Friday, 26 August 2011

Two Days to Go.

Lake Bled 

So we've been in Bled for a few days now, being in civilisation is a welcome change.  After several weeks either high up in the Alps or in the outback of Portugal, it's nice to be around new people.  We've been lucky to train in some really picturesque locations and Bled doesn't disappoint as a final destination.  In two days time the World Rowing Championships will start and it's time to execute all that we have been doing in training.

While we are pretty serious on the water, we've generally had a good laugh when on the land.  There are several dozen running jokes, which when you try to explain you never really capture the same moment, sometimes they make their way onto Twitter, many do not.  Towards the end of the camp in Portugal the hotel dog gave birth, ironically it gave birth under the balcony of the resident Keith Lard of the team, leading to several "come to daddy" jokes for the next 24 hours.  There was also a twittergate incident where it was joked that one of the crews fell in, it didn't go down well so we had to delete the tweets.  After our journey out to Bled I posted a video of us "training" in the airport - it's had a great responce and has been featured all over the t'internet.  These are just a few of the laughs we have, but now it's time to get down to racing.

Last night we had a reception hosted by the British Ambassador to Slovenia, it was a mainly informal affair for the team to meet Embassy staff and dignitaries from Slovenia (including the Mayor of Bled, the Slovenian Olympic Committee chairman, the Slovenian Minister for Sport, some famous gymnast and the leader of the Organising Committee for the World Champs).  I'm told that the UK Minister for Sport will be joining us next week, along with the British Olympic Association chairman - Lord Moynihan [I'll be keeping my wallet close when he's about].

Ambassador Reception 

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Still in Aviz

I can't even remember when I actually got here and don't even know when we leave, but I know we will be here for a few more days yet!  I really feel we are on the cusp of some really key changes.  The building blocks of work we have been doing all year are hopefully coming together to place us in the best shape to perform come the end of August/beginning of September.  Being in an eight means that things can become complicated very easily when really our objective is shockingly simple - to WIN.  I think we have been mindful of that all season; now is when it really counts.

We live, eat, sleep, work and socialise together; this can get pretty intense and this means we know each other so well but it also means we can probably frustrate each other too.  I feel I have probably been frustrated and the frustrating at times this last week; not that anything has kicked off or anything like that.  It's sometimes hard to get the balance of expressing/not expressing - and sometimes not expressing is worse that expressing!  All teams are made stronger by the diversity of the individuals; we all bring strengths, perspectives and skills.  We also have a shared journey, each getting there in our own way, each with our own story to tell.  Over the next few days I'm going to compile a video introducing the rest of my team, hopefully you can get a flavour of the guys I'm pleased to call "my crew".

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Riot in Aviz - August

As JD Sports is taking a kicking from 250 chavs, I'm in Aviz [Portugal] on our final preparations camp for the 2011 World Rowing Champs.  Positives - the pictures look great and the water is great for rowing on. Negatives - its so hot my wee evaporates before hitting the toilet seat [joke].

So far I've escaped sunburn (thanks to factor 50+ cream and stick) and have only come close to passing out once.  The day in question was yesterday; an hour ergo, no air flow and a body temp resembling arrests per hour in Hackney.  I'm not really a heat person, much prefer the cold - surprising when I grew up in the OC (Old Cassop not Orange County).

The camp has so far been dominated with discussions on the riots and the love/hate of the heat out here; therefore I haven't really got much more to talk about!

My current daily routine -
6:15am Wake - take heart rate, produce blood and urine samples.
6:30am Breakfast
7am Row
9am 2nd Breakfast
11am Row
1pm Lunch
4pm Afternoon Tea
4:30pm Gym
7pm Dinner
9:30pm Sleep

Around that I will have meetings/physio/sleep/quick 10min cool off in pool.

My bro's Ben and Paddy are back from China and Peru, my sis Emily is still available for chimney sweep work.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Back from altitude camp

Yesterday I landed back in the UK after a gruelling altitude camp.  I was pleased with my personal performance, with a PB on every ergo I did. 

The lake has a large cafe at one end of the dam; so throughout the day you have coach loads of austro-german pensioners stopping off for a quick bite to eat and a good old push-in the queue.  The views are amazing, but this can be lost on you as you get into the tiring stages of the camp.  Today I've been training at Caversham and tomorrow I will fly out to Portugal for our final preparations for the World Championships.  We will fly straight from the camp to the Championships in Bled [Slovenia].  I'm generally in great shape, but with some back niggles - as many rowers have!  Thankfully we have great medical staff.

My brother Ben is racing well in China and my brother Paddy is on his flight back from Peru - hopefully he doesn't start spouting "gap-yah" tush.

I will be able to give more updates while in Portugal.  If off to buy some more suncream as will be 40+ degrees!