Friday, April 29, 2011

Getting to grips with mountain biking

Two loves combined
PART TWO: Deborah Atkinson is a former journalist, current senior administrative assistant and an avid cyclist, photographer, writer and needleworker.  Originally from New Mexico, she has called Colorado home for 23 years.  She and husband Brett spend most weekends cycling, hiking, cross-country skiing, gardening or volunteering. She blogs at Snowcatcher.

Riding up steep mountains takes more than your average bike, how technical is what you do?
Colorado, 2010 Deborah Atkinson
In this post, I talked about my derailleur, which I really don’t understand, and am just repeating, probably not even accurately, things that have been explained to me.  To me, maintaining a bike is technical, and thankfully I am married to the world’s best bicycle mechanic, so I don’t have to worry about much.  Except things like losing a spoke on a climb when he’s miles ahead of me.
Riding a bike is somewhat technical, particularly if you are climbing and descending.  A cyclist must know when to shift and what gears work best for different situations and grades.  I’m still learning.  One of the tips I’ve picked up is to downshift before I need to when climbing, not wait until the pedals are moving so slow, I can barely hold the bike upright.
I admire Tour de France cyclists who can corner switchbacks at high speed with incredible leaning angles.  I’d tip over.  Pure and simple.  I’d be hamburger. 

You sometimes cycle for up to seven hours, what food do you fill up on to get through that?
First and most important, a big ride is not the time to be experimenting with new foods.  Especially during the ride, don’t gorge yourself on fajitas if you don’t eat them off the bike.  You digestive tract is stressed enough during a big ride; and big rides get even harder if your stomach is turning because you ate something your body is not accustomed to.
During a seven-hour ride, you must ingest a lot of energy to keep going, and then you have to eat after you finish to replenish what you’ve used up.  Many long cycling events have what they call a pasta power-up the night before; most cyclists will eat huge plates of pasta the night before (or even the week leading up to) a big ride.  Sweat depletes life-sustaining moisture inside the body, so you have to drink a lot, too, and a degree of salt is necessary.
Day 4  Coal Bank Pass
Coal Bank Pass, Rockies 2010
Every cyclist is different, so there isn’t a magical number of carbohydrates or grams of salt for everyone to go by.  I tend to run low on protein, while my husband needs more salt than me.  The best thing to do is to work up to longer rides and listen to your body.  What you are craving typically is what your body needs, such as bananas: potassium, etc.  Keep notes of what foods make you feel energized, and know what foods don’t settle well or take a long time to digest, and adjust your on-bike food to accommodate.

How could a newbie to the sport get started?
When I got drawn for my first Ride the Rockies, I scoured the internet for information on how to prepare.  The amount of information available then was a tiny fraction of what is available now.  I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into, and I was scared.  I over trained.  But I made it through my first week-long 425-mile ride, and it was a great experience I hope to repeat many times throughout my life.

" Don’t be afraid to ask questions. 
Don’t be afraid to get out there and ride. 
Don’t be afraid to join a group ride."
I wish I could have read some of the information available now back then, and that’s one of the reasons I blog about cycling, so other beginners and people battling pain or dietary restrictions can see what it takes to get going and build up strength and endurance.
Many clubs and workshops are available now, too, to help people just starting out and give them the opportunity to talk one-on-one with someone who has already achieved what the beginner is hoping to do.   Work up to what is comfortable; don’t start out with a century!
Don’t do things that make you hate the bicycle or you won’t want to get back on it.
Ride, take notes, and keep track of what you could have done to make a ride better, and every ride WILL be better.  Have fun.  Enjoyment and fulfillment are the most important aspects of cycling.
Ride the Rockies 2005

Thanks very much Deborah - if anyone has any questions, leave them here!  

