Ian Marsden

Hand Cycling:

Race Reports

I've run over some past events in my profile on the home page, but this gives you a listing of events completed and a typical race report.
Many of the photos on this website are from past events and awards, and give you some idea of what handcycles look like.
Round 3 Para-cycling Circuit Fowlmead Kent 19/7/2009
I made my way down the M6 on Friday evening after work heading for Cambridge to stay at a friend’s house who I race with. On the Saturday morning we made are way to Kent, which took another 2 and half hours (I had a 2 and half hour drive on the Friday evening).

Both Chris and myself had raced at Fowlmead in 2007 when the track had not long opened. I remember getting lost the very first time, and again the second time. After eventually finding the track, I signed on at race HQ and began to get my Handbike together and make sure it still works. The weather was nice, but with a very strong wind as the track is high up and very exposed.

All the handcyclist (17 in total) started there warm-up, the circuit is 2 miles in distance and twisty with a long home straight which climbs. Along the straight we had a tailwind, which helped with the climb, but was punished very hard half way round the circuit with a strong head with which seemed to change to a crosswind on some laps. The male handcyclist had to do 8 laps, and the females did 5 laps, which with the factoring system only in the UK! The men had to make the laps on the women 6 miles advantage. The men’s race was not factored this time to make it fair for once. I started at the back of the grid, the race set-off at a fast pace, I got straight on the wheel of 3rd man hopping just to sit and draft for a while, but Dave in front of me started to let a small gap appear. This gap got bigger and I told him to chase hard or let me pass to bridge the gap, but he did neither and I got blocked in and could not get around. When I did eventually pass Dave I dropped him and started the chase to catch Chris and Rob, who were working together and had over 100 meters on me already due to getting blocked in.

I worked really hard and found it very hard in the wind on my own, but I eventually caught Chris with 3 laps to go. Chris stayed with me for a bit but was too tired to continue the pace, so I continued after Rob lapping the women as I chased. I had run out of time and laps to catch Rob so in the end had to settle with second place in the men’s road race. Next time I wont get blocked in, but as I ve had a serious neck injury resulting in time in hospital and no feeling and only 45% use of my right arm due to nerve damage, I was pleased with my performance as I was not sure I would even finish the race.

Human powered vehicle World Championships, Bentwaters Park 16/8/2008
This was the first time I had competed in this World Championships, and I did not know what to expect. The championships consisted of many different vehicle categories, most leg power and a separate category for arm power. In the arm power category there were 2 races a Time Trial lasting 1 hour, and a road race also for 1-hour duration. Bentwaters Park is a disused RAF site and a perfect setting for a World Championships. The Human Powered racers are the people you hear about setting the land speed World Recorders with the use of there legs and arms on some occasions. This was the first time I had done a Time Trial over a set time and not a set distance. This was because the timing transponder calculated the average speed over the 1-hour, and the same for the road race. As I was on the bike ready to warm-up for the Time Trial and the weather started to change and it began to rain very heavy. All the riders sheltered under the trees, as the rain was bouncing off the road. I was soaked to the skin before I even got on the start line, I was counted down from 3, 2, 1 then off I went. The visibility was down to about 2-3 meters and parts of the course were starting to get flooded. As I went through some of the corners I felt the back end of the bike step-out and it was hard to get control on some parts of the course. When I was on my last lap the rain started to fade and a bit of sun started to show through the clouds, I pushed hard across the finish line and went straight to my car with the other riders to get out of the very wet race kit.

The road race was later on that afternoon, but the handcyclist had a chat and decided if the weather did not get better after lunch we would pack-up and go home as we were all so wet and cold. Luckily the sun came out after a few more showers and the afternoon was blue sky and hot sun so all the handcyclist decided to do the race as the course was a lot dryer and no floods. We all had a few laps warm-up and went to the start-line. The start was very fast and I made my way to the front with the other riders, some of the corners and turns were sharp but after a few laps they didn't seem too bad. Things got a bit tactical on the last couple of laps and the pace slowed up because no one wanted to be on the front. One of the riders attacked from the front and I chased to bridge the gap. This meant I was on the front so I slowed down, as it was less than half a lap to go. I let a rider come past me to take the front, but this was a mistake as I did not realise it was just before the last corner. This last corner was sharp and there was only room for one Handbike, I tried had to sprint to the line but by the time I was through the corner there was only about 100 yards to wind up the sprint which was not enough and I could only get just pass the riders back wheel as we both crossed the finish line.

