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 .
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
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 .