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 !

May 26, 2013

WHO WAS THAT ?

Spectacular achievement that it was , apart from a brief glimpse on TV , the WHEELCHAIR WARRIOR , went virtually ignored into the background , at the finish of the Giro d'Italia , on stage 20 at " Tre Cime di Laveredo , this past Saturday afternoon ! Despite a comment to the Eurosport " Live feed " , asking if it was " Zenardi ( I knew it was not ) " , there was NO reply and the comment DID NOT get published !

Had it been Zenardi , whom i have met at the Giro in past years , there would have been numerous references to his past achievements . Yes , Celebrity is necessary to wake up the Media ! Currently i still get recognition , BUT , it is of the " There's Skippy " sort . Not what i want though ! If Media come to me , the first question is " What are you planning to say about " Para Sport "?  Some of my friends/acquaintainances have seen me refuse the time , with these people , when i say that " UNLESS the bulk of the interview is about " Para Sport " , this is a waste of my time . Frankly i see no benefit to anyoner when they want to talk about me , 16 seasons of effort , condensed to a " we are not interested in the reason d'etre "? Without even being interviewed , i am getting emails , from those that see me on TV , either old footage or as background .

When interviewed by the Media , i am interested in reminding people that they can choose their own way to assist " Para Sport " , this is my way , gives some purpose to the many hardships that i endure , during these events . Believe me , it is not easy getting around the Grand Events for 23+ days and it does not pay the bills even though people are kind enough to welcome me and offer hospitality on the roadside . Even though i give people the links too this blog , i doubt many follow up to see the photos or any story of the occasion . It has been a bit disappointing on occasion to not get the email or photos , because as you will realise , there are some that i meet , that work with " Para Sport " and thus i see an opportunity to help them with their endeavours .

Media people promise a great deal , but they report/feed to the back office , so much of what they capture could become " scraps on the cutting floor " , deleted from the final cut , sent to air . Case in point , was the Sky People in Napoli , on the opening Thursday , who came looking for me in Earnest .
 Lot of that interview was about my efforts for " Para Sport " , but they persisted in seeking an answer to the question of " Sir Brad winning "! Being diplomatic , i pointed out that he had to finish the race , as he had gone home from a Grand Tour in the past , with injury ! Then i pointed out that in finishing the race , weather , competition and GOOD LUCK , would contribute factors to his being top 10 , let alone on the podium !

After finishing the interview i headed over to watch the front door at which the " Giro trophy " shortly arrived, so i went back and alerted the Sky Crew to this event . Wonder if that item , took the bulk of my interview time on " Air ", thduring thoseat is , if any was screened ?  Several other opportunities presented during those days of preparation , but unless i get an email from some part of the world , saying they saw me in certain circumstances , i regard any interview as " doubtful and a time filler "!

Certainly great to hear from Vince of Melbourne , whom i have met in Monaco and Rotterdam at " Le Tour"  in past years . There is a blog post on " How i met Skippy " , somewhere in the many Blog archives . Vince being an avid Cycling fan sent the following :

"  Skippy  i enjoyed your reports of the first stages of the Giro with accompanying photos , did you stay on travelling with the race or head off ? to warmer parts, from watching on TV the weather has been very poor for camping and riding .

Cadel has hung in well out performing most predictions of the so called experts, pass on my best wishes when you see him next   ha ha 

Were you present on the last mountain stage finish to see the wheelchair guy climb the very steep road and struggle across the line, it looked a gruelling effort and i thought of you immediately.
                                         
                                             all the best hooroo vincent



WELL Vince , i was watching also , as that courageous guy , arrived on the top , i was also hoping to see how the " Guys in the Red topped Weather Coats " , would have treated his efforts! At that time they would have been turning people off the final metres , with the excuse that the finish line was being prepared . That it was finished hours earlier , is of no consequence , since they are trying like " Le Tour " to SELL the Rights " of Tour Parties to cross the line . These days after getting shunted to the side , i walk through a variety of hazards , even getting open wounds/scratches to get to the back , then cycle down behind them . Occasionally i get to do a quick chat with those interviewing the people lining the barriers .

