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.
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 races to victory - ©Copyright Christina Kelkel
Jody Cundy MBE
After winning the Bronze medal in the 4km Individual Pursuit yesterday, Jody was up in the 1km Time Trial today to defend his World Championship crown. As the defending Champion, Jody got to start last giving him the advantage to see the times of his competitors. The time to beat then was that of Jiri Bouska (CZE) who had posted a 1:09.025, almost 4 seconds slower than Jody’s WR time of 1:05.144. With a seemingly manageable task on hand, Jody was already more
Jody prepares - ©Copyright Christina Kelkel
than a second up on Bouska’s time after the first lap. He managed to maintain the momentum to increase this lead to a comfortable 3.024 seconds crossing the line in a Gold medal winning time of 1:06.001.
But despite winning the World Championship title, Jody admitted after the race: “I have to say my legs felt like jelly this morning, they felt awful. It’s the first time before a kilo I didn’t really feel ready for it, so it was all about getting the ride out. I went flat out out of the gate but after a lap and a half, it already didn’t feel very fast. I tried to give it everything and by the time I got towards the last lap, I just tried to keep it going. I kind of switched into pursuit mode as it’s almost pursuit pace by the time you get to the last lap. And when I came down the back straight I overheard the commentator saying that I was more than 2 seconds up, so I knew that we should be able to get it.”
“I am a little annoyed to be .001 away from a 1:05 and also it’s the first time ever, that I’ve won a World or Paralympic title and not broke the world record at the same time, but I shouldn’t be too disappointed. We might have got my taper slightly wrong or maybe just didn’t have enough recovery from the flight and the travel, but we can learn from that and that’s the important bit”
After successfully defending his Kilo title today, Jody will be racing in the Mixed Team Sprint alongside Paralympians Darren Kenny and Sarah Storey on the final day of the competition tomorrow. A rule change after last
Jody on the rollers - ©Copyright Christina Kelkel
year’s World Championships – allowing fewer points per team – had forced the British coaches to reorganise their team sprint line-up, and other Nations will be running different teams as well.“It will be a complete mystery this time” Jody said, “We don’t know what orders teams are running, which riders they have selected, but we will just focus on ourselves, get the best out of each other and be safe and technically correct. As long as we do everything within our control and make sure everything is right from our end, we’ll see what happens. But I think we’ve got the team that can win.”
Follow @christinakelkel @jodycundy and @BCreports on twitter for updates from track centre.
Mark Colbourne - UCI Para-Cycling Track World Championships Los Angeles, USA - ©Copyright Christina Kelkel
Today saw Mark racing in the 1km Time Trial, after he managed to take his first ever Para-Cycling World Championship Gold in his first International track competition! As a track debutant, Mark had to go off as one of the first riders with 10 more riders to come after his heat. Motivated by yesterday’s success, Mark rode a very controlled and fast kilometer finishing in a time of 1:19.380, only 1.163 seconds off the current WR time and good enough to take the lead at that point. However, the race still was not over and Mark had to watch his competitors trying to beat his
time whilst warming down in track center. With only the defending Champion and WR holder Rodrigo Fernand Lopez (ARG) to go, Mark was still in the lead and guaranteed a Silver medal. Lopez started his time trial almost a second faster than Mark in lap one, but as he continued his race Lopez’s lead started to decrease more and more. In the end, he crossed the line in a time of 1:19.102, only .278 ahead of Mark who had to settle for Silver.
Mark Silver Medal - ©Copyright Christina Kelkel
After the race Mark said “I felt very confident and mentally ready after the Gold medal win yesterday, even though my legs felt slightly heavy when I was warming up. This only was my second kilo in 4 months so I am really happy to be quite close to the WR, especially as I rode a 5 second PB. I got into a nice rhythm straight from the start but after 2 tough rides yesterday, my legs tightened up in the last lap.”
After the Para-Cycling Track World Championships, Mark will now focus on his preparations for the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Mark said “We have learned a lot from these World Championships and will now work on the bits we need to improve for London. We will be doing a lot of work on the road in the build up to the Games as the Road Time Trial is one of my main targets as well as the 3km Pursuit and the Kilo.”
Mark Colbourne - UCI Para-Cycling Track World Championships Los Angeles, USA - ©Copyright Christina Kelkel
Mark qualified second fastest in the C1’s 3km Individual Pursuit in a time of 4:06.895 and will be racing Juan Jose Mendez Fernandez (ESP, 4:06.285) for Gold later tonight.
