Monday, January 27, 2014

A New Year - A New Start

Gold Coast: sunshine and surf with my mum

A new year, a new start and how better to kick things off than switching from - 5 degrees C and skiing in Austria to + 42 degrees C and surfing in Australia! Ok really this was actually a much bigger transition than I had first thought when I made the plan, 50 degrees is a massive temperature switch. But a fantastic week living on the beach and exploring the Gold Coast with my mum and sister at a family friends amazing wedding helped ease the crazy temperature and lifestyle switch.

An amazing wedding by the beach.
Louise is maid of honour for her childhood best friend Christina

Christina and Anthony tie the knot

Louise, Mum and Me

A lovely beach lunch

Louise and Mum enjoying a walk in the sand

Then some quality time in Sydney and the Blue Mountains with my Mum, Dave, Pete and Jez fully cleared the jet lag and settled me back into life in Oz.

Sydney Opera House with Mum

The Blue Mountains with Mum

Enjoying the stunning views with Jez 

Beach Closed!?!

Playing in the waves with our own lifeguard team watching

Night sets over the opera house

Stunning views of the city at night

Soon enough though playtime was over as my mum left to head back to Russia's -23 Degree C (a 65 degree C!!! temperate switch) and snow in St Petersburg and I stayed with the lads in Oz with a plan to start training in the sun. Distracted slightly by amazing beaches, a beautiful city, outdoor movies, Sydney Olympic park, coastal walks, playgrounds, water fountains, inflatable stone henge bouncy castles, mountain biking, roller blading, ice skating, swimming... the list goes on. And a crazy amount of heat, did I mention it got to 42 degrees C, and sun. Training didn't quite kicked off as planned, but with 3 months left out here i'm not too worried as I know that I will soon settle into a routine and then the training benefits will come.

Fun times at a bouncy Stone Henge

Dave at the top of the kids playground

I found a fountain

So we had to play in it

In fact, today for the first time since the worlds finals I squeezed back into my Murky Water Slip and had one of the most fun boating sessions I have had for ages. Just playing, not training as such, just throwing the boat around and having fun. I felt so good being back in the boat and i've not forgotten anything which is great. I'm a bit rusty for sure and my feet didn't know what was going on being squash back into the tiny boat again. But I loved it and already can't wait to get back out on the water again.

Loving being back in my boat again

Playing around with some crazy photo angles

Fun times

Squirt Boating is such an awesome sport

Let the training begin :)

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Happy Xmas and Happy New Year – Slope Style

It's always good to mix up training with a bit of fun by getting out and spending some time enjoying other incredible adventure sports. So after an amazing trip to Uganda it was time to hang up the boating kit for a few weeks and hit the slopes.

Festive Welcome at Chalet6

First stop, Chalet6 in France with Den and Lisa. Chalet6 is an incredible chalet that has just been opened in the Morzine valley by my friends Seb and Vix. With a hot tub, amazing views, fantastic hosts and some of the best food I've ever tasted It's the perfect place for a week of snowboarding and skiing adventures. I was definitely a bit rusty on the snowboard at first but it was great fun trying to remember how it was done. Switching mid week to ski's it was a really interesting challenge, experiencing a new sport as a beginner again.

Our awesome hosts Seb n Vix

Seb and Claire O loving the snow

Seb showing us how it should be done

Den in Action

Lisa crusing down the slopes

I'm a pro… honest!

Apres Ski with Den and Lisa

Did I mention the food?

After a last couple of hot tub sessions and blast down the slopes the week was done and it was time to head home to the UK for a catch up with friends and a lovely Xmas with my family.

Arriving to a lovely Xmas welcome

Happy Xmas

Eat, Drink and be Merry

Then it was back to Europe to hit the slopes once more. This this time to Austria and the Saalbach Hinteglemm resort with the Crosbie's. Driving out on Boxing Day. We arrived with a festive cheer, super excited to be back on the snow. With beautiful blue skies, fresh powder and amazing mountains all around we were all set for an incredible week.

Bobby, John and Islay

Fun Fun Fun

Claire O gives Islay a helping hand

Claire O getting air

Islay showing Claire O how it should be done

Fun fun fun

Our Austrian friend Tom Zach joined us for an awesome few days. Passing on his years of experience on the slopes and teaching us some local lingo and giving us a great insight into the local culture. It was perfect timing as we then broke in the New Year with the locals in the small ski village of Viehhofen, drinking warm Gluewein whilst watching a candle lit kids ski procession, the local brass band and a big fireworks display. Then as 2013 finished, 2014 began as we hit the slopes again. Bright and early we set the first tracks, kick starting another year of adventures and fun.

Happy New Year from Islay, Claire O and Dr Tom

and all the locals

What a great way to celebrate Xmas and see in the New Year, with friends and family in incredible places. 2013 for me was an incredible year. So many amazing adventures with so many people, family and friends, old and new, all over the world. Thank you to everyone who shared it with me and helped make it such an amazing and memorable year. Heres a copy of the book I've made with all the main highlights of all the last 12 months.

I want to wish you a Happy New Year. I hope your New Year is full of many wonderful experiences and adventures.

Heres to an amazing 2014.

Happy New Year

Claire O'