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Tribesports featured User of the week: @Majicmonkey!

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Posted by Steve R on 17 November 2011 at 4:16 PM

Nick B

Nick B

Nick hasn't been a member of the site for a long time, but the difference he has made in a short period is outstanding. Whether it be indoors or outdoors, winter or summer, a one off or a month long, Nick is always willing to get stuck into a challenge or create new and exciting ones for others to enjoy. And if you need advice on mountaineering this is the guy to ask!

So give this sports-mad user a follow he definitely deserves your attention for a bit of a read about his life in sports.

Have you always been involved with sports?

Yes and no. I grew up in a small village in Ireland, and it was easy to be top dog on the playing field. But when I went to secondary boarding school I was a small fish in a huge ocean. Some of these guys were men for god’s sake! It was a bit of shock to the system but gradually I got on with it, and within another couple of years I could have made the cross country running team. I was also a reasonable triple jumper, the down side is you can probably hear my knees cracking in your office.

What was your favourite sport as a kid? Were you in any school teams or clubs?

The school I went to had incredible sports facilities and although there was a very heavy bias towards Gaelic games, it catered for a multitude of sports. In fact now it has an indoor running track.
So I had an exposure to every sport imaginable. My problem was and still is I am a rebel and could never conform to party rules. So although I played every sport available at some stage and was quite competitive I refused to represent my ‘clan’ or school, then again, I was never selected.  But the exposure gave me a love of sport. I come from a family with a number of professional sports men so I assume that the competitive streak is in my genes.

Outside of sport, what are your other hobbies and interests?

Golf, which isn’t really a sport, it’s a past time activity. Sorry golfers. Other than that, gardening you can’t beat a bit of low key guerrilla gardening.

We can see you’re a bit of an adrenaline junkie! What is it about the great outdoors you love? 

I think the outdoors is an acquired taste. Until you do it you never really appreciate it. And the more you are exposed to it the more you want and need it. Growing up in the country gave me that exposure and started the fire. As a child whenever we would be driving through Wales or around Wicklow or Kerry all I ever wanted to do was get out of the car and climb the mountains - I can't understand anyone that doesn't have the same fascination.

In my home village all the kids started a scout troop – all 8 eligible teenagers joined, we recruited an army officer, from the local army camp as our Scout Leader. This guy treated us as army recruits and put us through basic training. He took us on survival training and taught us how to forage for food, trap animals, cook, build; bridges, shelters,  lookout towers, pontoons, clear mine fields .....  By the time we returned home after two weeks our little band of 11 – 14 year olds were capable of overthrowing the government of a small African nation.

Tell us a bit about first experience mountain climbing and how you developed it into a passion.

My first experience of climbing was chimneying up the walls between my aunt’s house and her next door neighbour’s with my cousin when I was about 9. I look back now and it scares  me thinking about being at the apex of a two story house straddling across a 1200mm void without the slightest hint of any safety equipment. Later I used to free climb (I didn’t realise that’s what it was called) in a limestone quarry as a teenager. We had one old rope that we would tie to a tree at the top, throw it over the edge and let it hang loose.  We  would only use it in extreme circumstances if we needed to haul ourselves around overhangs.

But then I went to art college discovered girls and alcohol – exit exercise stage left.

About 15 years ago when I had tired of simply building a career and continual work, I started playing golf again regularly, started running regularly and playing football every week - I was reborn - this coincided with a young south African guy starting in the office who introduced me to bouldering. - again I had no idea that is what it was called - we would circumnavigate  the office, an old converted warehouse, using foot holds in old brick work and other sills and projections. I was a natural. Shortly after that an Australian guy started, he was a climber and he was going to give me his harness when he left but decided not to on the basis that I would probably kill myself and he didn't want to be responsible. I should add that his reservations were based on my desire to become an amateur tree surgeon and had just bought a chain saw. But it was the catalyst for me buying a harness and a pair of rock shoes.  About 5 years ago I met up with an old friend  for a drink and it turned out he was a recent recruit to climbing. Two years later we were standing on top of Mont Blanc. We now work together and climb together weekly.

