A few words from Eddie:
"Hi I’m Eddie Ventress, also known as 'Eventfull' on the C2 forum, and known to most of my friends as Big Ed (I’m 6’6”) and to one in particular as Donk!
I live and work on the Isle of Wight, with my home being on the outskirts of the seaside town of Sandown. I was brought up in Newport on the Isle of Wight and was the 7th of 10 children (two girls and eight boys). As with many large families of the time, things were tough. Dad worked extremely long hours as a shuttering carpenter to keep the family afloat and Mum was left to look after the family on her own. Everyone had their chores to do and mealtimes were a pretty frantic affair as you can imagine. All the boys grew up into over 6 footers and it must have been like feeding the cattle. Even though looking back times were hard, it was a very happy childhood.
On leaving school in 1977 I got an apprenticeship in Portsmouth Dockyard as a fitter/turner. At the end of the apprenticeship all 180 of us were made redundant and I never went back to this type of work. Even though I ultimately went into something else, this experience was to hold me in good stead for the rest of my working life. The ability to learn and mixing with others was installed.
I then worked for the National Trust for a short while, did a little building work, and then got a job pipelaying. Now I never thought I would have lasted 5 minutes doing this as it was so tough. However digging trenches was something I was going to continue doing for the next 15 years. I survived working for an Irish firm and a firm run by a guy from Poland. I firmly believe that this era of my life gave me the toughness that is required to be the best on the erg. Never once was there any sympathy given if you were sick or ailing for any reason.
In those days I was 15½ stone (98kg) of muscle... well, nearly all muscle, but I used to go out drinking a lot so the inevitable started to happen......
I married Tina in 1990 and we are still married to this day. We have two smashing kids called Grace (19) and Sam (18). Grace takes after me, highly intelligent and good looking. She has just finished her first year at West London Uni (Ealing) studying law. Sam is jobless at the moment, it is so hard on the Isle of Wight with nearly all people under 20 unemployed. He is a keen footballer and like me a Gooner (an Arsenal supporter for the uninitiated).
In late 1997 I started work for Clancy Docwra as a pipelayer, but 6 months later I was offered a position as a supervisor. I grabbed it with both hands as my back had taken enough punishment through the continual digging. 3 years ago I was made a manager and became involved in planning and organising, and of course became buried in paperwork.
As you can see, there is a trend here towards sitting on my backside. As the years went by I went from the 15½ stone strongman to a 22½ stone (142kg) Munster. I have absolutely no sporting background whatsoever, although I have always loved watching it. I did try at school but was rubbish! I had turned into a heart attack waiting to happen, a fact I was often reminded of by those around me, and people started calling me weight related names. Now once upon a time calling me names would have ended up with me grabbing them and give them a little friendly reminder... but now I was getting out of breath just after a few paces.
In February 2011 I finally decided to do something about my weight and went to the local gym. I was given an induction and shown how to use the various machines. One of them just happened to be a rower. I was told to do 1000m to see if I could get under 5 minutes! I remember I did it in 3:45 although at the end I was a wobbly legged wreck and couldn’t stand up properly. This was to be the start of a new love affair but with a piece of kit that can be as frustrating as any woman. I gradually built my fitness up over the months doing 2,000m sessions and building up to 10,000 rows. I did spin classes, boot camps and lots of different exercises, eventually getting my weight down to 18¼ stone (115kg) which is generally where I sit now.
In May 2011 I rowed under 7 minutes for 2,000m for the first time and I found the C2 site. At first I just read things and was in awe of the times guys of my age could do. I used to look and think there is no way I could ever get as good as that.
Then in November I entered my first race. I had started to realise that perhaps I was not all that bad so I entered a race in Newark. I won this in 6:22 although with a highly erratic finish.
I decided to enter BIRC 2012 and then upped my training to 6 sessions per week doing mostly classic interval sessions. However on reflection I think I overcooked it. On race day itself, and indeed for the week preceding it, I had that jaded feeling attributable to too much training and not enough rest. When I got onto the erg behind the 3 favourites at BIRC my legs just did not want to push as hard as I knew they could. I could hear the commentator shouting other peoples names but not mine. I was gutted at the time as i just knew i couldn’t be that far behind. At the end of the race I just sat there, not really knowing where i had finished. Then a girl came over and put a certificate in my hand. It said "Gold"! I had won in a tight finish with the two very good Italians. The commentator had got my name wrong and as my eyes are not great I didn’t see where I was placed during the race. I won in a time of 6:14.5, a huge PB, but not as fast as I think I might have been had I done the race a week or two earlier.
Since then I have gone on to win the Concept2 Challenge Series in my first season and I have taken 7 British records. Joining Q-Power is something I was extremely pleased to do and I looking forward to the new training immensely. Well, here we go then...