And so it begins again…. I emerge from my self-imposed literary slumber, bleary-eyed and mildly irritated, into (one hopes) the world of more regular blogging activities. Many apologies for the lack of article productivity of late (well,.. for over 6 months or so) – but a combination of frantic studying, an increase in training/racing hours, and an unfortunate lack of journalistic self-motivation put paid to any hopes I had of a more regular stream of blogs.
But I am back now.
Whilst another Xmas period has passed and we’ve moved into another calendar year, the song remains the same, beloved readers. Get your weekly/fortnightly/monthly/occasional/rare/bluemoon fix of ill-informed opinion, shaky rhetoric and dubious advice here! Please do mention to me via email or on the forums if you’d like a certain topic addressed – I’m grateful for all your comments/thoughts/suggestions. Whilst this blog continues to be a vehicle for promoting interesting debate and light-hearted ponderings, it will also aim to keep you updated with my own progress (hopefully avoiding any high levels of narcissism).
It’s been a busy few months, so I’ll endeavour to be brief with what I’ve been up to, before talking about the more weighty issues of the day.
Last year was extremely enjoyable for me, managing to race as a member of the GB Paracycling Talent Team in Bilbao, Bayonne, Kent and elsewhere. A solid season of Rudy Project TTs and National Disability Crit Series was backed up by some good progress in National B crits at my local airfield (oooh, the glamour).
Over October I applied for a place at the GB Paracycling Academy – a programme devised to support those riders targeting the London 2012 Paralympics. I was unfortunately unsuccessful in this goal. Competition was extremely high, as in all levels of the British Cycling set-up, and I was fighting for my place on the squad against 3 other riders in the same disability class- Darren Kenny, Rik Waddon and Shaun McKeown- all of whom have medalled at World Championship level in the recent past.
Despite this slight set-back, I’ve had a productive winter building up a decent base of riding and trying to build upon relationships I have with my sponsors. One exciting development was the creation of my website – www.tom-staniford.co.uk . Whilst at first glance it may appear to be a shameless attempt at further self-aggrandising egotism, the truth is that, as I’m unsupported by British Cycling, I have had to find my own support in order to race. On a business basis, support comes through increased media coverage. Media coverage for Paracycling is less than that of able-bodied cycling, so I felt the best way of addressing that was to create my own media coverage.
Sounds hilariously simple and equally hilariously narcissistic but the fact is I want to race, and I want to earn a place on the squad for 2012, and I’m prepared to put the work in to achieve that. Sponsorship/support from companies makes that a great deal easier for me financially and in terms of logistics. Selling out? I’ll let you decide.
If you do get time, please do try and have a look at the Sponsors page on my website. I’m extremely grateful to all of them for their support, and would be very pleased if you chose to use their products/services as a result of seeing them on this blog or my website.
I’m coming up to running out of space in this blog entry, so cannot go into great deal at this time, but… winter riding. Love it or loathe it, it needs to be done in some way or another. Whether you are a hardcore winter warrior racking up the miles in all conditions, or just an occasional cyclist who wishes to ride solely to burn off calories to facilitate the inevitable port/cheese/chocolate indulgence (I’m looking vaguely in your direction, RH)[Erm… – ed.]. In the interests of being succinct and also extremely lazy, I’m simply going to paste some good mottos to use at your discretion. Some are well-known, others I have just randomly made up this evening. Enjoy:
“Medals are won in the winter and just collected in the summer”.
“There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing”.
“It’ll be alright once I’ve warmed up”.
“Any miles are better than no miles”.
“My worst day on a bike is still better than my best day with mother-in-law/kids/partner/relatives/WorldofWarcraft (delete as appropriate)”.
“If I do this extra hour, there will be more space for that attractive Stilton nestling at the back of the fridge” (That one is for you, beloved Editor).
Light-hearted and inane banter aside; I’d like to finish this blog on a more serious note.
A great many of you will have heard of the shocking deaths just a few days ago of two cyclists- their lives cut tragically short before they reached their true potential. Lewis Balyckyi and Carla Swart were both fatally struck by vehicles whilst out training, and our thoughts go out to their families, friends and teammates. At times like these we are all reminded even more so to ride safe, and look after one another on the roads.