Saturday, 21 July 2012

Bumps day 4

339393_10100315486739210_1260095019_o Overall: M1-, W1-, M2+, W2=, M3-.

Tally at the end: M1 =, W1 =, M2 +1, W2 -3, M3 -1; overall -3.

[Day 1, Day 2, Day 3]

Again, a skeleton that needs filling in. For the moment, I've nicked some of David Pontings fine pix: find more on facebook.



Tonight the plan was to eschew the hard-but-steady attack on Nines of yesterday in favour of the all-out attack that had worked so well on Tuesday. Ah, hindsight: had we but flung this at them yesterday, it could all have been so different. But it seemed to make sense at the time. A lesson.

A reasonable start, again as per day 2 up to 41 and holding it high until past the motorway bridge. St Neots, behind, as expected were coming up - but not too fast. And we could hear the "nearly a length" calls from the bank on Nines 2. By the end of first post reach that had closed down, to maybe 3/4 - but at the same time St Neots had come up shockingly fast; that shows rather clearly on the video I saw in the Waterman last night. We had a rocky patch of maybe 10 strokes where things just weren't right, a little before the corner.

Not far around the corner St Neots thought they had got us - they certainly had overlap, and maybe enough, but James didn't concede and the marshall didn't give it, although St Neots stopped. But they very soon got going again, and although we then got to perhaps 1/2 length on Nines - I'm not sure exactly - St Neots came back like a steam train and it was all over.




'Oh look, I can see a plover'


Final day of bumps and it needs to be glorious. Our crew line-up needed to be changed around to get a last minute sub for Chris W. (who fell ill the night before) into the boat. This meant shifting Dave B. to stroke side and Tom into seat 5 behind me.

(Now! Please excuse the metaphors but ...) On the menu for tonight is one hot and juicy serving of Club 99's 4 boat and we are very hungry. As was noted, this crew was on its way to earning their spoons for this year and so we would have to bump them ASAP to retain some kudos from it. Our start was brilliant and we managed to lengthen out smoothly after the completion of the winds for a fast (for M2) boat. We gained rapidly on 99 and almost crammed our bow into their stern just the other side of the A14 bridge. After that things became generally chaotic as we scrambled to get out of the way of the other on-coming boats. This ended with a decidedly disturbing thud after hitting the bank and snapping off about 7 cm of P O' Kanes bows (oops!).

Oh no not again thought the P O'Kane.


At last! A row-over, which must have felt as triumphal as a bump up. Well done.









Thursday, 19 July 2012

Bumps day 3

Summary: M1=, W1=, M2=, W2-, M3 ==

Tally so far: M1 +1, W1 +1, M2 =, W2 -3, M3 =; overall -1.

[Day 1, Day 2].

For anyone who hasn't stood under the motorway bridge when the guns go off, I took a little video of it. You need to hook up some big speakers to really appreciate it.



Well, we knew this would be hard, but we had high hopes. Yesterday's superb bump of Tabs 3 had brought us a respite behind us and a clear shot at Nines 2 ahead of us. And we all agreed on the strategy, which was not to expect it to be easy and not to expect an early bump. And we mostly put it into practice, except somehow along the way it just turned down the spur a little too low; perhaps the respite behind us wasn't what we needed. In retrospect, too much like a replay of last years day 3. So while we closed to within 3/4 a length of Nines, we couldn't get closer. Rowing in the choppy water was hard, and they had clearish water ahead of them, Champs 1 having sprinted off to take out Robs 2.

Tomorrow we have St Neots behind us again, so its back to the all-out sprint off the start strategy: no lack of spur there. I'm looking forward to it.

[Pic by David Ponting; see his facebook page. Nines 2 look composed. And at least they know how to hold their heads up.]


W1 - Champs sandwich!

From our in-boat correspondent:

After Day 2's debrief we decided what we needed was an outing! But we settled on a legs only warm up, after which we had a powerful and confident row up to the start. The race started well with a better start and we had Champs 2 in sight. With no danger from Champs 3 behind we kept grinding on. At grassy Champs 2 bumped out in front of us. But it wasn't game over... we were on for the overbump. With fabulously motivational coxing we pushed and pushed all the way down the Reach but the finish line came too soon. A truly epic row-over. And Day 4 we have Naz's crew. Bring it on!

[Pic by DP. Another: on the way to the start].