Sunday in San Sepulcre , i awoke to an annoyance in the right eye . There appeared to be more that the occasional bubble floating across the vision . It resembles a cobweb , hazy and dark , but not limiting vision . With the Saturday being the Individual Time Trial , i had woken at 5am and ridden the course and returned to the start and started out for a second effort . This time as i reached the start of the final ramp they tried very casually to stop me going up and about 150m  from the line i got turfed off , into a private house and collected coffee with RAI TV Personnel . It was even harder getting back to the start this time as i had lost the road riding with a guy who lived nearby andwho was driving to the " Partenza " , a prospect that was a lot more appealing than the 1 1/2hr slog , that i had already done earlier , whilst still full of energy .

Turned out this Guy was going much later in the day , so i was adrift and thus headed for the nearest " Autostrada Entry " where i watched many Team Cars roar past . Eventually i picked up a lift with some folk that were able to relate some of the Giro story as we headed North , Having been dropped at the exit it was an easier ride back to the Team Parking Area .

Sunday i bumped into a Guy , who was at several events over the years , he had emailed me photos in the past , of the personalities we encountered . This time he obliged again , but i am still awaiting those photos from that Sunday . Another guy in the Team area , was a young Aussie who stopped me in Napoli , to remind me of an occasion at " Le Tour " , where we had met before . On recollection , it was the day after a rest day , that i had helped " www.georgethecyclist.blogspot.com " , collect a Radio Shack T shirt , from Johan Bruyneel . Wonder when JB's troubles will be over ? Being in the poo with UCI seems to be a question of how long is a piece of string  .

With this eye problem , which i put down to the exertions of the previous day , i decided that the time spent at the start and the ride earlier with Gianni Motta was enough for the day , so a straight drive north to the " Rest Day Area " was the best plan . In encountering said young Aussie , i offered a ride north , seemed the decent thing to do , particularly as Firenze was forecast as stormy weather . Graciously declined though , " People are relying on me to ride the route for " Charity " , BS . But it suited me , as i planned to get around the Sponsors noth of Padua , who have provided me with Equipment over the years .

Monday 13th May , turned out to be sunny and warm and enjoyable , as all the visits landed me with New Equipment and replacements for items that were about to expire through the daily , year around trashing they receive . So thanks to Lorenzo , Antoinella , etc ! With the vists over, and no time to get to Treviso if i was to ride with the Maglia Rose , as in the past years , instead of heading for Astana , i headed for the Cannondale Team Hotel , with the intention of riding with the Team , but big fail . Once again , riding around the car park , after cleaning the bike , the front tyre , only just pumped to race pressure , blew out . Checking out the previous punctures , which were all in the same place , i discovered that the " Vittoria Rim Tape " , guaranteed to 145PSI , had been punctured , allowing the tube to meet the spoke head ! Wednesday at the Partenza in Tarvisio the Vittoria person , provided a couple of new inner tubes , but the Rim tape would have to come later . After fixing the tyre i was greeted with an invite , to join the Cannondale personnel , with their impromptu picnic . Prosecco and salsa chips , not my usual lunch time fare , but nevertheless , very tasty . As we were finishing up , the team arrived in so was able to have a brief chat with Cameron Wurf , the Aussie who i first met at the Giro del Trentino this season . Like Chris Horner , he has the perpetual smile and welcoming attitude to the amateur cyclist .

Tuesday 14th after a visit to Team Bardiani , i rode to the Partenza then rode the start of the day's route with Gianni Motta for about 40km . Along the way we passed this .Aussie who declined the invite to join the Bank Med Clients who were moving at a faster pace . During this ride , i chatted with a Guy who told me thst he was the Principal sponsor of the Italian who won 3rd place in the Cerebal Palsy Road Race at London Paralympic Games . Having given him my email address , i am disappointed that he has not as yet been in touch . After photoing him , i scooted back to the car at a town , 15km into the days stage , Casarsa , then drove to the back of the foot of the first cat 1 climb , Passo Cason . On descending on the bike from the back of the GPM there , i came across Maurizio Fondriest and Francesco Moser , leading the Bank Medlianum clients to the Mountain Top Finish , at Sella Nevea . As usual Francesco & Maurizio were climbing strongly and a stop was called at the 4km mark for a refreshment break at the Bank Med. Sponsor booth . During the ride another Guy advised that he was working with Para Sport . After about 20 mins about 8 of the original 30 set off , to fight the way through the mass at the road block . With the Rim tape problem being in my mountain wheels , i was using the sprint wheels and 42 on 21 was a tad difficult , particularly as several times a local would blunder into me spilling us both to the roadside . as it was , i managed to arrive at the top , metres behind both the Past World Champions though after having to push through my normal limits .

