Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Silver in Munich

For those of you that havn't seen the race, you can view it here on the BBC.

Some rowing trivia for you - when you line up on the start line you can be easily blown by the wind as you try and hold your position.  Two things help you stay in a straight line and make sure that you all start exactly on the line. 1) The stakeboat boy/girl - my brother Ben is hoping to be one at the Olympics and basically consists of hold the end of the boat while lying on your front on a pontoon. 2) Electronic "Clog" system - "Clogs" (they look like a lunch box) are raised from under the water, when you are held by the stakeboat boy/girl.  Its a small perspex box where you position your boat so that if the wind blows across the boat won't move.  The starting system is all electronic, so when the buzzer and lights go, the clog drops (fast) and releases all six eights like greyhounds at a dog track.  If you click on the link to the footage above, you can see a small splash of water at the front of the boat when the buzzer goes, that's the clog retracting back to its watery grave.

All in all, it was a strong weekend of racing for GB Rowing and my crew was very much part of that.  We had four strong races and performed consistently against the rest of the field.  I, and the rest of my crew, don't get up in the morning to collect a silver medal - we are here for one thing, and that thing is to beat people; but what is positive from the weekend is that we tried a few things, we raced honestly and we have clear focus' for the coming weeks.  What was very clear to me was that we were the only eight (bar possibly the French) to have total faith in our own programme.  On the first day we had two races; one a time trial, the other our heat [report here].  With the exception of France, we were the only crew to totally commit to the time trial.  In my eyes that can be for only one reason - that they didn't want to put themselves at a disadvantage during the "real" racing and therefore conserved energy aka they didn't know if they could still perform under extra pressure/fatigue and therefore opted out.  The World Cup races are very important races (they are 3/4 of the main international races we do each year), but they are a means towards the World Championships (which are a means towards our primary goal, the Olympic games).  It's important to use every opportunity on that path, and I feel we used our weekend well.  We raced Sunday afternoon and I was back training 7:30am Monday.

The next World Cup is in Hamburg [Germany] on the 17th-19th June.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Munich Day 2 - Repercharge

Today we raced at 15:06 BST in our repercharge; we won the race, with the Netherlands a close second followed by France and China.  We race at 12:58 BST and you can watch live streaming of the race online at http://www.worldrowing.com/live-results or on the Red button on the BBC.

At the moment Man U and Barcelona are 1-1 at Wembley, its good for the Man U fans - only a short tube ride to get home from the game.

Tomorrow I will paddle early in the morning, get the system woken up and then will prepare myself for the final.  Hope everyone is enjoying the Bank Holiday weekend!

Friday, 27 May 2011

Munich Day 1 - TT and Heat

Tom Solesbury looking crisp at bow (far right)

Today has been a busy racing day.  It started with a TT at 1:35pm and a heat at 18:36pm.

We, along with most GB crews, performed strongly in the TT.  This is for two reasons 1) we are a really strong team competing for medals in most events 2) other nations couldn't be bothered.  For some the TT offered a chance to skip a round and go straight to the semi or final; for others, like the men's eights, it didn't really mean a whole lot and was more of a formality.  We took this challenge on and performed well, others backed off and minced down the course.  You say tomato, I say tomato.  We posted the fastest time of any boat.

As evening approached, we prepared for the heat.  We drew Germany, Netherlands and China - all strong crews, particularly Germany who are the reign world champions from 2009 and 2010.  Our race was a mixed bag, showing some great strengths and things to learn from.  We came second to the Germans by two seconds with the Dutch and Chinese a few seconds behind that.  The first place gives the Germans a bye into the A-final; we will race the repercharge tomorrow at 16:06 local time (15:06 BST).  You should be able to view it at worldrowing.com/live-results.

Tom Solesbury was "puckering" today as he realised he had forgotten his racing all-in-one (main piece of clothing).  Thankfully for him I often carry a spare in my bag and so was able to lend him one of mine - might have been a bit tight, but they performed well and qualified for the A-final.

I've been updating my Twitter now and then; I threw a few people off with a tweet that posted while I was on the start line - you can follow me @nrod2012.  Keep an eye out for some mid-race tweets.

Matt Wells has had his ghost writer typing for him again at redexpress2012.com.  Today's post cover's nine ways to execute a time trial.  They left off "No. 10 - The Hogwarts Express" - it consists of the Weasley twins, a couple of brooms each and a stiff yellow snake to use as a boat; then just let the magic happen.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Night before Day

Here is a video I took a few days ago while at Dorney lake, I've uploaded a few other clips to my new YouTube channel ["nrodvlog"]; You should also be able to view it on the left hand side (part-way down).

Today we had two good sessions on the course in Munich.  We will have two races tomorrow; the first at 12:35 BST; the second at 17:35 BST.  Our first race is unusual as it will be a time trial over 1900m.  Readers of previous posts will know that we often do this as part of our National Trials, but I have never had to do it in an international race.  The reason FISA (the World Governing Body) is doing this is to practice the procedure should it be required at events where the weather prevents fair racing in a side by side format.  It should be interesting how it pans out...

