HELP ME TO SUPPORT THE PARALYMPIC ATHLETES

PARRABUDDY.BLOGSPOT was started to help find a way for “Adaptive / Physically Challenged / Paralympic Cyclists ” to enjoy riding their bikes on the Daily Route of the famous Pro Tour Race Routes such as the “ Giro d’Italia " and the " Tour de France " !


Through lack of support i have been unable to achieve that goal and unless people decide to assist there is little chance that my 19th season will be any more successful !


London 2012 Paralympics was amazing for ALL , not just those participating but those who followed via the Media !


Since 2009 several other Blogs have been created to cover various other subjects !

Below is a guide to their separate purposes :

In the main Parrabuddy is about “Adaptive / Physically Challenged Sport” and Health Issues.


Skippi-cyclist is about personal issues and Road Safety Issues.


SkippyAus is about matters relating to Oz and some personal memories from my life there.


Tourdafarce & Tourdafrance are about matters relating to the Pro Tour , Racers and some personal experiences during my various visits to ride the Pro Tour routes .


Skippy (blogging) is about a variety of issues on the Internet .


NOT ALL postings arrive in their correct area but I will generally try to separate my views on Doping and Sporting Fraud from Road Safety Issues .



Comments ARE WELCOMED since this shows that those reading are interested in the subject matter ! Enjoy comments made to other blogs so wonder why only " anonymous " posts here !

Over the period of these "Blogs" I have had visibility on Twitter as “Skippydetour” and on Facebook as “Skippy Mc Carthy” where Google usually advise postings on the Blogs as they occur .

When any of you visit these Blogs I hope I am able to add value to your day and provide a source of information if not inspiration . Please consider asking your friends and contacts to add their support as many of the Para Athletes are struggling to find the resources to compete in Events at regional Levels let alone National Levels .


You the reader have the possibility to help these Amazing Athletes in your own way and contacting your National Paralympic Internet Site for relevant info is a good start !

Feb 27, 2010

POSITIVE ACTION





Everybody knows someone with a Disability of one sort or another be it physical or mental and in many cases admire their pluck in trying to get on with their lives in the same way as you or I, and rarely will they let us offer assistance if they know they can deal with it themselves. Many are the occasions that someone will have to point out the matter before you or I are aware


Over the years at Cycle Tour Events I have come across “Hand Bike Users” and other types of Disabled Cyclists, occasionally I will spot them or others have pointed me out and then they have come to me to talk of their cycling ambitions. Whenever the Tour de France or Giro d’Italia comes up it is always with a sense of longing because they always express the ambition and desire but point out the lack of support in the way of assistance and facilities.

When preparing for the first Tour de France that I rode I met a Cycle Paralympian who wanted to travel with me. Regrettably he had no supporters to travel with him and he later travelled to Paris where he remarked to his companions that he knew me as I rode through the “Caravan” on the Champs Elysee near the Arc de Triomphe on the final Sunday carrying the Aussie and French Flags. Since then I have been unable to get a repeat invitation as on that occasion I was also uninvited but the story got worldwide publicity since I had done some stories during that Tour of 1998 with French TV3 channel amongst others.

March 12 the Paralympic Winter Games start in Vancouver and NOW is the time to check your TV guides to see what they are offering to assist you to get the latest news of your countries efforts. It is amazing to hear that the BBC is NOT showing live events. Apparently some weeks ago there was a report that they will do some summaries and a roundup before the closing Ceremony. USA TV channels have for many years chosen to not broadcast live. Paralympic TV will broadcast on the internet and the best way to see what is available is to go to your National Paralympic Committee Site. Whilst there look at which athletes and what sports your country is going to compete with at the Games. Looking at the Athlete Profiles you may even find a neighbour or resident from your area who is competing.

Internet access has changed the way people think and like others I sent messages via Twitter to Competitors using that resource. My request to them was that they help Publicise the Paralympic Games since they would be interacting with the Media who are always looking for stories aside from the competition. You too could select some Para Athletes to interact with and send them good wishes of support. They will enjoy knowing their years of sacrifice are being recognised and it could be that you help inspire them to find the extra effort to bring home a medal. Nobody that I know would ignore the opportunity to claim recognition for setting an athlete on a course which results in their reaching the podium in an international venue so in contacting the “NPC” look at what options there are there to help in your own way to set an athlete on course to the London 2012 Paralympics.


At Solden Opening World Cup Ski weekend one year I came across Darren Rahlves who had failed to qualify for the second run in the Reisen Slalom, he was heading down the hill to the hotel. Earlier I had been talking to the Japanese Para Ski Team and mentioned this , he asked where they were and I took him over expecting him to stay a few moments. When I left ½ hr later he was still settled in talking to them. Many athletes behave in this way , I know that Lindsey Vonn passed an amount of money to a Paralympian that she received as part of an Award in 2008. There are countless Cycle Racers that pass on their equipment to help, so much of this goes on unremarked as they do not wish to grandstand, but I take the view they are setting an example that others should follow!



Last week I sent an email to Auspara.com offering a “Cycle Cap” that I had got autographed at Bormio World Cup Ski Finals in 2008. There were 37 autographs on it, including Janice Kostelic, Bodie Miller, Lindsey Vonn, Alberto Tomba , Anja Paerson, etc. Could it be that there is no need to raise funds with an item such as this or a misread of the email. Michael Milton won 4 Gold Medals at Salt Lake Paralympics and leads a life full of adventure but those starting out struggle to raise funds and I believe even this offering has the possibility to raise considerable funds. The cap was amongst 3 that I took around with me whilst working there as a Slipper on the race courses. As the Ladies autographed the caps I got a kiss for luck from all but Julia Mancuso, not sure who the luck was for as later in the first run she skied out of the course. Curiously enough whilst looking for Marlie Schilds to gather her autograph i came across a group of the Austrian Ladies racing there, i did not add them but Liz Goergl & Andrea Fischbacker are now National Heroines for their exploits in Vancouver.



Looking at the list of Autographs on the cap I see ten autographs from racers who won medals this time around, and the bulk of the rest of the autographs are Gold Medal winners in previous Winter Olympic Games. Question is if this cap does not go to the Aussies at this time whilst the Olympics are current how much will it raise when the Hoopla dies down and the Media are no longer competing for stories. Any with suggestions to resolve this matter please post a comment or email direct.




The sun is shining and the roads are clear of snow so I am closing to go cycling, a couple of hours of fresh air will help me decide which photos to post and perhaps there will be some comments by the time I return! Funny to be in Austria and see that the people who visit here generally have left home with snow on their roads to drive around here where it has all but disappeared.

Just come in to add extra layers after an hour in the windy weather which whilst sunny is brutally cold, yes a bit of a whimp at this time ! Kudos are due as whilst on a clear stretch of road i was passed by a combi van which was still signalling after it had passed me, www.ascherauhof.com is a local hotel who rely on visitors and obviously good behaviour on the roads deserves recognition.


