Artists Impression

Artists Impression

Monday, 20 October 2008

Chatting with Graham Napier

When my mobile rang last Friday afternoon I was at work feeling truly hideous after another night out with the Hillary boys and a few Trektators, so it was perhaps not the ideal time to have a chat with the man who took this years Twenty20 Cup by storm.

At the start of the summer Graham Napier was a promising allrounder at Essex and had toured with England A in 2004, alongside Kevin Pieteren and Matt Prior, but after an astonishing 152* against Sussex in June his career is taking off.

Details of the innings itself can be found all over the place, but that is not what I wanted to talk to him about, I wanted to discuss his trek to Everest Base Camp last winter, and it seems I was not the first.

"It's safe to say the Everest trip has proved a popular topic of conversation, and I enjoy telling everyone about it," he said.

"There were times on the trip when I wondered what the hell I had gotten myself into, it was seriously cold up there, but the altitude was by far the toughest aspect.

"I was OK,but one of our guys, Cameron, had to be helicoptered off the mountain on the penultimate day, which brought home just how difficult it was."

From my point of view perhaps the best line he came out with was to do with fitness: "it seemed to be the fitter guys who struggled more, because they went off too quickly. Nick Compton is one example, he took on a hill pretty fast one morning and paid for it for about two days!"

When the conversation moved on to the cricket match they played at Gorak Shep Graham gave a small chuckle.

"It was no more than beach cricket really, and a useful distraction because we were all feeling pretty terrible by that stage. For us the cricket was a small aside, it was all about reaching Base Camp."

When I told him what we're planning he was supportive in the extreme, and had plenty of advice to give.

"When I played the game I think I was wearing thermals, base layers, a jumper, fleece and a coat, and it was still pretty cold.

"Night was the worst though. One night I couldn't be arsed to get up and go to the toilet so just peed in my water bottle, which then proved to be a great source of warmth! After that I took boiled water to bed with me every night.

Another tip was to wrap up all your batteries to keep them warm: "you'll want a good camera because around every corner there's another amazing view, and the cold sucks all the life out of your electrical gear, so I wrapped my batteries in socks each night."

I coud easily tell how excited Graham was when he began talking, and the fact that we are taking up around 50 people was something he saw as a plus for us, because the camaradarie is so important in getting through the tough times.

I almost began to wonder if he was serious when he said: "if this season hadn't gone so well I would probably be trying to get on the trip with you!" Well Graham, I can tell you now, there's a spot on Team Hillary for you - we need all the help we can get!

I owe a massive thanks to Graham for taking the time out to talk to me, he was incredibly pleasant to speak with, as was his agent Greg Lansdowne - who I hassled for some time.

Despite the season being over he is still a busy man. On Wednesday he was at an awards dinner at Lords to pick up the Walter Lawrence Trophy in recognition of his innings against Sussex, and he will shortly be heading out to Hong Kong to represent England in the Sixes competition, a tournament he won in 2004, before once again playing for Wellington in New Zealand.

Despite all this he was kind enough to offer to write something for us and lend his full support to The Everest Test, hopefully next time he calls I will be slightly less hungover and able to ask some decent questions!

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Gotta get going....

Right, that's it. Honeymoon over.

It has now been two weeks since the marathon and I have to stop living off it or I will be in serious danger of falling back into the old routine of sitting in front of the TV all day and doing absolutely nothing with my life!

Wednesday was the launch of the Everest Test at the Collection on Brompton Road and a wicked night was had by all.

Fortunately I managed to avoid getting too hammered, which is more than can be said for some of those involved - and damn right too I say! Everyone is working so hard for this thing and deserved to let their hair down, plus it was great to get together again, especially after missing the meeting two weeks ago.

Today I have woken up after my first visit to the new Wembley followed by a hideous smash up which took in various bars around London and my mate Kingers 30th, so I feel truly awful and have failed to get to the gym all weekend. It was great going to the home of football for a game and I was pretty pleased that mankinis were banned!

One of the things I said after doing my run was that now it was over I don't have to feel guilty about missing the odd gym session now and again, but it has become again and again over the last two weeks and the guilt has returned.
So from tomorrow morning I am setting myself a new target, go every day. I'll go in the morning before work, do a shorter session, but reckon that lots of shorter sessions is probably better than the occasional longer one which takes days to recover from!

So wish me luck with that, I feel I might need it.
One particularly cool thing that happened at the party was young Zooby put together a video slideshow that was projected on the big screen throughout the night, which finished with the below shot - which I am a big fan of! I am also having serious concentration issues today, so am going to bed...

Monday, 6 October 2008

Back in the saddle

I fell off the wagon last week, which was highly expected. After a month of not drinking there were invites aplenty and so I decided to accept every single one, and thus discovered on Sunday morning that I may have undone four months training in a single week. Oh dear.

Still, I did manage to fit in my first run since Berlin, although that was purely thanks to G Man who basically forced me out on Saturday morning, and after an hour all the old aches and pains had returned(who am I kidding, they returned after about five minutes and I did all I could not to complain about them until we were nearly done).

By lunchtime my legs and knees had stiffened up so badly that the only option was to drink until I could feel the pain no more. Sadly, this did not stop the pain returning on Sunday, along with several new aches and bruises that generally accompany a Drovers Cricket do.

So, away from the past and back to the present. The Trektator party is on Wednesday and should be a good night. Hopefully we've got enough people to make it a good night out, although I am going to be careful not to get too leathered and embarrass myself!

Tickets can still be bought for £30 at search using the word Sagarmatha.

After that I am contemplating heading down to Battersea Park for the Trim Trail with the Everest boys on Saturday morning, although I may put that off until Wednesday and have a session in the gym to try and work out just how much long-term damage I have done to myself by running 26 miles before letting the brothers Sharland go to work on me - I hear they are slightly deranged.

Some of the things that people are talking about signing up to are quite insane. The Toughguy being one of them, have a read through the suggested training routines because they made me laugh a lot....perhaps only because there's no chance in hell of me going down that road!

The Everest Test