After the race I was told I had won the Time Trial, and I knew I was second in the Road Race. But there could only be one overall winner, and the officials worked out the average speed of all the Handcyclist over the two races. At the presentation ceremony I was surprised to find out that I had WON the Arm Powered race overall, so not a bad weekend after all and worth getting wet for.

EHC Louny - Round 7 26/7/2008
I flew out to Louny on Wednesday 23rd July from East Midlands airport. The weather was good in the UK, but was going to be very hot in the Czech Republic. The bike got to Louny in one piece (which this year was the first time). The bike was still in bad condition so making it harder to ride, as I am still sorting out another new bike.

I had a ride around the course on Thursday with a couple of team mates, we know the course very well, but this year it had to change and be made shorter due to changes in the roads. After a good ride, I went to have a sleep and look over the bike to make sure all was ok after the journey. On Friday the weather was very warm around 30 degrees, we all had another training ride and made the most of the good weather. In the evening I got bitten by a very large mosquito and my hand and wrist started to swell up.

On the morning of the time trial I felt a bit unwell and my hand was looking red with puss coming out of the wound. The weather was very hot reaching 33 degrees, I got the bike chipped and read to go. On the start line my heart began to beat fast, a lot more so then normal. On the warm-up I was sick several times and did not feel too good but decided to race. 5,4,3,2,1, go. I was off I had a good start and was into my stride. There was a head and cross wind along the course which knocked the speed down by about 3mph from the day before when I was training. My hand was irritating me and hurting a lot, on the turn around point I was starting to lose my pace, I still managed to pass 4 riders along the way though but everything was hurting and I felt very weak and sick. I came over the line in 14th position with a time of 27:09, not the best and a few seconds off, but taking into account how I felt it was the best I could have done.

After the time trial I had a small bit of food, but found it hard to eat, as I felt very sick. I went back to the hotel to rest and get ready for the Criterium later the same afternoon. When I woke up I did not feel well, and told my team mate I was not going to do the next race, he said give it a go and see how I felt. So I got on the bike to warm-up, I was sick again and had a very bad head. I lined up on the start grid, the gun went off and it was race on again. They attacked from the gun and I pushed hard to stay on, every time I pushed I felt sick (and was), I decided to pull up after 3 laps and went back to the hotel.

In the evening I went to bed, sick, hot and sweaty, my teammates and other riders went to the after race party. I did not have the energy to go to the party and just wanted to sleep. I've never been bitten before, and when I got home I went to the doctors, and they agreed the bite was making me feel very unwell due to a reaction. I am feeling a bit better now after some rest, and its back to training hard again.

EHC Busto Milan - Rounds 3 & 4 6/6/2008
The long drive to Heathrow airport started smooth with no delays, I was traveling with another rider from the UK, Rob Wickham. We were meeting other riders from the UK and my teammates in Milan. We were a bit nervous about the flight from London as we were traveling for the first time from the black hole called Terminal 5. But to our surprise everything at T5 was good including the nice BA staff, which helped a lot with our journey. T5 is amazing, it's massive! And full of really cool seating designs. At the other end in Milan, Malpensa airport all was good too, we got transported to the hotel, which had a massive golf course with lots of rich people (until the Brit's arrived). The two road races were on Friday and Saturday but not until 8:30pm, crap time but the roads could only be closed then, and the organisers wanted a big crowd as there always is in Italy.

On the day of the first race the weather was hot and nice, at 5pm we got transported to the start to get ready to put the timing chips on the bikes and warm-up. But at about 7pm the biggest storm you have ever seen started, the rain was so heavy the road flooded very quickly. For the past few weeks the weather in Italy has been very bad and wet, so the drains could not hold much water. No one new what to do, the time was now 8pm, so I got on my bike ready to warm-up, I had had my energy drinks, gels etc and was buzzing. I moved forward along a sheltered area towards the start, but was met by another rider telling me the race was off. I was just about to say good joke, when the race organiser Vittorio confirmed the race was not going to happen tonight, due to the roads being flooded and it was very dark by now. So it was off the bike and back to the hotel for an early night, we were all very disappointed. This was the first time since the EHC had started 10 years ago that a race had been cancelled.