Part One of this interview is here

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mountain biking in the Rockies with Deborah Atkinson

Not so green on the greenway

Deborah Atkinson is a former journalist, current senior administrative assistant and an avid cyclist, photographer, writer and needleworker.  Originally from New Mexico, she has called Colorado home for 23 years.  She and husband Brett spend most weekends cycling, hiking, cross-country skiing, gardening or volunteering. She blogs at Snowcatcher.

Your blog is a mixture of cycling and needlework patterns, how did you get involved in cycling? 
I’ve loved riding my bike ever since my dad took the training wheels off my first bike, when I was about 6 or 7 years old.  The wind in my hair, listening to babbling brooks and singing birds you can’t hear in an automobile, powering myself to someplace I want or need to go without using gasoline, the exhilaration and exhaustion at the end of a long, hard ride...  I think the best part now is having a partner in life and riding who enjoys the challenge and thrill of riding even more than I do. 

Colorado, USA is a beautiful part of the world, where are your favourite cycle-ways? (If there is such a word!)
Picking a favorite ride might be impossible because motivation varies.  I have favorite training rides because they help me prepare for the MS-150, Ride the Rockies and Assault on the Peak.  The MS-150 probably would be my favorite organized ride because, like the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, everyone is riding for the same purpose, a worthwhile cause, and so many riders have MS.  It’s inspirational.  And then there are favorite rides and routes for just getting out into the mountains and taking pictures.

Mount Evans, one of two of Colorado’s 14ers with a paved road up it, probably is my favorite ride for training because it’s the only place you can ride a road bike up to 14,000+ feet on a regular basis (except for winter) because Pikes Peak, the other 14er with a road up it, has been closed to cyclists until last year’s Assault on the Peak, which organizers are hoping to make an annual event.  Mount Evans is the only place a cyclist can effectively prepare for Pikes Peak.  However, Mount Evans has some of the worst ripples and freeze cracks of any road I’ve ever ridden, and I despise the descent because I don’t want to have to replace my wheels at the end of the ride.  To me, going down is more difficult than going up because I have to be aware of every bump and crack in the road, especially where there are extremely steep drop-offs, and I have to contend with tourist automobile traffic, too.  Pikes Peak, on the other hand, is smooth and nearly fully paved now (plans are to finish the unpaved two miles by the 2012 Assault, which may or may not be offered), but open to cyclists for a price only one day a year. 
Day 1  Colorado National Monument
Deborah with her husband Ride the Rockies
The view from both peaks is extraordinary; they say you can see three states and nearly all of Colorado’s mountains from the summits.
Mount Evans has exceptional wildlife and wildflowers in season, and Pikes Peak looks very much what I expect the surface of Mars would look like and on a hot summer day.  Pikes Peak also has the worst biting fly population I’ve ever encountered.  On Mount Evans, vehicles compete with cyclists for road space, and Pikes Peak is closed to vehicles the day of the Assault.  Both peaks can be so windy, a cyclist could have trouble keeping the bike on the ground.  On Pikes Peak, high winds eliminate the biting flies.  Both mountains are subject to unpredictable weather changes, and both can see severe weather any time of year.

   If I’m riding just to be riding, my favorite routes would be anywhere with fields of sunflowers, alpine lakes or hot air balloons.

On the Ride the Rockies cycle, you camped out with your husband and the other cyclists. What do you bring with you on these long trips?  

If I’m doing an organized ride, typically there are rest stops where cyclists can refill their water bottles and eat.  Diabetes runs rampant in my family, and I’ll probably be battling blood sugar levels all my life, but I’m trying to avoid medical intervention for as long as I possibly can.  Last year I was able to pull my levels back down to normal, below pre-diabetic, for the first time since 2005, and I think it’s because I exercise and watch my diet.  So even on organized rides now, I carry most of my own food because I don’t know if the rest stops will have food I can eat.
I also carry rain gear, sometimes winter gear, a small first aid kit, a notebook and pen, my phone and small speakers so I can listen to climbing music (I NEVER wear headphones while biking), minimal bike tools (the ones I know how to use), a spare tire, a patch kit, a pump, hand cleaner, my camera, a spare battery and a spare memory card.  On a weeklong ride, I’ll also carry along something to crochet...  All the multi-day rides I’ve participated in offer transportation for sleeping bag and tent, so I don’t have to carry them, but I try to make sure I am able to carry them so if the day ever comes that I need to, I won’t be complaining about the added weight or sleeping on the ground without shelter.
Oh, and I run tire liners and don’t have flats often.  Very worth the extra weight!

