Day 3 of bumps marked a turning point for M2. With only one more boat left in the division behind them, the motivation for not getting bumped had reached its maximum. With the best start M2 have performed all bumps (which admittedly isn’t saying much), they quickly began catching up to Girton II to enact their revenge for yesterday. Several of the crew remarked afterwards, “I saw the whistle in the mouth in preparation for blowing”. Why they had their eyes on the bank party instead of the person in front still remains a mystery. Perhaps it accounts for the troubled times they soon encountered. M2 started to lose boat speed just before First Post corner, and Anglia Ruskin II soon came back in sight. With over a boat length between them and Corpus, the siren was sounded announcing the end of the race due to congestion upriver. It’s a shame that Corpus didn’t have their chance to make up for any ground lost and prove that they had no possibility of getting bumped to the bottom, but we’ll have to take their word for it. Until Saturday.
Another day in which the Corpus women proved their benevolence by kindly gifting Wolfson with a bump at the motorway bridge, a reward for a strong start. Indeed, so grateful was Wolfson for this that they were reluctant to separate from Corpus, continuing at race pace despite the given concession for a few strokes and in doing so broke the coxes nail. Declaring this nail break the 'worst thing that had happened in the last five minutes' the girls paddled home to mourn their loss.
The girls rowed well with no major mistakes - faster and better than Tuesday - but alas fate was not on their side. Still, at the half-way point of the bumps campaign there is still plenty left to play for - let's go girls!
A day of rest allowed for M1's weary legs and Barney's weary arms to recover from Tuesday's long and steady row over. Eager for a punchier, chunkier and basically just shorter race, we were ready to kill. Fuelled by Sam and Harrison's disgusting inedible uncooked pasta and raw mincemeat from the night before, we paddled like dogshit up to the start line to begin the race. The parking was even worse in what would prove to be a mixed day for step-in cox Dan.
Within seconds the Five Year Plan was forgotten. Twelve air strokes off the start and Selwyn dropping their bung early had us no closer than on-station all the way up to first post. With FaT II looking close we almost gave up hope. We were rowing like morons and Selwyn definitely had Blues Felix Newman and Charlie Cullen in their boat, surely superior rowers even to Captain Ladbetter and CUBC trialist Marcin "The Beast from the East" Ziarko.
Then, at our lowest point, when we were all ready to throw in the towel, hope emerged in the most unlikely form. An expertly crafted and brilliantly saved mega crab from 3 seat inspired the crew to pick it up to the fastest piece we have ever done. It was a majestic lesson in the art of damage control. 7 seat Rasheed commented after the race "I was checking the GPS on my watch every stroke, and after the crab we rowed about 10 splits faster. Whoever did that crab is a misunderstood genius".
We were going so fast that Dan couldn't control the boat and, in a move reminiscent of coxes who are no longer with us (may they rest in peace), we skimmed the outside bank moving round Grassy. Not yet ready to take a leaf from the ancient book of Wei-ism, Dan called for stroke side to stop rowing, which was enough even for Barney to spin the boat, and to set us up for the bump. The bump came fast once we finally stopped being total idiots, and we hit Selwyn hard on Ditton. A classic Corpus bump and the first of 2017.
Captain Ladbetter was overheard muttering during the post-race stretch down "I genuinely believe with all my heart that Jan's crab was the reason we managed to bump Selwyn. And my heart is bigger than my 30 min r20 erg. And that is very big". Very big indeed. The next day sees us behind Jesus II again. Who knows what will happen this time. Tune in live on the Corpus Facebook page to watch the race, or listen on CamFM to people who know nothing about rowing get all the bumps completely wrong.