Jody – BBC East’s Disabled Sports Personality of the Year

Jody has been named BBC East’s Disabled Sports Personality of the Year for his Gold medal winning performances at the Track World Championship in Montichiari earlier this year, where he managed to come away with two Gold and a Silver medal, breaking two World records in the process. Unfortunately Jody could not receive the award for Disability Sports Personality of the Year in person as he is currently on a training camp in Majorca, but he joined the award ceremony in Bedford via a live video uplink.
It is the second time that Jody has won this award, having previously won it in 2008 for his success at the Beijing Paralympics. Jody said “I feel honoured to receive this award and being names BBC East’s Disability Sports Personality of the Year. It’s always nice to be nominated let alone win, and having the recognition from a whole region for my sporting success is always a good feeling.”
Jody will return to Manchester before Christmas to spend the festive season with his family and friends before continuing work on the track in the build up to the Track World Championships in Los Angeles in February.

BBC East SPOTY Winners:
Outstanding Achievement: Chrissie Wellington, triathlon (Norfolk)
Sports Personality of the Year: Alastair Cook, cricket (Essex & Beds)
Sporting Legend: Tim Foster, rowing (Beds)
Unsung Hero: Dawn Barnard (Essex)
Disabled SPOTY: Jody Cundy, Paralympic Cycling (Cambs)
Team of the Year: Red Bull F1 (Bucks)
Coach of the Year: Graham Westley (pictured), Stevenage FC manager
Volunteer: Sam Robinson (Cambs)
Club of the Year: Norwich Canoe Club
Young SPOTY: Charley Hull, golfer (Northants)
School of the Year: County Upper School, Bury St Edmunds (Suffolk)

At Home With The Waddons


Not every married couple has five Paralympic medals between them. Meet Mr & Mrs Waddon the far-from-average husband and wife team…

They say love moves in mysterious ways. Although not usually around a velodrome track or up and down a swimming pool at lightning speeds.

Which means Rik and Natalie Waddon are some way from being an average couple. At the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, Rik pedalled his way to silver in the 1km time trial, while his then-fiancée Natalie won two bronze medals in one of the strongest divisions in the pool, the women’s S6.

Three years and one wedding ceremony down the line, the Waddons are preparing for big things at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

But do the demands of being professional athletes take a toll on their relationship? Do strict diets make them nightmare dinner-party guests? And would success for one and failure for another in London make things a little awkward around the Waddon household? We caught up with the Paralympic husband and wife team to discuss this, and find out how a cyclist from Chester first met a swimmer from Essex…


Let’s get this out of the way: how did your paths first cross? We hear seven-time Paralympic gold medalist Sarah Storey had something to do with it…

Rik: “That’s right. Sarah was just making the crossover from swimming to cycling and she set us up on a blind date – it was quite strange!”

Natalie: “Sarah’s got a lot to answer for, let’s just put it that way. She didn’t actually tell me that we were going on a blind date. She texted me a picture of Rik the night before, but he was far away, so you couldn’t make out his features!”

R: “After the date we didn’t see each other for about a month. It took a while to get going. I had plenty of time to think about it!”

N: “Yeah, he went away the next day to a training camp and the day he came back I went off to South Africa for a week, so it was a bit of a nightmare really. We were texting and chatting though.”


It must have been a pretty good first date then?

N: “Yes it was, because Rik didn’t talk! Sarah started reading all this stuff to him about me and she was really putting me in a shady light, so he didn’t really speak. I think he was just taking it all in, but I didn’t know what he thought of me. He did ask me for my number though, so it was all right.”


So Rik keeps his cards quite close to his chest?

R: “Yeah, if I’ve had a bad day I’ll keep it to myself and think it over in my head.”

N: “He does. Sometimes I have to prise things out of him, which can get annoying. He’ll be away and something will go wrong and he won’t tell me until he gets back.”


And what’s Natalie like to be around if she’s had a bad day at the office?

R: “Not good! I’ll know what her day’s been like as soon as she comes through the door. When we first started going out I’d be like, ‘Uh-oh, what’s going on here?’ But now I’m able to read the station straight away!”


What are the tell-tale signs?

R: “The door gets slammed – always! Over the years she’s mellowed a bit. I think me being the way I am – quite laid-back – it’s rubbed off. She’s still got that feisty Essex-girl thing going on!”

N: “I feel really bad now! Whereas he’s so laid-back he’s almost horizontal, I’m exactly like my dad in that I wear my heart on my sleeve. Rik knows what I’m like. Or, I’ll just come in and start yelling!”


