Following a disappointing last race in the World Cup series we are now altitude training in the Austrian Alps. Losing the last race shows that if we are slightly off our best then we could do quite badly. It also shows me that the margins in our event are very tight and if we make a small improvement we can still do better than we ever have!
It is now only about a month to the Games and it feels good to get away and fully focus on training. We all know that everyday counts. I think this is the best place for being focused. As you’ll see in the photo the scenery is very good but we won’t be spending long admiring the view.
We row on a dammed lake with very cold water running straight from the glacier about 2 kilometres up the valley. I am reminded of GCSE geography as I spot the glacial features. We live in wooden huts which soon resembles a sauna where someone has spilt something other than water on the coals. This is because the walls are pine and we have a lot of wet kit which needs to be dried on the powerful radiators. The fact I have packed a can on Fabreeze gives me away as an older member of the team. We have built our own rowing course across the lake so we don’t crash into each other and we use indoors rowers and weights in a large garage under a hotel building. This is as close as we get to Rocky’s training program from the films.
Luckily we do get our food from the hotel and as far as I’m concerned it’s the best food we get anywhere we travel. The Austrians like a bit of stodge and so do I. There are plenty of dumplings for main course and heavy cakes for desert. It’s the old fashioned carbohydrate diet I was used to 20 years ago when I first came to this place. It hasn’t changed much since 1991 but it doesn’t need to. This is a work camp and we are working hard.
We know from the beating we took in Munich that we need to step on and we are all prepared to do what it takes to make sure we are at our best in London at the end of July.
I have recently enjoyed Andre Agassi’s book and the first chapter made me laugh. In it he hauls his broken body from bed in order to go and play a tennis match. His kids are desperate for him to lose as they know this is his final event. Once he’s out he will be able to be a ‘proper Dad’ and buy them a dog. I know my kids are feeling exactly the same but luckily I don’t have to lose to end my career. I have made the same promise to my little ones but hopefully I won’t be totally broken and I won’t go out on the same note. I want to be in a position to give the dog the same name we gave our cat in 1987 when my brother first won the junior World Championships – ‘Goldie’.