Take on the ultimate sporting challenge
Calling all marathon men and women of will power. Your next challenge is upon you. The ultimate test of strength, stamina, and steely determination: The Land Rover G4 Challenge 2008/09.
The gruelling selection process is already underway as a search begins for one man and one woman to represent the UK in the biggest off-road driving and multi-sport challenge in the world. The Challenge Finals take place in some of the most spectacular urban and wilderness locations on the planet and will combine activities such as kayaking, climbing, orienteering and abseiling.
This yearâs challenge supports The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies meaning all your blood, sweat and tears will be in aid of a very worthy cause. The Challenge aims to raise Â£1m for vulnerable people in crisis, both locally and overseas.
Josh Lewsey is joining us for a live webchat to explain the benefits of putting yourself forward for The Challenge and how to train for such a mammoth sporting event. Becoming one of the nationâs most prominent Rugby players doesnât happen without pushing boundaries and Lewsey is one man who has tenaciously kept going in tough situations to see how far he can go. He will be joined by TV presenter and self-confessed adrenalin junky Natalie Pinkham.
So if youâve spent your life in pursuit of new and exciting experiences, log on to our webchat and put your questions to our special guests who will be telling you all you need to know to broaden your horizons in a way you never thought possible.
Sporting hero Josh Lewsey and TV presenter Natalie Pinkham joins us live online on Friday 6th June at 16:30 to discuss The Land Rover G4 Challenge .
H: Milo, host
J: Josh Lewsey
N: Natalie Pinkham
H: Hello and welcome to the Sport and Leisure show, I’m Milo. Now then a gruelling selection process is already underway, as the search begins for one man and one woman to represent the UK in the biggest off-road driving multisport challenge in the world ever, the Land Rover G4 Challenge. The finals themselves take place in some of the most spectacular urban and wilderness locations on the planet, and will combine activities such as kayaking, climbing, orienteering and abseiling. Here to tell us more about this and how to train for such an event is sports superstar Josh Lewsey, and self-confessed adrenalin junkie, Natalie Pinkham. Welcome to the show guys. Ok Josh, tell us about the G4 Challenge.
J: Well basically we’re working on behalf of Land Rover to try and develop and also raise awareness for the applicants, because what we’re looking for is people to apply, because we’re after the best male and the best female person from this country to go through national selection, then international selection to hopefully qualify for the finals which are 4 weeks of pretty gruelling activity in Mongolia, in –
N: The Gobi Desert no less
J: The Gobi Desert in 2009
J: And it’s a pretty – as you’ve mentioned – a pretty arduous challenge, and increasingly in this day and age everyone’s looking to do something – there’s lots of outdoor adventure races and bits and pieces, and this generally is one of the toughest out there, so we’re basically looking today to try and promote that and get people to sign up online at landroverg4challenge.com, fill out the application form and see if you’ve got what it takes to actually make the finals
H: Nice. What kind of men, what kind of women are you looking for?
N: Tough ones. I mean it’s going to be really tough which is why Josh has got behind it, because he’s the toughest man in world rugby. No it is pretty hard, I mean I work on an adventure racing show and adventure racers tend to be a certain mindset, I mean they’re not just physically fit, they are mentally super tough. You have to cope with things like sleep deprivation, thrown out in the middle of nowhere for 4 weeks takes a special person to cope, and you’re doing a whole array of skills that are going to be required, obviously the off-roading is a must, and as you mentioned before there’s kayaking, climbing, cycling, kayaking, running – bit of everything. Banter –
H: So how does somebody actually train?
N: Banter, you’ve got to have banter out there as well
J: Well I think one of the biggest aspects is always people touch on the physical aspects but in all honesty I think that what you’re after is certain types of characters, characteristics of people and certain types of personality, who are as Natalie said, they’re capable, they’re able but they’re resilient, and they’re determined, and it’s not just the physical challenges, it’s also the mental aspects, there’s a lot of problem-solving stuff involved, a lot of theory stuff you’ve got to get over, command tasks, so there’s a real sort of all round tester, and even getting to the finals is an achievement in itself, and that’s why you know they’ve got two sets of selection processes and it’s through 18 competing countries, and people from this country probably aren’t that aware with the Land Rover G4 Challenge but it’s huge internationally. Some other countries it’s enormous, it’s never really been publicised that much in the UK and that’s part of our job today, and hopefully we can do that
N: And the exciting thing as well – sorry to –
H: No no you’re cool
N: I just get so excited about it! The good thing for us well is there is a charity element to it, because whoever wins the overall challenge will get the chance to give a Land Rover to the Red Cross, the Red Crescents society of their country so it’s a global event, it’s exciting for everyone, it’s against – it’s basically 18 teams competing against each other from around the world, so it’s like a world cup of adventure racing
H: Right. So say you’ve got someone out there who says right, lovely this charity involved, I’m mentally tough, I’m mentally tight, you know psychologically I have everything I believe I need to compete and make the sort of national selection. How does someone physically train for an event like that?
