So a big congratulations to Steve!!! Well done!!! :D :D
Here is Steve’s winning entry:
Thank you to everyone who entered. There were lots of great entries and we will run another one again in the future!
And now here is my FP for the week. It’s about sport, casting sport, fitness and generally being healthy!
The New Order
Well I won’t have to tell you that it’s been a strange 12 months. Obviously we’ve all been highly affected by the fallout from this virus. It’s been a time of surviving (hopefully), building for the future and, for me at least, I’ve been actively putting my fitness together. When I turned 49, just over a year ago, I set myself the challenge to get – and stay – Ironman fit and race in 5 long distance triathlons this year. I’ve always enjoyed the multi-sport and it seemed like a good 50yr old challenge. Unfortunately all my races have been postponed and postponed and postponed again!
One of my prime motivations behind getting the bigger boat was to put an indoor bike trainer aboard (it wasn’t just for guests’ luxury!). It’s not easy to run in the jungle - there are few trails, and you’re never quite sure what animal you will run into, trip over or find yourself running away from. Daylight is 7am to 7.30pm pretty much all year, which is a good time to fish of course and doesn’t leave much daylight time to train. So the indoor bike trainer just makes doing both training as well as fishing possible. I’m a hell of a lot leaner as a consequence of this, I can tell you!
Three years ago I managed to twist my knee carrying some heavy gear down a steep rocky embankment on Millipede Island. I didn’t pay much attention to it at the time but I must have seriously damaged a ligament and it’s made running very challenging indeed. This has been a problem for me because running is one of my sports that I’ve loved throughout life. It’s interesting how after the injury I would run one day, resulting in pain and movement issues the next, both of which would then be resolved through a bike ride! (I have no idea how that works but it did and still continues to do so). Fortunately in the past year, through training and stretching, my knee is now in much better shape. I’m still going to struggle with a full marathon at the moment but I now know that I’ll get there again. There is real freedom to be found in running that I can’t explain...
There are two related things that I’m focussing on now, in addition to training: nutrition and flexibility. 20 years ago I became a vegetarian as a result of a sports diet experiment, which stuck. And now I’m really focussing on my food intake again, because, after all, this is your fuel source. And flexibility is really important too – I don’t know if that’s an age thing or an injury thing, but I do know it thoroughly matters and probably always did.
Now let’s talk about flycasting sport! :D
I personally do not think that Ironman fitness is the perfect shape for flycasting sport. I reckon you want to be more like a javelin thrower and less like a distance triathlete. Fast upper body strength for fly casting, whereas distance triathletes are all about endurance, speed over ground and being light. After all, particularly on the bike and the run, if you have bulk then you have to transport it... a very long way!
Casting sport on the other hand is more explosive and upper body dominant. I don’t think it’s about strength as much as it is about hand speed but obviously they are related. I’m lucky in that I can sometimes actually win fly casting competitions, so any training program for me has to allow me to stay strong and have a fast upper body. Fortunately I do swim faster when I lift weights, so there are some triathlon advantages to be found in the gym.
I had a very interesting experience ten years back when the Hungarian eXtremeMan competition (Ironman distance event in Gyekenyes) was held one week before the flycasting world championships in Norway and I did both. After the Ironman race I noticed that my body dramatically changed in the following week and I very quickly lost all my upper body bulk (I had a daily training session back then of dumbbells, bench press and chin-up bar). Consequently I came to the conclusion that the endurance requirements for Ironman were obviously not what was ideal for throwing loops a long way and my body quickly showed me this by becoming seriously lean and it did not help my casting!
All I can really say then, is that triathlon training helps when it comes to casting sport, in that my inner fitness level is excellent and I’m not sure if much else. My resting heart rate is generally around 55bpm but it’s not uncommon to see it below 45. It’s dropped 10bpm in the last 12 months since I started training again. So I feel that I’m making strides in this regards.
Casting Sport is obviously highly skilled and is almost completely dominated by technique. That’s why we are still competitive when we are 60 years old and more – even at distance. I don’t think it’s so much about strength, although strength undoubtedly helps us in many ways. The main obvious advantage that I see and feel, is a more explosive haul. Even more important I would say, is that strength training helps us with injury prevention. To do distance casting sport and not physically train is to put yourself at risk.
A lot of my good friends who cast have experienced recurring injuries in the past years and that’s certainly not because of poor technique! So I would suggest to anyone who takes casting sport seriously, to invest some time in building and maintaining personal fitness and strength.
Lee Cummings (who’s quite a big chap, I’m sure you’ll agree!) had some excellent advice when we were discussing which muscles to train. Lee said, whatever muscles are tired after a weekend of casting - those are the ones to train! And of course he is right - it’s not rocket science. But of course you don’t train one muscle in exclusion of the others; you train them all. You don’t even have to be lifting weights; you could go kayaking or rope climbing for example and I think that those would be excellent disciplines for casting sport. I notice that Lee doesn’t only lift weights; he does strange challenges too such as bending iron bars and picking up tractor wheels with his pinky finger.
So that would be my advice. But I would take it further and make it general advice. Fitness is not only about casting sport, it’s also about casting, fishing, staying active, being nimble and staying healthy. Fitness is not just something to do for sport, it’s really about how to live a more fulfilling and active life. And best of all, it’s a hell of a lot of fun because it releases endorphins which puts you in Cloud 9.
My father is in his 80s now and he still goes to the gym as his daily routine (Covid has hampered this and so currently trains at home). Gordy Hill who many of you will know, has just turned 90. The last time I visited him he was running up and down his road carrying dumbbells. Why would you not be like this?