Deborah was very generous with her time, so she'll be back tomorrow with insights into what you should eat for a great cycle, and how newbies could get started. Plus some more photos from her trips! You can find more on her blog Snowcatcher if you can't wait. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ukrainian Women in Sport: Video

Today is the 25th anniversary of the tragic events in Chernobyl, Ukraine. There was an interesting article in an Irish paper here on how people are coping with the aftereffects: Chernobyl the fallout

These are some of the Ukrainian sports stars I found this morning. If you know of anyone else, please leave a comment!

Women's European 60m final Oleysa Povh in 7.13

Best-ever celebration - Gold Medal in Wrestling Athens Olympics 2004

 Valentina Semerenko (Ukraine) comes 3rd in 2011 Biathlon

Amateur Muay Thai world championships 2010 Diana Yakovlev (Ukraine) - Kunones Chantelle (USA) 

 Gymastics - one of most popular women's sports in Ukraine

Monday, April 25, 2011

From Karate to MuayThai with Denise O' Connell, Ireland

Denise O’ Connell started her sports career with Shotokan Karate but after watching one session of MuayThai knew that was her real passion.
Denise O Connell, Sitjaipetch Gym
Denise trains in Ireland – along with some of the other Irish fighters profiled here – and says: “Every time I fight, afterwards I say that’s it now, no more. Then my trainer asks me and I say yeah, sure, I’ll do it.”

At 6 foot 1 inch (1m 85cm) and 76kgs, Denise carries her strength easily now. But she says it’s wasn’t always like this. Without training, she says she puts on weight easily. Last year, while travelling and working in Australia (a typical rite of passage for young Irish people) her weight shot up to 96kgs. I met her at a fight-night in March, and she had lost the weight in less than three months. She just grinned and said: “Yes, I was living in the sweat-box. I had Weetabix for breakfast, protein shakes during the day … and often ran while wearing the sweat-suit as well.”

She won against her Scottish opponent that night, but says one of the highlights of her career so far has been the week at the Amateur European Championships. She says it was a “brilliant week” and she was proud to watch fighters from countries like Russia in the ring and think: “I can do that as well, great.”

But after five years of Shotokan, doesn’t she miss it? Apparently not. “I did some competitive bouts in that, but you only hit someone once. It’s a points-game. After one training session of the MuayThai, I never did karate again.” That said, she does have an interest in UFC. She says it’s harder to get fights in boxing as she is in a different weight category to many of the girls competing at the moment. So we might see her adding a third sport to her list someday.

Do you know anyone else who moves between different sports?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Green Olympics for London?

Happy Earth Day everyone! Just noticed the animated Google-logo for today, very cute. But of more relevance to us are the plans to Green-Up for the London Olympics next year. 

From reading this BBC story, it looks like eco-plans were part of the scheme from the start. The committee report says: 
  • on target to cut 100,000 tonnes of carbon emission from the building stage 
  • cleaned up two million tonnes of contaminated soil from the venue 
  • plans to develop 150 acres of urban parkland around the proposed venues 
  • restoring 45 hectares of polluted land to wetlands ( great for the locals too)
However, and sadly, they have had to downgrade their plans to produce 20% of their energy from renewable sources to just 9%. This BBC report says that's down to a lack of a main wind turbine. 

Still, it is a lot more positive than you might have expected from such a massive event. Two more reports from the organisers to come, it will be interesting to see what practical eco-measures they will put in place for the athletes and spectators.