Earlier posts contain reference to www.fatcyclist.com whose fundraiser closes monday evening and the reason for the early closure is now apparent as he announced the imminent marriage to the "Runner(Lisa) next week. Congrats to both and i hope their family enjoy more good fortune in the coming years.

www.wheelchairpride.com deserves a visit as it provides details of the Paralympic events and links for the TV coverage, they also offer an interesting insight into that way of living. Visit and enjoy the information that is offered.

Feb 26, 2010

WAY OF LIFE





New day and the weather is gloomy with heavy rain so onto the rowing machine indoors before breakfast and lunch. Fatty did a Blog on his swimming activity some time ago and mentioned how you forget where you are and the need to have a lap counter. Well I multi task on this trainer as even though it has a “computer” it does not work correctly, close the eyes and count and you find that the count is inaccurate if you pull hard over a period of time. When I start rowing I have the clock and the MP3 , of which I have three, and eyes closed I think of all that I have read in other people’s Blogs recently and soon I realise that the count has jumped.

Now if I cannot keep count whilst listening to a MP3 on the rowing machine, how can a person concentrate on driving a vehicle whilst talking on the mobile phone with the radio blaring in the background as they shuffle through their paperwork and consume their lunch. Easy to forget that you are driving a lethal weapon and ignore/not notice all around you as you progress at 60kph towards your destination! Multi tasking at any age requires concentration and at the desk it means that you are able to do little damage, on the rowing machine who cares if you get the numbers wrong but in the Vehicle it can result in a traffic fine at the least or a casualty if someone is unlucky to be in the way.

“PYGMYS” are out there bleating about how “cyclists” are causing “mayhem on the roads”, how dare they “slow them down”, “get in their way as they rush to work”, “block the road”, “ride on the pavement” , “ride through traffic lights” and so on and so forth. Traffic is at a standstill and the cyclist works it’s way to the front where there is a “marked cyclist area” at the traffic lights which are red. In Europe the lights change and off go the cyclists and some are quicker than others so they get off down the road allowing the following vehicles to overtake before the next red lights without any recriminations and honking. In England and the USA there will be a small number of “aggro incidents” on occasions because there are drivers who cannot remember that it is they who decided that they did not need to allow the reasonable time that was required to make their journey in a tranquil way.

Harmony is a thing of the past, aggressive driving is becoming the norm, selfish behaviour in all parts of the world is a growing problem in all walks of life. Rushing your food, rushing those around you , rushing in the street, rushing your colleagues , rushing your work , but what are you getting out of all this?
An item came to my attention recently in a another blog:

For now, here's a brief introduction to the nine behaviors we believe can lead to living longer, better:
1. Move (find ways to move mindlessly, make moving unavoidable)
2. Plan de Vida (know your purpose in life)
3. Down Shift (work less, slow down, rest, take vacation)
4. 80% Rule (stop eating when you're 80% full)
5. Plant-Power (more veggies, less protein and processed foods)
6. Red Wine (consistency and moderation)
7. Belong (create a healthy social network)
8. Beliefs (spiritual or religious participation)
9. Your Tribe (make family a priority)

Some of these points may be of value to those who believe “rush” is the way to live. Continually living in stress cannot be good for a person’s health so some of the above points must be of value in slowing the tempo of life. Personally I enjoy no.6, each evening meal regardless of where I am I try to get into the wine , when it comes out of a brick then it gets flavoured with some Gluwein and frizzante water to improve and dilute. Better classes of wine get better treatment of course.

There is a web site that I visit from time to time www.cyclingfever.com it has Dutch and English chat lines and it is busiest when the cycle races are on with links offered to the Major Cycle Tours. The Dutch chat line is the busiest and as they understand English they have been quite helpful to me, I know they have logged onto this Blog on occasions and I thank them for doing this. Perhaps some of them have been kind enough over the past decade or so to feed and water me on the various Cycle Tours which I have ridden. There may well be some who have photos from these encounters, if any of you can pose the question on the chatline or in any other forum that you participate in then I would be grateful. Connection can be made direct by email on skippi@ausi.com .

Veloreviews.com is another website that I visit and in the near future they have asked that I join in a pod cast which will be about “Disabled Sport” in the main but I guess will also bring up experiences from past Cycle Tours. I will advise on www.Twitter.com/Skippydetour once this has been recorded .


Those that have visited this Blog should consider “bookmark” as an aid to visiting and notification of when new postings take place. On the RHS you will see a blue box with a number which apparently advises the daily rank of this blog. There are about 30k in the internet so I was quite pleased to see with your help that the rank has got into the top 15% on occasions, thank you! www.fatcyclist.com which I have asked people to visit because of a recent fundraiser to help a Cancer Victim gets upwards of 53000 visitors to his entries so I will have to be a lot more entertaining and informative to encourage you to tell your friends that this is a Blog worthy of your time.

At the bottom of this Blog I installed a counter today which will I hope prove to be of some value in encouraging “Sponsors” to consider helping the “2010 Project”! Whilst there are some who have indicated an interest in joining, there is still a need for more Volunteers to assist the “Disabled Athletes” who wish to participate. Word of mouth and introductions to more internet users will be just as critical in getting this project to become a reality. During the past week the Blog has had visitors from 16 countries through a variety of sources and this can grow only if you my readers choose to assist.

Back to the rowing machine as the weather is no better and the “derriere” yesterday was just a little uncomfortable so an extra day off the bike will allow recovery. On the “Giro d’Italia” at Agrigento in 1999 I was given the “Concor” saddle by San Marco’s rep Johnny and during the first six days of riding the whole route the “derriere” suffered the adjustment from the previous saddle shape . Lance was using this San Marco Style saddle until 2005 as were many of the racers but I am unsure which saddle he uses these days. Next days I hope to increase the distances and hours in the saddle so as to switch back to the Carbon saddle as soon as possible.

Feb 24, 2010

BACK ON THE BIKE

Today 24th Feb was the first time in 2010 I took the road bike out, the weather was fine and the roads for the most part were clear. I am off medication for the Embolisms the past several weeks so the system needed exposure to the real world once again. From photos some of you have seen, you will know I generally use the “San Marco Carbon Saddle”. Today I used the “Rever Saddle ” which is a high tech San Marco saddle that is on my “Carbon” bike as my “derriere” has had no exposure during the past six months to the harsh realities of cycle life.




This bike like all that I own, is built up with a variety of parts acquired over several years from a number of sources. The Shimano 9 Dura-ace STI levers operate a 10 speed Ultegra drive chain and cassette which has not been used since August 2009 when the weather was considerably warmer. Today the temperature was about 4c so I was wearing longs and jackets. Surprisingly everything was working smoothly although I was careful about the reach when changing chainrings. With the intention of taking it easy I was on the road only 15 mins when Harold Toschnig was coming towards me , so a quick turnabout and rode tempo with him until we found a team mate of his coming towards us, so reversal of direction once again for about 10 kms where when we got to the bottom of a steepish climb they went up and I took the easy option and went off in an easier direction to the shops and a visit to the firm that provided the panels to frame “Skippy’s Legacy”.

