Winter 2016/2017 saw the Little’s family sponsor a team of kick ass women who spend their spare time throwing themselves down icy tracks at speeds reaching 100kmph. Yep! We’re talking about the UK Royal Navy & Royal Marines Bobsleigh Team. The team is made up of MA Hannah Hendzel, LMA Zoe Manson, LAET Rachel Roberston, WTR Colette Simpson Smith, AB Rebecca Andrews LT Alex Kelley and we think they’re some of the bravest girls going. Right on!
Now, how did this all begin? Well, Hannah had been following us on Instagram for a while. She loved our products and the Little’s family business. This paired with the fact her team are big coffee lovers and always in need of warming up, she reached out to us through social media to see if we could fuel up her team when they’re competing in the snowy mountains!
Being an ice sport, Bobsleigh usually takes place in very, very cold places like Scandinavia and Canada, so what’s better than a hot beverage to keep you warm? Bobsleigh days are often very long, it takes a lot of admin, effort and manpower to move the sleds to the top of mountains! Coffee is definitely needed to keep you going, warm you up and pick up team spirits.
We had a little chat with Bobsleigh Queen Hannah to see how they got on this Bobsleigh season! Here’s how it went…
Little’s: Bobsleigh isn’t your average playground sport. How on earth do you get into a sport like this?
Hannah: In true Navy fashion, we love to give everything and anything a go. The Navy offers you such a huge variety of sports to partake in. When I was younger I actually went to a around the world fancy dress as the Jamaican Bobsleigh Team. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d actually be a bobsleigh athlete. My PTI onboard the ship I’m currently serving on reached out to me asking if want to give it ago, obviously, this was a chance to turn my childhood fancy dress into reality! Of course, I was going to give it ago.
Little’s: What attracted you to take up bobsleigh?
Hannah: I am a very keen sports woman who loves to give pretty much anything ago apart from Rugby. I will never do Rugby. I wanted a good winter sport to compete in with a bit of thrill involved, so I thought the adrenaline rush of throwing myself down an ice track at 115kph should do the trick. I knew a lot of strength went into being a Bobsleigh Athlete and being from a Power Lifting background I knew I’d love that side of things.
Little’s: We think you’ve got to be pretty badass to bobsleigh. How did you feel the first time you got into the bob?
Hannah: I’m sure most of the girls from my team would completely agree, the first time you are in the back of a Bob feels like you’ve just jumped into a big industrial washing machine. It is one of the hardest adrenaline rushes to ever explain, and until you do it yourself I don’t think there is ever any feeling like it. I did not realise my body could bend in half quite as much as it did going through the bends with a ridiculous amount of G-Force.
Little’s: How does a day on the track compare to your usual day?
Hannah: So my usual day consists of living on-board a ship in the middle of the ocean, often in hot climates. I am a Medic on-board so often spend my day looking after injuries and people who are unwell. Put it this way, the only injuries I was dealing with after a day on the track was my own bumps and bruises! A day on the tracks out there I have to leave my Medic head back home otherwise I would constantly be on edge that someone was going to get hurt. There is no way I’d be letting people throw themselves down that ice if I didn’t!
Little’s: Tell us about your recent trip to Norway! It looked beautiful!
Hannah: Norway! What can I say, it is one of the most beautiful countries I have ever visited. One thing on my bucket list was to see the Northern Lights… and we did! In fact, we sat outside until gone 12:30AM with a flask of We Are Little’s coconut coffee until we had seen them. They are even more beautiful than I expected. We text back to the rest of the team who didn’t believe we had actually seen them, we most definitely had their pants down when we showed them the photos. Being surrounded by snow just made everything even more magical. I think Norway is definitely a country where We Are Little’s coffee will be enjoyed that’s for sure!
Little’s: Do you have any pre-race rituals?
Hannah: Pre-race rituals normally consisted of coffee, protein pancakes and the “Songs to sing in the shower” Spotify play list! For the drivers, it must be a very calm and collected environment for them to concentrate on memorising the track, so we weren’t allowed pre-race tunes or anything blaring. Before each slide, it was normally a little handshake and quick hug then visors were down and you were off!
Little’s: We love the fact it’s an all-girls team; does this change anything out on the track? Or off the track?
Hannah: WHO RUN THE WORLD? GIRLS! I absolutely loved my girls, we were very much like a dysfunctional family. All very different girls but all very much similar at the same time. Us girls hadn’t actually met before we had become the Royal Navy Female Bobsleigh Team. We got on so well and I think this helped with everyone backing us as a team to win also.
Little’s: We’re super jazzed you all loved the coffee we sent you to keep you warm on your trip! Which flavours were your favourite?
Hannah: We absolutely loved your coffee, honestly couldn’t believe how incredible it was. It would be the first and last thing we drunk everyday and it we weren’t drinking it we were just smelling how incredible it was.
My favourite flavour was Coconut but I think overall the favourites were the Vanilla and Chocolate ones. We are all definitely We Are Little’s Coffee Queens now and have all gone out and brought them since being back.
In fact, one of the team Zoe hated coffee until we introduced her to We Are Little’s, she now indeed loves it and has gone out and brought some. Sharing that love!
Little’s: What have you and the team got coming up that we should know about? Does training die down over summer?
Hannah: The Bobsleigh training dies down during the Summer. We will continue to train in order to be ready for the next coming Bobsleigh season with selection taking place early winter. We have a lot coming up individually; Colette, Zoe, Rach and Alex are all keen Cross Fitters with upcoming competitions. Alex is also a keen rower! Bex is also a member of the Royal Navy Female Rugby team and she will be playing at this year’s Army vs. Navy famous match at Twickenham. I am a Hockey Player so I have a few competitions coming up with the Royal Navy Hockey squad. I also work at the big fitness expo in Birmingham in May. Coffee is most definitely going to be needed all round!
We’ll be keeping the girls stocked up with our flavoured coffee to keep them energised and warm on their adrenaline-fuelled winter pursuits throughout 2017!