And as an aside; I smiled at the caption the BBC have on a photo of the 1948 London games: "Environmental concerns were not an issue for the 1948 Games' organisers." Any excuse to get in how often London has hosted the games I guess. 

What eco-measures have you seen at large sporting events?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Mountain Running Trips for Easter

Tibradden, Ireland
When I talked with Irish mountain-runner Moire O Sullivan a few weeks back, she gave me some tips for her favourite places to run when she at home in Ireland.

"To start off, I’d head straight to the Phoenix Park in Dublin. Having visited over 40 countries around the world and found cities without a blade of grass in sight, Ireland should be damn proud of its city centre park.

If I’ve an afternoon off and need a quick mountain fix, I’d drive up to the Dublin Mountains and run Tibradden to Fairy Castle and back. Great views of the city and the Irish Sea, less than 10 minutes drive from the M50.

And if I had wheels and a whole day off, I’d be tempted to head to the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland. Nice big climbs with some crazy, vertigo-inducing descents. My most favourite races are there, including the Mourne Mountain Marathon. Two days totalling 50 kilometres with tent, food, and sleeping bag and on your back. And the Mourne Seven Sevens (a route of seven peaks all over 700 metres.

Where do you run when you have some extra time?

You can read more from Moire here


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wordless Wednesday; healthy broccoli

Loving the broccoli - pic by Re Wikstrom
Wordless Wednesday is a group of bloggers who give words a rest once a week.

PS: some words today:

Re Wikstom is a finalist in the Olympus Pro-Photographer Showdown tomorrow April 21st 2011; only woman in the line-up.
You can see her entries (and the boys') here on the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival site

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Boost for Egyptian sport?

I was casting around for a positive story to put up today. And found this article online from the Egyptian IOC. 

Council member Rania El-Wani did an interview with Around the Rings yesterday, and said she thinks the revolution will be positive for sport in the country.  El-Wani competed for Egypt in three Olympics, 1992, 1996 and 2000 in swimming. And won numerous medals at the World, African and Mediterrean games.
Rania El-Wani pic Al-Ahram
Optimistically (?) she says she doesn't see any further disturbances, pointing to the resumption of the country's football league as a sign of normality returning. And no, it's not clear if she means male or female but at a punt I'd say male. 

And in an interesting sign of how politics can ripple out and effect sport, the article says: "El-Wani expects Tripoli in Libya to drop out of the bid race for Mediterraean games due to unrest in the country, leaving the Egyptian bid facing competition from Rijeka in Croatia and Tarragona, Spain." 


Monday, April 18, 2011

Mary Keitany Kenya wins London Marathon

The London marathon took place over the weekend. The women's winner was Mary Keitany from Kenya. Her time of 2:19:19 is one of the fastest female marathon times on this course.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Update on Caley Reece fight

I posted on Thursday about a MuayThai fight taking place in Perth, Australia today. There's been a change in the line-up so now Caley Reece is fighting Sarah O' Connell instead of Heather O' Donnell who had to pull out. 

O' Connell trains out of Queensland's Boonchu Gym under world champion Angie Parr and her husband Wayne Parr (also not a bad fighter, cough) so should be a good fight!

Good luck to both fighters!

MONDAY:  Reece won on a split decision. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

FA WSL soccer kicks off in the UK

Once more into the breach for British soccer with the first games in the FA Women's Super League yesterday.  Arsenal ladies kicked off their usual form winning out 1-0 against Chelsea Ladies in what sounds like an exciting match.Liverpool and Everton also played to a 3-3 draw.

You can keep up with the matches at  FAWSL
The site is great, very easy to use ... not sure about the purple but at least it's not baby-doll pink!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Caley Reece Australian MuayThai fighter

On Saturday two of Australia's best MuayThai fighters Caley Reece and Heather O' Donnell square off again. The Domination event features some great fights but this is the one I'd love to see. I had a cyber-meet with Caley  - thanks for making the time! 