N: Don’t look at me when you ask that, we’ve got a world cup winner here
H: How does someone train for this?
J: Well I think that first and foremost you’ve got to be selective first, I mean people are going to apply and they’re only going to take certain types of characters – thing is they’re going to take certain types of characters and certain types of personalities on board to go to national selection. I think last year they had a couple of hundred people, so it’s a pretty niche group that they actually take through. How can you train for these things? Well I think that, you know the actual finals aren’t until 2009, summer 2009 so next summer, but it’s a long period to get your technical skills up to scratch in the sense that – you can teach, like in all these sort of outdoor pursuits and all these expeditions and challenges and this, that and the other, you can teach the technical skills of how to do certain aspects, such as the off-road driving, and teach those bits and pieces, the key aspect is really what you bring to it in terms of your personality, the positivity and your general determination and attitude and if you’ve got those elements, then the next bit, the technical aspect can always be worked on
H: Right, great ok. Well that’s one way of physically training for this, now Natalie I am going to ask you about physical training because we’ve had a question through here, this is from Sharon Middleton and she’s asking how much training went into your preparations for Dancing on Ice recently?
N: Clearly not enough given that I went out in the second round, but no it was actually much harder than a lot of people realise, because you fall over a lot, bang your head, it’s cold, it’s lonely places ice rinks but we trained for about 4 months, about 4 hours a day every day for 4 months. Not that you’d be able to tell judging by some of the skill out there, but it was hard work. I mean none of us had stepped onto ice before apart from Chris Fountain, no one had actually been out onto the ice before, so yes it was pretty tough.
H: Something you’d consider doing, in the future?
H: He is not in to that Natalie.
N: Imagine him in pink sequins!
H: I already had actually. I hadn’t don’t worry. I have seen your tackle on Matt Rogers I am not going to mess around with you. I have another question here from a guy called Andrew Dickens from shortlist magazine and he has asked both of you – Which part of the challenge are you most excited about? I am going to ask you first Josh.
J: Well I am hoping to, next summer realistically, neither of us will be able to take part in the final competition ourselves, we have to get through selection anyway.
N: Obviously we would qualify, based on pure skill we’d be there.
J: For my mind going up and seeing some of the selection that occurs. I am actually fascinated. Land Rover keeps it very much under wraps in terms of what they are looking for, what they are doing during selection. There is a bit of a mystique out there. It is at Easter Castle in November that is the National Selections. No coincidence it is fairly close to where all the SAS is based up in Herefordshire. For my mind going up and watching some of that process occur I think will be quite fascinating. Hopefully the people, the man and the woman that represent the UK can also go in and represent us internationally against the other countries and fly our flag quite well.
H: Awesome – Natalie?
H: You are just excited about Mongolia?
N: I mean what a place! I don’t know that much about it. I have been educated all day by Josh about Mongolia. The Gobi desert promises to be a place of extremes. It is the most sparsely populated country in the world. I just think it will be a fascinating place to run an urban and, it sounds like a contradiction in terms, but there will be an urban element to the adventure race. I just think as a place it will be fascinating.
H: The Gobi desert. Of course one really important aspect of all this training and everything is making sure you eat right in preparation. Making sure you are extremely well hydrated. So we have a short VT now with nutritionist Matt Lovell and someone who has previously competed in the G4 challenge event. So here we go take a look at this.
“The different activities on the challenge will have different levels of intensity so the types of food you eat for those activities will be really crucial. For climbing for instance you want very slow burning fuels which keep your blood sugar levels very stable and you also wouldn’t want to be holding to much water or eaten too much food because then you are just holding more weight.
“When you are training and when you’re racing you have got to rehydrate. Sometimes that can be hard when you are feeling thirsty then that means you haven’t actually drunk enough. So you have got to make sure you do. If you get dehydration your performance level decreases substantially. Your muscles don’t work as well, you get stiff, you get sore, and yes you get actually mentally fatigued as well if you get dehydrated.”
