Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Bumps 2018: day 1

TL;DR: down just past Ditton to Tabs 3.

[Jo's video from the bike] [Simon's video from First Post]

I forgot to write my "pre bumps" post this year, so can't quite capture what I would have said yesterday. But I turned it over in my mind, and what I thought was that the crew had gelled well, we were consistently paddling at 1:55 and starting at 1:25 and below, and sustaining it well. Pre-bumps prep had gone about as well as it could have, and if only we weren't too unlucky in our choice of opponents, we could do well. My assessment was that City 2 (9), whilst respectable, were likely to be the best target; Nines 2 (10) could easily be good; and Tabs 34 (12) could be better.

Alas, we were unlucky in our choice of opponents; and didn't row our best.

The day went well for the club: W3 rowed over, M3 bumped up, W2 bumped up, M2 bumped up - we cheered them as we rowed down towards Stourbridge - and W1 bumped up - we cheered them after we'd pushed off. I'd managed my nerves well enough, and cheered loudly for M3 to get something out of my system. The row down to the start was decent; the start itself was a little delayed and we didn't get out of the boat. With Chris Smith and Will Miller and others there to push us off there was no worries on that score. And so to the start, which I'll write before I look at the GPS trace. I had my head down and mind empty, which got me from the four minute to the start gun, but my mind was so empty I forgot to turn the riggercam on.

The start itself was good. Sometimes we have a tendency to drop to bowside around stroke 5, but that didn't happen this time. All went well, Tabs weren't gaining and, although we had no whistles, Keith assured us we were gaining on Nines 2. Somewhere towards First Post there was I think a bit of a swerve on the steering, possibly associated with avoiding Robs 2 bumped around there. Our lines around First Post and Grassy were decent, but it was rough and we didn't cope with that as well as we could; nonetheless it was I thought still fairly good. Tabs were perhaps a length or less off at Grassy1, and closed down Plough Reach, and put on a commendable spurt at three whistles to take us down just round Ditton2. There were a fair number of crews bumped out along the way, one of which was the City 2 / Nines 2 pair ahead of us.

Now looking at the GPS trace... start 1:25, which is good but not our best. And there was a patch of 1:40 down FP. And 1:40 down Plough Reach. A14 to FP was 1:37 (1:17) compared to my best of 1:26 (1:08) on Friday 2013. A14 to Plough was 1:40 average (3:32) compared to my best of 1:37 (3:26) on Friday of 2016.

[Update: Strava-trawling, I can find Tabs 2: 1:16 to First Post. So it's a shame they swapped their 2 and 3 crews5. And we were only 2 seconds slower to the Plough than Press.]

So I think the numbers somewhat contradict my impressions of the race: we slowed more on First Post than I thought.

We could row better tomorrow. We could, optimistically but realistically, take more than 5 seconds off our time to the Plough. Had we done that tonight, we could possibly have stayed clear of Tabs 3 to the Railway bridge, so I fear tonight will have to join my list of disappointing first nights (or looked at another even more optimistic way, 8 seconds off to FP could have seen us bump Nines 23). However, given Tabs 3 speed once they'd pulled themselves together, I think we'd have to row at our very best to have survived them.


1. False memory to some extent; and anyway that's not what I was concentrating on. Jo's video shows them half a length off on the exit from Grassy, and I think you can hear their first whistle around FP. 

2. From the vid: I hadn't realised at the time how wide we were around Ditton, probably inevitably due to Tabs on the inside; but it meant we were doomed at that point anyway as we would inevitably have lost half a length round the full corner.

3. Yes, I am getting carried away with might-have-beens. Sorry.

4. Slightly confusingly, the crew who were traditionally Tabs 2, their "intermediate men", are this year their 5th boat. Their actual second boat is the Hills Road Returners; and third third boat (on order on the river) is labelled as "M2".

5. The HRR only just escaped Nines 2 on day 2.


* GPS trace from Tabs 2. who appear to be about the same speed as us.
* Day 0 thoughts from last year.

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