April 11th, 2018 Another Edition of CORC Bumps!
The good thing: the OARC had a crew on the river to take part into this year edition. As the tradition has it, we were all invited to attend the pre-race safety briefing at CORC boathouse. This is really something not to be missed. Why? Because if you are new to Oxford, new to rowing, you will be exposed to John Hill’s wit. The humorous introduction to the do’s and don’ts on the river when racing the Bumps has to be experienced, besides all the obvious safety info needed. For Nick, who will be coxing us, for Massi, who has kindly agreed to marshalling duties, and for me, there is a lot of information to take in. And of course, we need to get used to the jargon, which is also part of the fun.
Ok, we are all briefed and ready, we have checked with race control, we are good to go.
…or are we?
The bad thing: sure, we have a crew …but the reality is that we have only managed to row once together. The heavy rain has closed the river for most of March and, apart from some land training, we did not get much of adult supervision (a.k.a coaching) to fix us. We know we’ll be fighting an ‘uphill battle’. If it wasn’t bad enough, I am rowing on bow side. No matter how hard David tries to tell me this is the side where the Gods of Rowing live, I am far from being a complete convert.
There we are: Nick, Art, David, Alex and myself sitting at front stops in our trustworthy Empacher, Martin. Jon is holding the boom. The 1 minute horn is blown and this is when we all go quite. Check the gates once more (we saw what happened in the previous division to that unfortunate crew!), check the blade position. “2, a tiny tap” quips Nick, who does his best to line us up properly. Chasing us is a mighty 4 from CORC. They obviously don’t have our ‘wisdom’ (our bow side could be their dads!)….we’d be happy if we could hold them up all the way through the….gut !
Off we go!! Draaawww 1,…. Draaaawww 2……, Draaaawwwww 3…..and lennnnngthen now, ….lennnnngthen 2….After the “lengthens” comes a power 10, which …..has suddenly morphed into a #power_all_the_way_down_to_the_head_because_we’ve_just_been_bumped.
Here we go again, legs are burning, lungs are burning and the boat feels super heavy …Of course! it is a 4 and it is so much more demanding. We keep pushing because we don’t want to be bumped again by another crew!
In our second race, despite great work by our other Alex, our “Mr Perche” this time around, we were bumped by New College crew (and our friend Ollie). We put up a decent fight but they caught us. The fun was only to start though. We would be chasing them in the next division. We’d give it all. In fact, it got even more interesting as that we would be chased ourselves by a very young, and very fit mixed crew from CORC. We held them back in the previous division but they were now really eager to get our scalp (they’d deserve it).
But as I said before, our crew was full of wisdom. We were also blessed with a remarkable quality: magnanimity! We all felt we could not damage those teenage egos!… So we let the CORC crew catch-up with us (honest, it happened just like that! …hmmm) but at the same time we managed to give Ollie’s crew a bit a of scare, nearly catching them before exiting the gut but we missed it by a pip.
CORC bumps race was a great event. We are thankful to all the volunteers at CORC and all the marshalls for making this possible. We had fun and, by the end of our fourth and last race, we almost managed to fix our balance.
Having said that, it would have been nice to have more time to train as a crew….. so let’s get ready for next year.
Also, our Accies side-by-side race 2017 (*) beat the CORC bumps hands down 🙂 ….we ought to do it more often!
(*) organised in an impromptu fashion between 2 Accies 4 crews following the cancellation of last year CORC event, which saw the underdogs prevail, on a beautiful and warm spring day)
Rowing is an amazing sport!
If you want to experience this, join the Oxford Academicals Rowing Club and train with us for CORC Bumps 2019