After an hour and half of “ trouble free riding” I was heading south from Fugen towards Uderns on the RHS of the road, coming towards me in the middle of the narrow road was a White Sprinter Van. The driver was holding the mobile phone to the left ear and attempting to hold papers in the right hand as well as the steering wheel. Suddenly he jerked the steering wheel to the left across my path without thought or signal as he decided he was turning left into a side road, I went left also to avoid hitting him and thus into the path of his following colleague who also was driving a Sprinter but was travelling slower and signalling, he came to a halt. The following traffic came to a stop also, I made the hand gesture indicating hand telephone in use and pointed out his colleague , he just shrugged. Both vans were advertising platforms for their employers company. Here I am linking KWS to their website so that they get the public raspberry they deserve, click here if you chose! Yet to find the website address !

Throughout the past months I have been trawling for “Cycle Safety Websites” and list a few for you to if you choose checkout:

www.sharetheroad.com
www.roadscc.com
www.ipayroadtax.com
www.fightbaddriving.co.uk
www.rideofsilence.org

There are other sites that I am not recalling at present but I will add here at a later date. I am adding my comments to quite a few cycling sites because “Google and others” pick up and this of course translates to visits by others who I hope recommend me on to their “following”.


Fatty is a site I enjoy reading for the comments and yesterday announced a fundraising for a Cancer Victim who is a nephew, point is you need to go to the site pretty soon as it closes in days and the three bikes offered are worthwhile “Prizes” for a $US5.00 investment.
Many will be contributing with no intention of taking the bike but others will enjoy riding a “Team Radio Shack Trek Race Cycle” if their number comes up.

GO TO www.fatcyclist.com and enjoy the read, I first came on this site last year after a comment on twitter, @fat cyclist is the link there!





Some of the comments to this blog’s entries are quite entertaining and if you click on the name you link through to their site and find some really interesting subjects and as time permits I enjoy their variety and content. Another site that I go to regularly is www.georgethecyclist.com , George is at present cycling in Central Africa and the stories from there are really educational and give a picture of life I would not care to visit.

TEAM PYGMY RIDICULE

This blog entry will be a collection of “Traffic incidents” where I will make Internationally known those who cause me drama on the road. You the reader will be given a link to the website of the offenders vehicle, I don’t expect that you will use it as you may not have time or interest but I hope that these “pygmy brains” will get to hear that they are being ridiculed. Why do I use this spelling, it is because the true race of Pigmies are probably quite intelligent human beings but without the formal education we westerners receive and thus I use my spelling to differentiate those gentle folk from the “Morons” who choose to cause grief to other road users.

As I experience exposure to these unwanted incidents I will update this Blog entry so as to catalogue the circumstances without subjecting you the reader to unnecessary repetition. I will refer you to an incident as an “item no.” so that each link stands alone (Murphy’s law applies) and gives a fuller picture of the incident.
ITEM 2
Tuesday 2nd March about 10.10am I am driving the bike up the Gerlos Pass towards Hainzenberg and I am passed by a car decked out as “Rotes Kreuz” which as soon as it passed braked and swung left causing the following car to pull right barely avoiding a tailend collision and nearly side swiping me. Had this been on the flat I would have been doing 30kpm+ and would have suffered damage, as it was I had a nasty scare. The driver of the car carried on down the lane/street she had turned into so I had to follow about 1/2km before the car pulled up at what was the local depository for rubbish, bottles and cans.

When I confronted what turned out to be a youngish girl in her “R K uniform” the attitude was that as she had passed me the resulting accident would have been the other vehicles fault. At first she said she did not see me as she was late and looking for her turnoff, why she was there I did not enquire but I tried to involve some other folk there as witnesses to the dressing down she had earned. Wearing a bright yellow cycle jacket on a bike heading up an uphill road in the middle of winter is not an everyday occurrence for me and so to be told I was not seen risks disbelief and questions the competence of the driver. Ask any thinking person if they would notice a cyclist on winter roads and the answer would be “of course”!

Now some readers may not know what “Rotes Kreuz” is, but you will guess correctly that it is the “Red Cross” who do the Ambulance work in this area of Austria, saving lives on the scene as well as transporting patients to Hospital. These drivers are supposed to be trained before they are allowed use of vehicles and generally only have use of them on official business, not my problem but becoming a victim of careless/thoughtless behaviour I can do without. At the control room in Mayrhofen I had recovered my humour but I hope they realise that there are too many of their colleagues who consider signalling as they pass cyclists unnecessary.


ITEM 1
Today 24th Feb was the first time in 2010 I took the road bike out, the weather and roads were clear and I am off medication the past several weeks so the system needed exposure to the real world. From photos some of you have seen you will know I generally use the “San Marco Carbon Saddle”. Today I used the “Rever” which is a high tech San Marco saddle that is on the “Carbon” bike as the “derriere” has had no exposure during the past six months to the harsh realities of cycle life. After an hour and half of “ trouble free riding I was heading south from Fugen towards Uderns on the RHS of the road, coming towards me was a White Sprinter Van on the LHS of the narrow road. The driver was holding the mobile phone to the left ear and holding papers in the right hand as well as the steering wheel. Suddenly he jerked the steering wheel to the left across my path without thought or signal, into a side street, I went left to avoid hitting him into the path of his following colleague who also came to a halt. The following traffic came to a stop also, I made the hand gesture indicating hand telephone and pointed out his colleague , he just shrugged. Both vans were advertising platforms for their employers company. Here I am linking the KWS to their website so that they get the public raspberry they deserve, click here if you chose! Searched the web without luck but bound to find the KWS company item later.

Feb 20, 2010

OLYMPIC CHALLENGE

SHOWING PARALYMPIANS THAT WE CARE

This is an Open letter to all Olympians but particularly those currently competing at Vancouver Winter Games.

On March 12 the Paralympic Games open in Vancouver and like with you the hopes of their countries rest on their shoulders! During the past week I have seen some spectacular performances by the participants and followed most events by way of Eurosport and CNN on the TV and a variety of sites on the Internet. There is a lack of comment about the Paralympics everywhere, why this should be continues to amaze me!

Each of you compete in difficult and sometimes dangerous sports and at the back of your mind there is an awareness of the possibility of accident resulting in injury or even the end of your sport career. We all think “there but for the Grace of God” in many aspects of our life. Human nature is such that we dwell on the positives in life and overlook the negatives.

My challenge to you all is to Help raise the Profile of Paralympic Sport. Each day you talk to the Media, some of you Twitter and Blog and use other means to stay in contact with your fans. By going to the website for your National Paralympic Team you will be able to tell people about your Nationals who will be representing YOU at the Paralympic Games in March. There are some of you already working with “Disabled Athletes” at some level , you may be already giving equipment and support of some sort.

