The Lent Bumps are split into seven divisions (four for men, three for women) of 17 boats. The top boat of each division (apart from the top division) races at the bottom of the next division, and so a continuous chart can be drawn mapping the progress of all crews. Since the races are run during term time, the races are run over five days with each division taking one day off to allow all the races to run. This year, for the first time, the three women's divisions race every day from Tuesday to Friday, allowing crews to compete at the women's eights head of the river race in London on the Saturday.
Day 1 - Bumped by Jesus
After going over and refining our start again and again over the last few outings, each and every one of us knew exactly what we had to do to in order to £*&% Pembroke up. To our credit, we did exactly that. Down first post reach we were easily within distance of Pembroke, and pushing it down to three quarters of a length going into first post. However, we never really settled into a strong rhythm, and our pace off the start soon took its toll as we went around quite messily around Grassy into plough reach. Suddenly, Jesus were on us and although we held on until Ditton, we just had no answer. Jesus were nowhere off us at the start so we are sure going to put everything into ploughing into them off the start tomorrow.
Day 2 - Bumped by Peterhouse
Going into this race, we knew we were both a better crew and faster than Jesus, who bumped us yesterday. Lightning quick off the start again, we already had whistles down first post reach. These whistles became continuous as we went into the gut, and we were within feet of their stern. But yet again, the rhythm was just not there and our unsustainable pace showed as we let them get away around grassy. Peterhouse, to their credit had come back at us even with our incredible start and bumped us around Ditton, by which time we were all exhausted at chasing Jesus for so long. Disappointment does not even begin to describe how we all felt at that point, from being so close to a revenge bump on Jesus to being bumped for the second day in a row.
Day 3 - Rowed Over
So our starts may have been lightning fast, but they have clearly been unsustainable to some degree, whether or not this is all due to the fact that we cannot settle into a rhythm. However, we decided to try something a bit different today - increase the inboard length so we're effectively in a lower gearing, so theoretically we can keep going for longer. Turns out, without our fast start, the rowing just became a bit...slow. Clare even closed upon us down first post reach before they were promptly bumped by a very rapid Girton crew. Our eventual row over was long, arduous, sloppy, and I was certainly glad no-one was at the boathouse to take my camera to video it.
Being chased by Girton tomorrow may call for a different race plan.
Day 4 - Bumped by Girton
No doubt about it: Girton were fast. They had caught every crew they had bumped before first post. We knew this called for drastic measures. Down went our inboard, and we were geared to either destroy, or die trying.
So, the 20mph headwind gusts kind of ruined our magical day.
Day 1 - Bumped FaT III
With a solid string of outings in the run up to Bumps, Trinity Hall M2 were confident of a good start on the first day of Bumps, lining up ahead of Clare II and chasing First and Third III. This was despite a number of less-than-successful practice bung-starts during the outing on the morning of M2's first race day, which nearly resulted in Trinity Hall's practice bung being lost to the Cam.
During the tidy row at steady state up to the station, the crew both as a whole, and individually, produced some of their best technique all term, boosting their confidence and making them eager to get on with the race. The practice starts on the way to the station were well timed, with the crew connecting solidly and consistently. This put any last minute doubts out of the crew's mind: next time they went through this series of strokes, it would be in response to the cannon.
The crew were spun at their station with plenty of time, and certain members of the crew decided to investigate the existence of actual cannons under the railway bridge (they later returned with confirmation of this fact). Getting into the boat proved to be an unexpected trial, resulting in one crew member going for a quick foot-soak (to cool off before the start, of course).
With the one minute cannon going off, serious looks drew onto the crew's faces, and the focus was set on the race ahead. Twenty seconds to go, and the experienced boatman, Martin Fordham, pushed the boat out with unmatched precision, leaving very little for the cox to correct on her first Bumps push-off. At 7 seconds to go, the crew squared up, and prepared for the final cannon.
The crew started their race incredibly effectively, gaining on FaT3 consistently and pulling within a length before the stride. A series of long strokes following the stride pulled the boat through the water in FaT3's wake, and shouts of "You are gaining!", coupled with the double (half-length) whistles to prove it, were soon heard from the bank.
First Post Corner proved to be a trivial challenge, as the support from 2 and 4 on strokeside made it possible for the cox to take the corner on minimal rudder, making the loss of speed around the corner negligible. M2 easily pulled around on the inside of the line taken by FaT's cox, despite a near miss with the blades of a Selwyn crew which, having bumped Churchill on the corner, were too excited to remember to bury.