What’s it like when one of you is away from home competing?

R: “I travel a bit more than Natalie I think, this year even more so. I think I tend to deal with it better – Natalie is out all day, then comes back to an empty house. I can quite happily spend a lot of time on my own doing nothing and it doesn’t really get to me much.”

N: “I hate being on my own. I’ve got to cook, and I end up talking to the fish! This is the first sign of madness and that’s why I go round my mum’s. It’s a good job she lives close by!””


So your family all moved up from Essex?

N: “Yeah, people think they moved up because I train here, but it’s not the case. We made the collective decision to move because my dad works in Lancashire and he’d had enough of commuting from Essex. To be honest, as much as I love Essex and my friends, I’d never move back. There’s something about Manchester and Lancashire. I met Rik up here, I’ve got some great friends and I love it.”

R: “That’s right. The only way isn’t Essex!”


You mentioned training – do your different schedules have an impact on your time together?

N: “They do, yes. Especially when we’re both training hard. We try to manage it as best as we can. Unless we’re competing, we spend the weekends together. It’s quite nice that we’re in different sports because as much as I love him, he’d drive me mad if I was with him 24/7. I’d drive him mad, too!”

R: “Apart from the track stuff, most of my training is based at home – on the turbo and on the road. So I’m here while Natalie goes into Manchester to train at the Aquatic Centre. She’s up just before 5am – the dedication of getting up in the morning is something I couldn’t do!”


Do you both get to eat the same sort of food, or does your training require different diets? And what effect does that have on meal times?

R: “We get to eat the same things, lots of proteins and stuff, which is quite handy for meal times. You can’t eat whatever you want in case you put on weight – obviously we want to get the most out of our diets to support our training. With British Swimming and British Cycling we get access to nutritionists, so if we ever need to, we can get in touch with them and ask questions.”

N: “I’m a bit more ladylike with my portion sizes than Rik is!”

R: “I tend to eat people out of house and home…”

N: “If you ask my Mum, she’ll agree – it’s him and my brother. By the time we’ve left, Mum’s got empty cupboards!”


So are you nightmare dinner party guests?

N: “No, most of our friends are athletes, or are involved in sport in some way. So generally they’re pretty understanding and eat the same sort of things as we do.”


How do you unwind when you’re not training?

R: “We just take the piss out of each other! I’ll take the Mick out of her Essex accent and her living up north.”

N: “We’ll watch telly too! A bit of footy if it’s on, or maybe a film. To be honest, I’m so tired after training I’m normally asleep by about 9pm. I’m a Chelsea fan, which doesn’t go down too well in Manchester. Rik’s a Liverpool fan, so he’s not too popular either. I think we’ve got ‘mugs’ written across our heads.”


Do you get much of a chance to watch each other compete?

R: “I’ll go and see Natalie if she’s competing in Manchester or Sheffield – places like that. Natalie doesn’t get a chance to watch me that often because her training schedules are so full on.”

N: “It’s quite bad really, I want to see him – I love watching Rik on the track. I managed to see him at the Paracycling National Championships in Manchester a few weeks ago, but the only time I get to see him is if he’s racing up the road in the Velodrome.”


Are you quite competitive? What would happen if one of you won gold in London and the other had a shocker – would it make things a bit awkward around the house?

N: “No… we’d be happy for each other. We support each other really well – in Beijing, Rik had to go home early and I supported him through that. If it happened the other way around, he’d support me.”

R: “We’ve both set our sights on what we want to do in London. The situation at Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games involving Natalie losing her swimming hat halfway through the race resulted in her getting a bronze medal. At the time it was a sore subject, but now it’s a bit of a joke. Telling her to keep her hat on is quite funny.”


If the two of you are racing on the same day, who gets the most people to go along and watch?

R: “Natalie. Yeah. I think swimming is more accessible because a lot of my racing is outdoors on the road. I’ll go past for a couple of seconds and that’ll be all they see. With the swimming, you can sit in the venue all day and watch all Natalie’s races.”


When one of you has a good result, how do you celebrate?

R: “When I won silver and Natalie won two bronze at the Beijing Games, there was a bit of banter – she was always rubbing it in my face saying two bronzes were worth a silver, so it was quite good fun. When we got home, our families all wanted to go out and celebrate, so it was quite a family thing.”

N: “Normally we don’t get much time to celebrate though. Success is part of the job and thankfully we’ve had quite a bit of it in our time, so we’re used to it. Hopefully it’s going to be different in London and we will get time to have a big blow out!”


Finally, will you get to enjoy Christmas or does training mean you have to hold back?

