Sorry it’s been so long since my last post. The week has been pretty crazy. I’ll go back to the beginning for you. Monday and Tuesday saw the first team camp for the year. Basically the whole Australian Team across all classes gets together and discusses the plans for the season and what we need to achieve. This camp was shorter than normal which was great because everyone is really under the pump now finalizing their training for Europe. It was really cool to get to hang out with some people I hadn’t seen since the Worlds. On top of all this we got our new team clothing for the season from our sponsor Nautica who were more than generous with what they gave to everyone.
After the camp it was back to work on Wednesday with some offshore training in some big wind and waves. It was great to get back out on the water in some good wind and even better to be out there feeling great 😀
Thursday was a bit of a different day to the normal routine. I woke up early and drove 2 hours up to PSA in Gosford to organize some equipment. Basically I spent the day putting numbers on 7 new sails that I bought for the European season. It was a bit of a pain but I know that it will save me so much hassle later on down the road and now I have all the sails I need ready to go. Big thanks to everyone at PSA for helping me out and giving me a great deal. The sails will be air freighted out to Germany so hopefully they’ll be waiting for me when I get there.
And now we get to Friday which was the best day yet! After a great 3 hour session on the water in sunny conditions Ash, Palky and I went and spent the afternoon fishing on Ash’s boat. We didn’t get a lot but we had heaps of fun. We than grabbed Wearny and drove over to Manly and pulled up the boat on the sand because it was Ben-Bry Friday. We all enjoyed some good burgers while watching the sunset after a productive week.
Europe is only two weeks away now so all pistons are firing doing my final prep before the first event in Spain begins. I’ll keep you posted.
So the last few days have just been about resting and relaxing. I really wasn’t myself last week and had slipped into a very over trained state. I haven’t been in a head space like that since the European Championships in June last year so in some ways it was a nice reminder. Old habits die hard and it showed me I have to be careful of my old ways of training coming back to haunt me. I never put enough emphasis on recovery and I struggle to switch off and this last week brought this to my attention. I averaged 3 hours of training a day, everyday this month and without proper rest and time out this has a damaging effect on the body and the mind. Still, the positives from this week far out weigh the negatives and I would much rather this happen now than the day before an event in Europe.
Meditation is the cure to compulsive thinking and it is something I have practiced on and off since 2013 but with the advice of one of my mentors I have made the resolution to practice everyday. Hopefully this can prevent such situations happening again in the future.
On a lighter note, we had Ben-Bry burgers on Friday night as always do and I made myself a vegan pizza last night. Getting better with my cooking skills 😉
The last few days have been pretty tough. The day after the big shed clean out I felt terrible. I was so tired and over trained, I really didn’t want to do anything which is frustrating for me because I always want to train. It didn’t matter in the end anyway as I had to stay on land and spend 3 hours doing some testing. I am a part of a PhD study which has been going on for over a year now and we are reaching the final, very time consuming, parts of the study. Hopefully by the end of the week everything will be done and I can get back to routine.
I also had to make the tough decision to pull out of Sail Auckland yesterday. I have been planning for months to try and go to this event but yesterday I had to face the reality that it wasn’t going to happen. Trying to afford this sport is a tough one and probably one of the biggest hindrances to participation in the sport at the elite level. Making the call did re-leave a lot of stress though and now I can move forward. I have three weeks left training here in Sydney improving my skills and getting stronger before I fly out to Europe on the 15th March. Things can only get better from here in .
So after today I’m ready for bed and it’s only 7.30 pm. Today we were allowed access to the club after the fire and we were told that everything in the Australian Team shed had to be moved today unless we didn’t want it for the next three months. The whole area will be blocked off to us so in the hot 30 degree weather some of the team got together and we emptied the entire content of the team shed. Literally years of random junk was pulled out along with a Laser, two 49ers, heaps of masts and a mountain of sails. Five hours in the heat took its toll and to cap it off the hard days of cycling and rock climbing from the last few days had caught up with me. My hands and forearms were so sore I could barely lift the cover off my boat as I got ready to go training this afternoon. Rock climbing 1 / Luke 0
Safe to say as I hit the water I really wasn’t with it. I was surprised I did as well as I did considering how my body felt and how unfocused I was. I think the hardest part of being a full time athlete is getting the rest-to-work ratio correct. I always want to push the limit and get the most out of every day but by doing so I’m always running the risk of being over trained and today was a clear example of that. Hopefully I can get myself recovered for tomorrow.