Now is the time whilst the Public is focused on the Olympic Games to remind them, your public of what is about to take place and how important to you their support of Your Countries Paralympic Athletes is to you. At Athens2004 and Torino 2006 I spoke with many Athletes from all over the world and asked them to select a Paralympic Athlete and talk to the Media about them thus giving them recognition and support. At the time all I spoke to agreed with the idea and told me they would follow the idea and encourage their colleagues to join in this project which I titled “Parrabuddy”.

HERE IS THE CHALLENGE, in the comments box enter your name , country , sport then ADD the name of a Country Paralympian and any details you care to mention about them or your connection. As before I would ask that you also talk to your fellow athletes and ask them also to add their comments, this only takes a short time but it will become visible to the public even if only through the Google Search Pages! If you look up “Parrabuddy” or “Skippydetour” you will see pages of references so I feel sure that any comment you make will find it’s way through the internet to your Public and others!

For me the most Emotive moment of the Opening Ceremony was Rick Hansen rolling in with the “Olympic Torch”, you will have treasured moments that you may care to share.

TO ALL ATHLETES , THANKYOU FOR YOUR PERFORMANCES AT VANCOUVER AND SAFE JOURNEY HOME WHERE I HOPE YOU RECEIVE A HEROES WELCOME !!

Feb 14, 2010

BORROWED





Trawling the Blogs to find info on Cycling and Disabled Sport I occasionally come on some great ideas. Just about all the Photos I post are the result of others efforts and perhaps they also owe thanks to other sites, whatever their source I hope that the thanks I offer is reward enough. I have a “digital camera which I got through eBay several years ago and at present it will not work on vista home premium which I use, it appears to have been made in the east. Perhaps it had a dvd , I don’t recall using this but the white folded pamphlet came within the “aqua green coloured box with the camera and supposedly can be used as PC camera also. Whatever anyone can do to locate the replacement Cd info would be appreciated!

Cycling tips is a Blog I occasionally look at and they recently observed a Blog on SBS Cycling Central and related that item in the body of their Blog but added a really good set of photos which create the essence of the story in a way that would be hard to surpass.







Having viewed these photos you like me will understand how patient the normal motorist has to be to cope with the daily trauma of traffic snarls. In past years I enjoyed living in the inner west suburbs of Sydney and where possible would drive west for my early appointments or made sure I was parked in Darlinghurst/East Sydney before 8am enjoying a coffee in those places that the “Movers & Shakers” used to enjoy. I wonder if “No Names” coffee shop is still run by the same family. First went there in 1967 when upstairs was a queue on the stairs and $3 was the usual charge for a surprisingly filling meal with byo facilities, those were the days!

On moving to the North Shore I would be at North Sydney Pool before 6am in the Winter and Lane Cove Pool in the Summer with the result that I was at the North Pylon before 7.10am to avoid the start of the “parking station syndrome”. Breakfast on Thursdays was the “Swap Meeting in the Hilton” where like minded were able to network and hear “motivational speakers on a variety of subjects”. The internet indicates these meetings continue in a number of locations and whilst I no longer keep in touch since 2000 often wonder about some of those who attended in my time there. Like everything time moves on and so too with the Daily Crawl to work. Any reasonable person with a fixed starting time at their workplace knows to the minute how much time to allocate so as to arrive on schedule each day of the week as each day has varying traffic conditions.

Why is it then that these “reasonable people” become “merchants of terror” when they find themselves behind a cyclist? People get behind the wheel in various moods and “strap on a personality” which is entirely different to that in the house or workplace, is the only conclusion that I can come up with. In Europe driving in France & Italy you will find the car behind “tailgating” so close that they could sit in your back seat but rarely will they pass on your “inside” but overtake they will even if only to slam on the brakes for the next lights. But when they get behind a cyclist they will patiently wait for a “Safe point” to pass and will Not Hammer their horn to let you know of their attitude.

Vuelta Espana 2001 in Barcelona I had been riding the rest day with the Race Teams and as we headed back to the “T-Mobile Team Hotel” we were overtaken by this Spanish mini car and out hopped a little fat bloke with a tyre lever in his hand shouting out
“Whatever”.
.

One of the guys asked “Sprecken zie deutsch” and that and the laughter deflated him and he slunk back to his “tin can” and took off. So the point is that whoever or wherever you are you can expect to find “an inferior ego that has to vent their Stupidity”! A story in another Blog illustrates the situation that occurred at the Athens Olympic to Michael Rich, even though there was ample evidence to lock up the Greek Mongrel nobody was willing to take the time to pursue the action needed to gain a result.

Police action these days needs several sets of eyes to remove the suspicion of collusion, you are reporting an “idiot” because you don’t like the colour of his car? Or you are in a bad mood with nothing better to do than kick your heels in the Court Waiting Room so as to “Give Evidence” about for the Court a “trivial incident that had not led to death and is thus of little merit in their time table”!
We all read reports of “rapists” being let off so it should come as no surprise to hear of a “motorist being let free of a conviction for damaging a cyclist and subsequently reappearing for the same offence. This happens all the time with drink drivers, let off the first time with a fine and perhaps a ban then reappearing after with same condition only an injury or death added to the circumstances being related in court.

Several Blogsites have appeared in recent years which are carrying “Video evidence” of incidents which the Police choose not to use but the day will come when this added to other evidence will cause the convictions to be passed down. Over the years as I ride I have found myself being forced around a corner by a vehicle which has come alongside and turned with no consideration for my welfare, fortunately there has not been a curb to bring me to a sudden stop. Gestures have not resulted in the driver stopping and it is possible the action was deliberate on some occasions.

Some Blogs advocate giving a friendly piece of advice to erring cyclists after catching them after they run the stop sign or red lights, but unless you are thick skinned it is a waste of breath. Gesturing your thanks to a motorist again can be provocative as this can be taken by some as provocation with an unintended result. Best to say thanks if you catch up at the next lights or in traffic but by that time they will have already forgotten the incident.

Paul Crake was the unlucky victim of a crash in the Tour in New Zealand but there are many others who are wilfully injured or killed by driver negligence!

The courts seem to think that a small fine and a limited driving ban suffices to resolve the outcome. This is as much a nonsense as giving a drink driver the benefit of the doubt when up in front of the bench. Loss of life is permanent and the offender in many cases is contrite as far as the exit door where life returns to normal. Pity about the Parentless family who have lost their way of life, or the childless parents who doted on the lost child. Too little thought is given to the relatives of the victim, compensation even of large sums are worthless compared to the space left in their lives.

Many “Disabled” are victims of accident and time and again I come across lone “Handbikers” pursuing their form of cycling, some get along quite quickly so it surprises me why they do not get invited to participate in group weekend rides, they would enjoy socialising now just as much as when they were “normal” before their accident. Perhaps it would be a great idea if clubs made more of an effort to invite these people to join in and same applies to the Tandem riders as I can tell you some are difficult to keep pace with when they are on the flat.