Mark Colbourne Qualifying - ©Copyright Christina Kelkel
This is Mark’s first International track competition after making his debut on the road at the UCI Para-Cycling Road World Championships five months ago and coming away with a strong Silver medal.
Before today’s competition Mark said “I only really started training on the track after the Road World Championships and it turned out my times were very workable. Since then, I have constantly improved, so I feel quite confident going into the competition now.” A former Volleyball player for Wales, Mark broke his back in a paragliding accident back in 2009 and now races in the C1 category for riders with most severe disabilities.
At the Track World Championships, Mark will not only be riding the 3km Individual Pursuit but also the 1km Time Trial. But with his background in Triathlon and endurance sports, it’s clear what he is most passionate about “I love riding the Pursuit! I can settle in, listen to my coach on the sideline and just enjoy riding my bike. I like the Kilo, but it’s all about power and with only 4 laps of racing, it’s all in. There is no room for error!”
Jody Cundy MBE Qualifying - UCI Para-Cycling Track World Championships Los Angeles, USA - ©Copyright Christina Kelkel
Jody Cundy MBE
Jody was off for a tricky start in the 4km Individual Pursuit after a Commissaire standing on the track in the back straight forced Jody to quit his first qualification run. Luckily for Jody, the UCI recognized this error and allowed Jody a restart, but this also meant that he had no other rider to race against.
Nevertheless, Jody rode a strong race finishing in a time of 4:55.958, which was good enough to place him third and therefore into the Bronze medal ride off later today. In the final for Bronze, Jody will now be facing Roberto Garcia Alcaide (ESP) who qualified in a time of 4:57.622.
After the race, Jody said “this was the hardest pursuit I have ever ridden and unfortunately not one of my fastest. I am still quite please though to have made it into the final for Bronze after having to start a second time. I came around the first corner and saw the Commissaire standing on the track, so I didn’t have a choice but to slow down and abort the attempt. There was very little time to refocus before my second qualification run and having no one to chase didn’t make things easier neither. But that’s just the way it was and I tried to make the best of the situation.”
Jody track centre - UCI Para-Cycling Track World Champs, USA - ©Copyright Christina Kelkel
This wasn’t the first time Jody has been unlucky in Los Angeles after his road bike, used for training and warming up, got broken on the plane to America. “Luckily, the mechanics managed to temporarily fix the bike, but I will most likely get a replacement once I get back to the UK” Jody commented.
On a different note, the UCI decided to enforce rule 1.3.033 stipulating “It is forbidden to wear non-essential items of clothing or items designed to influence the performance of a rider such as reducing the air resistance or modifying the body of the rider…”. This means that no rider will be allowed to wear overshoes for the remainder of the competition, a rule that has never been enforced this way before! Jody said “We were told about this last night and were immediately surprised. Rules are rules and they are supposed to make it fair for everyone, but I don’t quite understand why this is happening right now. There is a big lack of consistency in terms of what is allowed when, but we’ll just have to go with it for now”
Follow @christinakelkel @jodycundy & @markcolbourne and @BCreports on twitter for updates from track centre.
More to come!
World Championships Review
(Montichiari, Italy 2011)
by Jody Cundy
Wow what can I say, 3 days of competition, 3 medals, 2 World Records and 1 National Record. Going into Italy the main concerns I had were:
1. Could I pull out the pursuit ride my training has been geared to?
2. Would all the pursuit/endurance training I’ve done effect my top end speed?
3. Would 3 events back to back be a step too far?
Day 1 (4km Pursuit)
Well question 1 was answered on day one and it was a big yes!
Preparing for the worlds myself and my coach (Chris Furber) targeted 4:45 as a realistic target, if I could do this, then based on previous results this would put me in the top 5 or 6 riders in the world and score a healthy amount of points for the London qualification process. However it would be a massive challenge as my best time prior to the world championships was a 5:03.286. Things had been going well in training, and I was on target, I just had to get up there and put all the components together. With Chris walking the line I tried to keep my 1st kilometre measured and controlled as I’d been finding it easy to get carried away, especially when your legs feel good. More importantly though this had been my big downfall in training and had led to some rather slow and incredibly painful efforts!
Jody at the World Championships Italy 2011 - Image ©Copyright Christina Kelkel
By the time I reached 3km I was feeling strong and still in control of my speed, and I now had my opponent all set for the catch. I swept by him in turn 3 and then pushed on through to the end, with my legs beginning to really burn with a lap to go, but hearing the bell I just had enough to get me to the finish line.
