For the majority of the crew, day 1 was to be our first bumps experience and you certainly couldn’t miss the feeling of excitement, anticipation and nerves that took over the boathouse. After 6 long weeks of training, the customary pasta faff and a cheeky facebook stalk of the Caius M3 crew in front, there was a real sense that we could restore some pride to the Robinson M2 name after 2 fruitless years on the river.
After a comfortable row up, a rousing talk from our coaches and for some of us a brief schweffe on the Queens M3 cox, we took up our position and waited for the gun. Following what was possibly the longest 4 minutes in world history, we were off. The start was okay, not our best but we were moving. Quickly we got into our rhythm; and then equally quickly we began to shorten up. But we remained on station with both Clare Hall and Caius 3. Unfortunately this was not to last as the twin demons of the choppy water under the motorway bridge and a strong push from Clare Hall hit us for the first time. As the M1 crew slowly crept up, the situation in the boat became increasingly frantic and all length was lost. With first post corner looming ahead, the whistles started flying in and before too long the bump was made. But this wasn’t the end of the drama. With the sandwich boat charging up behind and Clare Hall failing to clear efficiently it was never going to end well for the Queens 3 crew – or their bow ball for that matter.
So, we rowed home slowly through the rain, with our minds already focused on day 2. With an emotional huddle in the cox’s room we shared our feelings on the days events and discussed our aims for race 2 – overbump on Maggie 3 anyone?