“The nature of the challenge is such that the brain becomes a very important weapon in performance, because if you can offset brain fatigue then you’ll keep going even though your body’s tired. So including small amounts of liquid protein with a carbohydrate drink will go a long way to offsetting the brain fatigue.”
H: So there we go the brain is a weapon, you have to keep yourself hydrated and keep that in order. I’ve actually got another question for you guys, quite an interesting one, this is for you Josh, and it’s from somebody called Trevor, here we go “Josh. I used to be really into my sport, but since I started working long hours and enjoying my social life, I’ve let it go a little. How do you manage to resist the temptations of” – and I quote – “rock and roll fun to become the best at your game?” How do you avoid the champagne lifestyle, essentially is what that question means to me
J: Fundamentally just a pretty boring bloke, that’s basically it! You’ve just got to weigh up the sort of advantages and the disadvantages, you know it is the biggest sacrifice you make. Obviously people, you know, talk about the training, they talk about the playing, and there’s only 80 minutes a week when you play the game, but that’s not the tough side of sport, and I don’t think the training is, because the training is what people enjoy actually, and although it’s challenging, it’s physically hard work, you get a lot of fulfilment by doing it. The sacrifices you make are when you choose not to go on stag do’s or hen do’s –
H: And is that tough?
J: It is sometimes –
N: When do you get invited on hen do’s?
J: I was using you as an example! But you basically have –
H: That’s a future career
J: But those sort of – those aspects, Christenings and weddings and good mates getting married and stuff and you can’t go because you’ve got a game on, you’ve got training – they’re the sacrifices you make, but ultimately we all sacrifice in order to be as good as we can at something, I’m sure he excels, Trevor excels very much in his job. At least you hope so anyway
H: There you go Trevor
N: Clever Trevor
H: Natalie, the temptation you know I’ve got another question, very similar
H: “Natalie you are looking great” – this is from Liz Procter – “what is your tip to keeping in good shape?”
N: Well that’s very nice of you Liz, I don’t know whether I do. I eat quite healthily and I just enjoy exercise so I’m quite an outdoorsy person, I don’t smoke, I was about to say I don’t drink but that would be a lie
J: That would be a lie, yes
N: But yes just eat well, sleep well, don’t smoke, run around like a headless chicken
H: Run around like a headless chicken –
N: Yes, kayak down the Thames with Josh
H: If you are going to lose weight, run around like a headless chicken, you heard it here
N: Or ice skate – best sport you can do for weight loss
H: Ice skate?
N: You find muscles that you didn’t even know existed in your body, and you do just shrink, and I was eating about 6 times a day doing Dancing on Ice, I was like shovelling it in. Unfortunately when I got dropped / kicked out, I carried on eating 6 times a day, that aint clever
H: Are you still skating, do you still skate?
N: I do now and again, hook up with the Rushky and go for a bit of a skate
H: The Rushky
N: Yes, the Russian
H: I’ve got another question for you guys here. It’s more of a technical question. “I live in an urban area and I’m worried that I – “ I don’t know why this is coming to you guys but here we go, see how you deal with this – “I live in an urban area and I’m worried that constant jogging on concrete won’t do my joints any favours. Is this true? Should I try and seek out grass surfaces for long running?” I guess in preparation for training for this G4 event, we can bring this in sync, so what do you – hard surfaces, grass, jogging – are you a jogger?
J: It depends how heavy he is actually, I mean listen I’m not some ergonomic or biomechanics expert but I’ve – you know I’ve trained a lot and as a youngster used to do a lot of running as well. If you are pounding a lot of mileage on concrete, inevitably your joints are going to take – but you know modern trainers are pretty good, I’d say a) it depends how heavy he is, what race style he is and this and that b) if you can actually go and find some grass or a different surface to run on –
N: Better still a track, you know a tartan track
J: Or even a treadmill, treadmills are quite often spring-loaded – getting quite technical and boring again now I’m afraid, but that’s the truth of it so – and you don’t always have to run, there’s lots of elements to do it, you know you don’t need to necessarily be that fit to be – you know running fit to be good at off-road driving, or abseiling and all that sort of stuff, there’s more technical aspects so I think he’d probably best of actually finding some local facilities that are around him. Either that or get on his bike and go and find some grass somewhere and actually go and swing from the trees
H: Big guy swing from the trees, this is essentially what we’re saying here today. Right we’ve got another question here from James Lavery, here we go, again sorry Natalie we’re going to get some more Pinkhamcentric questions here soon but this is back for Josh – “I’m currently with the Newcastle Falcons Academy - in any sport the physical part”, he thinks, is very tough, but for him, I think he thinks is the hardest is the mental part. “How do you prepare yourself mentally for a rugby match?”