As I looked up to the score board I was amazed to see I’d rode a 4:44.085 (an almost 20second personal best time) and had a rank 1 next to my name! With just one heat to go it meant I’d definitely be doing a 2nd 4km in the finals, but I would have to wait 5mins to find out what medal I’d be racing for. In the final heat world champion and world record holder Jiří Ježek posted the fastest time of 4:41.895, and with his opponent falling short of my time it meant I was a guaranteed silver medallist and I would be racing Jiří in the final.
Before the final I talked with Chris and discussed how we were going to attack it, as now I had made the final my competitive nature had taken over, and I wanted to give Jiří a good fight and make him work for the title. My qualifying ride was a controlled measured effort, and I believed I could squeeze out a little more and put some pressure on Jiří. So we decided on riding to the WR schedule, and see what would happen! This was all well and good, however by the time I was at lap 3 I was a long way up on schedule, a very dangerous place to be in a pursuit, especially as this schedule was 4 seconds faster than I rode in the morning. By lap 6 my over exuberance started to take its toll as I struggled to maintain the rhythm and speed I’d started with. Kilo’s 2 and 3 were pretty steady before I managed to find my legs again, but by then my race was over, Jiří had me in sight. I managed to make it to the 4km without being overlapped, but Jiří was world champion, and I now had a new pet project to add to my list for London!
Day 2 (1km Time Trial)
With the pursuit over, and all my goals reached and exceeded it was time to get back to events I know and love, and to answer question 2. The kilo was going to be an interesting race, with 25riders down on the start list and team mate Terry Byrne snapping at my heels in training the pressure was on. Terry was off 2nd rider and was out to post the marker everyone would be aiming at, and he did just that blasting out the gate to a 2second PB and a time that only I had gone quicker than, and he’d done this before I’d even started warming up!
￼I was last to go and with Terry’s time still top of the table with Jiří Bouska 2nd and Eduard Novak 3rd, it was time to see how much my legs had recovered from the previous days efforts. Out of the gate and I wanted to get the bike up to speed as fast as possible, 1st lap complete and I was 0.971 seconds up, my legs were feeling good as I settled into my tri bars and continued to accelerate through the middle section of the ride as I crossed the line I was a full 2.55 seconds clear of Terry and 0.3 seconds inside my WR winning time from Manchester 2009. Question 2 was answered, I’d not lost any of my speed, and as a bonus from all the endurance training the last 2 laps didn’t hurt as much as in previous kilos. I think that’s the first time I’ve actually been able to enjoy my victory laps!
Day 3 (Team Sprint)
Jody World Championships, Italy 2011 - Image ©Copyright Christina Kelkel
The last day of competition was the team sprint, and I was teaming up with Darren Kenny, who had already successfully defended his 3km Pursuit and Kilo titles in the previous 2 days, and Terry Byrne who would be riding man 2 after his silver medal in the kilo the night before. This was a new line up compared to past events, as the rules and classification classes had changed since the last world championships, as our existing team was no longer a legal line up.
With 15 teams riding the competition had become stronger, and in ride 10 the Chinese team set a new WR time of 51.655, taking 0.5 seconds off the existing mark. However this didn’t faze us as we knew that in training we’d been quicker than this new standard. Lined up on the track it was important that we executed the starts and changes over smoothly and legally, as fast as possible, and we did just that, blazing around to a 49.809 to take the top qualification spot and smash the WR in the process. In the final, after looking at the race data from the heats we made some different gear choices and felt confident we could go faster. As we blasted round the track our confidence was well founded as we smashed the WR again, taking it down to 49.540 with the feedback from the morning making a big difference in the final, the Chinese finished in 51.771.
With the final race complete and under my belt it was clear all my questions at the start of the week had been answered, I could pull out a world class pursuit, I hadn’t lost any of my top end speed, and to top it off I was still riding fast on the last day of competition, setting the fastest 3rd lap I’d ever done in the heats of the team sprint, with a 14.198.
Jody shows off his latest bling from the Worlds - Image ©Copyright Christina Kelkel
Montichiari was a fabulous experience and one of those weekends of racing that as an athlete you love, because all the hard work has paid off and everything has come together.
As a team we topped the medal table with 9 Golds, 8 Silver and 1 Bronze. It’s starting to look good for London. All that’s left to do now is sit down with Chris and analyse the performances and work out how to get even quicker for London. I have a few days off, and then I’ll be back on my bike preparing for a summer of endurance that will hopefully set me up for next year.
All images ©Copyright Christina Kelkel