N: “I’m actually training over Christmas. We got married last year, so this is our first Christmas as a married couple. I’ll train up to Christmas Eve and have Christmas Day and Boxing Day off, before going back on the 27th. We won’t be indulging in too much food and drink. We’re both aiming for London and want to be the best we can be, so Christmas is going to be hard, especially when other members of the family are eating and drinking what they want!””

For more information about all sports and the athletes taking part in the Paralympic Games please visit Channel 4’s Dedicated Paralympic Games website.

Official London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Posters Unveiled

A collection of specially commissioned images by twelve of the UK’s leading artists to celebrate the London 2012 Games have been unveiled. Each image is a distinct interpretation of either the Olympic or Paralympic Games by the artists, with the diversity of the series demonstrating the creative talent that exists within the UK. The images will go on show at Tate Britain in a free exhibition as part of the London 2012 Festival in the summer of 2012 and will also be featured as part of a high profile campaign to promote the London 2012 Games.
Earlier this year I stood as a model for Fiona Banner in order to create one of the Paralympic posters – “Superhuman Nude” I feel very honoured to be part of the campaign. I was over the moon when I was told that Fiona wanted to work with me for one of the London 2012 posters and I am absolutely delighted with the final product. The feedback has been fantastic so far and I can’t wait to have it hanging in my house now!

Superhuman Poster by Fiona Banner

A set of the images has been given to the Queen for the Royal Collection and to other important British art collections, including the Government Art Collection (which will be displaying the images in 10 Downing St in 2012) and the British Council (which is planning on exhibiting the images across China in 2012 as part of ‘UK Now’, the largest festival of British arts ever to be shown in China, as well as displaying the posters in British Council’s across the world).
The images will also be available to buy as both posters and limited edition prints. The posters (at a cost of £7) and a small number of limited edition prints will be available to order on the London 2012 online shop. The limited edition prints will also be for sale individually and as a special boxed set from Counter Editions, the publisher of the prints, who can be contacted on [email protected] and +44 207 684 8888.

Fiona Banner – Superhuman Nude
Fiona Banner creates nude studies from life, transcribing physical scenarios into verbal descriptions. These ‘wordscapes’ define the shapes and forms of the body as well as fleeting moments such as the tension in a second of shared eye contact, or a nervous finger tapping. Banner’s print is described as a nude study of a Paralympic Athlete. The title alludes to the extraordinary physicality of his body. She focuses on strength and physicality but also on the fragility of a human awaiting competition. Banner says ‘I liked the idea of comparing the athlete to a superhero, with some extraordinary prosthetic gift. Looking at an athlete naked made them powerful and vulnerable at once.’

See all the Olympic and Paralympic posters here.

Time To Banish Your Cycling Demons


It’s time to introduce our resident pro cycling coach Lee Povey, he’s here to to help you with all your coaching, training and bike set up queries, any discipline, any level from leisure to racing and general fitness. Please just drop him a line via our contacts page and he will help you avoid a cycling catastrophe, you can ask as many questions as you like… no restrictions. If certain subjects reoccur Lee will put articles together on the subjects. So why not get some insider tips without burning a hole in your pocket!

So go on… you know you want to!
Q&A’s will be posted on the website but you will get a response to your query by email. Only your basic details will be published on the website (first name & country or region).

National Time Trial & World Championships


Jody on the track at Manchester

Well with all the excitement of 1 year to go celebrations I thought it was a good idea to update you on my progress and let you know what’s been happening over the last few months.
At the end of my last blog I was off to Glasgow to join over 600 riders, all raising money for Paralympics GB, on day 4 of the Deloitte Ride Across Britain. Myself and other members of the GB Para- cycling team (Darren Kenny, David Stone, Terry Byrne, Jon-Allan Butterworth, Helen Scott) rode alongside them for 4 days down to Bath race course. The ride didn’t get off to a great start, for myself Darren and David. We had been competing in Spain at the Para-cycling World Cup, but unfortunately for us our bikes didn’t make it with us to Glasgow! It was only by pit stop 1 that we managed to get hold of our bikes, and we joined the other riders on route to Carlisle Race Course. On each stage we started the ride as the last group off, and throughout the day we’d over take and talk to as many riders as possible. Some would join our train even if it was only for a few minutes just to say they’d rode with us, and others were just happy for the encouragement we gave them as they made their way to the finish line. The 4 days we rode were some of the hardest I’ve had in the saddle, not because of the terrain, or the length of the stage (even though they were the biggest rides I’ve done), it was the shocking weather we had to put up with. And in Chorley on the way to Haydock Park race course, this was possibly the worst I’ve ever seen, let alone ride in I really did wonder what I was doing! It was a shame we couldn’t do the whole RAB, but hopefully our presence through the midsection of the ride helped the moral of the riders as they headed to Land’s End.