From our in-boat correspondent: By day three this this starts to feel like another routine. Tonight we chased City 7 with Champs 5 behind. The general race prediction was that there was no chance of catching City 7 before they bumped and that we would have no problem holding off Champs. Personally I think this was setting the wrong attitude in the boat to make predictions like that, but that's just me. As it turns out City 7 bumped just after the A14 bridge and we did manage to keep Champs far enough astern (but they did manage to get uncomfortably close at times) and we rowed over with no chance in hell of an over-bump. Excellent job by the crew in keeping it together and once again to our cox (Fio) who is managing to bring boat and men together skilfully.




Row over head of M4; followed by a (distant) row over at the bottom of M3. Well, they can't say they aren't getting their money's worth.

Tomorrow will be more testing: they have a crew on for blades behind them at the start. Here is a bit of video of them idling back down the reach, if you want to check them out.
616058_10100314978587550_804382758_o The Smith, in its unnatural habitat.


* JET, M1 * JET, W1

* Amy

Bumps day 2

Summary: M1+, W1=, M2+, W2-, M3+=.
Tally so far: M1 +1, W1 +1, M2 =, W2 -2, M3 =; overall 0.
[Day 1, Day 3]
Chesterton now has a twitter feed, courtesy of Amy. #TownBumps seems to be the bumps tags in other people's feeeds. We're @ChestertonRC.


The glorious summer weather was out in force for the start of mens division 2 yesterday. But scroll forward to about 2:45 for the 4-boat bumpfest coming round first post: champs 4, followed by champs 5, with our boys chasing them, and the hi-quality low-practice Chaotiques featuring Tom Watt coming up behind. Well rowed chaps, and nice steering from Fio.


Another day another race. Today's task was to bump Champs 2 and hold off City 5, who were keen to get us back for bumping them the previous night. We had a good start but City 5 were faster and although we gained on Champs before we knew it City 5 were bearing down on us and with whistles blowing and their blades in sight we gave a hard push, they panicked and caught a crab and we escaped. As they faded into the distance we turned our attention to Champs in front. We kept plugging away and gave a final push out of Ditton but it wasn't to be. But we kept pushing nevertheless as tomorrow we'll get them. A valiant row over.

[Some video by madprof featuring the world's latest concession, but us only briefly.]


Picture by Amy After a first night of relative calm Wednesday was always going to be rather more challenging. St Neots traditionally give it all at the start (perhaps because they fear Grassy Corner?) and this year is no exception, they are blisteringly fast and they were right behind us. In contrast Tabs 3 ahead of us are a weaker crew than they were in 2010 when they bumped us. So it was bump or be bumped and all three boats knew it.

After an inspirational team talk the row down was excellent, composed and focussed (aside from 7 losing his seat in the first practice start, but we won't dwell on that). Marshalling went smoothly and Chris S gave another rousing call to arms as the heavens opened at the 4 minute gun. The rain stopped again as the countdown ran down and we launched off the start winding up to 41 and "settling" at 40. As we had planned there was no transition to steady state and Andy kept us charging toward 1st post corner sacrificing efficiency for outright power and short term speed. The whistles came quickly, a length then half a length from Tabs 3. However, behind us St Neots had made the expected quick start and rapidly gained on us eventually gaining overlap at the entrance to 1st Post Corner. They were well placed on the inside and for a moment they looked like they might just have us, but just when it looked impossible Chris sounded his horn to tell us we had overlap with Tabs 3 (he was lying as it transpired but it was an inspired move). The crew responded magnificently pushing St Neots back as James took a superb line around the corner and in seconds it was all over. Tabs conceded and we easied. St Neots were only a couple of feet behind and also had to stop as we scrambled for the offside bank to let them past. Eventually St Neots fought their way through and disappeared around Grassy Corner with Champs close behind while we fought for breath and tried to make sense of what had just happened. As we collected our willow thunder rolled ominously and the skys darkened, we rowed back in dramatic conditions the usually tranquil Cam unusually fast flowing and brown after the recent floods and the threatening sky brightened by occasional lightning flashes. Strange bearded natives cried "beer" from the riverbank but the Pubs were calling us home for a well deserved celebration.

[By James Howard. Picture by Amy. "madprof" has good video from Grassy, though it doesn't include us. Does show the eventual St Neots / Champs / City pile-up. Mel has Jo's video of us.]


