I have been quiet for a while; this space has been blog free.
Returning back to the UK mid winter, after the finish of the Mini Transat last December was difficult to deal with; the stark contrast between a bright and colourful Brazil late spring and grey England close to mid winter was like a plunge in an ice bath, every sense in shock.
I stumbled through December, catching up with friends and family, and started off 2012 at the London Boatshow giving spinnaker handling demonstrations, making presentations in the Knowledge box about the mini transat and visiting my trade partners who supported me through the 2011 campaign, thanking them personally and re-establishing our continued partnerships for the next years.
Then January slid by.
It’s not really a question of adjusting back to life now; my life has never been that uniform for me to settle back into a routine. I have always been self employed, taking work where and when I can, making the most of opportunity not knowing when it will turn up next. The winter is always a tough time for UK based sailors, and I have been hibernating.
February has come and I was jolted back to life last week when I went mountain biking in Wales.
I lost a lot of muscle mass in my legs during the mini transat and my Cardio vascular fitness is not what it was. Unsurprising really when you consider the mini is only 6.5m long and most of your time is spent sitting down while sailing the thing; and if you go for a stroll it is a matter of strides before you reach the water at either end. So I have been running and biking to try to get this fitness back.
I took a day off from sponsorship proposals, emails and accounts to drive to Wales with my friend Iain and we spent a beautiful day in the snow following a black trail in the Mountain bike park at Brechfa.
The park was amazing; with 10cm of snow on the ground in places we were totally alone with the elements.
The ground crunched under the weight of our wheels, puddles with thick ice over them cracked or not to reveal muddy freezing water. The amazing contrast between the bright white snow, the green moss and lichen and the grey stone of the drop offs and brown hard packed earth on the switch backs assaulted my senses.
Screaming down hill, the icy air colliding with my face woke me up from hibernation and made me focus on my journey ahead.
Mountain biking is just like running an ocean racing campaign. It is an uphill slog, it takes effort, skill and determination to get to the top, sometimes you have to get off and push but you will always get on again and keep pushing because the prize is the downhill – over in a flash but so good it’s worth climbing a hill for.
I know what I want next!
I want to again represent Britain in the 2013 mini transat. I want to race hard and gain a top five result.
I am part way up the hill, I have the boat, I have continued support from my trade partners, I have a transat under my belt and I am already qualified for the 2013 race.
The next two years will be climbs and descents of training and racing but to make it all work I have to give everything I have, work as hard as I can on improving my skills, staying fit, learning more about every aspect of Ocean racing, improving and competing. This will all be offset with a full and busy race schedule.
The big uphill for me is finding sponsors to support me in this campaign; and that is going to be a hard slog but I to date I have never failed on reaching my goals. I am rested and recovered from the aftermath of 2011; I am already on the path and pedalling hard.
Mini Transat 2013 – It has started!