Friday, 28 October 2011

County Durham Community Foundation event

The County Durham Community Foundation held their Realising Dreams event today.  Sadly, I couldn't make it, but my mum and Emily went on my behalf.  Above, Emily is posing with Chris Cook (Commonwealth, World & European Medalist & Olympic Finalist swimmer), she said it was like the paparazzi when she went out for photo's!  By all accounts (well, my mums account) she was shy at first but everyone made her feel very welcome and she had a great time.  The Foundation has helped me several times over the years.  Most recently they helped my buy a new single to train and race in.  They have been a fantastic support and have always been very helpful; John Elliott of Ebac Ltd (a donor to the Foundation) has been a particularly strong supporter.  The Foundation, and it's staff, champion the North East at any opportunity - helping projects, groups and individuals.  Their website is - give them a look.

Emily has been on half-term and blew her life savings on a Transylvanian families House.  My family in Leeds are going up to Durham on Sunday, I'm sure Emily will be showing my little cousin Eve round the new toy house.

Thanks again to the County Durham Community Foundation, good luck with all your current projects!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

What it feels like to be back in training...

Training in Seville seems like it was months ago, it's actually been 10 days.  Lots seems to have happened, in reality there hasn't been a huge amount going on.

I'm keeping this short as I'm really quite tired at the moment, my blood tests have shown I've been working on the edge a bit to much, but should be all ok.  My day at the moment is constant muscle fatigue, tightness and struggling to keep my eyes open. Two pieces of good news though - 1) My Granny won £75 on the bingo at the Irish Centre in Leeds on Sunday night - all ended up behind the bar no doubt. 2) My brother Ben has been selected to be a stakeboat boy at the Olympics.  In one of my May posts I explained what a stakeboat boy actually is!

"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."

Ben will be experiencing the tension, nerves, excitement and aggression of the Olympic start line several times a day.  He's really pleased to have been selected and, if I'm lucky enough to be on the team, it would be amazing to have him there on the start line.
Right, I'm off to bed.  I've got some more training to do.  Night.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Debut on BBC Look North

A few weeks ago I met up with Katie Gornall from BBC Look North.  The final edit was shown on TV while I was away in Seville, so they sent me down a copy and said it was fine for me to post on here for my none North-Eastern/regional news viewers.  I particularly like the bit where I get rinsed by Paul the weatherman (right at the end); one day I might get to meet him and I can show him I'm a dab-hand at getting the weather wrong too :-)  The clip also features Hexam's very own Matt Wells (Olympic Bronze Medallist 2008); before anyone says it, yes I have told him how camp he sounds.

As alway you can follow me day to day on Twitter @nrod2012 plus you can receive blog posts to your inbox by signing up on the left hand side.  Comments and questions welcome.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Seville Training Camp (Vlog)

My Video Diary from the first training camp of the season (Seville, Spain).  It's not great, so feel free to leave comments for improvements.  As always, you can follow me on Twitter @nrod2012.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

First week back & Berry Chiswick BMW

The first week back at training has been a mixed bag.  It's been good to get back into a routine; it's been bad that the routine is being knacked and needing afternoon naps.  Training itself has gone reasonably well, been doing weights, ergo and water work.  All seems to be going ok - I proper chinned myself on the erg for the first couple of days but I settled down by the end of the week.  It's been a good laugh catching up with everyone, and with the rugby World Cup in full flow there is plenty to talk about.  If you were reading during the Six Nations you will know I like my rugby and Ireland are my team.  Things are looking good for them and they seem to be loving every minute they play - the England team seem to be loving every moment they aren't playing.

I recently signed a sponsorship contract with Berry Chiswick BMW (hence the new logo up top).  On Saturday I picked up an amazing car.  Flicking into sport mode to go to Sainsburys has never felt so good.  For the past couple of years I've been loaned a car by my housemate James.  I cannot thank him enough for the support he has (and continues) to show me; cash has been very tight at times, and he has helped keep me on the road throughout.  Getting to training, to the physio, doctor, weights room etc all requires a vechicle and the more reliable the better.  Thanks to Berry Chiswick I will be arriving on 18" alloys with Dolly Parton blaring out from the stereo.