Jody - Image ©Copyright British Cycling

National Time Trial Championships

At the start of August I headed down to Worcestershire to take part in round 5 of the Rudy Project Time Trial Series, which also doubled as the Para-Cycling National Championships. The course was changed at the last minute due to road works, into a challenging 13 miles of undulating roads. I rode as fast as possible around the course, trying to maintain as much momentum on the steep rises scattered throughout and managed to finish in 32:52. This was good enough for 4th place, definitely not a course suited to me, but perfect preparation for the World Championship TT the following month.

World Championships – Roskilde Denmark Worlds Day 2 C4 30.6km TT

The road worlds were something I’d never planned to do at the start of the year, but with a few top ten finishes at the world cup, and other events it kind of made sense and I found myself on the plane to Roskilde in Denmark. The first few days of training around the course were wet, and that didn’t give myself or team mates much confidence of a dry race, especially as all the app’s on our iPad’s laptops and phones had it down to be wet. But come the first day of racing the weather had picked up, and managed to stay dry for the duration of the competition. The time trial was first up for me, and I managed to get plenty of useful tips from my team mates who had tackled the course on day one of the championships, however I knew it was going to be tough, as it was a longer TT than I’d previously ridden and also with its undulating nature it was going to involve an element of pacing so I would not overcook it on the first lap. With my coach in the following car shouting words of encouragement on the megaphone I was underway, trying to maintain speed without going too deep into the red, as I came through lap 1 of 2 I was feeling pretty strong, but that feeling soon disappeared as my minute man over took me into turn 1 of the course. I had an idea this was going to happen as he had won the Segovia round of the world cup, so I just wanted to keep him in sight so I could post a reasonable time. However Roberto was quickly pulling away from me, and just as I needed to inject a bit more effort to maintain my speed the first laps efforts began to take their toll. It wasn’t until I was about 3⁄4 of the way through the ride did I get a second wind, but by now the damage was done and it was a matter of surviving to the end. I crossed the line in 45.13, a reasonable time, but only good enough for 12th place, just outside the top ten goal I thought I could do if everything went my way. After the TT I had an easy day, before an early starting road race, at 8am on a Sunday morning. I can’t even remember in my swimming days a start that unreasonably early!

Worlds Day 4 – C4 & C5 road race 75.6km

The goal for the road race was to try to stay in the bunch to the end and then sprint for the finish and see what that would get me. The bunch was the biggest I’d race in all year, 49 riders from the C4 and C5 class. The previous day there had been many crashes in the C1-3 race, and the first lap seemed pretty cautious, with everyone taking care through all the technical sections. By lap 2 the pace had increased and the race was on. However at the end of 4 laps I was still in the race as each break failed to get away. Even though lap 4 was easily the toughest all I had to do was just hold on for one more lap before being able to get involved in a bunch sprint for the finish.

With 2 km’s to go and much to my surprise, I was still there and was starting to think that it might actually be my day. Into the last kilometre the pace picked up again, as I found Jiri Jezek’s wheel and thought it was going to be a good place to sit. But just as I got settled in, there was a touch of wheels from behind, which forced me wide. I managed to stay on Jiri’s wheel, when almost instantly there was another touch of wheels. It was all gettng a bit too close for me and I had images of myself crashing in the last roundabout before the final 300m sprint. I had been watching the C1-3 race the previous day which had a crash in exactly the same place and didn’t want this to happen to me. I know the possibility of crashing shouldn’t affect me, but with the road being such a minor focus for me, I took the decision to back out of the sprint. As I moved to the side, I watched the finish in front of me, and sure enough there was a crash at the roundabout. I will never know if I would have been caught up in it had I continued to sprint, but I kind of regret not going for it, especially as I know I have more speed than any of the riders in the bunch. Unfortunately (or fortunately perhaps) in that sprint I developed a conscience and that voice in my head said it wasn’t worth the risk. I know it was for a podium place at a world championship, but I have to look at the bigger picture and that is London. Therefore, starting my track season injured probably wouldn’t be the best idea. I’m a trackie who loves riding my bike as fast as possible around a velodrome and I want to show the world just how fast I can go in less than a year, but in order to do that I need to stay injury free.

The road season for me has been a good experience, and although I didn’t score anymore qualification points for London at the World Championships, I’ve come away with an increased endurance base that I can now work into my track season.