I wouldn't say  I am an adrenaline junkie. Although my dad recently gave me a bollocking for my irresponsible life style as I showed him some pictures of a recent climbing trip. Admittedly the picture of our guide down a crevasse, hanging on the end of a 20 meter rope, the other members of our party on the edge of the crevasse and an explanation of how I stopped all three of our party falling to certain death with an ice axe arrest didn't help. It seems no matter how I try to explain to him I only take calculated risks, I have safety equipment and I have been trained, he is still not convinced.

We see you’re also a fan of the snow! What would you say was your best skiing experience?

The ski stories are too numerous to mention and we have all had them - the high speed wipe outs - that buzz on the first ski lift on the first day of the ski trip. The white outs- the  glorious sunshine and ice cold air. I have skied in a complete white out when it was impossible to see my skis, racing against time to get back to a lift to avoid a hairy black run in appalling conditions - with two kids. I actually skied straight into a sign that said 'danger cliff edge' with a picture of skier tumbling towards the rocks, how lucky was that?

That sounds pretty damn lucky!  So tell us, what are you currently up to on the site, and what sports you’re currently enjoying?

I really enjoy the interaction and banter between members. There are some fascinating people. I am a recent recruit so haven’t  been involved  that long but  I am working my way through peoples profiles and achievements.  The whole principal of the 'challenge'  just inspires me - I can't resist a challenge and love the way people throw themselves into stuff, some of which are ridiculous, some outrageous but all of them  fun to the participant. I also love the fact that people share  experiences  and test each other’s abilities.

I have never done a triathlon so plan to do 3 or 4 over the next couple of weeks. Excessive I know, but I will tackle the gym based ones (only because of the mental trauma they caused me) and then a couple of the short sprint ones. I might try doing two in one day.

What is your favourite piece/s of sports gear and why?

Nick at the top of Mont Blanc

Nick at the top of Mont Blanc

I love it all but if I had to pick one it would have to be my ice axe.

What would you say are your greatest achievements to date?

I think climbing Mont Blanc. Although not the  most difficult or technical thing I have ever done the whole experience - a week acclimatising, climbing multiple peaks and hiking across glaciers was simply a joy. I remember afterwards calculating that I had had about 10 hours sleep for the whole week but my body simply coped. That and my 200m sprint gold medal under 12, Julianstown Parish Community Games 1975.   What a race that was.

Nice going Nick! So would you say has Tribesports has helped you?

Has Tribesport help me ? Look at me I'm on fire

Although I have been fairly active for the past 5 -10 years and done stuff that a lot of ordinary people think ‘extreme’, I have been invigorated by a new need to compete - I am no longer competing  against myself, or a mountain  or a golf course, but 3000 + others all of whom are also on the same team.

It is also improving my sports vocabulary - I love reading Eoin O’s training – I haven’t the faintest idea what any of it is, but it sounds impressive.

 What a beautiful way of putting your experiences with the site! So what are your favourite challenges/ tribes?

My favourite challenges would have to be the climbing ones. My only problem is I just don’t understand the terminology. What the hell is Level 1 bouldering Pyramid Training ? I have never been a great one for all the technical terms and sport science. I am inclined to just do, rather than consider the stats or the terminology.  Other than that I love the unusual, the quirky ones, like balancing on a railway line – which is probably my individual favourite.

My favourite tribe is the ‘get the kids of the sofa’. If I could give my children that love of the outdoors that I have I would die a happy man.

Share one piece of advice for our other users?

To borrow a trade mark from Nike. Just do it . You will never know what you can achieve until you try.  There are two types of people on the planet; those that think they can’t and those that think they can. They are both right.

To help Nick out with his terminology and maybe give him a couple of quirky challenges of your own! you can follow him by clicking here.


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