#RoadToWorlds and the next leg on my Ultimate Journey of a Lifetime - Maria Cahill (April 2014)

Here is a blog from “go to” girl, Maria. She has been playing ultimate for a fair few years, and her she is talking about how the Nice Bristols #Roadtoworlds is the next leg of her journey,


After 15 years playing ultimate, I’ve had quite a few of those conversations. Most frisbee players will recognize them. The ones you have with ‘lay’ people; colleagues and family, often starting with ‘How was your weekend?’ or ‘Did you enjoy your holiday – you were playing frisbee weren’t you?’ I’ve tried many times to cram a worthy description into a few digestible lines and I think it’s the challenge this presents, that sets our sport apart and makes it so special.

By the end of 2009, I’d had enough. I had just played the most competitive tournament I was ever likely to play and had spent eight months of each of the preceding eleven years preparing for one frisbee championship or another. I had lost my enthusiasm and I was playing more out of habit than for enjoyment. The only solution was to go cold turkey. For two years I biked, climbed, swam, ran and hiked and didn’t miss frisbee in the slightest. Then I accepted an invitation to make up numbers at a tournament and enjoyed it enough to make enquiries about Nice Bristols, my local women’s team.


What I discovered was a talented, enthusiastic, determined bunch of athletes, who placed a lot of emphasis on being competitive but never at the expense of having fun. These magic ingredients, introduced by the club’s original founders, coupled with strong leadership and a hunger for success has seen the team excel in recent years to become the best UK women’s team outside the capital. It was these principles and the people that embodied them, that re-kindled my love of the sport.

So what do I say to colleagues, friends and family who ask how the training is going and whether I’m still enjoying playing frisbee? The answer is simple. I feel genuinely lucky to have been introduced to this sport and privileged to still remain a part of it. I have often pondered whether it’s the nature of frisbee that attracts good people or whether it’s the players themselves that have shaped the sport’s unique culture. Whichever way around, rich and vivid experiences, shared on and off the field, weave themselves into the fabric of long lasting friendship. A few years ago I didn’t think I’d be playing another world championship but with four months to go, I am genuinely excited to be embarking on another leg of this frisbee journey of a lifetime and adding to my collection of great experiences on the 2014 Nice Bristols road to worlds.

Nice Bristols Take on the Garmin Vivofits!

With the Worlds squad all training extra hard this year, reaching new levels of fitness and clocking up an unheard of number of hours in the gym, the arrival of 5 new Garmin Vivofits to share around made for some feisty competition and many geeky stats conversations.

For those unfamiliar with the Garmin Vivofit, it is a fitness band worn on the wrist, which gives an indication of your general daily activity, tracks steps, distance travelled, calories burned and even monitors your sleep patterns! Check out the website to find out more http://sites.garmin.com/vivo/

So how does all this help us with our preparation for a week-long ultimate tournament?

Well probably the most useful information we gathered as a team came through wearing the Vivofits at tournaments and pre-season training. We were able to get an idea of how much distance an average team member covered across a game, day and weekend of ultimate (average 5-6km per game, 20km per day). It’s no secret that a weekend of ultimate is knackering, but having a rough measure of how far we actually run, not accounting for all the sprinting, changing direction and jumping involved really puts into perspective what our bodies are going through and how important it can be to have rest days/active recovery. More importantly perhaps, this feature also allowed us to highlight some of the laziest members of the team…


The calorie counter also gave us a good idea of the number of calories burned per game and over the course of a day playing ultimate. Naturally this information will help us to better plan our nutrition at Worlds though truthfully this information only really becomes important when calculating how much takeaway is acceptable to order on a Saturday night of tour…

For the remainder of the time when we aren’t training or playing tournaments, the Vivofit ‘red bar of doom’ serves as a necessary reminder to the sloth-like office workers amongst us that we had been inactive for at least an hour. Getting longer with every further 15 minutes of inactivity, the red bar essentially irritates you into going for a stroll round the building before returning to taunt you again 60 minutes later. Jokes aside, this feature is really useful, highlighting just how much time throughout the day we spend sat in the same position at work before going out for a serious gym session or training- its no wonder our muscles get a shock at the beginning of the season! Personally I found it a useful reminder to do a bit of stretching, giving my leg muscles a few gentle hints throughout the day that I might like to use them again once the evening rolls around!

To get the most out of the Vivofit experience it would be good to sync it with a heart-rate monitor to get more accurate feedback about your exercise. The fitness band on its own can’t necessarily judge the intensity of your activity and unfortunately for many of the team, doesn’t register time spent cycling. In general though, it is a really handy device, even if it just serves as a reminder to keep moving!

Some thoughts from the rest of the Nice Bristols:

"I found it really interesting to get a daily view of a range of statistics, and the syncing via bluetooth is really easy to use. I really like the colours!” Brenda ‘Nerd’ Brown

“A great tool to keep track of your daily exercise rates!” Jen ‘2 main meals and a side of chips please’ Hart

"I was surprised at how quickly I reached the goals set even when I didn’t have a formal

training session. The red bar was a useful reminder of when I’d been inactive for a while to

get moving again.” Sarah ‘Sazbomb’ Garner

“Surprised and impressed by the range of functions this nifty little gadget has, especially the

sleep movement tracker and inactivity reminder! After two weeks of using it I was reluctant to give it away!” Rachel ‘Nads’ Naden

“Great to use it with my smartphone! I was fascinated with the sleep mode, really interesting to see my movement at night!” Sophie ‘teeny legs equals mammoth step count’ Peters

“Using the vivofit was really easy and the goals set were realistic. My favourite bit was the sleep function, showing how much you move at night.” Jess ‘JBonBon’ Bonham

“I liked seeing how much distance I had covered each day and discovering that on average I run 6km during a game of Ultimate Frisbee!” Emily ‘I really like the teal one. Can I have the teal one please. I only want the teal one. Make sure you give me the teal one. Teal Teal Teal etc’ Arnold