Mark Colbourne – © Christina Kelkel
Mark Colbourne’s Paralympics Schedule
(Cycling, Track and Road):
30/08/12 – C1-3 1km Time Trial Final
31/08/12 – C1 4km Pursuit Qualification in the morning and Final in the afternoon if qualified
05/09/12 – C1 Road Time Trial
06/09/12 – C1–3 Road Race
Ahead of his first competition at a Paralympic Games, Mark said “It has been a tough journey from breaking my back to becoming a Paralympian and I’ve been training really hard to reach this point . Competing at a home Paralympic Games is the pinnacle of every athlete’s career and I am over the moon to be here”
And although London will be his first Paralympics, Mark is confident about his current form “I’m aiming for two gold medals at least!”
Mark is set to race in the C1 1km Time Trial on Thursday afternoon, and is sure that the public will be backing ParalympicsGB all the way. “The British Paralympic team has been hugely successful winning 42 gold medals in Beijing, second on the medal table, but with the support of the whole of Britain, we’ll aim to beat that. I can’t wait to see the British public support the British Paralympic team as much as they have got behind the Olympic team. It’s going to be truly special.”
Catch up with all the latest results via the JAC Sport website and follow me (@christinakelkel) and @markcolbourne on twitter for updates from track centre.
There is no better legacy of the London 2012 Olympics than an increase in the number of people participating in sports, whether that be for fun, or for competition.
One of the most popular sports being taken up in the last few weeks by women has been cycling, and in response to this, Cycle Surgery, in conjunction with Specialized and Runners Need have been hosting drop-in evenings exclusively for the ladies. So far, they’ve been incredibly popular and have helped new riders get out there and get cycling. If you’d like some advice on women’s bikes, cycling accessories, what to wear or where to go, don’t miss out, go online and register your attendance now for their Covent Garden store event on Tuesday 4th September.
If you’re not familiar with Covent Garden’s Cycle Surgery and Specialized concept store, then you really need to aquatint yourself with the quality services and equipment they offer. Their friendly staff will make you feel welcome, and be able to answer all purchasing, maintenance and general cycling questions you could possibly think of – these folks really know their stuff. In fact, because the concept store and its staff have so much to offer, they’ve had to try and tailor the evening around a certain theme. The focus of this drop-in will be Road Riding and Charity Events. So, if you’d like to know how to make your route around London or any city safer, more enjoyable, or how to use your bike in a fundraising event, then this is perfect for you.
To register your attendance click here but be quick, the first 50 will get a free goody bag on the night!
Bhopals Special Olympics – Image © Reuters
When London won the Olympic bid, it was claimed that these would be the ‘greenest Olympics ever’. While there have been some important green strides, some of which undoubtedly can be used to inform future major sporting events, it’s been disappointing that so many of the initial green pledges have since been dropped.
Reports out suggest that the organisers claim that it will be the greenest games ever is being put to shame by the fact that the 2008 Beijing games might have had a lower carbon footprint that the London games will have. It is that estimated 3.4 million tons of carbon will be released into our atmosphere as a result of London 2012, whereas, according to this report, Beijing released some 1.1 million tons.
This is interesting as on its own report, London 2012 has claimed its figure will only be 1.9 million. To put these numbers into perspective, the UK’s average yearly carbon emissions is 0.5 million tons. Thought it’s worth pointing out that the lifespan of the Olympics carbon footprint is roughly 7 years.
“Boris Bikes, no sorry Ken Bikes…” Image © Mark Ramsay
HEALTH AND SAFETY
Health experts have also warned that athletes might suffer from the high amount of air pollution in the capital, which raises another worry of health and safety. As the London games is set to be the most visited Olympics, that is a risk that should be taken seriously.
A British cyclist recently won the Tour de France; the first Brit ever to have achieved one the biggest honours in cycling. This could have been the kickstart for the cycling revolution that the UK so desperately needs, but instead the government and the Olympic organisers seem to be doing everything they can to discourage cycling.
The UK still has one of the worst cycling infrastructures in Europe. It will be even worse during the Olympics as several cycle paths have been sacrificed to make way for Olympic VIP lanes; should a cyclist make a way into such a lane, they could face a fine of £160. Add to that the sad fact that several of the Barclays Bike hire docking stations (Boris Bikes) will be taken out of operation as some of them are placed close to the VIP lanes.
