The Titan Tour 2015 - Part 1
The Titan Tour 2015 - Day 1 Cardiff – Day 4 Exeter
So after a solid month of planning, phone calls, emails and brainstorming about how we could make the tour as successful as possible it was time to get it started!
If I was to say I wasn’t nervous about how the tour would be received I would be telling a massive lie! Myself and Sonny have set out to do something that no other British lifter has ever done and that is to tour the UK with the aim to introduce a more professional level of weightlifting into crossfit boxes while also (hopefully) raising a big bag of cash for the very deserving charity ‘HELP FOR HEROES’
The idea was thought up a few days before Christmas with Sonny sitting in his flat in Bristol on the phone with me at home in Holyhead (N,Wales). Originally the idea was to travel to the USA Olympic training center in Colorado with the GBR womens squad which is still funded by UK sport unlike the mens squad which has ultimately fizzled out of existence due to not being funded. After a conversation with Tommy Yule of BWL we decided this was not an option as it was going to cost in the region of 6-7 thousand pounds for the both of us, and with neither of us having that kind of cash we quickly got onto the subject of how we could get some quality training in together with minimal costs to ourselves.
At first we decided we were going to jump into Sonny’s car and just drive around to some gym’s that we knew of and get some sessions done, after about another 2 hours of conversation we came to the conclusion that we could potentially make it a much bigger venture.
“What about if we did it for charity and visited crossfit boxes where we can showcase our lifting”?
And the Titan Tour 2015 idea was born.
We worked tirelessly to secure sponsors to help us with the idea and soon enough we had a list of companies that were willing to help us in some capacity, whether it was providing us with branded kit, expenses, supplements or prizes for the raffle we had decided to run.
The list of sponsors that have had an input in the tour are:
- Our main sponsors Elite Sport Performance Technologies (ESP): Who have provided branded kit, 2x 20kg Olympic lifting bars and plates as well as money to help with expenses
- PurePharma: supplementation for the tour, raffle prizes and money for expenses
- SBD: A range of training support, raffle prizes and money for expenses
- Jeff Dovey and Core Telecoms: help with the funding of campervan hireFamily Travel Center Bristol: supplying the camper
- Buff Boxes: food during the tour
- Multipower sports food: supplementation for the tour
- Kitbox, Heavy Rep Gear, Naked APE, CocoPro, SGF, Kratos Nutrition and ModiFIT: who have all donated to the raffle
It is safe to say without the help and support of these companies we would not have been in the position to run the tour. So on behalf of ourselves ‘THE TITANS’ we would like to offer our greatest thanks.
Once all the finer details had been squared off it was time to finally start! I was nervous about driving the camper as it was much bigger than anything I had driven before but we set off down the M4 in the direction of ‘GODS COUNTRY’.
So our first stop of our two venues in Cardiff was Dragon Crossfit, familiar territory for myself as they have hosted welsh national championships and the Celtic nations championships in the past couple of years. The original plan for our sessions was to be sensible with percentages……….. that wasn’t to be the case! With a group of enthusiastic people ready to lift weights stood in front of us the ‘sensible’ approach was thrown out of the window and we proceeded to power snatch, power clean and jerk off blocks to failure.
Between sets myself and Sonny were walking around helping everyone with their techniques and answering any questions, the session flew by and we ended the evening with sonny completing a clean and jerk ladder from 100kg-170kg in 4 minutes!
Day 2 saw us travel the short distance across the city to Crossfit Cardiff, I have to admit I was slightly worried as we were warming up as only 3 or 4 people had arrived for the session and I was preparing myself for the evening to be a flop, but low and behold half an hour later as we were just starting to get to work on the bars it was like someone had opened the floodgates! It seemed like every time I looked someone was posting cash into the donation bucket and/or approaching for a raffle ticket. It was quite an intense session as the atmosphere pushed us on to more maximal weights in hang snatch, hang clean, pulls and squats. Once again everyone seemed to be really enjoying themselves and lifting really well there was even a few PB’s or PR’s as I hear them called more often nowadays. We ended up standing around after the session for quite a while speaking with a few of the lads that helped us pack our equipment back into the camper.
Day 3 took us down to Crossfit Taunton run by Pete Howe who also owns Buff Box (who supplied us with food for the tour). This box was much smaller than the previous two but regardless of that it was a really nice space and Pete had managed to get a real family feel to the place, it reminded me of my own gym back home, the separate reception area upstairs was almost too comfy as after two days of maximal training my 28 year old 65kg frame was starting to feel myself get a little too accustomed to the sofa!
Needless to say the box filled pretty quickly and the atmosphere in there was electric! On the agenda was power clean and power jerk, pulls and squats and yep you guessed it we went balls to the wall once again. I finished my pull session with a PB deadlift of 210kg at 65kg bw and the PB bell was being hammered by the other lifters in the session also! Again this was another box that really enjoyed their lifting and you could see the hard work they had put in technically through the session, a really enjoyable place to train!
We capped off a great session with an evening meal with Pete and his son Jordan back at his place which was absolutely spot on thanks for that Pete! ;-)
Day 4 saw us visit Crossfit EXE in Exeter and after a night in the camper on an industrial estate I woke up in what can only be described as ‘EXTREME DOMS’ Sonny being 8 years my junior wasn’t so bad but still wasn’t too comfortable!
Luckily on our arrival we found out that the box had a member who was a sports masseur……. IDEAL!! A flush through from Luke was just what the doctor ordered and although still not feeling ‘fresh’ I was in a better position to lift than when I woke up. As we were getting ready to train we were overwhelmed by the amount of people in attendance, this was by far the busiest box we had been to in terms of our sessions and luckily there were two separate rooms which we had to spread the hordes of lifters between. Sonny took snatch in one room and I took cleans in the other, bodies battered we ploughed through and put on a show although I only did two exercises I was working at the highest intensity my body would let me, as was Sonny!
It was starting to become apparent that things were going to become very hard from here on in with still 13 boxes left to visit on consecutive days! I think the highlight of the session for myself and sonny wasn’t helping people to correct technique or lifting big weights but meeting a guy called Stu. Stu is blind and had recently won an online competition that Sonny had held from his athlete page to win a pair of his Nike Romaleo shoes, his attitude towards his lifting was inspiring as was the attitude toward his coaching by Jamie the box owner as I can now appreciate how hard it is to coach without the advantage of using visual aids! This like I said was definitely the highlight of the day and to see him lifting with confidence and enjoying his lifting was just fantastic!
Another new experience for me here was signing someone’s weightlifting shoe. I’ve never been asked to do this before and it was surreal but at the same time it was really nice to think that we had made such an impact. Again the people involved made a real effort on the fundraising and Sonny and myself were left counting much more money in the camper than we had anticipated