At the finish Francesco was allowed to ride through but i was physically pulled off my bike , so rode around the back and rode through the finish line to the 100m point and the TV commentators , who had seen the earlier action . Made several comments about " Para sport " as i watched the " Red coats , grind their teeth . Those Guys have retired from the Caribiniere , but behave like they were running G. Bay in Cuba !

Finished there , i descended to the 22km mark on the course and was welcomed by the family there , so as to watch the TV and enjoy their hospitality . During this period , their lawn was invaded by the Local TV Station , allowing me to encourage locals to support the local Para Athletes and relay the morning's story of London Paralympics . A couple of the locals had taken the day off , so took off , so as to avoid being seen on TV , seems the Giro visit was not the reason given for being away from their work ?

After the race passed i headed back to the car parked at Dogna and drove into Tarvisio where i again cleaned the bike before a walk through town looking for the Camping park . Whilst walking past an outdoor Cafe , i heard " Skippy!" , turned out to be Peter Wrolich , an Austrian Racer , retired from Pro World Cycling since 2010 . Last time i had seen him without a helmet in place was at Salzberg 2006 World Road Championships . There i had met him in the hotel Restaurant with a 2yo son , as he was there to represent Austria .

After overnight camping i rode the climb to the Partenza several times for various reasons and to pass the time . After spending time with the Medical Team and discussing the " Eye problem " with the " Giro Doctor ", i decided to accept his advice to visit an Eye Specialist . Before leaving the Partenza , i had time to ride to ride with Christian Vandevelde , who regarded the 6 month suspension as an inconvenience . Then rode down to sign on with Cameron and relayed the fact that i was ducking a few days to visit the Specialist . As i was riding up the hill back to the Team pullmans , i came across Ramunas talking to a lady friend and wished him a good day in the office , little realising , i would be watching the TV  near Lienz as he crossed the finish line as the day's winner ! Spotted Vincenzo heading to sign on , and after a sprint , managed to have a one on one chat roadside ,before he got caught up by the masses . 

After that , and as the Depart time was fast approaching , i headed down the hill and through Tarvisio like a scalded cat making the best of the slack road controls until i arrived at a cafe at Pontebba where i found some VIP Guests of the Giro devouring some sandwiches . Invited to have some water i also finished up with a box of tasty Sandwich rolls that survived for several meals . One of the Guests turned out to be the General Manager of UCI , but was in no mood to discuss " Politics "! I think he got the message that Mc quaid was not the man for the next term of office .

 With my life centred on Schwaz in Tirol , i decided that a trip through Lienz and Mittersill would get me back home and thus to my GP/Doctor . Arriving in Lienz i discovered that the Tunnel , north of lienz was closed due to rockslides caused by unseasonably heavy rains . Longer trip meant that i was knocking on my Doctor's private door in order to get the necessary paperwork for the visit to the Eye specialist the next morning . 

Thursday was a series of Medical visits as i first visited the Embolism professor to ascertain the questions and answers i should be seeeking from the Eye Specialist . Whilst in the Hospital i sought out the Dentist to see if a certain problem needed dealing with but he deferred it some more . Fortunately the Eye Specialist was able to see me before lunch , thus making the book i had taken with me on the bike , redundant .  As it now appears , the eye problem , whilst posing no threat to my long term eye sight , caused me to avoid some incredibly bad weather in Italy .

Returning home i found an email from Torino warning of Extreme Weather conditions . My host in Torino , who provided the accomodation during the 2006 Winter Games , warned that the weekend was going to be such that the Giro's plans would be disrupted , and so it turned out . I took the adviced and stayed in the warm and sunny Tirol  , whilst those paid to entertain us , suffered the extremes that Nature chose to deliver . 