It seems that the Olympics core spirit which is to encourage everyone to do more sports is being sacrificed for corporate interests.
Then there is the issue of the Olympic sponsors. How insulting it must be for those people who suffered (and might still be suffering) due to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, to see BP announced as ‘sustainability’ sponsors.
Let us be honest here, if you chose to have sponsors like BP, who have wrecked the lives for so many people, at least be transparent about it.
There is absolutely nothing sustainable about BP. Even their solar arm has now been closed and they’re not making any strides forward in clean energy technologies. Additionally, the biofuel which they champion to market their sustainability can be highly unsustainable depending on where it comes from.
It would be very interesting to know on what basis they and the Olympic organisers can justify having them as a ‘sustainability sponsor’.
It is equally insensitive to have Dow Chemicals as main sponsors; 2001 Dow bought Union Carbide Corporation, responsible for the Bophal disaster which people still suffer from today and they rightly feel very angry about this. Neither company then or now accepts any responsibility for the disaster.
The conclusion that can be drawn is that there is no doubt who the baddies are; the Olympic Organisers and the Olympic Committee, not the athletes.
Though you could wish that the athletes would use their influence and profile to speak out about these issues and then go and compete for their respective countries.
There is no doubt that some green strides have been taken and these should be commended, but we are once again seeing that when the going gets tough (don’t forget large part of the Olympic village has been constructed during a recession), the first thing to be sacrificed is the environment. That is something we can’t afford in today’s climate.
Time to grab some food!
The first week in July saw all the GB Para-cycling team members who had been selected for the 2012 London Paralympics, travel to and stay at the St Pierre & Country Club in Chepstow for the week, while we trained at the National Velodrome in Newport. This hotel will be our venue for our holding camp before the transition up to London one week before the games.
The first week of my training on the track was a small shock to my system, having had only two weeks back on the track in Manchester after my training abroad and now with my legs finding their power again, the efforts on the track were going to be increased every day to maximise my improvements for London over the next two weeks.
On the Sunday 8th July, fellow Para-cyclist and Paralympic Gold medallist Jody Cundy MBE and I were invited to take part in a SKY ride for the public at the Velodrome in Newport as part of the celebrations of 50 days to go before the start of the 2012 London Paralympics. The day was organised to invite the public to take part in safe cycling with trained staff on the roads around Newport. Jody and I had a fab time and made lots of new cycling friends, who also enjoyed their cycling experiences around the coastline roads in the sun.
My second week of track training in Newport saw me and my legs finally start to see some progress. The first week was more like a baptism of fire for me trying to achieve some really fast times on the boards, as well as get used to training at maximum on every effort. The week session was broken up with a 3 hour road ride with two of the team members who really enjoyed the Welsh countryside, apart from the rain which was warm but very wet!
While I was on the camp in Newport, I had the pleasure of being interviewed over the telephone by Stuart Lieberman from the International Paralympic Committee. The IPC (www.paralympic.org) oversee all Paralympic sports across the globe, so it was my pleasure to share my epic life changing story with Stuart and to explain just how my life has changed since becoming a Para-cyclist and also a Paralympic hopeful. I had to explain who “Dewi the Dragon” was and how he was going to help me in London, as my Paralympic mascot.
On 13th July, my-self and the team went to the Crown Plaza Hotel in Central London to have our official suit fitting for the 2012 London Paralympic Games, supplied by retailer Next. It was a brilliant experience for me and everyone who attended, as this was the first time we all had the chance to mingle with our fellow ParalympicsGB athletes from all the other sports who are going to compete in London in August and September.
The journey back to Manchester that night was very slow and certainly a long one, having taken us 6 hours to drive back, as the traffic was bedlam. The next day I was keen to get back on my bike and felt really good on my 2 hour road ride on my TT bike, which was thankfully spent in the sunshine.
Monday 16th July saw the start of my 6 week double training sessions on the track, with me having to do a road ride in the morning, then a full on track session in the afternoon, plus, gym twice a week. I do honestly enjoy these sessions; it’s just a case of working hard and then sleeping through the tiredness before the benefits are seen a few weeks later.