Saturday was a great rest day. The sun was out and the town was buzzing so we decided to make the most of the great weather. We all went into Manly and checked out the Hurley Australian Open of Surfing which had everything from a fitness competition to a massive skate bowl and a whole bunch of shops. We went for a swim and got so into the spirit that we hired some bodyboards and a surfboard for Mitch and got into it. I capped off the session with some great Japanese food to round out a great day.
Sunday morning I spent in the hills of Mosman. 10 x repeats of two different hills had me ruined for most of the day after that. I still had the energy to go for a wander around military road with the fellas at lunch time but I spent most of the afternoon inside firing off some emails. I also cooked up this mean vegan couscous and vegetable roast which was pretty epic!
And finally today is the reason we have had an extra long weekend. After a 6 am bike ride to try and spin out my legs from the day before I got the news. A fire started late last night at Middle Harbor Yacht Club which had the place completely closed off meaning no sailing for us while fire crews and investigators made sure the building was safe. Not to be deterred I made the most of my afternoon and did something I had been meaning to do for a while.
I have been watching videos of climbers for a while now and I always knew climbing gyms existed but I never put the two together. Today I finally did and I rode to a place near by and spent a good two-and-a-half hours Bouldering (as in the picture, climbing on a wall freestyle trying to get to the top). It was really hard but I was stoked to get some good runs and to meet some new people. I’ll definitely be going back. We should finally get some in sailing tomorrow 🙂
Another solid day of training today. An hour on the bike with Mitch doing the Mosman Alps before a tough three hour sail in a tricky 5-8 knots of breeze. It’s been a great first week back into training here in Sydney. Warm weather and light winds made for a really productive week and even though I was getting pretty frustrated with myself a lot of the time I think I managed to get the most out of our training.
Today also happens to be Friday which means it’s Ben-Brie Friday here in Sydney. Since the last round of training we did here every Friday at the end of a hard week we would all go to our favorite spot in Manly, Ben-Brie Burgers, and have our selves a treat.
I think I’ll have an easy day tomorrow as the old training log is telling me I’ve only had one rest day this month and that was when I was flying here. Next week should be just as good so stay tuned 😀
Last weekend was my last time sailing in WA for a while and I finished it off by competing in the Royal Perth Yacht Club Mini Series, a small two day event that attracts a large number of dinghy’s including most of WA’s best laser sailors. We had a particularly hot weekend which meant the wind stayed mostly light and pretty random. On the first day I struggled to keep consistent in the unpredictable airs which resulted in a 1st and two 2nd places behind Mark Spearmen. I managed to lift my game on day two and sailed a much better day with three 1st places and a 2nd to clinch the regatta by a point. Big thanks to Spero for keeping it tight and the race committee for making it a great event.
That night and the next day was hectic as I finalized my packing before getting to bed at 10 pm only to wake with my alarm ringing at 3 am to get the taxi to the airport to be on the plane to Sydney by 5.30 am, phew! I made it all ok and settled back into the team house we have here in Mosman and met up with team mates Mitch and Wearny.
Now just two days later I’ve already completed two on water sessions, a gym session, a morning cycle and a quick swim session. It’s been pretty busy but the routine is set now so everything’s going well. Sorry I don’t have any photos from the Mini Series but here’s one from the deck at Middle Harbor Yacht Club today.
So the story goes, last year I was competing on Lake Garda in Italy and one of my team mates had some windsurfing equipment and decided to take me and a couple of friends out just for some fun. He was quite good at it but compared to us he looked like a rock star. I could barley stand on the board let alone get the sail up. Despite not even being able to move I had a great time and did a few more sessions with hired gear before I left Lake Garda. I was still pretty bad at it and I made the resolution that the next time I was in Garda I would be a much better windsurfer.
When I returned to Perth after the worlds in September I made the investment to buy some kit and start getting out there. Now only a couple of months later I go out as much as I can. I’m so addicted to it. Being a Laser sailor we aren’t really known as the speed demons of the yachting world and for good reason. On a really windy day at max speed I can sail my Laser about 18 knots (33 km/h). On my windsurfer on a moderate day I can easily reach speeds over 30 knots (55 km/h). Sadly today will have to be my last session before my eventual return to Lake Garda as I don’t have any equipment in Sydney and just cant lug all this stuff around the world with me. No big deal though it was still an awesome session and I did some of my best carve gybes yet. I’m really looking forward to my return to Italy so I can for fill my goal.
With my return to Sydney only a few days away I had to say good bye to my trainers as WAIS for a while. It will be some time before I get to see them again but as always I’ll make sure I stay in touch in other ways. Big thanks to Greg Morgan, Sam Halley, Martin Binnie, Adrian Schonfeld, Simone Fountain, Emily Eaton and Anne Wynne for all their help and support.