The following morning the weather started off damp, but soon picked up with more hot sun again so thing were looking good for race 2 in the evening. In the afternoon I was chatting to Radovan who is the president of the EHC, riders had expressed there concern about having a late start because if anything goes wrong there is no adjustment time due to being so dark in the evening. A race being cancelled is a big thing due to the loss of points for that race, and the very big expense of getting to the race anyway. We asked for the race to be put forward by 1-hour minimum in case there were any more problems, but the police refused this request by the organisers.

At 5pm the heavens opened again, exactly like the previous day. But there were 3 and half hours until the race start, so it was not as bad we thought. We were ready to race again and still waiting at the hotel for the transport to the start. One of the phones was ringing, it was one of the committee members, and he told us the race was not going to happen again due to the floods. We could not believe what was going on, but just then the transport arrived, I asked the drivers if the race was back on he looked blank at me (he only spoke Italian). He phoned Vittorio and passed the phone to my mate, he said they would make a decision in 20 minutes so we sat a waited. The phone went again, he said please give me another 10 minutes, the rain had stopped now so we thought there would be no problem now. Rob began to take his bike to bits ready to pack it for the trip home. We had been waiting nearly 2 hours just sitting looking out of the window. The phone went again, the race was off for good this time, we could not believe that 2 races had been cancelled, this will go down in the history books. We were invited down to the race start for the after race food anyway and chat with the other riders about what had happened again. We asked our driver to take us around the course, as we had not even seen it yet. I can see why the race was off, even in the dry that course was very dangerous, it had a few 90 degree turns and a section where the road went down to the width of a car. This would mean the lead group would have to go through in single file, I can guarantee this would not have happened, there would have been a massive crash, wet or dry.

EHC - Round 3 - Schenkon Time Trial 24/5/2008
I traveled to Switzerland from Manchester airport on the Friday, this time there was no problems with bike at the airport. Transport at the other end from the airport to the hotel was smooth, and the weather was looking good for the weekend. The time trial did not start until late afternoon, so there was a lot of sitting around looking at the bike and waiting.

After a spot of lunch I took a steady ride to the start area with Rob, a rider from the UK. The weather started to look a bit dull and just when we arrived at the start it began to spit with rain so we go off the bikes and placed them under cover. We were told to have our bikes inspected at the start, which was normal, but we were not told that the bike inspection was 10 minutes up the road which we had passed on the way to the start. So we had to get back on the bikes, now in the heavy rain, to the bike inspection. It was more than a few minutes ride as we were unsure where it was.

After having the bike inspection we made our way back to the start, by this time it had stopped raining and was now hot and sunny again. Rob was off 30 minutes before me so after a warm-up he went to the start line and I continued my warm-up with a couple of my Handbike CR Team mates until it was time for me. I was setting of at 17:55, with 2 of my teammates in front of me giving me a good target to chase down along the course. The time trial course went around a large lake back through the town, then to the finish where we had started.

The clock counted down and I was off, I built up my speed and cadence until my heart rate was in the 170bpm zone. The course was flat most the way with a couple of small climbs and some sharp turns. There was a strong head wind in parts, which made things go a bit slower (even down hill). I managed to catch my teammates who set off before me and several other riders who set off many minutes before I did. I lost a bit of time in one part of the course because I did not see the sharp left turn and went straight on just missing someone standing in front of me. I put the brakes on hard and the bike skidded along the road sideways towards him (good job he jumped out of the way). The rest of the race went without incident which makes a change this season, when I came over the finish line I looked at the clock and it showed 34:42 which was a good time. This put me 6th over all in the C division.

The C division for the past few years was split into C1 and C2, this was because the C2 riders kneeled on the bike giving them a clear advantage with speed and power. The C1 riders, which was me have there legs stretched out in front of them (which you have seen in pictures before). But due to the UCI wanting to make fewer divisions it was decided this year it would be one big C Division. Soon we hope everyone will be in the long seat position with there legs out in front so making it fair for everyone as we will all be riding in the same position. If it was still the old C1 and C2, I would have been on the podium again in 3rd place, but I was only about 5 seconds of the podium even though its now one C Division so not too bad I guess.