Down again I'm afraid :-(


Bumped Outspoken with no trouble, well done! [I have some video I hope which I can add.] That put them back at the head of M4, and therefore sandwich boat for the men's third division, chasing Press. Who were still fast. Ahead of Press were the Vets, who Press could catch, but ahead of them was "the slowest boat on the river", who the Vets could catch... ah, but if they held out long enough, Press could get the Vets and we could overbump the snails. But alas: the Vets disposed of the snails in short order; ahead, the next few pairs were gone too, leaving Press nowhere to go. We gallantly chased them at a distance of about 3 lengths, but it was a row-over.


Please email (or leave comments) of any coverage.

* Amy

* Electric Six - Down At McDonaldz

* CN report

* M2 in post-bump willow

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Bumps day 1

Summary: M1=, W1+, M2-, W2-, M3-.

[Day 2, Day 3]

It was looking like a poor start for Chesterton: m3 went down to a fast Press crew off a harried start; w2 were rowed down by St Mary's; and M2 did a superb start outside the Plough but then crabbed just after the start in the actual race.
However, W1 came back happy and smiley with willow in their hair having bumped City 5; and M1 had an excellent row-over.


181374_10150909855480373_287460316_n w1-city5 From our in-crew reporter:
W1 - With a warm up on the ergs at the Combined followed by a confident row up to our station we were ready to hunt down City 5. Even the premature firing of the four minute gun didn't spook us. Janice was soon counting us down for the final minute and Freya pushing us out. We were tuned into Janice's voice 15...14... (all except Alex our Bumps Virgin who was caught by surprise by the start!).
After a shaky start we soon got into our rhythm, going round First Post Corner we were still on station. The crews had bumped out behind us so we knew we were safe and we knew we would catch City because Alison, our cox, said so, so we knew it was true even if from the bank it looked like the gap wasn't closing.
With fabulous coxing round Grassy and out of Ditton us older ladies came into our own. Alison called for a Bumps 10 and we went off like a rocket. Alex could hear their cox saying they're going to get you - and we did! Lots of smiley faces and willow.
For City's view (from which I nicked the pic, about 0.1 secs before they concede), see this video. They look so tired by Grassy.


266008_10100313849066120_1283725588_o M1, you'll remember, ended last year in a Champs sandwich with their M1 ahead and their M2 behind. We knew we were about as fast as last year - and the timed race confirmed that - but we knew very little about Champs, since they hadn't entered. St Neots, behind Champs 2, were rumoured to be fast; as were City 3 behind them.
I'd gone to watch M3 and W2 and found that my pre-race calm was being disturbed by all the excitement and the cheering. I settled down as we fell into our pre-race routine, which I found enormously helpful: we did just the kind of stuff we'd normally do, and James called the practice starts just as he normally would. All routine. Steven Andrews was just back from Greenland, and due to the rainfall and treefall on we hadn't managed to have our Sunday "re-integrate Steven" outing; but that didn't seem to matter.
For the race itself: we got a good start, and rowed well. Before first post St Neots had got Champs 2 behind us, and City were way back; and just before first post we passed Champs 1 who had bumped an apparently poor Tabs 3 (Hills Road) crew. At that point we needed to be heedful of the pre-race warning to not relax too much, in case City 3 did the unthinkable and overbumped us. But as we went past the Plough they were still way back, and although they caught up a little on the reach it was a calm make-no-mistakes row on our part by then.
For the second day: we have a fast crew behind us and a slower crew ahead: there is all to play for.
[Pic: David Ponting. See his facebook page for many more.]
[Update: it turns out that City 3 are very short-sighted ;-)]


From William D:
After being polled out at 40 seconds to go our bow was pointed a little too far out to the far side of the river and our cox had to make some quick calls to get bow pair pointing us back into position for the start. We were still manoeuvring when the final gun sounded but we managed to get it together quickly enough for a fast start. Now, from what I heard, the city boat we were chasing did not have a such great start, so I think we had a very good chance of catching them in the gut if all things had remained equal. However our 4 seat managed to get the crab from hell within 3 or 4 strokes of lengthening out and he had a hell of time to recover it giving the chasing boat time to get within half a boats length of us before we could get our selves together for another big push. Now with the Champs crew less than a boats length behind us we were off again and for about 5 strokes we actually managed to push away from them. But, the panic had set in at that point and too many in the crew shorten-up to try match the rating stroke needed. And that was it; Champs made the bump before the A14 overpass. What a miserable way to start and end the first night.
In consolation, we have an excellent chance at catching Champs for day two.
Crew: Boat: PO Kane. Cox - Fio B; s - Ralph; 7 - Dave R.; 6 - Will D.; 5 - David B.; 4 - Andi R.; 3 - Simon G. (Boat Captain); 2 - Giulio B.; b - Simon E.