With the Paralympics fast approaching and in the northern hemisphere spring also now is the time to make the offers of participation. Who knows you may find yourself cheering these same people as they compete at the 2012 Paralympics in London.

In closing it is sad to view the loss of an athlete in any sport but what are the qualifications required for entry into some of these dangerous sports. Eddie the Eagle was race skiing then moved across to Ski Jumping but is there a junior level of competition for the Luge where the participants get years of experience. Skiing & Cycling amongst other sports have a variety of lower levels of competition that you have to progress through. I could not imagine lying on what amounts to a tray doing about 150kph with my feet in front let alone head first in the “Skeletons"!Scary Sports!

Feb 12, 2010

FEAST OR FAMINE





Today I waited in for the Larry King Live show as this week has been exceptionally informative in so many ways ! Tuesday was Michelle Obama and the Obesity issue which I have remarked on in the recent past. Wednesday we had Joe Biden together with John and Teresa Kerry on the show . I had the pleasure of meeting John Kerry at the Tour de France Time Trial in St Ettienne when he was on the way to join up with Eddie Merckx at the “Discovery Team Training Area.. The previous year in that area I was introduced by Lance to Robin Williams who invited me to San Diego to work with his foundation, sadly no sponsor came forward to cover the expenses.



Larry King was the victim of a heart attack 23 years ago and during his program it came out that Teresa is currently fighting Cancer, also mentioned was John’s fight with Prostate Cancer at the start of his bid to be President in competition with Bush’s reelection. Both at that time were in contact with Lance and wearing the “Livestrong Wristband”, and much was made of George Bush using the mountain bike . Kerry appeared on TV to be an easy going type and this was how he was whilst I introduced him to several people. I did try to get Chris Horner who was in the compound at the time to walk across but as he was preparing for his ride this did not work. Funnily enough John Kerry was talking to Andy Rhys who is now the BMC boss but at that time owner of the Phonak Team. I won’t repeat the story of the Euskatel and Kerry meeting here but it was quite entertaining.

Bill Clinton was the subject of today’s “LKL” due to his overnight operation and during the commercial break I turned to German Eurosport where they were attempting to show the third effort to run the “America’s Cup”. When living in Perth, W.A. in the early 70’s I was into sailing as a past time as members of the “team” that hung out at “Gobbles” night club owned by John Golding were into sailing in a big way. Several of these rogues used to slip the leash of a Friday night and then on Saturday I would get to crew on some amazing yachts, I was never good enough for the first crew who were Profis but there was occasionally a place to make up the numbers in some of the competition craft.



Alan Bond would occasionally make an appearance on board and like the owners of this year’s competitors would take the helm, so it was not surprising when watching the TV to see him on board as “Australia” crossed the finish line to win the “America’s Cup”. since then I have sen reports of get togethers with Alan flying in from England. No doubt he is in Spain at this time renewing acquaintances with some of the “players” from that historic event. I had the chance to meet John Bertrand and some of the Australia crew many times in the Yanchep Sun City area over the years but only met Dennis Connors on the occasion of the Cup being passed over in Perth to be taken back to the USA. I had arrived in Perth by chance with a friend and whilst she was elsewhere I went with George Pascott to the Lunch time ceremony where I remarked to Dennis that the “Old Mug” was “only on loan as it would be returning Down Under at the next contest” ,it did but went to the New Zealand Syndicate.



The fascinating racing today on Eurosport TV seems like a walk over for Oracle’s design but I think I prefer the older style yachts without all the “legal shenanigans”. Cannot imagine having to crawl from one section of the Yacht to another because of the angles that these yachts use when flying. Hate to think what will happen when a section of these huge craft suffers a defect and I am very curious about the Oracle helmsman’s backpack, doesn’t look like a harness support point and certainly not his lunch pack with water sack. Oracle has won today’s event but not being German literate have missed the finer points of the commentary. Congratulations are due to the Americans with their 8 1/2m win, tactics and winds will affect the future races but I hope that we see closer results as these races will compete with the Olympics for attention in the next weeks.

The alarm is set for 2am gmt to enjoy the “opening ceremony” of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and when I return from ski touring tomorrow I hope to see the “Downhill race with an Aussie doing well. Looking at the team list has shown that Dale and Torah are in play for medals once more, there are other possibilities there also. I was at the “Celebration party” in Samsung house at “Torino” for Alisa Camplin and it was a pleasure to see that she was just as happy with the bronze as she had been with the prior Gold Medal from Salt Lake.


On one occasion I was in Deutscher House at Athens 2004 watching the swimming presentation ceremony on TV. Sitting having a smorgasbord lunch at the same table were the parents of the Bronze medal winner. They were delighted that I was Australian and shared a few memories of their daughters exploits leading up to the Olympics. They had not expected their daughter to win a podium place and so had not gone to the pool, there was more I am sure as even being in the final would have had most parents poolside. The Bronze medalist Anne Poleska stood up on the podium with some enthusiasm and general crowd approval, then the Silver Medalist arrived on the podium with a scowl on her face, I am sure that there was huge disappointment for that young lady in not winning but that was not the place to show bad feeling . I was quite surprised by this exhibition and apologised to the Poleskas who also had expected that the gold would go to Australia .Apologies for the lack of Anne's photo given to me that day by her parents

IT IS NOT WHETHER YOU WIN OR LOSE, IT IS HOW YOU PLAY THE GAME !!

Go AUSSIES grab the medals but continue to make us humble folk Proud!!

Before closing I would like to remind all that I have been fortunate with my sports activities , never a winner but enjoying socialising with some of the notables in every sport I have practised.

Blogging is new for me AND I would like you all to ask others to visit this site because there are others out there who like me would like to help “Disabled/Physically Challenged/Paralympic Athletes” enjoy some of the events we take for granted.



Today I was reading www.fatcyclist.com and of course added a few links to the comments section because he had a “motorised wheelchair/scooter” looking for a new home. In weeks past I have mentioned www.physiciansforpeace.org who are in need of all the “prosthetics and other items used by “Disabled/limbless People” that they can find. Any gathering of people that raises funds for Cancer should consider helping by having a facility to pass on “Donations”. What use are Crutches, walking sticks etc in your cupboard when gathered they can be passed to people in urgent need.

Skippy’s fan club at www.fatcyclist.com are not impressed with my suggestions but I will continue to find ways to help others. “Fatty’s following provided a sum in excess of $136k in december to Livestrong and in January Lance forwarded $250k to the Haitian Appeal. Had I the resources Lance has I am sure there would be more that I could do other than remind people of opportunities to help.



As I grew up I read newspapers with “Charles Atlas” ads , you know the “Glamorous, Handsome Hulk kicking sand in the face of the scrawny weakling, I sometimes feel that my efforts are worthless but I will keep putting the shoulder to the cart and inch it forward little by little.