Karla Raise Czech Circuit Road Race 3/5/2008
I traveled to Louny in the Czech Republic 2 days before to race to ride around the course again, this was a race I had done with my Czech Team Handbike cr many times over the years. The weather was not bad warm with a couple of thunderstorms along the way (Just like being home again). I started to unpack my Handbike ready for a bit of training and found my left rear wheel was very loose. I had a closer look and found that the boss that sits inside the frame was damaged very badly. This means the wheel just wobbles a lot, and could come off.

That was it I thought my race over before it starts, Chris who was racing with me from the UK and made the bike tried his best to fix the problem, but it was impossible to do. I woke up the morning of the race, and after a long chat with Chris decided to give it ago as I had nothing to lose. We both took a steady ride to the start which was 30 minutes away, but my left rear wheel hit a pt hole and caused the drafting bar some how to flip up onto the wheels and cause them to lock and skid along the road to a stop. I shouted Chris to stop but he did not hear me, luckily there was a man walking along the lane and with my few words of Czech I got the man to knock the drafting bar down to release the wheels. Chris had waited for me further up the road (as he realised he was talking to himself), but due to this we had to ride very fast to the start because of the time we had lost. We had to ride that fast that our heart rate hit 180 bpm, not the best steady warm-up we had planed. We mad it to the start with seconds to go, I was sitting on the start with my heart racing. The gun went and I made my way to the front to give myself more room to move. There are only two places to attack and make a brake both on hills, the first close to the start and the second right at the end. One of the riders John Vink made a brake on the first hill, no one followed so I pulled out from the pack and chased after John. Because I had made a move everyone followed me, I closed the gap on the decent doing over 36 mph. John Vink dropped to the back of the group and I stayed on the front riding at over 30 mph, I moved across several times and shouted at one of my team to come through and do some work, but no one did. Just before we turned off the main roads John Vink came to the front and nodded at me to sit behind him. This was a tactical move because when the group entered the narrow lanes it would be one of the last overtaking places on the course. We made the sharp right hand turn into the lanes, I was in second place a good position. But to my surprise two of my team mates cut in on the inside across the grass verge hitting my front wheel at speed I had to take evasive action to avoid a very big crash, this resulted in me crashing in the ditch on the left ending my race just 3 Km from the finish and finishing of my rear axle for good.

Padova Road Race Italy 27/4/2008
The tripe to Venice airport was trouble free and the weather was looking good for the weekend. The course was very fast and flat (apart from a couple of small climbs). It was a very early start on the Sunday morning I had to be up by 5am ready to be collected at 6am by the race transport, due to the race starting at 8:30am. The weather was great, which makes a pleasant change this year, at the start I got myself ready and on the bike to start my warm-up. This was going okay until along the start came a dance troop, marching band and a lot of people. No one said there was going to be a parade at the start, I wish they had told me as I was stuck behind it for 15 minutes trying to warm-up. I eventually made my way to the start and was put on the front row for a change, but I was on the very far right tight against the sponsor's boards. When the gun went I shot right across the road towards the middle to give me a clear space, and at this point lead the race out from the start. The pace was fast from the start and at first no one wanted to take over at the front to help, until the first climb the a group of riders attacked hard and started to split the group of 100 riders. I was in the attack and broke away with the lead group by this time doing 30mph (which is fast using just your arms). The course took the riders though many nice villages and small towns, but I did not have time to look at anything apart from the bike wheels in front of me. There were many little attacks along the way, and one rider even got away on his own. No one made a move to chase him I guess because he broke to soon with half the distance to go, and the group pulled him back after a short time. On the next attack I went to change gear and all I got was noise and no gear change, my gears were jumping every were. I had to slow down to sort the problem out which meant I dropped off the group and they gained about 500 meters on me by the time I had it sorted. I had to work very hard to make the distance and my heart rate was at 180 bpm, which was 96% of my maximum heart rate. At on point I thought I was never going to catch them, but I did after about 12 minutes.