Her fight record record stands at 31 wins from 36 fights, and the trophy cupboard holds the WMC 57kg Western Australia title,WMC 57kg Australian title, WMC 57kg 2x Intercontinental title and 56kg WPMF world title ... so far.

You were lined up for a world title fight against Alla Ivashkevich from Belarus recently, what happened there?
Yes, it was all a bit of a whirlwind couple of weeks. Darren got the call from Thailand  -- Alla and I were the top two contenders to fight off for the WMC vacant title at 57kg. This of course was exciting news for us but Alla's trainer emailed about nine days before the show and said she was injured and also having trouble with 57kg so she would not be coming to fight. I was disappointed of course as I was training hard and also training around some injuries I got from a car accident three weeks before the fight. But the title will be up for grabs on our show (in Perth) on June 25th.

The promoters got Nong Tran Detract from Thailand as a replacement. That looked like a tough fight, how did you feel it went? 
She represents Thailand in the IFMA World Games and won at the Asian Championships so she was good. Nong Tran's had about 60 fights so it was good fight someone with that experience. The fight was a good Thai style fight, she had nice hard kicks and was strong in the grapple as most Thais are!

Caley Reece vs Nong Tran Detract pic Into the Zone
You've had some nasty injuries over the years, how do you cope with being side-lined? 
Yeah, I've had my fair share of injuries but we all do. The shoulder has been the worst  (dislocated in 2002, it often pops during training) and I've got arthritis in the joint on the top of my foot . I've had that now for about  two years. It sometimes plays up quite badly but it's usually your bumps and shin-bruising after fights that linger round for a few days. 

When you started fighting you were manager of a Health Clinic as well, but I hear it's all about Riddler's Gym now? 
I'm full time at the gym now doing all the office side of things. It's great as it allows me to train at different times. We have just started doing the EPIC shows together which is a new form of stress I haven’t experienced yet!! Fighting on and promoting a show….eeeekkk not for the faint hearted!!

Caley and Darren Reece

And you got married earlier this year ... to your trainer Darren Reece. Is it strange doing everything together?
Umm, this is a hard question actually. The hardest part of being married to my trainer and also working together is the fact that it's Muay Thai 24/7. We have to learn to switch off from it and still do the normal things in life! As for in the gym, we work well together 99% of the time…. There's always that 1% though! hahaha

Caley Reece doing Ram Muay before a fight
Finally, Saturday's fight. When we talked in 2008, you said Heather O' Donnell was your toughest opponent. Has that opinion changed?
I have had some really good tough fights since we spoke last so yes, it's changed a little. I've had some really good close high paced fights with Nicole Brolan. Our fights were always so close and fast paced from round one.
Another hard fight was Valentina Schevchenko from Peru (originally fighting for Kyrgyzstan) in the Sport Accord Games in Beijing.
Valentina is super experienced with over 300 fights and was the first southpaw I had faced so I had a lot to work out in my fight with her. I lost the fight but it was a good fight which I'm happy with. I've seen her absolutely demolish people so I was proud to have held my own against her, that’s for sure!

Wishing Caley and Heather O' Donnell the best of luck - should be the highlight of the night down in Perth.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Women sports stars in adverts How to do it right

So finally, here is the World Champion amateur boxer Katie Taylor in action with two musician-types. I LOVE this. And yes, I know it's an advert and that makes me shallow but it's so unusual to see a woman athlete just doing her sport without any frills or faux-sexy shots. Have to say I'm not a hundred per cent clear on the link between the two guys and Taylor - any muso fans out there who could enlighten me?

This blog is not sponsored or supported in any way by product-makers. It's nice to be nice to companies who realise we just love sport and don't need any crap. 

You might also like the mood in these ads.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Audio: Great Ireland Run

 Some of the people from the Spar Great Ireland Run in Dublin yesterday. Listen out for the 55-year-old Irish woman - in the flesh she looked about 40. Inspiring sports women all around. 