Jody & Girlfriend Christina At The Beach

Other News

Outside of training and racing, I have been quite busy off the bike. I can’t tell you everything yet, as a lot of things haven’t been announced yet, however one project I can tell you about was collaboration between Channel 4 and Sainsbury’s. They have made a series of ten ninety second films, each one focussing on a different Paralympic athlete. My film was to be the last in the series and involved 2 days of filming. The first day was to capture me in my training environment, so they came to the velodrome with some very fancy HD cameras, lighting and a bunch of ideas. It was pretty enjoyable riding with cameras mounted to my bike, and to the motorbike I was chasing, it was all good fun, and the little clips I could see it was looking pretty cool too. With all the filming at the velodrome done, the second day of filming was to capture me outside of my training environment relaxing with friends and family. First venue was Hunstanton beach. Originally they’d planned on filming me fly my power kite, and being dragged through the sand, however it was pretty obvious that wasn’t going to happen as there wasn’t a breath of wind in the air! In the end they decided to film me walking hand in hand on the sand with Christina, my girlfriend, and then skimming some stones on the calm sea. After getting the shots they wanted it was off to my uncles, where we had planned a bit of a get together with members of my family. We played a little golf, and then a game of cricket before having something to eat, all in front of the cameras. After all the filming they had one piece left to do, and that was to film my mum. She was going to be the voiceover for the film, and as such I wasn’t allowed to hear what she said until I saw the finished film.

I’m pleased with the final film, and think the voice over from my mum is almost poetic. If you didn’t catch it you can see the film on my website by clicking here.

Next stop for me is a trip to the London velodrome, where I shall be riding with the Para-cycling squad for 3 sessions to learn the ins and outs of the new track before next year’s Paralympics.

Catch you all next month.


Reeling From The Ride


Breaking Away

I heard of this great event and I thought I should share…

Sunday 11th September 2011

Have-a-Go Cycling:
Ride the track on your own bike between

Free bike-powered cinema
Screening: Breaking Away & The Best Seat In The World

Herne Hill Velodrome
Burbage Road, Herne Hill, London, SE24 9HE, UK

This weekend sees “Save the Velodrome” host an evening of free green entertainment, first on the bill  is “have-a-go” cycling on the newly laid track at Herne Hill Velodrome followed by a bicycle powered outdoor cinema night as part of the Peckham & Nunhead Free Film Festival. The screening will be showing the cycling classic “Breaking Away” it will be accompanied by the premiere of “The Best Seat In The World,” a new documentary about Herne Hill’s Velodrome and it’s long history and struggle to stay open, it’s peppered with interviews from cyclists young and old, past and present.
It promises to be a great night for all the family, volunteers will take it in turns to have a go at powering the cinema on the special bikes provided.

For more information on the event please click here to be taken to the Free Film Festival Website.

Herne Hill Track League Grand Finale Image ©Copyright Martin Dixon

Those of our readers in the UK who compete at any level or follow professional cycling will be aware of the ongoing battle to keep the wonderful Herne Hill Velodrome open, for our readers from further afield who are less familiar with Herne Hill you may be aware of similar stories of cycling venues near to you. Herne Hill is in London, it’s been at the heart of British cycling since 1891 and manage to survive the damage it sustained during blitz of the Second World War. The velodrome was a venue in the 1948 Olympic Games, it has an amazing history and many passionate people who use the track and fight to give it an amazing future. When Herne Hill was repaired after the war it was given permanent grandstands and buildings, these are now unfortunately closed to the public because of the upkeep costs and health & safety, but if the velodrome can be given a more secure financial future and a longer lease can be obtained, then one day the grandstands will hopefully be restored to their former glory.

Herne Hill Supporters Club Image ©Copyright Pete @Fixedgear

The velodrome still continues to attract cyclists and supporters to it’s grounds, including the ever popular Good Friday Meeting that attracts cyclists of all levels from all over the world to compete.

Herne Hill is one of the oldest velodromes in the world and it has seen racing from many cycling greats including Jaques Anquetil, Fuasto Coppi and Tom Simpson. Bradley Wigginsfirst raced at Herne Hill when he was just 12.

For more information on the Save The Velodrome Campaign and events please click here.

This event is presented by Free Film Festivals in association with Herne Hill Velodrome, Electric Pedals, Hackney Bicycle Film Society and Save the Velodrome. Free energy drinks and snacks for cyclists kindly provided by Vaidas Bicycles. Future Projections provide the inflatable screen for the event.





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