July 2000

Sept 2000


Born : 5th August 1968
Place of birth : Lanark Hospital, Scotland
Marital status : Married to Alison with one daughter, Hollie Jane
Lives : Monaco and Spain

Considering the level of competition in the World Championship, how important is it to be fit?
"It's very important and there's always room for improvement. If you look at a top athlete, they're always trying to get better and better. We're at a far lower level than that but it's something you can constantly work on. It can be quite difficult sometimes though, travelling so much, and you have to pick it up when and wherever you can."

What about your diet?
"Very important and I watch what I eat the whole time, especially the week before an event and during the rally itself. I eat lots of different things and the right amount of everything with not too much fatty and sweet stuff. Chicken, pasta, meat, fish and salads - basically a good Mediterranean diet which is easy to do in Spain. We eat pretty healthily anyway so it's not too much of a problem - we're certainly not nipping down to McDonald's or eating chip shop dinners every night!"

Do you have a trainer?
"I don't have a personal trainer as such, but I do work with Bernie, a guy who comes on events with us and every now and again we meet up for assessments, fine tuning and so on. Bernie is an ex-professional tri-athlete so he knows what's what and it makes a big difference having someone like him around who's done it all himself and knows how it feels. Lots of people can read about it and tell you what to do, but it's not the same without personal experience. I appreciate it a lot more from someone who's done it themselves."

What do you do to keep fit?
"I cycle, do motor-cross, jet and water-skiing, stuff I enjoy doing otherwise it gets boring if you just jog round the block every morning. I'll quite happily go off on the bike for a couple of hours and also if you ski hard it works your abdominals, back and upper body, all of which are important in the car to prevent injury from all the jolting and bumping around. Lots of people think the jet skiing is just fun, but if you're at a reasonable level you can make yourself work really hard."
You've got a multi-gym in Scotland haven't you?
"Yes and I use it maybe three mornings a week if I'm back there for about five days, but I can probably count the amount of times I've been there this year on one hand. It's a good alternative if the weather's bad, but if it's good I'll go and do an hour's training on the motor-cross bike instead. You have to take advantage of the weather when you can and it makes it more enjoyable."
Do you do much while you're on event?

"It depends on the schedule because during some recces it's not possible. Time permitting we normally go out on the mountain bikes, probably for an hour or two each evening. Bernie comes with Nicky and I, and Alister as well sometimes, whoever's there really. Denis Giraudet and Freddy Loix are pretty keen, so occasionally we get quite a lot of people going."

What about booze?
"I don't drink alcohol at all during the recce and if I know an event is going to be particularly tough I won't drink at all the week before I leave. It can be quite difficult when all your mates are off down the pub and going out, but it's really important to keep hydrated and in training. Generally a lot depends on what's happening and how you feel in yourself though."

Where do you think you rank in terms of fitness?
"It's difficult to say as you're never really in a situation of comparing or testing each other. Fitness is very difficult to pinpoint. I could go out running or circuit training with my old trainer and he'd annihilate me, but if we were on mountain bikes I could beat him hands down. It's very difficult to judge because everyone is used to different things. Alister and Nicky are stronger than me on a bike for example, but with strength work I could beat Nicky. The important thing is to enjoy it."