The second race will be our heat.  The heats will be seeded from the time trial and the winners will go straight to the A-final.  Places 2-6 will have to race again in the repercharge (Sat).

Both races can be watched live at here on the World Rowing website.  I don't think there will be a live video feed until the finals on Sunday.

I'm aware my posts have become slightly sterile and will look to juice them up a bit where possible!  Comments and suggestions welcome.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Munich Awaits

Today I, and the rest of the GB Rowing Team,  landed in Munich onboard flight LH 2471.  Everyone told me that the weather was going to be rubbish and so packed a full 20kg of wet-weather gear; instead I emerged from the plane into 24 degrees of clear skys and light breeze.  Munich airport is no stranger, and so made the usual route from arrivals to the coach park.  From there it was straight to our hotel (Victor's Residenz-Hotel Munchen) for lunch.  After lunch I saw the physio (Sally) for a bit of work on my hip and side.  The bus to the course arrived at 3:30pm, everyone in the team boarded to unload the boats from the trailer and go for a session.  Today we had a great session and made a real positive start here in Munich.  Here is an extract from Matt Wells on his blog @ http://www.redexpress2012.com/ -

"With all the talk being of the Ash Cloud the sequel descending on Europe again. We thought that we would be up against it, even just getting to Munich.
But we are here and all the kit has arrived in the same condition it left. That is thanks to the team of drivers and equipment managers who do an amazing job, going far beyond what is ever expected of them. Without this experienced and unflappable team working tirelessly behind the scenes British rowing would never be the successful sport it is.

When we the British Team arrive at a regatta venue the rest of the world know about it and that isn't just because of the noise certain members of the women's team make. We are all clad head to foot in matching Adidas showing how much of a team we are, it’s a real show of presence.

However once the unloading of two trailers is underway teamwork is quickly forgotten and it is every boat for themselves. When there are eighteen boats to be taken off the two trailers with the corresponding riggers/wings and blades there is a lot of action, when you then throw into the mix the fact there is only eight sets of slings you get the picture of the chaos.    I say chaos but when you look around each boat is working in total synergy, each person being responsible for one particular job this is even more remarkable when you consider there isn't even one person in charge, it’s like an army of ants!  There is then a rush to get onto the lake to get the best water."

Uncharacteristically amusing from Matt there, he must have a ghost writer...

I hope to bring you a few pictures and videos for tomorrow but don't hold your breath as the internet as a pretty low upload limit!

Monday, 23 May 2011

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Press Coverage from today

Daily Telegraph ran a spread in the sports section today.  Here are two articles published online -



Team Announcement

Today is the formal announcement of the GB Rowing Team for the first World Cup.  I am really pleased to have been selected for the GB men's Eight - I will be sitting in the "two seat" (see photo below) and can't wait to get this season's racing underway. 

We have been training as the Eight for the past week or so and I'm really enjoying to be back in larger crew boats.  The Eight is such a big machine that it takes time for everyone to be working as one - in total unison - but when it does come together it is such an electric feel.  Communication, honesty and mutual respect are big themes; we work hard to engage each other and ensure no stone is left unturned as we progress this project forward.

The rest of the crew ahead of me are World Championship silver medalists from 2011 and the guy behind me (Alex Partridge) is a multi-time World Champion and Olympic silver medalist - so a pretty strong group of guys to be rowing with!  The team is very competitive and seats are very hard to gain - and ever harder to keep.  My tasks over the coming weeks and months is to prove I have something to continually bring to the Eight, to keep improving and most of all - enjoy it. 
The first World Cup is the weekend of the 28th/29th May and it will be in Munich [Germany].

As always, thank you to all those that help and support me, I couldn't do it without you; in particular my friends, family and sponsor (Atos Origin).

442 days to go...
[copyright credits to Peter Spurrier @ Intersport Images]

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Team Announcement Tomorrow

 (I'm far left, talking to Peter Wiersum - the Dutch national cox)

It's been a few days since I've updated the blog, apologise for that.  I've been training hard, trying to recover from some tough racing and working on a few projects.  Tomorrow will be the public announcement of the GB Rowing Team competing at the first of three World Cup races.

The World Cup Series is held in May/June/July each year.  Generally held in Europe, it consists of three separate events (roughly one each month and usually culminating at Lucerne, Switzerland).  Last year I won a gold [Bled] and bronze [Munich] medal at the first two events.  For a round-up of last season you can view a previous post by clicking here.

I will post in more detail about selections tomorrow.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Now on Twitter

I'm now on Twitter, find me @nrod2012.  For those of you not on Twitter, you don't need to join to be able to see what I put up, the last five tweets I make will be on the Twitter feed on the left.  What's the difference between Twitter and the Blog?  The blog will give way more detail, Twitter will just tell you how often I'm #verytired.  As I've mentioned before, you can receive my blog updates via email by filling in your address to the bar on the left.

No other major news so far this week.  Just getting back to basics with my training, long miles and heavy work.  As there has been no let up since some racing pieces last week, I'm feeling fatigued and diabetic.

Shout out to all at Atos Origin, thanks for continued support!