Feb 6, 2010

WINTER PARALYMPICS




This coming week we will see the Opening Ceremony of the 21st Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver which as far as I am concerned is a dress rehearsal for the more important event which is the Paralympic Games that are scheduled to start on 12th March and run until 21st March 2010 . Each of these events require dedication from the participants as some are new to their event but the majority have competed in previous events with or without medal success.

For all the athletes participating at each of the separate events
“It is not whether you win or lose, it is about how you play the game”!

Generally speaking all the athletes attending these events have been preparing all their lives in the most part for the events in which they are competing ! Some exceptional athletes started out training for the Olympic discipline but find themselves through accident or illness competing in the Paralympic Event of the same discipline! This is why I feel like others, that these athletes deserve more recognition for their efforts, they have overcome the adversities that life has imposed on them and still triumphed!





In the Zillertal , Austria near where I live there is a Wheelchair user, a very quiet friendly person who grew up and won many ski championships in the Tyrol. In 1993 a fall from a chair lift tower changed his life choices and also his marital situation as at first the new life style was not to his liking and had an influence on his home life and those around him. After a period of adjustment he was in the Austrian Paralympic Ski Team at Nagano Winter Paralympics 1998 where he won recognition and a Silver Medal for his country. World Championships followed as did the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Paralympics and even more medals and recognition. He is now married once again to a fellow “Wheelie” and although retired from competition continues in Ski Sport training other “Wheelies” investing his efforts in the future Paralympics athletes . My belief is that his life is richer than most of ours even though we have full use of our faculties.

At Torino 2006 Winter Olympics as a Volunteer I had access to a variety of venues and one afternoon I went to the “Long Skate venue” and saw the Dutch win a medal. On the way in I helped a couple of people including two ladies from the USA one of whom was in a wheelchair. This took me into a reserved area that was set aside for “Wheelchair Access”. Through the afternoon I learned that Loren was new to skiing and was a first time competitor at the Paralympics. She was a quiet shy young lady and her companion from the USA committee did most of the talking. Weeks later I would see Loren at Sestriere both before and after she won several Gold Paralympic Medals, even with all the publicity and success she remained just as unremarkable.





In 1998 I was at Solden for the World Cup Ski Season Opening and as I had the time and contact arranged to set up the bike in the foyer of the Tourism Office and do a “24hr Rollathon” to raise money for the “Behinderten(disabled ) Ski Teams” this was when I first met Andy of the Zillertal and Michael and Gerd from the Deutschland Paralympic Team. We set up 3 Tacx trainers and rolled the wheels and raised a sum of money which went to the Austria Paralympic although there was a prior split arranged.





Both Gerd and Michael rode mountain bikes so they had them available to join with me in this event but Andy a user of the Handbike was not able to join in although he was well known to many of those passing through the foyer. After several hours I was left to entertain the passing parade and continued through the night. The next morning we moved up the mountain to the VIP tent entrance where the fund raising effort continued. I had done something like this at the World Road Races at Valkenberg the previous month but this was a lot more successful result. Many times since I have had the opportunity to meet up with these remarkable individuals who are a credit to their National Teams and will be at Whistler.





Michael Milton the Aussie Paralympic Ski Star from amongst other Winter Paralympic Games has been “World Athlete of the YEAR” is also a Paralympic Cycle Road Racer having competed at Beijing in 2008. My first meeting with him was in Centennial Park at Sydney 2000 where he was a volunteer , since then be has completed many cycle adventures. In Athens at the 2004 Summer Paralympic I briefly met Liz Sauvage with her mother at the stadium, she also did an outstanding job for Australia and was once named the “Australian of the year” in the New Years Honours List.

This character is also a "Hand Biker" whom i met at the 2006 Torino Paralympic Games French Dinner and unexpectedly on the route of the 2008 Tour de France. He was in his Hand bike as the route climbed ove 2700m from France to Cuneo in Italy. i have been a guest in his home in Seez near Bourg St Maurice but was unable to find him in the area last year as i arrived from the Martgny etappe.




This section is about a website which works with "Disability" and highlights some of the experiences that wheelchair users experience on a daily basis www.wheelchairpride.com his is a website I enjoy reading and the blog adds value to my knowledge of life.

One of the recent posts talks of "Tyler Walker" who i may have met briefly with the other USA Paralympians at the Torino 2006 Paralympic Games around the Sestriere Chair lift where i had occasion to greet so many of these successful Athletes.


You can read more about Tyler on his website www.tylerwalker.org
Tyler, if you read this, I wish you the best of luck in the Paralympics 2010.

Since writing this blog i visited Andy Schiestl and showed him Tyler's blog and as he watched the video section he pointed out some of the Paralympian Athletes that he had competed against in his ski race career. Really interesting how life evolves from visiting a Blogsite.

Perhaps you will find the subsequent articles from www.wheelchairpride.com of interest!

MY 2010 PROJECT IS AIMED AT ASSISTING THESE FINE ATHLETES TO ENJOY EVENTS SUCH AS THE “TOUR DE FRANCE” IN THE SAME WAY THAT WE DO !!

THERE IS STILL TIME TO JOIN US BUT TRAINING NEEDS TO START PROMPTLY

Feb 5, 2010

HEALTH WARNINGS IGNORED

During the last few days we have had “World Cancer Day” and there was an interesting item in Newsweek involving Lance from cycling and Major Bloomberg from New York. Great work is being done by both and others in bringing people to an awareness of just how serious this Growing Health problem is and will continue to become.

However much effort we make at this time the real results will not become apparent for as long as a generation. Tough decisions have to be made now so that the toddlers and youngsters of this decade have a future to look forward to in 20+years time. The Tobacco and Alcohol Lobby controlled too many Governments for decades because they created jobs and were an easy source of Taxation. Politicians love to spend money on programs that make them look good in the eyes of the electorate. Growing up we all remember Tax increases imposed on Tobacco and Alcohol so as to balance the Budgets proposed by the politicians seeking their re election. Note the increases until recent years were not deterrents against the abuse of these substances.

Only in recent years are we seeing responsibility being taken for the growth in Alcoholism and Cancers caused by in the main “Smoking related issues”. This is because we are now seeing a “New Style Politician” who is recognising that the future has already arrived and is recognising the growing expense associated with the Hospitalization of growing numbers of their electorate. The Older Political Animal was always hoping that this problem would be someone else’s to solve and that they could accept the benefits without suffering the consequences. These days we are paying higher taxes as an increased burden falls on this generation for the ills created in earlier generations. How many cigarettes and how much alcohol was responsible for the deterioration of the populace’s health that is now filling Doctors’ Surgeries, Hospital Wards and Mortuaries.

