Bye bye summertime, welcome wintertime…
With the turning back of the clocks this morning signifying the end of the British summertime for 2016 (hopefully your smart phone has prevented any embarrassingly early arrivals to social arrangements!), we thought it a great opportunity to reflect on what has been a marvellous summer. For the weather watchers amongst us – it still remains the nation’s favourite topic of conversation – after a bit of a slow start the Indian summer held true in September and even through to October. It’s been particularly good for sports fans; we’ve seen Andy Murray win his second Wimbledon title whilst enjoying strawberries and cream washed down with lashings of champagne, marvelled at Chris Froome’s endurance and grit to win his third Tour de France title, and felt monumentally proud of our Team GB athletes and the best-ever performance they put in at the Olympic Games in Rio. To go to Brazil and exceed what we had achieved in an incredible games in London in 2012 is really quite staggering and testament to the unbelievable commitment and hard work put in during the four years that lead up to the Games.
We’re big sports fans here at Bowler & Beach HQ so you can imagine how excited we were to meet Chris Bartley, a former Team GB rower with the men’s lightweight four, Olympic silver medallist and multiple World Championship medallist. We spent a very interesting couple of hours with Chris over a coffee and cream cake after we’d cycled from London and he had cycled from Henley to meet in Windsor. Here’s our interview with Chris in our popular and easy to read 10 questions in 10 minutes format.
[Bowler & Beach] What have you been up to since Rio?
I’ve tried to relax as much as I can. After a long career in the GB Rowing Team I feel like I need a break from the sport before I decide what happens next. I’m enjoying seeing my friends, family and having weekends to spend with them for the first time I can remember! Oh, and I’m riding my bike as much as I can.
What was your favourite moment in Rio?
This is a tough one! It was such a wonderful experience being involved with the Rio Olympics I have a lot of favourite moments. Watching some of my friends win long awaited and well deserved Olympic medals would be one of them. Seeing Usain Bolt win his 3rd 200m Olympic gold would be another. Surfing with my team mates once we’d finished competing was another favourite moment. It was so special, it’s hard to pick just one!
What has been the high point of your rowing career?
In retrospect, it has to be finishing the London Olympics with a silver medal. Being able to stand in the boat in front of the grandstands with our medals and thanking the crowd for their support is something I’ll never forget. I still have the photo of that moment on the wall in my house.
What’s your favourite post-race treat?
It’s not great sports nutrition but nothing beats an ice cold coca cola straight out of the can after a race. It’s not what I should be drinking but nothing else quite hits the spot!
What’s your favourite joke?
One snowman says to the other snowman, ‘Can you smell carrots?’
Terrible, I know….!
When you’re away on training camps, do any practical jokes happen? What’s the best you’ve seen or heard of?
I’m sorry to disappoint but on rowing training camps everyone is so worn out from the training that there’s never much energy for practical jokes. On one camp a friend brought a water balloon catapult operated by three people – we could’ve got them through the hotel room windows. If we wanted…
Where was your favourite place to race?
I loved racing in Bled in Slovenia. We raced there twice in the previous Olympiad and the lake is probably one of the most stunning on the rowing circuit. It was also a great place for a holiday after we’d finished competing. I’d love to go back there.
Who are your top 3 Olympians?
My first is an obvious one – Sir Steve Redgrave. I watched him racing in Sydney on the TV when I was 15. It was this race that first ignited the Olympic spark inside me. Sir Bradley Wiggins would be my second. He’s been incredibly successful across such a range of disciplines in his career, from 4 minute team pursuit to hour long individual road time trials, and three week stage races. As an athlete I can’t stress how impressive this is. Watching him complete his Olympic circle with gold in Rio was very special. Before watching Usain Bolt in the athletics stadium in Rio, I wouldn’t have mentioned him in my top 3 Olympians. However, having seen the reaction to his appearance, his charisma, showmanship and ultimately his performance in the flesh it’s hard to look past him. No other athlete entertained the spectators in the same way. Universally loved, he seemed to bring together nations of supporters in a love for sport, and this in itself embodies the true Olympic spirit.
We know you love your bikes and cycling, so what would be your ideal cycling trip?
I’d love to ride the route of a famous Tour de France. I’m reading a book by Tim Moore called French Revolutions where he follows the route of the 2000 Tour de France. I’d love to do something similar – climbing the same climbs as my cycling heroes. It’d be a great challenge, although I don’t think I’d be eloquent enough to write about it as Tim Moore has.
And finally, what are your favourite Bowler & Beach swim shorts and where will you be wearing them next?
My favourite Bowler & Beach swim shorts are ‘The Swallows.’ A little more understated, the colour suits me nicely! They were great for surfing in Rio, and I’ll hopefully be getting away on holiday for some winter sun over Christmas. They’ll be great for wearing on the beach and topping up the tan I’ve already lost!