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Tribesports User of the Week: Alan C

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Posted by Alan C under Dragon Boat Racing, Triathlon, Surfing on 28 March 2013 at 12:00 AM

Alan C profileYour skydiving profile picture is epic, what's the story?

I have been in the Royal Navy for 37 years and for my last job they have sent me on exchange to the Royal Australian Navy for 3 years .  As if that wasn't lucky enough the RAN regularly require me to travel to other exotic places, so last year I was sent to Hawaii  for 6 weeks and was in charge of a small team of Navy personnel. We were going to be working long hours including shift work, but once there the circumstances changed and we ended up with more free time than we had expected.  It was an opportunity not to be missed so I told them all to make it a trip to remember and we then tried to do all the adventure activities that Oahu offered.  We  snorkelled with green turtles and swam with sharks, ocean canoed out to small islands to sit in the wave splashed bathtubs of Hawaiian Kings and Queens, hiked in the rain forests to spectacular waterfalls, parasailed, surfed, skydived and much more.  

The skydiving was fantastic! We had to chose from an 8 thousand feet jump or a 14 thousand feet jump - you need oxygen at 15 thousand feet. For me the choice came down to the amount of time you get in free-fall so we opted for the 14 thousand feet jump. We jumped from about 14 and a half thousand feet and had over 45 seconds in free-fall before the parachute was opened. In that time I was able to see the curvature of the earth and watch the tiny island of Oahu in the distance way way below the few small clouds that were about. It is an experience I will never forget and I recommend to everyone who is considering going for their first tandem jump to go from as high as they can. 

Which Tribesports Challenge has been your toughest and which are you most proud of?

Despite all my core stability training I still seem to be unable to complete Stand on one leg with your eyes closed http://tribesports.com/challenges/improve-your-balance-by-standing-on-one-leg-with-e I think its the sensory depravation that is playing with my mind but I will keep working at it!

My proudest was the completion of the oldest challenge I had until recently, which was Bench press your body weight. I do weight training fairly regularly but tend to use the sit machines to do chest press, rows, pull downs etc, and despite being able to chest press more than my body weight  (68kg) I had never bench pressed before. I told a colleague about the challenge and he offered to spot for me the next time he was doing a weights circuit.  He made me work up to my body weight to be sure I could handle the bar and the weight. I was surprised how different it was to chest pressing the same weight but it was a great feeling to have achieved it.  I am also proud that the Core Strength Tribe now has over 1000 members.

Love your guides and advice about triathlon, what made you initially take the plunge and start multi-sports?

Alan C Triathlon PhotoI worked in London for 8 years and during that period I wasn't very physically active but felt busy travelling home, doing lots of business travel, going to see live bands and to music festivals, so I decided I needed to get back into proper training and into a sport that challenged me.  As a youngster my siblings, myself and cousins had all been put though swimming lessons and life saving classes before we joined a swimming club and became competitive swimmers.  I cycled a lot as a teenager and later had a Karate Sensie who made me run a lot.  So I figured that since I was averagely competent in all three aspects I would try Triathlon. That decision was very much driven as a personal challenge where I was and still am competing against myself.  Its a fantastic sport and one where you are made welcome from day one.  Everyone will offer help and guidance  and there is a huge amount of advice online. I have found that the events are generally very well managed and great fun to be involved in.

There is always a great mix of people from first timers to the elites with such a variety of skills and equipment but everyone seems to love it once they have done one and so many people get the bug.   Since taking it up if I am on travel and see a Triathlon bike shop I always try to go in as you can guarantee that some if not all of the people who work there are Triathletes and will have great local information and stories. Plus I do love to look at the bikes!  I have especially enjoyed my Triathlons in Australia competing in the same events as some of the people trying to get selected for their national team. 

What does your bucket list look like?

I have had so many experiences with the Navy that I don't have a specific list of things to tick off.  I have however realised the importance of recognising opportunities when they present themselves and making the absolute most out of them.  My son and I did a road trip to the red centre last year. He had a 'Kangaroo Jack' type of adventure in mind so we camped and drove across some remote deserts.  We also had great fun hiking round Kings Canyon and did it in a fairly impressive time, so I would love to have more adventures with him in Australia while the opportunity remains for us.  I would also like to do a bungee jump but just have to get myself to a place where they do them!  