Growing up I recall seeing many “TV Campaigns” about “Norm the Couch Potato” in the 70’s, yes 40 years ago. Amazing that only in recent years Obesity has become a greater problem in the schools to the extent that People from all walks of life are looking for solutions as they are seeing more obvious trends indicating the problem will only get worse , fast! Jamie Oliver School Menus is a politician’s excuse for solving a more serious problem , that being what is going on in the School Childrens own homes whether of the one or two parent variety

Exercise and Competitiveness were virtually banned some years ago in some schools and now we are seeing the consequences. Ill health has become the norm these past few years as a result of people growing up within a cocoon of soft living. Parents whose upbringing was easier than their parents are now passing on an even easier regime to their offspring. School children are being ferried a few hundred yards to school, given pocket money to buy “sweets, soft drinks, etc”, some of this money gets to be used to make an impression on their mates by buying cigarettes and other illegal items.

Schools were the source of inspiration for the Post War Generation and they could and should become the source of a change in direction back to a “Healthier Style of life”. Exercise needs to be the first priority on the school curriculum , healthy food education the next on the agenda and only then should teaching languages and social sciences take their place on the agenda . Getting more school children riding their bikes to school will lead to more exercise and this together with discouraging “junk foods” will help handle a small part of the Obesity problem that continues to grow out of control. Peer pressure and Bullying is the cause of the use of prohibited substances and more education as to the health risks associated and stricter penalties one hopes will penetrate the indifference that currently exists.

As I travel throughout Europe I see school children receiving cycling lessons from Police Officers, great to see that they are getting the education in a formal setting but more important is that they are learning the rules of the road so as to be safe in the way that they use their bike. Many countries in recent years are imposing a 1 1/2m width for overtaking a cyclist and this should mean that there will be fewer collision accidents involving cyclists. Parking is a problem wherever you are, as the minority of drivers are totally inconsiderate. Parking in a “Disabled Parking spot is their right, “only going to be a few mo’s” is their usual reply, if they don’t criticize you for interfering in their business. I have even asked a police officer to intervene and got the same attitude from the offender. Parking on a cycle lane is also for a “moment“, a justification can be “hey the cyclist can look over their shoulder or wait if there is traffic” or “ you can’t stop me parking here if I like, there are no parking signs, who cares anyway ”! Cycle Lanes should have the twin yellow lines indicating “No Parking” for the totally inept to comprehend “ Cycling Lanes are not meant to be parking areas”!

But with all this effort to improve cyclist safety measures the “Adults” are driving with increasing carelessness ! Yes it is possible to drive their car with the knees holding the steering wheel still as they light up the fag and talk on the phone that they are holding to their ear and at the same time reading the directions off their “Garmin/TomTom/whatever! It’s called “Multi Skilling” by some and an “Accident looking for a Happening” by most. Oh I forgot the eating and drinking that is also going on as they look at the floor to find that dropped pen or crumb of sandwich dropped whilst trying to overtake that slowcoach in front of them. Any of us feel like this is a reflection of our current driving technique?

Technology is a wonderful thing , it now thinks for us and we are now no longer responsible for the cyclist being skittled through sheer bad luck. When some one is killed on the road it is currently only the grieving relatives that arrive in court to see paltry fines handed out because you cannot bring back the dead and there is the “There by the Grace of God” attitude adopted by the authorities. Only when the Legislature takes a grip will “Murdering Innocent Cyclists” be treated correctly with the appropriate sentences being handed down. A wife may not mean to kill the husband with a knife but she still sees a prison sentence, a home owner killing an intruder does time, but mowing down a cyclist merits more than a slap on the wrist and community service and a paltry financial penalty!

Reading some of the Blogs in recent times it is apparent that Cyclists need to mobilise their Media connections into creating a Massive Joint approach to canvassing the authorities for more “Cycle Awareness and Safety”. All Cycling Journals contributing to the same Petition on a regular basis whether in writing or online will gain traction but as individuals we are treated as a nuisance rarely worth swatting. Complaining about individual driver behaviour to the local police will at best gain a few seconds of attention but if that party is already known because of earlier misdeeds then you may get a little more attention. It comes down to creating a data base of reports that are catalogued by a disparate community so as to be seen as unbiased reporting rather than “grinding an axe”. Too often you read of “road rage” between car drivers and action is taken but rarely do you read of action after a car sideswipes a cyclist.

Monthly action by the disparate Media Outlets combining to create a well publicised Petition will get results as starting in March, continuing in April, gaining more publicity in May whilst the “Giro d‘Italia is taking place and on the TV, adding more signatures in June and gaining more publicity as the Dauphine Libere and Tour de Suisse are in progress and getting the Racers from the Tour de France involved in July whilst the whole world looks on will overpower the ineffectual Politician Response! Amazing how interested in cycling matters the world is when the Tour de France is on the TV! Very few Politicians will be negative towards Cycling Safety Matters when they see daily the response the voters have to Sports Reports centred on the Cycling communities biggest event.

Governments need to understand that the majority of healthy people are “healthy” despite the distractions available . You will see the occasional cyclist/ sports person smoking a cigarette or overdoing the alcohol but the bulk of this segment of the population recognises that their lifestyle choices will lead to a better quality of life if they are abstemious and work on cutting out the habits that others choose to destroy their health. Awareness of the issues will eventually lead to more enjoying good health and this is why 30+million are wearing the “Livestrong wristband” and more people than ever are participating in Community Health activities.

Sydney to Surf, London Marathon , New York Marathon , Etappe of the Etappes style event subscriptions close early due to the overwhelming demand of people wishing to be participants in these events, but regardless of the demand many of the world’s population will continue to succumb to ill health due to the glamour of life styles created by “Advertising”. “Marlboro Man” style advertising will continue to trap the South American, Asian and African communities into taking up smoking. “Miller and Coors” adverts screened or broadcast will continue to recruit their share of over indulgent users! “Bacardi Events” will attract users both responsible and irresponsible over indulgent users. Fact is that Good Advertising is great for creating illusions but Mankind is responsible for their own interpretation of the benefits offered .

Health warnings are very rarely read and understood , as the Here and Now is the time that is important to most consumers , not the future consequences of Today’s excesses!

Feeling good now is the all important thing and damn the consequences too often the result.

HEALTH WARNINGS ARE DISREGARDED BY MOST AND AT THEIR AND OUR PERIL!!

Feb 3, 2010

TELEMARKING



Winter of 1995/96 I spent on the Kitzsteinhorn Glacier alpine skiing most days on their Golden Season Ski Pass which covered a variety of Ski Areas including the Dolomites in Italy. I had been travelling and visiting acquaintances in Czech Republic who had mentioned this area and so on the way back to France in October 95 decided on a side excursion since there was little snow in France at that time. The glacier was at that time served by a tunnel train which I caught daily . I was always on the top step on the first available departure each day and on the last possible descent in the evening.

Skiing each day from morning to night I met a smorgasbord of personalities ranging from beginners to professional racers coming from Europe and other continents. Riding the chairlifts and T bars conversation would lead to meeting and skiing with all nationalities. Skiing is perhaps one of the easiest sports in which to make new friends and acquaintances, perhaps easier than cycling.