N: Good question
J: It is a good question
H: I’ll turn it round for you
J: Good questions – shouldn’t he have started pre-season by now?
H: Shouldn’t you have started pre-season by now James, what are you doing?
J: He – I think the difference – he’s absolutely right in terms of the physical bits and pieces, but for my mind the difference between sort of top level players and world class players is purely between the ears. And it’s really about, you know when you do get your opportunities you’ve got to grab them with both hands and I think that comes down to various factors, the biggest one I think is really mastering what you – understanding who you are and learning through experience how to get the best out of yourself, some people, you go in a dressing room, some people are banging their heads against walls and getting really irate, you know with red mist. Some guys are really quiet and calm, and it’s just really he’s just got to find what suits him, and then when he gets in the field know that’s when to deliver. You can train all you like but if you train you know – train like Tarzan, play like Jane, you’re not going to win any medals
H: Say hello Tarzan, you’ve said that before haven’t you?
N: It’s a good line, if you haven’t you should
H: You should say it again then
J: So for my mind it’s about delivering when it matters, and he’s going to get an opportunity sometime in the first team, or you know representative rugby, and those are the times you need to achieve, and you know if you don’t achieve in those things, you won’t step up, you won’t play the top level, and when you get to the top level again you’ve got to keep striving on and making yourself better and better and better. And if that self belief and that drive, that’s ultimately what makes the difference between people who are winners and losers
H: There you go James. From the man himself. Right, question for yourself Natalie. Here we go, this is from Charles Whiteman. He likes to keep fit, but this looks like a serious tough challenge. How many weeks before the challenge should he realistically start training?
N: I mean I think with adventure racing it’s one of those things that sort of becomes part of you, and even if you’re doing a little bit now, build up gradually. I also think it’s addictive, I don’t know about you but the whole training thing, getting out there in the open air and going for long runs, you kind of become a bit of a Forrest Gump, you start running, you just can’t stop!
H: How about the mental side of things, I mean you, yourself you’re quite a poker expert, if you’re going into a game, like we were talking about Josh –
H: And sort of physical preparations for rugby.
H: Are there any kind of mental preparations you use to put yourself in the right frame of mind, to put yourself in the right zone?
N: I mean I would concur with Josh to the extent that it’s a very personal thing and you only really realise what it takes for you to get into the zone when you try various methods and tactics out, so it is all about experience. I mean you know my problem in the past with poker has been lack of concentration, getting a bit inpatient, so I just really try to calm down and focus and not be too much of a chatterbox
H: Right so you focus on the one weakness you know you have, and by focusing on that you sort of you can square up your game and play –
N: Or you can double bluff them and just chat the whole way through it, that’s probably easier for a girl like me
H: Fine ok, we’ll also find out how to play you at poker as well –
N: Oh oh
H: Should that ever come up. Ok we’ve got time for one last question, you guys have been great. The last question here is for you Josh – “who would you nominate from WASPS for the G4 challenge?” That’s from Peter English
N: That’s a great question
J: Good question. Well you’ve got to pick someone who you’d be willing to spend 4 weeks in a car with, living in pretty close proximity
N: So that rules them out then
J: That rules pretty much everyone out! Who would be- there’s a lot of tough characters there, I mean I know joking aside, touch wood, but one thing that’s made us successful over the years, you’ve got guys who will deliver when it matters and I think some of these – I think Hass would talk too much, he would kill everyone. I think Tom Reiss would be a good bet, he’s a pretty determined character and he keeps his own council quite well
H: Alright. Very last question, it’s from “who would you least like to be in a car with travelling across these continents?”
J: Well we’ve spent a long day today haven’t we?
H: There we go and I guess that’s answered the question for you!
J: No joking –
N: No not for a minute, we are going to represent the UK at some point, at what I don’t know, probably not the G4 Challenge though
N: It’s been a great day
H: Well thank you very much guys for coming in. So if you would like to represent your country. If you think after hearing all this you have what it takes to beat the national selection, get yourself through right now, Landroverg4challenge.com, all the details are up there. Thank you very much for watching. I’ve been Milo, we’ve had Josh Lewsey and Natalie Pinkham here and we will hopefully see you very soon, and best of luck. Bye bye.