Report: Second day(s) of Lent Bumps 2020

In accordance with Bumps tradition, out of the five days of Bumps, one day is a rest day. The rest day does not occur on the same day in all divisions: As the first boats (division 2) rested their bodies and nerves on the Wednesday, W2 were out for more greenery. Today saw the Sidney first boats back on the river for their second day of racing.


W2 needed no rest, they were ready. Two bumps in one day had little effect on their steely muscles: success followed upon success. A single bump on Wednesday almost sounds trivial, but then again, what can you do when the crew ahead is holding you up. Now time for the W2 ladies to get all that adrenaline out their systems, so as to make Friday’s row calm and collected – and fast.

M1 and W1 were back at it again. After row-overs on the first day, a rest day had done them good. Powerful row-overs are fun, but better still is bumping. Said and done, both first boats were moving up on the second day of racing.

All in all, an awesome couple of second days for the club. Onwards and upwards for Sidney!

We’re not complaining!

Here are some voices from the rank and file:


Still buzzing from our two bumps yesterday, W2 turned up at the Sidney boathouse excited to see what day 2 had to offer. We had our compulsory team huddle and then rowed down to marshalling (successfully psyching out our competitors Queens’ W3 with our scarily efficient method of ‘taking the run’ – thanks Tim N!) and enjoyed watching the finish of the M4/W4 division. After a slight moment of panic at the bank when we feared we may have lost louis and began to mentally prepare ourselves for attempting our first coxless 8, he appeared, leapt into the boat as Cam simultaneously pushed us off, and we were off to the start line!

Waiting at the start we were feeling the pressure to live up to the high standards we had set ourselves on day one. We knew we had it in us to bump Queens’ (having bumped ARU whilst they gained on Queens’) but were ready for a long, hard row.

Our start was slightly more shaky than normal, but we quickly settled into a high and controlled rate, with focus on our trusty strong finishes (giving us all that free speed!), and soon enough we heard 1 whistle signifying we had gained 1/3 of the initial distance on Queens’. With an extra 5% on the legs we continued on, and soon heard 2 whistles! At this point we made our ‘move’ of 3 builds and 2 lengthens which sent us flying, and by the time we were nearing the motorway bridge we had gained 3 whistles.

With shouts of “yeah girls!” from the bank we closed the gap even more until it was time for us to “empty out” (and “empty out” again…) and before we knew it we had overlapped the Queens’ boat and their cox had conceded! (a little early, but who are we to judge?!)

Pulling into the bank we gave 3 cheers for Queens’ and collected our greenery before a lovely row home to many calls of “well done Sidney!”.

Ready for our rest day tomorrow, we couldn’t be happier with our 3 bumps in 2 days – bring on Friday!

— Ella Townend, W2 stroke


The fly and die – – – I was told stories of this mysterious strategy during last year’s bumps campaign. However, I had never witnessed it, and certainly had not seen it come to fruition. It is a complex technique that requires perfect execution and some large bois; luckily we had been working hard in the gym all term and our new stroke coach (which uses GPS to indicate our split) had given us confidence in our speed; without having to rely on how fast the coaches “reckoned” we were travelling during training. Therefore, after a productive final week of training with some very successful sparring we felt comfortable that we were able to adapt our perfectly designed race plan to complete one simple task: bump Eddie’s before Hughes Hall bumped us.

Arriving at the boathouse today, there was a mixture of nerves at having the dominant Hughes Hall behind us, whilst also the relish of a bump on “the spoons-barge of St. Edmund’s” (P. Hirsch, 2020) pottering along ahead of us. As always by our coaches, we were told “just another day at the office” and the row down to marshalling felt chunky and focussed. At marshalling we heard more about the documentary on 18th century mastectomies that Winch had been enjoying which helped to put our minds at rest; just another day at the office. Then we were pushing off into our warm-up sequence, which we completed with some great technical rowing and powerful bursts, giving us confidence that we were ready to fly.

In our pre-race visualisation (where Phyllis whispers the start sequence to us with our eyes closed) there was a clear difference; no stride call. We were just going to go as hard as we could for as long as we could, we were just going to fly and die. Personally, I was excited to see what would happen, who would bump first: Hughes Hall or us. The cannons were upon us in their usual menacing fashion and before I knew it, we were being pushed out yet again, ready to fly.

The gun went off, we smashed through the first few strokes of our start sequence as we picked up the rate to above 40. It felt powerful but very choppy. Nevertheless, before the wind strokes were over, we heard that first sweet whistle and the second whistle soon followed. We continued to close in and were on three whistles in no time – but boy did it feel scrappy. Despite pulling with everything we had, the bump wasn’t coming as we barrelled down first post reach. But then, almost simultaneously, Phyllis called for a move while performing some excellent steering, which in conjunction amounted to cries of “OVERLAP!” from the bank party. Hughes Hall were nowhere to be seen and we were doing it, we were flying. There was a call to hold it up and after a swift clear we were over at the side of the river; we had completed our mission. One bump in the bag and the fly and die mastered. We rowed home happily, and raring to chase Hughes Hall (who managed an over-bump!) tomorrow.

— Joe Tyler, M1 2-seat


We set out on Day 2 of our campaign in glorious sunshine, ready to chase down the Lucy Cavendish boat who had been so quickly bumped by Peterhouse on day 1. Positioned on station 6, next to the outflow, gaining the perfect line after being pushed off was always going to be difficult. By 30 seconds to the third cannon, we were being carefully pushed off by our boatman Tim and it quickly became apparent that the boat was pointing heavily in the strokeside direction. After several taps from bow failed to make a significant difference in helping us correct our line, I let go of a fearful “oh sh*t”, and it travelled along the boat in the final 5 seconds prior to “GO”.

After some heavy rudder work and a strong front load from bow, we managed to quickly line ourselves up behind the Lucy Cav crew. Despite a “colourful” first 3 strokes, we shot up to rate 43 in our 5 builds and soon had closed the gap on the boat ahead to one length. No whistle sounded from the bank however, as Emma, our bank party, soon realised it was not possible to blow a whistle whilst carrying her phone in her mouth (sic.). The choppy waters, combined with a slightly tense W1, meant that we didn’t row our strongest. However, we soon had two whistles on Lucy and were moving into First Post Corner. A poor line from Lucy meant that we could cut them up on the corner and we were soon rowing to the blissful sound of a continuous whistle followed by a swift concede from the crew ahead.

Following a quick park onto the inside bank (praised by the famous CUCBC cox representative Izzy Nimmo) we were soon being passed greenery from Tim on the bank (a first for half of the crew!). A highly successful row but by no means our strongest. we very much look forward to day 3 with a bump on Peterhouse in our sights!

— Joe Shaw, W1 cox

Bring on tomorrow! Halfway through the Lent Bumps campaign is where the wheat is winnowed from the chaff – but when others crumble, we rise.

Yours aye,
Tor Svenungsson, SSBC Editorial Office

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