The crew gained again around Grassy Corner, as once again support from the oarsmen, this time bow and 3, made cornering easy for the cox. Halfway around Grassy, and the whistles changed to constant bursts, indicating overlap on FaT's stern. However, despite almost being hit in the back with bow's blade, the cox refused to concede, and a decent Clare crew managed to pull up to within a length on Trinity Hall with a drive. FaT, meanwhile, pulled away slightly with a drive of their own.
Still, once the crew reached Ditton Corner, the support from strokeside once again made it easy to get on the inside of FaT's line, meaning that their drift pulled the boat around with no ruddering whatsoever. Again, there was significant overlap, with the bowball pulling past FaT's cox, but the fear of missing and losing the line stopped Hall's cox from going for the bump.
Once on the Reach, the crew realised that they were going to have to scrap to make this bump, with the Clare crew pulling up quickly (though perhaps unsustainably) behind. A technical restart pulled the determination back and the crew put immense power behind every stroke: no mean feat given how far they'd already rowed at such speed. This final burst allowed the crew to force FaT over the river, getting dangerously close to colliding with the meadowside bank before their coach realised they had run out of options: FaT conceded and Trinity Hall M2's persistence was rewarded with a bump. Reports that the crew then steered into the meadowside bank in excitement may or may have some element of truth to them. With an abysmal Churchill M2 ahead of them the next day, spirits were high on the, once again, technically impressive row home.
Day 3 - Rowed Over
On our third day of racing, we prepared ourselves for our toughest challenge yet. Lined up behind a poor Chuchill M2 but behind a strong Selwyn M2, who were certain of getting their second bump. We knew that, since Selwyn were chasing a Magdalene crew that were eligible for spoons at this point, the pressure was on for a fast bump: this wasn't a race against Selwyn, it was a case of whether Hall could catch Selwyn before they caught Magdalene. We also knew that, were we to bump Selwyn, we would be on for an easy run to blades tomorrow, as we would probably be chasing Magdalene: "This is our blades day."
As we prepared for the race, the mood shifted from light-hearted banter to determined concentration: everyone knew what was at stake, and how hard they would have to work to achieve the desired result. The usual warm-up was completed in an unusual silence, with the only sounds coming from the coxbox being technical changes and calls. We had our most efficient and balanced row up to our station yet, with blade-work and the boat's sit coming together brilliantly. A solid practice start under the railway bridge behind a Darwin crew had to be cut short as we pulled up so close to the boat in front before even reaching the stride.
After a brief pause on the reach to marshal, we rowed up around Ditton, where we executed another solid practice start. At our station, we spun with what can only be called an 'interesting' technique, before pulling into the bank for a short rest before the race.
The first of the cannons (all of which had for some reason been moved so that, despite the change in station due to bumping, we were STILL the closest to the cannons: "where we go, the cannons go…") signalled four minutes remaining, and we all got back in the boat. If the focus wasn't completely on the race before this, there was no doubt about that fact now. With 20 seconds to the final cannon, our fearless boatman Martin Fordham pushed the boat out with unmatched precision, and Trinity Hall M2 prepared to row their hardest race yet.
The final cannon fired, jolting us into a tidy and well-connected start. By the stride, we were within a length of Selwyn, who were within a length of Magdalene. Looking to capitalise on this, we had barely taken 10 strokes when we pushed through a Commitment-20, pulling them up to within 3/4 lengths of Selwyn. We gained slightly more ground around the start of First Post Corner, keeping on the inside of Selwyn's line with the tremendous support of 2 and 4 on strokeside. However, Mona (our cox) soon realised the reason for Selwyn going wide: Peterhouse had bumped St. Edmund's, meaning that the overbump, should it be needed, was no longer on. The adjustment to get us around Peterhouse and St. Edmunds led to the boat slowing down slightly as the rudder came on, and Selwyn pulling away.
We were then pushed to the absolute limit, going through a Power-10 between First Post and Grassy Corner, getting them back to within almost a length of Selwyn. Around Grassy, bow and 3 put down enough pressure to allow the corner to be taken on almost no rudder at all, and the inside line was once again taken. However, this was soon forcibly given up as Selwyn won the race to bump. Before the rudder came off from the corner, however, we heard the call: "The double overbump is most definitely ON".
Pulling out of Grassy Corner, we put down a huge burst of power in the form of a Commitment-20, having already sprinted almost constantly through the course. Darwin, who started the race at over 12.5 lengths ahead of us, were now within just 3. Darwin disappeared around Ditton corner, but once again support from 2 and 4 took the boat around a tight line, gaining more ground on the crew ahead. Once the corner was clear, we were pushed once again, as yet another Commitment-20 was called. It had the desired effect, as Hall pulled a further half-length on the crew ahead.