Do you like large races?

Communal warm-up

I spent the day at one of my favourite parks yesterday watching healthy people (no envy!) running in Ireland's largest 10k. Phoenix Park is the largest enclosed green space in any European city so it's the perfect place for a race, although I'm not sure what the deer made of it 11,000 people racing through their area.

One of the great things about these large community races is the atmosphere - shining example this time was the group warm-up and cool-down. Sunshine, music and thousands of people doing aerobics together, great.
Some of the great people I met included a 55-year-old Dublin woman. She took up running about four years ago and is clocking in at 44 minutes which is not bad at all. And as with so many women who do sport when they "shouldn't" she didn't anywhere near that age. A few of the women I talked to had made New Year's resolutions to get fit so the race was their first step at proving this - great way to start. 
And they're off ... almost
And then you had the professionals, the folk lined up at the start of the race, warmed up and looking for records. A different race but hopefully they still had time to enjoy the weather and the park views. You can read up on the elite runners including winner Charlotte Purdue on the Spar Great Ireland Run site here.

Do you like big races? Some of the elite runners I talked to were not impressed with the crowds!


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Surfing and MuayThai with Vicky Chan

Surfing in Ireland - not too tropical ...

Surfing sells itself as the mellow sport while MuayThai screams full-contact. On the surface they don't have much in common but Vicky Chan uses one to prepare for the other and loves both.

She says: “I enjoy boxing, I love the people up there and I love the fitness of Thai Boxing. It really helps with surfing.”

She’s been learning MuayThai at Sitjaipetch Gym in Cork for nine years and surfing for two. Her favourite beach is Garrettstown but she loves travelling to Cornwall, Scotland and up to the northern Irish beaches.

Balancing Sport and Living

I asked which is harder, catching big waves or getting in the ring. Vicky didn’t hesitate: “If you miss the first wave, you can go again but not in a fight. I get stage-fright, it can be terrifying … scarier than the time I almost drowned.” That would be a ten for boxing then.

At 39 she feels it’s getting harder to keep both going to a high standard. Her surfer-husband would love her to give up the gym and concentrate on the beaches. Vicky says she has more responsibilities now, and when she has a fight everything else has to stop. This can make things difficult for people around her.

Cross-Training Works

Lots of surfers use yoga for their flexibility and strength.

Vicky says ThaiBoxing does the same for her. “The upper-body work complements the surfing. From training you get strong, flexible and have a good core. And you learn to block punches. So when a wave is crashing in on me, I know how to take the impact and how to recover.”

She says she’s seen surfers working with weights and pulleys to prepare for long paddles but she has all that from boxing training.

Vicky Chan before a MuayThai fight

Scary Moments

But in spite of her fears about boxing, some of her worst moments have been out on the water. Last summer she took the board right in her face, coming up covered in blood.

Laughing she says: “I was dazed but all I could think about was Jaws, I had this cartoon image of a shark in my head.”  Luckily real-life sharks are a rarity in Ireland.

On another busy day she was caught in a rip and flailed about for almost 90 minutes before crashing to safety on the rocks in the north of Garretstown. She remembers thinking the waves were too big for people to get out to her, and how relieved she was to flop onto the rocks.

Final Thoughts

“Choose? No, I couldn’t choose . I’m not brilliant at them really, but I enjoy both.”

Friday, April 8, 2011

MMA at 52?

I've been reading That Girl is Funny for a while, but only realised yesterday that Cheryl Ragsdale is 52. And have to admit I'm ageist, who would have thought you could take up a sport like Brazilian Ju-Jitsu (very) late in life and love it so much?
Cheryl, a former management consultant started training to make some health changes in her life and ... well, watch the video and you'll see.
Best quote: " You don't need strength, you just need to know how to leverage people."  

