2013 started off by eating grapes, in fact 12 of them, one for each chime of the clock ringing in the New Year. I was in Majorca and this was a Spanish tradition to bring good luck. It was nice to get back into a routine of training and have no distractions. Also the weather was pretty good compared to back in the UK and I managed to get 10 quality days of training in, covering a good number of miles and a plenty of climbing to boot. Back in the UK I continued race in the Manchester Regional Track League, and enjoyed getting back into the competitive side of bike riding, although the endurance side of racing has never been my speciality.
Towards the end of January I attended the London Bike Show, and although there was quite a bit of snow disrupting travel I managed to get there and back in one piece and without too many delays. The show was good fun, signing autographs on the British Cycling stand, and then doing a half hour interview on the stage with Anthony McCrossen. The bike show was also a good chance to chat to manufacturers and distributers about the coming year and meet the industry insiders.
The start of February saw me heading north to Glasgow, to ride at the final round of the Revolution track series, and the first time the series had ventured away from Manchester. Once again I was riding for Face Partnership with the endurance riders. I didn’t quite get off to as good a start as in the first round as I finished 6th in the Flying Lap, an event I’d managed a 2nd in October. The Madison kilo was a much better ride than the 1st round though, riding with Jake Ragan we managed to post a sub 60 second kilo and good enough to take the lead at the halfway point. In the end we ended up 5th, but the time and placing was an improvement from previous rounds. The bunch races went pretty well this time around, although I didn’t make any of the top ten places I had much stronger rides than in the October rounds and was more aware of what was going on around me. However still need some more racing and training to properly get in the mix and contest the finish sprints.
With unsettled weather conditions and having spent 2 days straight on the turbo, I was online booking another camp out in Majorca, this time it was only for 7 days, but it was long enough to continue working on the base fitness, and clocking in the hours. I was staying in the Playa de Palma, and it was pretty much a cycling hotel, with the hotel filled with cyclists. I was joined on a number of rides by fellow Paralympic Colin Lynch, who was staying in the same hotel. I also bumped into one of my main rivals and good friend, Jiri Jezek, who was staying a few hundred metres away in another hotel, I joined him out on a big group ride where we discussed the issues we’re having in our sport at the moment. It was good to get out riding with these guys as I do a lot of my training on my own, and when you’re on longer road rides it’s good to have someone there with you going through the same miles and hours. My fitness was on the way up, and I set a few PB’s up some of the shorter climbs on the island I use to test myself.
The camp wasn’t without a few hiccups though, as on the 2nd day I was knocked off by a car, which in itself was pretty shocking, but I was incredibly lucky and managed to escape with a few cuts and bruises. Thankfully it didn’t affect my training and I was able to finish the week strongly.
Once back home it was off to another bike show, this time the Bike and Triathlon Show in Manchester. It was a smaller event than the one in London, but certainly felt like I signed more autographs this time around.
With my fitness going in the right direction, it was time to test myself out on the road, and I was set to race in the Eddie Soens Classic at Aintree Race Course. It was the first race of the season for most people and historically has been cold and wet, but with 250 riders from all categories of racing it was going to be organized chaos! The race set off at a good speed and I was off with the Cat 2 riders in the group just ahead of the Cat 1’s and Elites. It wasn’t long before we were caught and the bunch was 250riders strong and shortly after that the first crash happened, fortunately I managed to avoid it, but with the rider on the ground each lap the bunch would have to squeeze past before regrouping. A few more laps in and there was another crash, this time I wasn’t so lucky and got caught the wrong side of it. After not quite making it back on, I ended up riding to the end of the race in a small group, and with the peloton out of our range it turned into a strong training ride. Still it was pretty enjoyable, and my legs felt pretty good throughout.
Then it was back to Majorca again, this time with almost all the GB Para-Cycling Team. It was one of the most relaxed camps I’ve been on, although the craziest weather conditions. We had sun, rain, wind, snow, and hail, but all in all it didn’t stop me getting in all the training I had planned. This camp was about adding intensity to my rides, and working on specifics that’ll hopefully convert into more speed on the track during my kilo.
Well that’s spring done and dusted, off to race at the Good Friday Meet at Herne Hill Velodrome (weather permitting) and then it’s into the meaty part of my training block, as I aim to make the 2014 Commonwealth Team.
Catch you all soon, as I keep you updated on my progress
P.S. Catch me tonight (29/03/2013) on the last show of the season of Channel4’s The Last Leg, 9.30pm on Channel 4 in the UK.
