't envy whoever is going to be in that boat next year, because they'll have a tough spot to defend.

As far as I know, I won't be able to cox either Lents or Mays next year, because my course is going to shove me into placements outside of Cambridge and pretty much rule out any chance of being able to make outings consistently during term (there is still, quite annoyingly, no official word on this from the department though, so I'm not 100% sure to what extent it's actually the case). I'll hopefully be able to do Uni IVs again, and maybe Fairbairns (though nobody really gives a toss about that). If I can I'd probably hope to make the training camp too, though I'd most likely only want to go if there was actually a shortage of coxes. I'll definitely miss not doing it next year, but hey, that's life I guess.

Still, the races this year were great fun. I couldn't have asked for much more from my crew, and it was absolutely fantastic to take the M2 headship from FaT II, giving them spoons in the process, and to deny blades to our arch-rivals-of-sorts, Girton I, by forcing them to row over on the final day. It's been a good year for the club, and with two headships to retain for the women, and second place on the river in both for the men, it's set up to be a fairly good year next year too.

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