Along the way I got to trying out Snowboarding and then Telemark Skiing , at that time I was using a pair of cheap skis with langlauf 3 point bindings and softer shoes used for Langlaufing. At around 3000m the ankles would get quite chilly and working the Telemark turns was a lot harder than with the proper equipment so I did not get off the piste into the powder as my Norwegian friend was doing.
Thomas was younger than I and had grown up on Telemarks so was competing in events in that discipline . Using my alpine skis I was able to go off-piste with the better skiers but the Telemark shoes would fill with powder and the socks would get quite wet very quickly even when the socks were wrapped in plastic bags .


These days I have the correct Telemark Skis and Boots and the older style Telemark Bindings that serve the purpose the only difference is that 15 years later old age is making getting deep knee bends just that little harder to achieve particularly on the steeper slopes as I quickly run out of time whilst dropping into the correct position after a turn. On the blue runs I see the occasional Telemarker elegantly skiing with ease and with graceful turns negotiating the piste with a nonchalance I would wish to emulate.


Daily I am strapping on my “Touring Ski Skins” to plod up the piste at Kaltenbach and Spieljoch as the exercise is great for the “Cycling muscles”. As I plod up the piste I am entertained as I watch people standing on Skis coming down in a variety of styles , certainly some try to emulate the style that they were taught in “Ski School”, others swinging their body in a style that reminds you of a rookie boxer in the boxing ring and still more doing things that cause them to do a “face plant“. Do you know of any sport where falling on your face and risking injury in an area “beyond your competence” is encouraged? So many people when they see the Piste signs designating the run as “Black” will tell you that they did not see them or that “they thought they were the trail no”! Most of these scenes play out before lunch so that alcohol can be ruled out as responsible for these falls.

People take up skiing as a healthy outdoor activity that they can do with their friends but my thought is that there are too many people who lacking good judgement persuade/bully their friends/wives/companions into risking injury in an attempt to handle a situation beyond their current standard. Too many think you learn by your mistakes but seeing people struggling to stay upright sliding, skidding and falling down a steep pitch does nothing for confidence and surely is no fun even to the “smart arse” who leads the way. Setbacks are not easily overcome and techniques taught correctly in ski school are rarely applied in a panic situation. One thing is certain and that is this behaviour will continue and keep filling the Doctors surgeries if not the Hospital Wards.

The advent of Helmets does not mitigate the risk of serious injury as I remember years ago seeing a woman over balance, standing still on skis one moment then falling side ways against a friend resulting in both of them breaking legs . Extremely bad luck for both families concerned as the holiday was spoiled for all, rarely do you hear of a family holiday being the better from an accident which in many cases is the result of lack of expertise or caution.


Skiing as is Cycling are Sports which demand a level of fitness for the participants to get some benefit and enjoyment. Rarely do you find a worker let loose on the job without appropriate training so why is it that people jump on their bike to ride centuries or strap on their skis to execute red or black runs with the competence needed for a blue run. All sports require fitness but too many spend large amounts of money and travel to a resort and only then consider that training should have taken place over a period of time leading up to the holiday.


Yesterday I arrived at the top station of the “cabin cable lift” to find a group comprising “Paralympian” and able bodied skiers . The Paralympian was Alex Wexelberger who raced for the Austrian Paraski Team until “2006 Torino Paralympic Games” who was teaching a “newbie from Holland”. With the guys were some able bodied skiers who were handling the logistics of the lesson in that they were carting the wheelchairs , Chariots( carbon seats attached to the skis) and skis. Everybody involved was having a great time and Alex was able to demonstrate his expertise to an enthusiastic pupil. There are many who participate in skiing in this way, yesterday I learned the name of an American Organisation known as “Stride” who work with “Would beParalympians in a number of Para Sports. Many Disabled Skiers will attend the “2010 Vancouver Paralympic Games” in march at Whistler.


“Stride” came to my attention as I have been watching events around the “Wounded Warriors Project” who are currently in Vermont for ski events. “WWP” have the “Soldiers Ride Events” taking place year round and one of the latest was taking place recently in Florida. One of Lance Armstrong’s “Discovery Team bikes” was purchased by a veteran and given to “WWP” for the use on “Soldiers Rides Events”.
The full story can be found on the website but will add the link at a later date but suffice to say the recipient was “blown away” by this thoughtful gesture. On the website you will find photos of these “Soldiers Ride participants interacting with Astana Racers at the arrival one day of the Tour of California, Chris Horner was one racer in the photos

At this time I am still hopeful that people will consider joining me on the “2010 Project” of the Tour de France! There is still time for people to get fit and there are still opportunities for people to join us for limited periods rather than the full period of the race. Many people choose to rent a vehicle and drive from location to location parking on the side of the road to watch the spectacle pass and on occasions their day will be filled with new experiences but the more you see of this the more it becomes “same old, same old” with the occasional friendship acquired if you meet and talk to other bystanders. What would be more enjoyable , riding the route or parts of the daily route helping others or snoozing in the sun filling in the time from arrival at your chosen parking spot until the traffic is allowed to move once more, that is if there is not a traffic jam to contend with before you can enjoy the open road once again?

When the race is all over and you get going again you will have a handful of gadgets, soap packs, peanuts , balloons, pens , shirts and capswater , pamphlets and coffee sacs. Still got some of these trinkets and gadgets in the odd drawer or cupboard gathering dust? Well consider helping others with me as an alternative! Regardless of the result if I am fit I will be riding with or without company but would prefer to be helping others to get a little of the enjoyment that I have experienced these past 12 years.

For those of you with an interest in telemark ski, a few pointersThings You'll Need:
Ski Clothing
Telemark Ski Equipment

Step 1
Start sliding down a gentle slope in a balanced stance with feet shoulder- width apart.
Step 2
Flex the ankles, knees and waist slightly toward the ground.
Step 3
Initiate a turn by bending one knee close to the ground and sliding the same foot back. Bending the left knee will result in a left turn, for example.
Step 4
Slide the other foot forward.

Step 5
Reach and plant the left ski pole downhill and to the left of your body when turning left. Plant the right pole when turning right.
Step 6
Steer both feet by rotating your hips, ankles and knees in the direction you want to go. Use your planted pole as a marker by which to turn around.
Step 7
Maintain equal weight on the uphill edges of both skis.
Step 8
Extend your ankles, knees and waist upward at the end of the turn.
Step 9
Switch feet, plant the opposite pole and initiate a turn in the other direction.



Tips & Warnings
It is a good idea to start on gentle terrain and be able to perform a wedge stop.
For more control and better balance, slide the front foot out no more than 18 inches from the back foot.
Practice turning one way, stopping, and turning the same direction several times to get a feel for it - then practice in the other direction.
Once you get the hang of the telemark turn, it should look and feel smooth.

Enjoy your skiing but think SAFETY at ALL TIMES!!