Another day. Another country. For those of you that follow my various ramblings on my blog posts, or my Facebook page, you would of seen numerous posts since October last year about my goal to go and test myself in the USA. To step out of my comfort zone in the UK Kettlebell Sport scene, and go up against athletes I was only familiar with thanks to social media.
With the help of so many of you who donated your hard earned money into my GoFundMe account, that dream became a reality. I can honestly say I was completely overwhelmed by all the support that everyone has shown me. Incredible. Shocked. All of the above.
On Thursday 6th February I travelled out to San Francisco. I travelled expecting some glorious California weather, and was confronting by torrential rain. It was like I never left home in Manchester, except everything was bigger. The cars, the buildings, the ghetto booty’s, hell, I even think the rain drops were bigger!
I was there to compete in the IUKL West Coast Classic Kettlebell Championships 2014. Possibly the biggest and most well attended competition in the USA. Athletes from around the globe attended. As well as a strong showingfrom America, there were athletes representing themselves and clubs from countries such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Russia and of course myself, the only athlete attending from England.
There were a couple of reasons I wanted to travel and compete in America. Firstly, it was taking place at the home of my sponsors; Kettleguard. So it would allow me the opportunity to finally meet them all in person, to thank them for there support face to face rather than through Social Media. Secondly, and more importantly, I wanted to go to prove something to myself, to test myself against athletes I was unfamiliar with. I wanted the challenge it would bring. First and foremost I’m a competitor. I strive on competition. It inspires me. It motivates me. Without I always struggle to match the intensity needed to suceed, especially mentally. So, for me, heading over the pond to America would provide me with that challenge. That thirst for glory.
Saturday 8th February was d-day, the moment of truth. Had I made the right decision to leave my team to fend for themselves at the GSU Scottish Kettlebell Championships 2014. As it turned out they didn’t need me at all, taking a clean sweep of Gold Medals. I might have to make an alternative trip for myself a regular thing if this is how they react!
But what about me, how would I react? Would the long haul flight take effect? Would I crack under the pressure I put myself under to win? Would I let my team down watching the live stream from back home? Would I let down all the people who helped fund my trip, who I promised I would be victorious for?
No. No I wouldn’t. I won and won well.
I achieved what I set out to do. To go to America and win. To win for myself, my coach, my team, and everybody back home rooting for me. It wasn’t my best set by a long way, but under the circumstances I’m happy with a result of 74 reps on 24kg Long Cycle. Only 3 reps shy of a new PB. I beat all the other athletes on the same weight Kettlebells. I won my individual weight category by 14 reps. I’d like to think I made an impression. They didn’t expect this skinny Brit to turn up and do what I did.
‘The will to conquer is the first condition of victory’
Again I would just like to thank everyone who made it possible. My coach; Mark Stapleton, for the support and programming. He has a happy knack of getting me to peak at the perfect time. My physio; Bob Johnson, for continually fixing me. Who without his support and expertise over the last 3 months I may of had to cancel the trip. My family and friends for their continued support. Finally, yet again, all of you who helped fund the trip for me. Thank you so so much.
It was an emotional and overwhelming journey and one I will never forget.