As Jedge would later put it at the Lent Bumps Dinner: “Bumps are like losing one’s virginity – there is always an air of disappointment.” It seemed that this description was made for us. Tuesday, Day 1 – Reconsidering our success
Having achieved one of the coveted spots we were pumped to get foliage for Queens’. Unfortunately, we were one crew member down but got an excellent sub. And off we went for what would be our very first Bump event (or at least for most of us).
The rest happened very quickly. Dr Walker counted down to three, we heard the infamous canon go off and the next couple of seconds were followed by loud screams from our cox who ensured we wouldn’t screw up our start. Which we didn’t. In fact, we were gave it all we had.
With every stroke we took a blistering Clare M1 approached us and it was only half a minute later until we got bumped. The feeling of getting bumped so quickly into the race was frustrating, yet somehow I couldn’t stop smiling. We had given our best, and it clearly wasn’t good enough to fend off an M1 crew. At least we had done well chasing Caius M3 who – if we hadn’t been bumped before – might have fallen prey to Queens’. Either way, we were not intimidated to get leaves the next day. Wednesday, Day 2 – We came, we rowed, we hid in shame
Today wasn’t really our day, let’s be frank. Although spirits were high to row home as crowned winners it just shouldn’t be. Nevertheless, it should be one of the most memorable races of the term.
“5….4….3……………BOOM” And we rowed. Or at least we tried. Something clearly wasn’t working the way it should. While we had been in control yesterday, today we struggled to find a smooth race pace with crew members panicking to speed up a little too much with the desperate aim of bumping the crew in front of us.
Unfortunately, this resulted in an early crab which almost knocked us out as Caius M3 was on our tail. The whistle sounded once, twice…they almost had us! Queens’ supporters screamed their lungs out and cheered us on. We did not give up. Caius or Queens’. Queens’ survived whilst Caius got bumped by LMBC.
Yet, the sigh of relief of having fought off the enemy would become our downfall. The next couple of strokes were visibly more relaxed, thinking a pleasant row over would follow. However, we clearly did not consider a determined Darwin M2 which was coming closer and closer. And closer. Suddenly it kicked in: they’re coming to get us.
We accelerated having found a more solid race pace, but to no avail: the closer Darwin came the more we started to panick – a passionate “kill call” did not help, and we got overbumped just before hitting the reach. Well, that didn’t quite go according to plan now, did it?
All hope wasn’t lost yet as we had still two more days to go. Friday, Day 3: A test of moral endurance
Today we needed to bump. We just had to. We didn’t want to leave our boats until we could proudly strap some greens around our heads. After our abysmal overbump two days ago we wanted to make sure we would row in a controlled and less manic manner.
In fact, it may have been our strongest start routine all week. We hit a good rhythm but it just wasn’t enough as Churchill M3 kept coming closer. Jack’s shouts to increase the rate were muffled by the cheers of the crowds and the adrenaline that was rushing through our veins.
Despite a strong row we were yet again bumped. Today’s row home was quiet. Disappointment was clearly written in our faces; there wasn’t even much to criticise. Still: QCBC M3 would not give up.
Saturday, Day 4: Giving up? Never!
Despite our morale being rather low one thing was clear: QCBC M3 would fight until the last moment. One last time, Mark would push us off the bank with the large metal pole, one last time Dr Paul Walker would count down to 3 until the canon sounded, one last time our cox would scream his lungs out ensuring we wouldn’t mess up the start sequence.
Despite the cheers from the banks and a decent start we did not only manage to crab but one of our oars came completely loose as the rigour hadn’t been done up properly. Oh dear. This did not bode well. It was no surprise that Magdalene caught us as quickly as Clare Hall M1 on the first day. Well, this escalated quickly.
As we continued our row of shame dozens of spectators had come to watch while loud speakers blasted across the banks: “Aaaaaand here comes Queens’ M3 who got bumped, overbumped, bumped… and bumped once again.” Yes, indeed.
With the sun shining on our heads while we were washing the boat somehow our disappointment turned into relief, exhaustion into happiness. After all, we did it – we survived our first Lent Bumps! In the evening, we proudly posed with our wonderful Queens’ spoons in the Old Hall before Lent Bumps Dinner.
Let this be a warning: QCBC M3 won’t regard this as a bad omen. Quite the contrary. We’ll be back for May Bumps. And this time, we’re going for the kill. It will be brutal. Oliver Rieche, Captain