Mid July, I was invited by 2012 London Paralympic partner Deloitte, to a private function to share my experience and my life changing story with some of their young clients in Manchester. Deloitte who is the professional services supporter for both of the London 2012 games and who is among the country’s leading professional services firms, providing audit, tax, consulting and corporate finance services. My talk went really well and I had the pleasure of holding a 2012 Olympic torch, it felt rather serial to actually be holding a real one, however, the evening was a great success and enjoyed by all. On times I still have to pinch myself to realise that I am actually doing what I am doing for my country and it was my pleasure to talk and network with such a fabulous group of professionals.
My last week of training in July saw my track sessions increased and also my time spent on the TT bike. This extra amount of training helps me to overload my body before I start my final few weeks of preparation, for the biggest challenge of my Para-cycling career at the 2012 London Paralympics.
The end of July saw my-self and fellow GB Para-cycling team member Jody Cundy MBE, attend a BBC radio interview called “world have your say” at the Manchester National Velodrome. The interview was live across the World and covered the global excitement that the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics had created. The interview went really well and especially after Bradley Wiggins had just won the Tour De France two days previous, so everyone was on a GB high.
As the biggest sporting event on the planet began at the end of July, the 2012 London Olympic fever hit the UK with style. We saw hundreds of millions of people across the globe watch the opening ceremony in awe and with only 4 weeks to go before the 2012 London Paralympics start, the whole of the UK will be behind every one of our ParalympicsGB athletes.
I am so excited to be a GB Para-cyclist competing at a home Paralympic Games, knowing that very soon I will not only be racing on the same track as Sir Chris Hoy, but with 6500 screaming fans in the stands. This is something that really does get me fired up to do well. I wish all Team GB and ParalympicsGB athletes all the very best for the Games and make Britain proud by doing your absolute best!
USA Women Training in Mallorca
A few weeks ago my boyfriend Jetse and I did a short visit to Mallorca, he had to do an intense block of training and the guys from Performance United have their training base there so I was excited to catch up with my sister Sofia!
It was impossible not to fall in love with the place, with those amazing views and all the mountains! We arrived at Sofia’s apartment in Alaró, such a nice little town.
Very close to her apartment is the Team House, the boys of the team live there and they also have a weight lifting room, with all the necessary equipment for track riders along with the fantastic watt bikes, and you can’t miss the flags of Ireland, USA, Turkey, Mexico and Spain decorating the room.
We had time to catch up a little bit there with coach Andy Sparks while he was showing us the place and telling us all the advantages that came with training in Mallorca, he even invited Jetse for a ride with the guys.
To me it was clear why my sister doesn’t want to come back to train in Mexico after only a few hours of being there, the Island is really special for bike rides!!! But I was so excited and looking so much forward to go to the track and see the guys in action!
But that didn’t happen until the last day, meanwhile we had time to do some training, enjoy the sun and the beach and we even went for dinner with Jennie Reed and her hubby Brandon Madden, I have to admit I’m such a big fan of Jennie since long time ago when she was a sprinter but this is the first time I’d actually met her and had time to get to know her.
When I asked her, why did she make the change from sprinting to endurance she said she was looking for a new challenge and I think instead Jennie’s creating a challenge to other teams as she rocks in the team pursuit even as much as she did as a sprinter!
Anyways back to the track… The Palma Arena is such a cool place, the track is beautiful and you can feel the great atmosphere at their training sessions, you can hear everyone cheering for each other while they’re doing there efforts and giving tips to each other to improve… its just priceless! But I have to say the biggest supporters at the track are Brandon Madden and Kirk Bausch (husbands of Jennie Reed and Dotsie Bausch) you can hear they screaming “GO, GO, GO!!!” during the whole training.
While Sarah Hammer and Jennie Reed have basically made Mallorca their second home the rest of the Team Pursuit girls (Lauren Tamayo and Dotsie Bausch) come in special periods during the year, this time they were all together as they’re getting ready for London and yes… they are looking STRONG!
Other riders in the team also preparing for London are Martyn Irvine (Ireland) and David Muntaner (Spain), while Recep Unalan (Turkey) and Sofia Arreola (Mexico) are making next year’s World Cup season their major focus.
Coach Andy is looking very optimistic about the Games and I’m sure the boys and girls will get amazing results there, so excited to see them racing and I even got special t-shirts to support them along the way!
Thanks for reading!