Tab Week: Blues Rower

In a new Tab feature, Blues Rower MIKE THORP shares how he manages to eat 6000 calories and sleep for 8 hours a day, with 35.5 hours of training each week.

Bristol Cambridge ely Fledgling helena izett Life Lottie Unwin Maltloaf Mona Ebert nandos Rowing Subway tesco VK

Mike Thorp is a 2nd year Historian at Homerton College and a Blues Rower.

In our words, this is his week.

Monday. Hit Life hard last night with the rest of the squad in our blazers.  £150 for that bit of stash, but it’s the only thing I paid for all year and I love it.  Am only a Fledgling so they punished me at the swap and I had to get the VK’s in at the bar.  Stint in the Seeley to get my essay done.

Tuesday. Up at 6 and off to the boat club for 6.45 meet.  Eat a cereal bar on my bike to save time.  Straight down to 18,000 meters on the machine.  Coach says I have got to get the ‘mileage’ done this year so I get to it for an hour and ten.  Tuck into a full English at Pembroke with the team, then some head to lectures.  I go back to bed.  Some supervisors don’t like rowers, but this term mine is interested.  We chat about her best times on the erg and some History of Political Thought.  Afternoon on the river.

Wednesday.  Same early start.  Weights in the gym then back to the library.  I have to get the work done early, so I can take a day off later in the week when I am too tired.  It’s raining when we get off the bus in Ely.  20,000 metres out on the water is a slow hour forty-five today.  We’re shown the boards in the clubhouse with won or lost against each boat and are reminded that the boat race, and winning, is what it’s all about.  Grab a Subway on the way home.  I used to be going every other day at least, but I have cut down.  Don’t have a favourite, but it’s always a foot long.   Go to Hall when I get back but I have to buy two main meals to get enough carbs.  Watch half a film in the common room but at ten I have to head off.  Finding eight hours to sleep every night is a pain.

Thursday. Not delighted with the cycle to and from Homerton today.  Hang around chatting to the lads after training about Seattle next summer.  The University of Washington are paying for us to come and race them.  Too kind.  Had a chat with Mum.  She’s been worried about a stress fracture in my rib so likes to talk to me often.  She knew how badly the three hours a day on the cycling machines got me down a few weeks ago.   She sent me 12 kgs of pasta when I came up seven weeks back that I am getting through.  Make myself a big plate with pesto.  Normally, I try to have some meat or vegetables with it sometimes but today it’s just pasta.  Play pool with a friend.  I spend a lot of time trying to avoid playing pool.  After another 1.30-5.30 session have a pint with the squad.

Friday. I should probably do some washing, but we’ve got a kit drop coming up so that will give me another few weeks of clean stash.  Don’t really get out of bed, except to eat, until I have to leave for weights at 12.30.  One of the squad has a car so I go out to big Tesco to do a shop.  I used to eat a Maltloaf a day in 3 bites but I try and do better this year.  6000 calories a day is still really difficult to do and my bill is huge.  Student loans don’t cover 5 meals a day.

Saturday. Only 7.30-2 today on the river so I have got the afternoon to work.  Go to DoJo’s for noodles opposite the Mahal in the evening with a friend from college and two mates from John’s.  My friends in college aren’t awake for many of the hours I am so we don’t see each other as much as I would like.

Sunday. After training get on the four and a half hour train to Bristol to see my girlfriend Rach.  It’s our two year anniversary next weekend so I am making the journey again then.  We’ll go to Nando’s for dinner.  I’ve stopped doing that in Cambridge because I can’t eat enough there, but she likes it.  It was difficult when she was in Borneo last year looking after chimps, but now we can see each other twice a week.  Won’t be back in Cambridge until Monday evening, in time for an early night before training.

Illustration by Helena Izett