Spring is here.
That means the leaves are growing back, the sun has reappeared on the East Coast, and STIHL® TIMBERSPORTS® athletes are ramping up training for the 2015 season.
One such athlete is Nathan "Bucket" Waterfield. The New York-native has been competing on the Series for nearly a decade. Last year, he made the U.S. Championships as an alternate after a competitor had to cancel last minute, and parlayed the opportunity into a fourth place finish. Waterfield is hoping for big things this year, especially with the Series coming to Central Park in New York City on June 20. The arborist uses his job as a way to get back in shape, and has begun serious event training now that he's in "Spring Training."
We spoke to Waterfield quickly around how he's preparing this year.
When did you start training for this season?
Usually it's easy to say the first of the year is an easy way to get back into it. We always starts with organizing our gear, getting training wood (I train indoors at my shop), cleaning things out, and getting everything ready for training. That's always the start.
One thing for me from December through winter months, my work focus - I work with anything from residential trees to logging - is the logging, because it's pretty demanding. My training pretty much begins at work when I'm logging. Anything from simple things to do during the daytime - I can't physically afford to train after work because I'm pretty well shot, and that's done purposely. It ranges from hiking into the woods instead of riding in, to making more trips up and down hills than I have to. Always keeping in mind that when I'm working, I'm also training.
Getting yourself back in shape to start chopping seriously takes a little bit of time. It's better for me to do it gradually, and then I don't burn myself out.
Who are you training with?
I routinely train with Mike Sullivan. We train together really well because we know what to look for. We know our typical habits and typical mistakes. Mike's a wealth of knowledge and has been in the sport for nearly 30 years. Any opportunity I have to train with him is a good one because he has a pretty keen eye and knows a lot.
When I'm training with him, I know what to remind him of (and he knows himself), but it always takes two eyes to diagnose a problem. You can chop by yourself and not know you're making those habitual mistakes. You can do that for two months straight and you won't notice it. But when you're right there together, you can always have someone to help you remind yourself and not go into those bad habits. I've also trained with Calvin Willard, Matt Marks, and Chris Henning.
Have you made any changes to how you trained last year? Anything you’re particular focused on?
A stronger focus for me is on equipment this year than I have in the past. I pretty much know what to do to get myself physically ready, but I have a lot of irons in the fire when it comes to equipment. Over the last year, I've been working with Hud-Son Forest Equipment, and we've been doing a bunch of R&D with the hot saw. Anything from just general stuff to creative stuff. It's been pretty important to work with them to get my hot saw under control. More times than not, it comes down to the hot saw. It's a clutch event that's make or breaks you. Working with them has been really great, because I'm trying to find consistency, and a lot of that is in the equipment in your hand.
How do you think you'll do on the 2015 Series?
It's never good to have expectations. It only takes one mistake in the Series to get knocked out early on. Goals are another thing however and it is my goal this year to place in the top three. But as I said, you never know, and I could get knocked out in the first round.
Being an athlete from NYC, what are your expectations for competing in an iconic locale like Central Park?
It will most certainly be a venue to remember. Central Park is beautiful and a wonder to me that it exists. We will most certainly turn heads and hopefully entertain and capture a whole new fanbase. For many of my friends and family it’s going to be an excuse to go and enjoy NYC!