JET (thanks Meg): M1 (Chris stop diving at the catch), M2, W1 (nice backsplash). By goodness there is some ropey old rowing at the top of M1: Robs 2 look awful.
Every year tech advances...
W2: an exciting race, and when you pulled away to clear water around first post I thought you stood a good chance. But alas.
M3: the start is a bit harried (and getting the blade the right way round will help tomorrow; well recovered, though). Watch out for the worlds slowest runner in white. The Press crew behind you looked to be pretty good for their position. Another M3 fragment from someone else; much better quality video.
M2: practice start.
This one isn't Chesterton: but its for M3. Its the bottom of div 3, and shows Press (who bumped M3) bumping Outspoken very quickly; rather quicker than they got you. So tomorrow you should start at #2, and have Outspoken at #1, and should have a good chance of getting them.

Other views

* Amy

Saturday, 14 July 2012


It has been a wet July but last night was just silly. Here are some pix.

From Drop Box

The willow downstream of the Fort St George bridge has gone in, nearly (but, we think, not quite) blocking traffic.


Apparently the little bridge there is damaged too.

From Drop Box

Peterhouse fours shed is distinctly wet underfoot, though it looked to me as though Wild Thing was OK. The view from outside shows that the main boathouse, being higher, was OK.

From Drop Box

City looks damp. Lets hope they didn't leave anything on the floor! Lucky Duck is riding high.

And finally, just for me


* Amy provides the narrowboaters view (and some sympathy for town folk flooded) as does Pippin from Bottisham. * CN pix

Monday, 9 July 2012

Bedford Sprint Regatta

We went to Bedford Sprint Regatta - the ladies W1 in Dawn Treader as IM3 and Nov, in order to get at least two races; and me in Joy as MasC 1x. In this I continued the care in event selection that Will and I displayed so well at Peterborough, only worse: my opponent in the first round, a nice chap called Audinis, won two FISA gold medals in Poznam, and only the day before had won the MasD category at Henley Vets. Oddly enough, I didn't get past the first round (verdict: "easily"). However it was still fun, and afterwards I had a nice quiet scull under the finish bridge and further. But I learnt a useful lesson, which is: enter more than one category if you have the spare time.

My race was just before 1, and the ladies as IM3 were just after 3, leaving me time for tea and cake in Bedford's rather pleasant boathouse overlooking the river (jealous, moi?) and a quick browse of Hobbes. They were against Bedford Girls School, and despite a decent row ended up two lengths down. However, that was as IM3, so there was some hope for them as Novice at 4:30. That one was against Norwich, and I stood on the start bridge to video it, as you see. It looked about level as far as I could see, with Norwich perhaps slightly ahead, and alas they did win by 1 1/2 lengths in the end. So, no medals for us this time round.

Bedford is a nearby regatta and easy to get to. We really should have put some more boats in - the novice IV's looked quite ropey and distinctly beatable, and perhaps the pairs too :-)

A couple of pix, in case you don't know Bedford. This is a view of the start (oddly enough) taken from the right (embankment) bank. I rather likes the situation of the start-girl on her moored pontoon in the middle of the river.

After the start there is a slight curve around to the left (as you look down the course) that I should have studied more carefully, as a scull, though its clear enough for a coxed boat. I watched a City pair on the left (boathouse) bank nearly hit the bank on the corner.

And her is Joy, looking very bright and shiny and pleased with herself for getting a chance to go off Cam for what I suspect is the first time in ages.

Oh look, here is a view of the course I happened to take, because I liked the foreground of the pontoon. These are all with my poor quality camera phone, sorry. You see the bend in the course, and just at the end, on the right bank, you can just make out the rightmost low arch of the bridge - its a bit of a nightmare getting back through that arch.

There is lots of nice space to warm up after the bridge, and Star Bedford is down there too, and several km of quiet river after that.

The Ladies start as IM3. No-one can ever sit bolt-upright at the start, not even the lovely young girls from Bedford Girls School, and they have probably studied Deportment and Bearing.