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 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!!

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