Saturday, 22 January 2011

Great photos Charlie Booker

Thanks to Charlier Booker who takes great pictures of me sliding.... This is from todays race, 22nd Jan, World cup race 6, 5th Place Winterberg, Bronze European Championships.

5th World Cup 3rd European Championships in Winterberg, Germany

So the second race of my season just happened this morning in Winterberg, Germany and I came 5th. Very happy. It was also a double race as the European Championships were added in so I was 3rd in this. Again very good day at the office for me.
Everyone who knows Winterberg will know how crazy the weather is over here, but it started off not too badly, clear enough sky and a good start to the race, till about 30mins in and the light snow started, and gradually got a bit heavier...but wasn’t too drastic so everyone remained calm enough!
I had a wee few minutes of panic it has to be said before my first run when I was trying to get my coat off and my zip got jammed!!! I could hear them calling my name as the slider before me had finished, so I had to whisper to Micky my coach "Micky im stuck!!" and he also tried to yank down the zip....finally somehow I did get my coat off to push my sled but was a bit flustered and not really concentrating enough to do a good push! Second run I got the physio tape and gave my coat a slight little operation with some tape to stick down that flap inside the zip so no other issues would arise!!! Zips!!
Off to St Moritz tomorrow for the next race, an 8 hours drive, up into the beautiful mountains of Switzerland.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

First Race Back after Olympics

Yesterday the 14th Jan, I had my first race back from my 11 months away from the ice. The race was in Igls, near Innsbruck in Austria. It felt like the first day of school when I walked into the start room on the first day of official training, everyone had been away since October and had already done team races and then four other world cup races so were well into the swing of it, so I felt like the new kid!
I soon got back into the routine of things and training had been going really well,I was always in the top three of my training group so was feeling confident about getting a top 6 finish which would have been good for the first race back.
I was aware that my pushing at the start was a bit slower then I have normally done in previous years, but due to lack of summer training I was prepared for this.
Race day was very warm, well the whole week had been warm, and even one of days was severely delayed due to the rain damaging the track, so most of us cancelled training. But race day was about 6 degrees, compared to the week before of -14! I was last off...because your start number is from World Ranking points and I had non due to not having raced this season. The track slows very quickly here because of the warm weather and so a layer of frost comes over the top of the by the time it came to my first run about 50 minuets after the first slider had gone down, I could feel the sled sticking to the ice,I had a solid run but could only manage 17th place, not good!!
It did mean that then after the track had been prepared and spritzed with water again, I was then 3rd off for my second run, as it goes in reverse order. This gave me the quick ice and I slid another solid run that got me down in the 2nd quickest time out of everyones 2nd runs..but only moved me up to 12th place overall.

I was dissapointed of course, It is hard to come back to racing and not do as well as you are used to. But I have to start somewhere on my journey back to competitive racing, and can now only look forward to next weeks race....Winterberg World Cup race 6. Another track full of unpredictable weather!! what joys!

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Youth Sport Trust talent camp, Loughborough

I have been helping out recently with the Youth Sport Trust, I joined them for a 3 day talent camp at Loughborough University, where about 80 of our next generation sporting champions from across country were all joined together to find out what it takes to become the best. The National Talent Orientation Camp offered the 14-18 year olds a unique opportunity to develop their skills on a personal, sporting academic and vocational level, to mix with many sporting champions in their sports, to ask questions and to learn.
The sports represented at the 2010 camp this year were canoeing, cycling, rowing, hockey, wheelchair basketball, badminton, sailing, rugby and netball. I was there to help put the youngsters through a series of physical, mental and educational challenges and scenarios, whilst also offering advice and support. I joined in with many of the sports including some of the wheelchair basketball sessions, a great team of inspiring athletes. I was able to give my top tips, advice and help to everyone during my sessions with them, I wish them all the very best to achieve their goals and dreams.

Receiving my MBE at Buckingham Palace

The past few months have been so crazy busy that I forgot to mention how beautiful my MBE award is that I received at Buckingham Palace! It was a wonderful day out for my parents and me even though it was a bit brrrrrr as we stood around for the photos after the ceremony! To be inside the rooms at Buckingham Palace was a real privilege I will never forget.

Back to racing!

So my first race will be in Igls, Austria. A few days ago I searched out my big bags and started to pack my kit, last time I packed was to go to the Olympics 11 months ago. It has been a long time away from the ice and competitions, Im feeling a little apprehensive about sliding again. Lots of questions are going around in my head…will it feel different now? Will I still enjoy it, will I still have the drive inside to compete? I know I am not as prepared as the past years, so It will be a different mentally I have to adopt now for these races, but one that Im looking forward to.
Arthur my sled and I have a lot of bonding to do, and quick!! we have missed out on the last 3 months of sliding and racing, so lots of catching up to do on the other competitors! I have one week before my first race which is the 14th Jan, which will be shown on British Eurosport, I will keep you updated on how it went and how it felt!

BBC Sports Personality

What an amazing night that was, standing in front of that huge crowd in Birmingham, in front of brilliant sports stars, to be part of the same group and in the top ten of the 2010 sports personality awards was a proud moment for me and my family. I was very lucky to be loaned a beautiful dress from Burberry, thank you, and some exquisite jewellery designed and made by a local jewellers Watling goldsmiths and silversmiths of Lacock near Bath, (take a look
I didn’t realise I would get interviewed up on stage during the night, my brain suddenly scrabbled as I looked up at the 1000’s of people, whilst looking around at everyone, including David Beckham right there in front of me! I have to admit I did get a wee bit excited and made sure I went around and had my photo with everyone, including the lovely Victoria Beckham! Made my night!

Power Plate now at The Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath

I was asked by The Royal Cresecent Hotel in Bath, to go and try out their new Power Plate which they now have in their gym. What a great piece of equipment, for an instant workout, in 20mins a day you can tone and strengthen your whole body, I highly recomend going up there and having a go!