The remainder of my goals revolve around my two sports. I wasn't able to go for selection for the Australian national team but would love to be successful at the State and club levels this year and next as we move towards the next world club championships in Italy in 2014.

Dragon boat team

How did you get in to Dragon Boat racing? 

When I came out to Canberra I made a deliberate decision to live out in a suburb rather then the city centre so that the bars and restaurants were less convenient!  I also thought that with Triathlon being very much about challenging myself as an individual I needed to do a team activity to complement my Triathlon training and give me a social avenue through sport. My initial thoughts were to join  a cycling club as the Australian Capital Territory has a very active cycling fraternity and great cycle routes. However, at a business meeting I was recommended to try Dragon Boating with a particular Canberra club.  Canberra has a number of dragon boating clubs and they are amongst the best in Australia.  One of them recently took the endurance world record back from the UK.   When you start you get 3 try outs before you have to commit to joining but I immediately loved it and found the people in the club  to be a fantastic bunch from very diverse backgrounds and professions who embraced me into their fold.  

Dragon boats

I had heard of Dragon Boating but knew absolutely nothing about it or how physically demanding it is.  The standard set up for a race is a Drummer at the front, twenty paddlers in 10 rows of 2 and a sweep at the back of the boat.  All the boats have dragons heads and tails and are blessed by Chinese monks each year.  The standard races are 200m, 500m and 2K.  

Dragon Boating

The 200m race is pretty much full on anaerobic activity with the 500 being at a rate just below that.  Those races only last a minute or two but they are an intense workout and a great deal of core strength is required to be able to paddle effectively with good technique at that speed.  I am now in my second season of paddling, am the senior male captain, club physical training coach and will be competing in the Australian club championships in Penrith between the 16 and 19th of April 13.

As well as competing in the club championships I was really  excited to be chosen to paddle for the ACT State team in the Masters age group (the age group below mine)  where we will be competing against the other Australian State teams in some very competitive and fiercely fought races for State honour.  Look out Australia ACT Fire are coming!

How's your surfing coming along? Have you made it up to the Gold Coast yet?

Alan C surfingMy family and I spent Christmas 2011 up on the Goldie and the Sunshine Coast. The plan before we left was that we would get some surfing lessons in and spend a lot of time in or on the water. The weather worked against us and we got up to the Sunshine Coast just after a major storm had happened out to sea.  That put the waves well out of spec for novice surfers but we still got a good amount of time out in the water being battered by huge waves.  An exhilarating and humbling experience with nature which my kids loved. I took lessons and surfed in Hawaii but as Canberra is a couple of hours from the coast I have not had much opportunity to get back on a board. I have recently seen a lot of people paddle boarding on Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra so will hopefully be giving that a go with my two youngest children in the next few weeks before the water temperature drops.

Which Tribesports user makes your day?

It would both be easy and truthful to take the easy option and say there are so many I cant mention them all.  I am awed every day by how involved and engaging the top 50 are.  I take my hat off to @lostineternity99 and @theplodder for their fantastic and consistent encouragement, enthusiasm and leadership displayed to so many users, I truly believe they inspire others by their actions and enthusiasm. The Dafties are all great people who have a good laugh while achieving amazing physical endeavours. I miss Kurt and would wish him the very best.  There are a others who I regularly watch what they are up to.  Some of their names appear regularly in this spot and the list is by no means exclusive @hidekis, @baldyjohn, @irfade, @janeh, @gemboms, @pronsiasm, @passagerunner, @towardfarm, @annet1 and @teresad who is usually somewhere close to me in ranking.  

What's your favourite quote? 

I have two favourite quotes, the first is by HL Mencken: 'The truth that survives is simply the lie that is pleasantest to believe' and the second is by Bruce Lee "I'm not in this world to live up to your expectations and you're not in this world to live up to mine." 

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