Our technique and power on the reach was unrivalled by anything they had produced all term; the synchronised timing making the punishing rate 33 feel like far less, and the boat gliding through the water at impressive speed. A bowside crab momentarily distracted from this perfect rhythm, but having recovered it without stopping, and with calm instruction from the bank, we pressured back up to a high rate and even higher standard of technique.
Despite this, the double-overbump proved, understandably, too great a challenge. Nonetheless, we gained a solid 10-11 lengths on a Darwin crew who retained their status as head of the division; a feat that would be non-trivial in any reasonable non-degenerate positive-definite metric, and I think we can be proud of sustaining a high-rate and high-quality rowing for such a distance.
Day 2 - Bumped Churchill II
After a hard-earned bump on Day 1, Trinity Hall's M2 took to the river again on their second consecutive day of racing. This time, they had First and Third III behind them, and were chasing a poor Churchill II who had been bumped before the apex of First Post Corner the previous day. Needless to say, the crew was confident.
Again, the row up to the start saw impressive technique from the crew, who had had minor issues with balance and sit throughout the run up to the Bumps races. There was none of that today though, as Trinity Hall showed off to other crews on the way to the station. This time, the crew were positioned under the railway bridge, and so nervously anticipated the volume of the four minute gun. This was every bit as jolting as was expected, so the crew knew they would have to fully focus to avoid the sound putting them off at the start.
Despite visibly jumping once again at the one minute gun, they had nothing to worry about for the final cannon. Another perfect push off from Martin Fordham set them up for a strong start yet again, and they had pulled up to within half a length by the lengthen, and were gaining fast by the stride. As on Day 1, 2 and 4 helped get the crew a tight line around the start of First Post Corner, but their pressure wasn't needed for long. Before even reaching the apex of First Post Corner, a very late concession from the Churchill cox, which only came once the Tinity Hall bow was almost riding the Churchill stern, gave Trinity Hall M2 their second bump in as many days. This set the crew up for a difficult race against Selwyn II, which would follow M2's rest day.
Day 4 - Bumped by Clare II
Day 1 - Bumped by Clare
Day 4 - Bumped by St. Catharine's
Day 2 - Bumped by Caius
Day 3 - Bumped by Newnham
Photo by David Ponting. He has an enormous array of nice photos - have a look at his Facebook album and message him if you want to buy prints.
Day 1 - Bumped Peterhouse II
The notorious Station 7 was the beginning of the Trinity Hall W2 campaign in the 2012 Lents.
(One might recall the W2 crew in the 2010 Mays which also found itself starting at Station 7 - immediately next to the start cannons. We are told that Maddy Pascolini-Campbell and Simone Chung (that boat's bow and 2 seat) are finally starting to respond to Eustachian Tube therapy now some twenty months later.)
In any event, this year's crew managed to deflect the inner ear pressure caused by the start cannon's concussions by opening their mouths wide - a trick suggested in sign language by the starter of 25 years.
So with a boom they were off with a brilliant start pulling a quarter length on Peterhouse within the first ten strokes. Then it was all just plain strong steady state rowing.
Nothing fancy, legs down, puddles away, clean recoveries.
By the Gut, W2 was within a quarter length.
With one final push 'round grassy corner Trinity Hall caught Peterhouse - its cox giving the shortest and fastest concession gesture in history. (Looked like someone about to raise his hand in class but just as it goes up he realizes he's about to ask a stupid question so he quickly brings it back down again before anyone takes notice.)
We noticed, as did the umpire. Bump awarded to Trinity Hall.
So after Day One, the good guys are up one with three to go. (Incidentally, with today's Bump, Trinity Hall W2 extends its Bumps streak (begun in the Pascollini-Campbell/Chung W2 boat) to Up 12 Down 0.
Let's make it 13 - 0 tomorrow with a victory over Clare II!
Well Done W2!
Day 2 - Rowed Over
Today, frankly, was predictable. Only a miracle (or a crab) could have altered the results. This is the frustration of Bumps.
Trinity Hall W2, at Station 6, was clearly one of the the strongest crews at the stations at today's Day 2 of the 2012 Lent Bumps. The problem was, Stations 2 and 4 ahead weren't. Thus, Downing W2 caught Darwin W1 way early and Clare W2 caught Wolfson W1 even "wayer" earlier. With all four crews in front of us "Bumped Out", our women could only continue to pull on 1st Station Newnham - but starting at a 10 length deficit behind Newnham for a double-overbump and Head of Division was too much of a gap - especially with the shorter course in the Lents.
