The Voyage: Roz Savage
Roz Savage
18 Feb 2005, Yorkshire

This morning I got a copy of the showreel from OR TV - this is the 3-minute pilot video that they've sent to the BBC and ITV to try and get a commission for a documentary about my preparations for the row, and the race itself. Filmed by, directed by, and starring me, but thankfully edited by an expert. Not a big fan of seeing myself on TV, but they've done an amazingly good job of making me look presentable. Now we just have to be patient, and hope for the best. Patience not my strong point, though!

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Four Hour Ergs and How To Survive Them
Roz Savage
17 Feb 2005, Yorkshire

I wish I could say that I enter a Zen-like trance and elevate my mind to a higher plane, contemplating matters of great magnitude and cosmic significance while my body gets on with the job at hand.

But I'd be lying.

Music is the only thing that gets me through the brain-crushing tedium of a four-hour ergo. Cheesy seventies and eighties hits are favourite. Wa-wa-wa-wa-Waterloo...

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Fourth Element
Roz Savage
10 Feb 2005, Yorkshire

Boils on the bum, and how to avoid them: lesson I.

Many an ocean rower has been brought low by salt water boils on the backside. It may not affect boat speed but it can certainly affect morale. Determined to avoid getting a raw bum deal, I asked for help from Fourth Element, who specialise in chafe-free garments for divers, surfers, and anyone spending a lot of time around salt water.

After driving all the way to their offices on Lizard Point for our meeting, I was relieved when they agreed to support me by donating some of their cool kit. Here I am, wearing their Hydroskin top, which will also protect me from UV rays - very important out on the water for a fair-skinned person like me.

Must go - time to put the shorts through the chafe test on a 3-hour ergo...

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Steamy Windows
Roz Savage
03 Feb 2005, Yorkshire

Yesterday someone asked a very good question - won't I lose all my hard-earned fitness if I spend April swanning around on the yacht Steamy Windows?

I'd been worried about this, so I'd done some research. Apparently endurance fitness is much more resilient than, say, strength. If my training programme was based around building up lots of muscle bulk by lifting weights in the gym, that muscle would very rapidly disappear at sea when it's not needed. But my training programme is geared towards building up endurance, and that shouldn't suffer too much if I take 3 weeks off.

In fact, the break from routine could do me a lot of good - physical adaptations take place during rest, not during exercise, so a good training programme should include adequate recovery. And psychologically, it will be good to have a break from these long slogs on the WaterRower.

It's not like I'll be totally inactive, either - during the 2 weeks at sea I guess I'll be running around bracing the mainsail, or whatever the hell it is that sailors do. And I'm told that just being on a boat will be good for my core strength, as you're constantly using your back and stomach muscles to hold yourself upright against the motion of the boat.

And while we're ashore I can go running. So I think I'll be OK.

The ocean experience will be absolutely invaluable. I'll hopefully find my sea legs, which could make the difference between success and failure in the race. I've heard it rumoured that alleged 'food poisoning' has defeated a significant number of ocean rowers.

I'll also be able to practice my navigation, make sure my technology works at sea, learn about marine instrumentation, use Russ's Atlantic planner to plan my race course, and most importantly, test out my Green People sun cream.... Definitely worth skipping a few gym sessions for!

Roz Savage travel writer and photographer

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