Do you know anyone else taking up intense sports at an, umm, unusual age?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Grete Eliassen in Minneapolis

Thanks to Red Bull for sending on this great footage of American skier Grete Eliassen heading back to her hometown yesterday for some snow action and an interview. With daffodils and crocuses popping out all over Dublin, it's strange for me to see how much snow is still around if you know where to look!

You can see more footage of Eliassen in action on her website   And what about other Northern Hemisphere readers, is it still winter where you are?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: fencing medals

pic Siobhan Silke
Wordless Wednesday is a group of bloggers who give words a rest once a week.

(Thanks to Siobhan for sending me some great photos for this slot)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Women's sport and the media

"As newsroom staffs shrink and eyeballs measure interest, women’s sports coverage is losing ground it once seemed to be gaining."

So, there you have it. We're not just imagining mainstream news outlets don't have room for women's sports,  The Nieman Foundation at Harvard and Marie Hardin from Penn State think so too.  She's written a thought-provoking article on the reasons why newspapers are cutting back on women's sports.

And she draws attention to Women Talk Sports (I'm a proud part of this) as a viable online alternative to the print medium when it comes to building athletes' profiles. Unfortunately she does also say their traffic is still less than say SBNation but it is also newer and building so over the next few years those numbers could change.

Personally I find it irritating that national women's teams can compete, represent their country and not even get two lines on a news bulletin or a few paragraphs in the paper the next day. A few weeks ago the Irish men and the women's rugby teams played on the same weekend; one team was barely mentioned.  Of course, every sport can't be covered all of the time. There is huge pressure on news, often so many things happening abroad and at home that you can imagine editors tearing their hair out trying to fit everything in.

But maybe this is what the online editions of papers should be for - all the news, plus the extra events which costs prevent them from running in print? 

You can read the full report on the Nieman Reports site at A shrinking sports beat:women's teams athletes

Monday, April 4, 2011

Katie Taylor in Lucozade advert

Katie Taylor with Tinie Tempah + Travis Barker
You know you're making it when the sponsors come calling.
You can listen to an interview here on Action81 with Taylor, back in Dublin making her plans for Olympic domination.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Rugby player and MuayThai fighter Nicole Ahern

Nicole Aherne is new to the world of MuayThai but with years of rugby behind her, she is not afraid to fight in the ring. I talked to her at a boxing show in Ireland and we realised we had trained together a few years ago at a gym in Sydney.

Nicole Ahern, Sitjaipetch Gym Ireland
A longtime rugby player, when she arrived in Australia three years ago, she was hoping to pick up some games. But it was winter so nothing doing. Nicole says: “We moved into an apartment and could hear strange noises coming from downstairs at nighttime. I went down to have a look, saw they were boxing and asked if I could join in."

Far from getting a warm welcome, the Thai Boxing trainer looked her up and down, sized up her petite, blonde frame and drawled: "Yeah, I suppose, if you think you can keep up."

She remembers she trained so hard the next night that she threw up afterwards – out of sight of course! After that she trained there for five months before traveling around Australia and Asia on the way home. She says: “Really, we travelled and trained. It was addictive so we looked for a gym in every town using the internet. We even trained in Thailand; that was great.”

Now back playing rugby with Highfield and working as a school teacher, she mixes in boxing training at Sitjaipetch Gym with a growing fight career. Something tells me her students are pretty well-behaved. She says: “I never thought I’d fight, but it’s just raw power. It’s great. Some of the students are here tonight. They think I’m mad.” Playing on the wing with Highfield Ladies her training schedule doesn’t leave much time for chilling.
Fight training is:

  • Monday                   Rugby
  • Tuesday – Friday MuayThai and running
  • Saturday          Free
  • Sunday            Rugby match 

Friday, April 1, 2011

Winter surfing

Surfing is all about the sun, the bikinis, the heat...until you come to Ireland. Cuppa soups and wetsuits are more the rage here. This is Easkey Britton just a few weeks back in the West. Happy weekend to you.