Duncan Holland writes:

Cambridge Town Bumps have started, last night was round one.  There were the usual high profile (relatively) happenings, (Rob Roy lost the Women’s Headship to 99’s ) and there was the usual wealth of excitement.

Those of you who have read my pieces before will know that I am a fan of Bumps.  How else can you get 94 eights onto a tiny stream for meaningful competition in the space of a few hours?  And for that matter what other town has this many people rowing from such a small population?
My crew bumped up, most of the improvement we have made over the last 2 months stuck, and we caught the St. Radegund crew ahead of us.

I was fascinated listening to us afterwards; the general mood was ‘Could do better’. The thinking, the mix of pleasure at the outcome, the overlay of ‘How to do it better’ was just like a high-performance crew. And therein lies one of the joys of social sport. We know we are slow but get a great buzz out of trying to be better.  

High-performance sport is worthwhile, don’t get me wrong, but what we do is worthwhile too, and costs the taxpayer a lot less!



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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Dot

    It’s interesting to hear the views of someone who has a foot in both camps: the local club scene on one hand and the top athletes on the other. There seem to be many similarities in the build up and the mental preparation for an event.
    Clearly there are huge differences. We are a bunch of Old F*rts – aptly names “Blazing Paddles” by one of our crew – Dick Wallin, with a reference to a film which, if you don’t remember, then you aren’t one yourself! – if you do it will all make sense. However we have been approaching our mountain with lots of discussion, lots of thinking, lots of nervousness too. Top athletes would view our mountain as a molehill on the way to base camp of their own peak I am sure, but for us it’s definitely a mountain.
    We have had the singular pleasure and advantage of counting amongst the crew Duncan Holland, and also, and of equal importance his partner Raf Wyatt.
    So there we were, a bunch of old guys (apologies to Johnny youngster bowman). in the lead up to the bumps, well-coached by our club coach Dave Watson, when Raf volunteers to add her bit on top for the last 4 sessions (with us this means 2 weeks, not 2 days as it would be for top boats!). The difference has been startling and quite a lesson for any poor, reasonable or good crew to take note of. We were, naturally a ready audience. The highly targeted coaching from Raf has snapped us to attention in the boat and enabled us to achieve a position of focus and stability previously unthinkable. In effect her short spell of coaching must have added 5% to 10% to our speed – and this has not involved fitness coaching, work on strength etc, simply improvement of technique.
    Duncan probably expected this could happen. The rest of us didn’t and have enjoyed the experience immeasurably.
    David Levien

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