Following a road traffic accident yesterday lunchtime whilst training in Majorca near Santa Maria Del Cami, we can confirm Jody only suffered minor injuries, including a bruised hand and cuts to his knee and elbow.
He was able to finish his training ride and will remain on the island until the end of his training camp this Friday.
Jody said, “It was a very busy and I was following a car that was obviously looking for somewhere to park. Approaching a space the car slowed down and indicated right, at which point I decided it was safe to overtake and continue on my way.”
“However as I began my overtaking the car pulled to the left instead, which left me with nowhere to go and I ended up punted off the road and into the verge on the side.”
“Thankfully I am in one piece and the bike survived mostly intact”
Jody added “I have had some close encounters with cars in the UK in the past, but luckily always managed to stay on the bike. It is almost part and parcel of being a professional cyclist and I was quite lucky yesterday to walk away with only a few cuts and bruises.”
UCI Para-Cycling Track World Championships Los Angeles, USA – ©Christina Kelkel
It’s almost over. All the hype and build up to 2012, the Olympics, the Paralympics, and here we are about to head into 2013.
What a year for sport, and amazing to have played a small part in it!
Back in February my season kicked off in sunny Los Angeles, where I was racing at the Para-Cycling World Track Championships.
They turned out to be an interesting championship, in the Team Sprint riding with Darren Kenny and Sarah Storey we suffered our first defeat since 2006, taking silver behind the Chinese, who had found an amazing man 1 that really did make the difference to their team. In the 4km Pursuit, qualifying was interesting, as there was an official standing on the track in the back straight! Cue a restart, and I managed to post the 3rd quickest time. In the Bronze medal final I tried to learn from my pacing issues in qualifying. However after the 1st kilometre I could see my opponent and decided to chase him downrather than doing a full 4km. After 5 3Ž4 laps I’d caught and over taken Roberto Alcaide from Spain to take the Bronze medal.
In the kilo I managed to maintain my unbeaten record to take the 1km title in 1:06.001. Not my best ride, actually the first time I’ve won at the worlds without breaking the WR, but still it was good enough to take my 5th consecutive world title and the coveted rainbow bands. So LA turned out to be a mixed bag of results, but I did get a full set of medals!
After the worlds it was back to training and preparations for the London Paralympics. Another visit to Majorca for another 10day training camp kick started the final cycle off. It ended with me heading to the Tower of London for a bit of modelling and showing off the Adidas kit that all the GB athletes would be racing in at the home games.
In between all the training, with the build-up to the games I ended up doing quite a bit of publicity, the most fun was the 3 part Sainsbury’s short films, and the Paralympic promo video for Channel4. Some of the shots in the films were pretty cool, and due to the way they were filmed, they gave you an insight into track cycling that you just don’t normally see.
Para-Cycling Track at London 2012 Paralympic Games – ©Christina Kelkel
With the year flying by, the Olympics came and went, and before you knew it, I was at the holding camp in Newport, putting the final touches to my preparations for London. Things were looking good, as I PB’d in pretty much every session on the holding camp, just one little hiccup was a crash on day 2, but I survived with just a friction burn on my hip and elbow. A massive relief considering I hit the deck at 75kph!
Then it was time to race, with the kilo up first I was ready to go, with all my competitors going before me I was feeling really confident as I stepped on the track, especially as the fastest time was still half a second slower than my Beijing winning time and still some 9/10ths of a second slower than my WR, and I was going faster than ever now. I just needed to race at my best and that was it, unfortunately it all started to go wrong in a big way! I made my start just as I have countless times in training, however something was wrong, the gate held me, the next thing I know I’m wheel spinning and going sideways. Not ideal. So I stuck my hand up, and called for a mishap, pulled off the track and got ready to take to the start again. However that was it, I was unfairly denied a 2nd start, and that was it, a big fat DNF next to me name, and what followed wasn’t my proudest moment, but it will go down in Paralympic history in the same way as John McEnroe’s outburst at Wimbledon in 1981.
I basically threw all the toys out of my pram at anybody who would listen, in denial that I wouldn’t be defending my kilo title, and was removed from the velodrome. Knowing I was out of order I wanted to apologise, and try to put things right, at least to all the kids that had witnessed my foul mouthed tirade. So a little later I came back out to apologise to everyone in the crowd, then to the sponsors and governing bodies and organisers in a press conference and media scrum. Then finally I headed back to the village as I had to compose myself and come back and race the 4km pursuit the following day.
