Head or Dead

head-or-dead-Lents-2011 This week is the Lent bumps, and I’ve been down to watch (except tuesday, when I forgot – since when do the bumps run over 5 days? – and thursday, when it was grey and miserable). Today was a lovely still sunny chill March afternoon, and I was rewarded with some fine bumping action to watch. First I should explain the image, which I stole from a Downing chap. First and Third were head last year (and, I think, a few years before – but I don’t really connect to college rowing) but looked weak on wednesday. The results say that Downing caught them on thursday (video here), and today they were convincingly ahead. So as my Downing chap says, their only trouble might be Caius tomorrow, but I think they are likely to stay head (ahem. I was wrong). Their ladies seem to do well, too. Peterhouse are up as well, in which I take some vicarious pride, as we share their boathouse.

The pic below is from thursday (via this blog, but its actually a Girton-cam video, and well worth a watch; that blog also has the breathlessly exciting story of the bump), and alas I didn’t see it: Downing are closing in on First and Third, but behind them LMBC take a distinctly innovative approach to steering, reminiscent of a certain Chesterton crew from a few years back [James T's photo of the "dent"].

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My favoured position is to watch from first post corner, so you can see the start, maybe watch the head boat come past, then walk / run down watching for an exciting pair to follow. But taking care not to get run over on the towpath, since the boat parties expect to get right of way. Today’s excitement was at Grassy, where there was a desperately exciting thre-boat chase – but showing what a rubbish reporter I am, I can’t even remember which three they were. This was followed by an even more exciting multi-boat pile up, whose centerpiece was ?Fitz? stacking into Magdalene with enough force to nearly rip off stroke’s rigger and, as quickly became apparent, put a huge rent under the boat, which will probably write off the rear section. Oops. Completely pointless too.

[Update: Saturday dawned sunny, and it was a delight to be alive. Sadly I wasn't, at least to start with. By the time I'd woken up there was a thin high haze tempering the sun, and though I took my top off for our last piece (much to Naz's excitement) I regretted it: the light splash of cold water was very cold.

I watch M3 and W2 with some of the Chesterton folk on Grassy. Here we see Trinity Hall II bumping Clare II, with F&T getting a lucky escape:

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Then it was time for a coffee back in town to warm up, and say hello to M. Return for W1 and M1.

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Downing ladies stayed head by quite a margin.

By the afternoon it was grey, and by the time for M1 there was a gentle drizzle. But it was well worth watching: Caius surged to with 3-4 feet of Downing by the Plough (it looked like they were deliberately trying to time their bump for the audience there; that didn't quite work), and then convincingly bumped then not far from the top of the reach. One man was so excited he threw himself and his bicycle into the river, although to be fair it may not have been deliberate - there was a huge press of Caius folk who had been outside the Plough and wanted to see down the reach. And then another couple of bumps occurred - I think Queens got Pembroke and maybe Magdalene on Emma? Anyway, it was jolly exciting. And I found my lenscap - thank to whoever left it on the bin by the end. And so home, to pick up Miranda who had made scones with Sophie.

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The victorious Caius, having knocked Downing off their brief headship on the last day.]