So our dear Trinity Hall W2 enjoyed a row over......staying at a +1 over two days of racing and extending the overall W2 score to Up 12 Down 0 over the past 15 Bumps encounters.
BTW - kudos to cox Steph Ward. With carnage in the gut, she steered our boat brilliantly around the traffic and in to open water much to the chagrin of yesterdy's "bumpee" (Sidney Sussex) which had hoped Steph would falter with the wall of boats blocking her line. Not so.
Tomorrow, starting again at Station 6, Trinity Hall is on target to give Wolfson something to think about - and before 1st Post Corner.
Well Done W2!
Day 3 - Bumped Wolfson
March 1st might be remembered as the day the Cam hosted a three ring circus rather than the third day of an otherwise well-run Lent Bumps.
Trinity Hall W2, anxious to bump anyone after having rowed-over the day before, left the Boathouse with Good Luck Beatrice rowing her opposite side at 5 seat due to Mimi's supervision which was scheduled to finish at Sidgewick Site with just enough time for her to scurry into a waiting taxi, rush to the P&E and then replace Beatrice in the boat. Thanks to the recruiting of several off-duty air taffic controllers, we were indeed able to pull the whole thing off - albeit having forgotten that once replaced, poor Beatrice was left without a way home. (She was last seen walking in the direction of Paris but we have high hopes she will return for tomorrow's competition.)
Having made the marshaling point on time, we were forced to wait almost an hour whilst, apparently, the Men's 4th Division had a re-row after a cock-up in the Gut. Rather than enjoying their visualization drills (consisting of calming images, soothing music and thoughts of the "Hunks With Pets" book in the Club Room) the ladies had to endure unwanted overtures from the cox of Sidney Sussex who, it was obvious, had never been invited on a swap and so therefore thought he might pull alongside Tit Hall and attempt a date - starting with our cox and finishing with our bow. Cheeky Devil!!
Didn't work...as our girls snubbed him, one by one.
We finally paddled towards Station 6 (no practice starts) and began to spin just as the 4 minute cannon went off - sending off a touch of panic (or panique in French; panik in German; ulegający panice in Polish; scaoll in Irish; and panico in Italian (we have a cosmopolitan crew)) from which, however, the crew quickly and easily recovered.
BANG!! They're off. Pushing rhythmically and strong, Trinity Hall was within a deck of Wolfson by First Post Corner when, just up ahead, Clare caught Darwin with both crews immediately holding-it-up. But rather than directing the oncoming crews 'round the now stationary boats (which is what Bumps is all about), the Umpire (from Eddie's) truly panicked (paniques; in Panik geraten; przestraszony; tháinig scaoll fúthu; prendere dal panico) and, for some reason only known to lunatics, stopped the race - full-stop right-there right-now. All crews south of Wolfson had to hold-it-up toot sweet with bank parties crashing in to one another and boatmen/coaches going apoplectic, some foaming at the mouth. Martin Fordham, Trinity Hall Boatman and Legend-on-the-Cam, starting speaking in Tongues which, if someone were able to translate, likely would have led to several severe fines being levied in the direction of Trinity Hall.
But since the sun was out, the breeze warm and, for some reason, bats were to be seen in the middle-of-the-day skimming the waters around the crews, everyone reluctantly accepted the news, spun 'round and headed back to their respective stations for the inevitable re-row.
This time, though, there was no-nonsense as the cannon triggered a determined race with Trinity Hall quickly taking care of business at Grassy Corner.
Bump Trinity Hall.
Up 2 Down 0 after three days racing, W2 has kept the streak alive and will go after Darwin tomorrow on the last day of racing.
WELL DONE W2!!
Day 4 - Bumped Darwin
And you wonder why we train so hard in the heatless Boathouse in the cold, frozen depths of Winter when everyone else is sleeping but you somehow manage to cycle down in the darkness with the courage and tenacity to be just that much better than the average university student?
Well now is why.
Congratulations Trinity Hall W2 - Up 3 over 4 days.
And even more laurels for continuing the W2 streak started in the Mays 2010. Since then, in Bumps, W2 is now Up 14 Down 0 Overbump 1 Rowovers 4. Chances are you secured a permanent position in next year's Division for your successors.
Excellent!! First rate!! Top show!!
Never doubt Michael again. ("Jackson", that is............)
And always remember: "When you lose say little, when you win say less."
Well Done W2!!