With the crowd behind me I ripped around the velodrome in qualifying to a new British Record, and 3rd best time. In the final I made short work of my opponent and took Bronze with an overtake in 51Ž4 laps. I covered the first 1km quicker than the winning time from the previous day. Considering the disappointment the day before, and the fact I hadn’t focussed on the pursuit as I placed all my eggs in the kilo basket, a bronze medal really did feel like winning gold. Having watched the footage back, it looks like I started the tiniest of fraction too early hence the gate held me when I pulled forward. Unfortunately though, the false start wasn’t called by the commissaires, so I didn’t get the immediate restart the rules state.
London will always be memorable for me for some amazing highs and some equally amazing lows, but I’m glad I can say I was there and I won a medal in front of the best and noisiest crowd anyone can ask for.
My racing year finished with a few more races on the track, a bronze medal in the Team Sprint at nationals, a 2nd place in the flying lap at the Revolution track series, and in my final race of 2012, a win in the 10mile scratch race in the final round of the MRTL Premier Division track league.
2013 will be a really important year for training, as I plan my revenge in Rio. On the way to 2016 I have also set myself the ambitious target of riding for England at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014. So the hard work starts again, and my motivation is sky high.
Thanks to all my family, friends and supporters and all my sponsors!
See you in 2013, and happy cycling.
Jody Cundy ( GBR ) – Men’s C4 4km Individual Pursuit – © Christina Kelkel
Jody Cundy smashed his Columbian rival in the C4 4km Individual Pursuit to win his first medal at a Paralympic home games!
He took just 5 laps out of 16 to chase down Diego German Duenas Gomez and secure a bronze. The double Beijing gold medallist was on a mission to claim his medal as he overlapped his opponent and punched the air in victory as the gun sounded to signal the end of the final.
Incredibly, he rode the first four laps of the Pursuit in 1:05.317; which, had he been allowed to ride the Kilo yesterday, would have won him gold. This only proves that Jody has unbelievable form and is performing at the top of his game.
Speaking after the race, Jody spoke of his gratitude for the home support: “I was starting to panic because my legs were completely gone after four and a half laps, but I couldn’t let the crowd down and they carried me home”
“The support here has been more incredible than anything I’ve experienced before! It really has been amazing, thank you to everyone for cheering me on”
“I’m fully committed to Rio in 2016 as I still have unfinished business.”
Jody Cundy will ride for bronze in the Men’s C4 4km Pursuit Finals this afternoon after qualifying third with a new personal best time of 4:42.005.
After being denied the chance to ride in the 1km Time Trial yesterday, Jody was determined to give it his all on the track today and vowed to show his fans what he could really do.
He was cheered on by the fiercely patriotic crowd who were relieved to see the 33 year old looking focussed and putting in maximum effort to get away from the starting block cleanly. Jody had a phenomenal ride in an even that he has not previously competed in at the Paralympics. He’ll be hoping to take bronze in the 4km Pursuit final tonight as he did at the World Championships in LA earlier this year.
Jody prepares in the gate before the gate fails.
Jody Cundy has been denied the chance to defend his Paralympic 1km Time Trial title after officials decided not to allow a restart following what appeared to be a fault with the gate.
He looked every inch the strong, confident rider ready to defend his title in front of the home crowd. As he attempted to pull away from the gate, his back wheel didn’t release on time and it slipped, bringing Jody to hold up his hand and ask for a restart.
Jody had the agonizing wait whilst his coach Chris Furber discussed the false start with the commissaires, as the velodrome was filled with the roaring objections and boos of the crowd.
Despite protests from Jody and his Great Britain coaches, the commissaires concluded that the false start was not due to faulty equipment and instead it was a rider error, so sadly he would not be allowed to ride in the 1km Time Trial and defend his title.
After taking some time to comprehend the official’s decision, Jody came out to the 6,000 strong crowd and explained: “I would just like to apologise; I had an issue with the gate and my wheel slipped”
“I was hoping for a restart but it didn’t go my way unfortunately, and I didn’t get to ride and show you exactly what those 4 years of hard work in training have been about”
“I would like to apologise for my language, I think even over the noise you might have been able to hear it” he explained, to which his fans could be heard shouting for him not to apologise for his earlier outburst.
Given Jody’s unquestionable determination to succeed, he will be sure to not allow today’s events to deter him from putting all his efforts into the 4km Pursuit tomorrow, where he will get the opportunity to show his fans exactly what he has been training for.