Weather Report: A Bumpy Week Ahead by Becca Auster.
Bumps nerves always start early. In fact, perhaps even as early as the point in which you find yourself agreeing to be in a crew *again* – you know it’s madness, you feel like you’ve done your time and yet yes, there you go again “yes, of course I’d love to row in the bumps”.
So here we go, June 2021. The pressure is on, you’ve just won the timed race for the women. Your crew got blades in 2019. Covid pissed on the parade in 2020. So expectations are high.
The low level anxious excitement kicks in a week or so before, with peak nerves landing as soon as that first canon goes. But alas, day 1 couldn’t start that smoothly… would have been too easy right? After managing to keep Covid restrictions at least a boat length away, it was the weather (in true British fashion) that looked as though it could really rock the boat. With forecasts of thunder and lightning and radars showing a pretty damming picture, the WhatsApps soon began to buzz. By 3pm the BBC were at risk of being flooded with applications for weatherpeople as the crew suddenly practised their weather reports:
“It’s hailing here” “it looks as though the torrential rain is heading away from cherry Hinton” and so on.
Against the odds, we made it to the boathouse under moody skies. The feeling of electric energy couldn’t have been a more accurate description. After the final weather reports sorry, pep talks were done we set off under the sounds of distant rolling thunder and ominous skies, down to the start.
In position, ready to go… wait, am I ready? In creeps those thunderous thoughts – again, “why did I volunteer for this utter madness?”
No time to dwell, with the canon erupting as loud as the thunder the crew got off to a lightning start, quickly moving to within a length of St Neots. Then a length became half a length and then the three whistles could be heard. The split second thought of “oh wow, we have actually got this” flashed across my mind…and disappeared as quickly as a lightning bolt as City W2 appeared from nowhere with their ‘fly or die’ call.
The whistles were erupting, as was the bank, as was my heart by that point. Surely we have bumped them… it was Grassy corner, now or never. The City boat was getting ever closer, but not close enough. Champs W1 drove on, with the St Neot’s boat being as resistant as Covid.. Just as it looked like City were within two strokes of getting their bow ball level with our cox, St Neot’s conceded. Champs W1 got the bump.
It certainly felt like we got our bumps fill in one night, how is it that there’s three more to go…
Weather warning: orange alert, watch out for the flashes of orange. Risk of endangering willow.
Given a solid start after the gun sounded M1 just could not manage to get the speed necessary to catch City 3 before Cantabs 4 bumped us just clear of A14 overpass