This past week has been a period of uncertainty since this is the first year of 15 that i have not attended the full Giro Route . There have been years , where i have shortcut the course , like not going to the 4th stage finish in Serra San Bruno , but driving instead to Matera . Riding with Gianni Motta the opening part of the day's route at Policastro , we got to Castrocucco before i turned back to the Team Pullman area to see Taylor Phinney spend time adjusting his bike . I then rode down the course to the first climb after Sapri to watch the Racers pass my "AUSSIE ,Aussie , aussie " chant .

Matera is the site of a visit in 1999 that was a start & finish . Then the Youth Hostel was part of a Hotel , amusing since the Shimano Guy who ii find driving a Pullman on occasion these days was enraged that i was paying about 11000lire to walk through the same door his people were paying about  80000lire , for similar accomodation .

Warned of the weather patterns in Italy , the decision to return at Vincenza , became the Garda Zee and Mori , became the advice that the Passo Gavia & Passo Selvia were scratched in favour of the Tonale . suited me as the early morning start brought me to Cloz , which was on the route now broadcast . Early morning call from my Farmer friend in Cloz scuttled that plan . Some that do not listen to the weather forecasts , get to park their bike on the Passo Tonale , to impress their audience .


Well i am now sitting writing this post ,as Leyton Hewitt , has just snatched DEFEAT , from the Jaws of VICTORY , once again ! What is it with this Guy ? it is an unfavourable 5 sets to 1 down , in the final set and he is still fighting ! Aussie grit has finally appeared ?

Topping off ALL this , is the frustration of Eurosport thinking that their Viewers are willing to subscribe to their new " Eurosport Channel 2 ". Back to the " Eurosport Live ticker feed " and will they answer my question from yesterday , " WHO WAS THAT " in the Wheelchair ?

16 seasons of watching the Event Organisers being dismissive of " Para Athletes " and those that would emulate them puts me in no mood to accept , " It is too hard to find out "!

THose with Disability in 1998 were treated as second class Citizens and the 2000 Sydney Olympics , turned the corner slightly , Athens was no real progress after Chirac designated 2003 as the Year of the " Disabled " but even with progress at Beijing it was the London 2012 Paralympics that dragged " Para Sport " into the 21st Century !

TOO OFTEN Sportspeople are described as " Heroes " , yes certainly " Role Models " , BUT , Heroes are those , like that " UNNAMED WHEELCHAIR RIDER " , that quietly go/went about their task , in the expectation of no reward or recognition !

BRAVO SIR !


Next week i go to L'Alpe d'Huez , to ride the Climbs that Pro riders do once , occasionally twice in the day . THis Charity ride has thousands seekking to do it 6 times and last year raised 32 million euros . Mixing it up with the thousands of " Able bodied Riders " were 30+ Wheelchair Racers , some racing machines like that used by Zennardi in the London Para Event and others in their everyday Chair such as that used yesterday !

We are now at 5 sets ALL , Leyton has found his Backpack of Aussie Grit ! With this being in Paris , each point won by the Frenchman is receiving a " standing Ovation "! Well not quite , but you can see the crowd trying to carry their countryman over the line and Leyton does not help by adding unforced errors to his playing efforts !

Well Leyton , once again , lost ! As an Aussie , i am unhappy that he has snatched DEFEAT from the jaws of Victory ! At 5sets to 1 down , he displayed Aussie grit , got to 5 sets All , then decided , enough was enough !

Sent the following comment to Eurosport Live ticker tape feed , will they publish ?

  " Should have saved the original comment !


 What i asked yesterday was " Did anyone findout WHO the Wheelchair User was ?"

 as a result i did a blogpost in " Parrabuddy " which you can google since the moderation does not allow me to give a link ! 

 Also i commented on Leyton Hewitt snatching defeat from the Jaws of Victory ! 

Having ridden the full route of the Giro each year for 15 seasons , this was the first i had to quit thru Ill health , more than the sAvage weather ,

Respect to ALL the Racers that completed the Event !"

Comment made it to Air , but will we get the ANSWER ?

Eurosport 1 has once again appeared with the Giro , Advertised they would carry it ALL the year until i left for the Event , told people it was worth tuning in , but when i return to watch , i had to wait until the following day until y/day & today .