Day 1: We started the week at Station 9, hoping to go up, but with a fairly novice crew, unsure of our prospects. Day 1 of bumps, always the most nerve-wracking, no matter how many times you’ve done it before – and for 3 of us, it WAS the first time! Plus our captain had a job interview (a successful one, congrats Rachel!), so Sammy, missing rowing on her term off, had agreed to row instead. We warmed up and rowed down, as we’d been practising every outing, Jenny catching a nerve-induced crab that knocked her hat off as we battle-paddled past M2! Such low-rate, high-pressure paddling, we had to do pauses to stop us bumping the crews in front! (Pity pre-race bumps don’t count) .. After sitting around again at the bottom, it was time to get heads in, and Dr Walker’s cannon countdown began … We had an okay start (though actually I can’t remember much, except the adrenaline rush), winding it to above 40, and striding down, but to 37 – we really really wanted to bump Catz, but Newnham were also very keen to bump us! Having started at station 10 and able to cut the corner, they had a whistle from behind (somewhat optimistically?) but we didn’t let them gain any more, and pushed on to get to a length on Catz – spurred on by this, we got 2 and then 3 whistles faster than we had time to think, and bumped them just coming out of First Post! First bump for 4 of us, in less than 500m we rowed home very happy, looking forward to the next day and the chance of another bump!
Day 2: Knowing that we could take on Caius if we rowed well, and with the success of yesterday fresh in our minds, we started off hard. Striding to 33 we gave chase. The first whistle was ours by First Post and from there we just stepped it up. Caius had no hope as we raced from one whistle, to two, to three to overlap, all within Plough reach. We got the bump before Ditton corner. A second successful day.
Day 3: The pressure was on for day 3. We were starting under the motorway bridge, with the canon deafening us as it sounded. We were aware that Clare were slightly faster the Caius so we were prepared for a longer, harder race today. It took us until Grassy corner to get our first whistle, but then, as the day before, the whistles just kept on coming. With onlookers cheering us from the Plough, and Michael and bow four’s excellent cornering, we took them round Ditton. Three bumps, three days.
Day 4: We were psyched for a hard row on our final day of bumps. With three bumps already, we were both excited and nervous. We knew that FaT could mess up all our hopes if they got caught by Downing too early. Having escaped the canon under the motorway bridge, we were still not prepared for the noise of the canon. We absolutely went for it off the start, and gained our first whistle on Downing just past First Post. This spurred us on with both the rate and the power coming up. Then we heard the almost inevitable from Michael “they’ve bumped out in front of us, we are going to have to go for the overbump”. Downing had bumped FaT just before the Plough. We continued the long slog of the rowover, with Clare in the dust far behind us. Jesus were unable to pull away from us but the initial gap was just too big. Tired, but happy with the overall week we rowed home, and subsequently went for a brief, if chilly dip in the Cam to celebrate!