I recovered at the back of the group and missed a few turns on the front to rest, but another attack came so I did not have long to recover. On the last 2.5 Km of the course I was taken by surprise by large cobbles (no one had told me about these), I hit them at just under 30mph and my chain decided to jump off which lost me a few seconds. The cobbles took a lot of energy out of my arms, and I thought my bike was going to fall to bits. The riders attacked just before the end of the cobbles and I looked up to see the finish in sight. There was a mad sprint to the finish line with the very large crowd shouting and cheering loud. I crossed the line in 5th place with a time of 1 hour 7 minutes (everyone had the same times). This was a new PB as my best time over 26 miles before was 1 hour 12 minutes, so I took 5 minutes off this time. That's the fastest time a UK rider has done over 26 miles, so not bad for a weekends work.

EHC Rosenau - Round 1 22/3/2008
The journey to Heathrow airport went smoothly with no traffic problems. To my surprise checking in was smooth and fast, its not to much of a surprise to have problems with the handbike so I always give myself lots of extra time on the day.

After arriving at Basel airport, I had a quick look over the Handbike to see if there was any visible damage all looked in shape. When I arrived at the hotel I unpacked the Handbike, I had to sort out the gears, as the cable seemed to be stretched and tighten a few bits on the bike. I wanted to have an early night but due to sorting all the little bike bits I got to sleep after midnight.

In the morning I went down for breakfast and the weather was not looking too good as it was very cold and a high risk of snow, which would be the first time ever doing this race. Down at the start time was going fast and it started to get even colder, when the course was open I started my warm-up with one of the Polish riders as there was only a couple of my Handbike CR team mates at the race. I think this was due to the weather being so cold as the team had been training in Spain over the winter.

When I was doing my warm-up the brake failed on me, I went to the pit area as fast as I could and tried to fix the problem, which was a challenge, as I did not know what the problem was. After a few adjustments I went back to the course and as it was getting late was directed to my grid position on the second row. As I pulled up to my position I applied the brake and there was nothing there again. Now I had a big problem I was at the front of the grid with around 160 riders behind me. I kept pulling the brake but nothing happened, I had to think if to risk doing the race using the second brake which was attached to my seat but to use it I would have to take my left hand off and steer / change gear with one hand. The riders were ordered to the start line a few meters in front for the off, I decided to put my hand up and let all the riders come around me, and when it was clear I moved over to the grass off the course.

It would be impossible to ride the French course with no brake I could keep my hand on and use due to the very fast speeds and very sharp corners and turns. When the race started and all the riders had set-off I turned the bike around and went up the course to get to the pit area so I would not set the timing chip off on the bike and record a start resulting in a Did Not Finish (DNF). This is the first time since starting the sport I did not start a race, I was very disappointed and upset I really wanted to race as I have worked very hard over winter and I am now a race down with no points.

Stafford Half Marathon Road Race 16/3/2008
The build up to the first race of the season was not the best I have had before. I managed to get two chest infections within a space of a month. This put my training back a couple of weeks, which was an important time due to the build up of the race program.

I had been training on the course a number of times as part of my program, but I was not aware that the last part of the course had been changed until the day before. I was asked to try out this new section by the race organisers to see if a Handbike could make the very tight left turn down a steep ramp and the a very tight right turn which joins the river bank ( If you missed the right turn at the bottom you would end up in the river). I gave this section of the course the all clear, but there was no room for mistakes and you had to slow down a lot. On the morning of the race my stomach was not too good as I was still on a course of antibiotics for the second chest infection. I got the bike ready and got on the bike to start my warm-up, which was needed as it, was bitter cold and strong wind with gusts of 27mph. The warm-up bit not go to plan as I was sick on the bike and could not stop coughing my guts-up. I sat on the start line with 5 minutes to the start chatting with the other riders. The countdown started, and of we all went, the first lap around the town centre is always a steady one due to lots of very tight turns. Its really so the crowd can see all the riders before it really picks up the pace, we cross the start/finish line again and the speed picks up as we make our way out of the town.

I lead the riders out (same every year as no one wants to take the front) I increase the pace instantly and can feel the other riders breathing down my neck. We get to the first of the hills, which is along climb; I put the power down and work as hard as I can because this part of the race decides the winner. As I go over the top I managed to drop the other riders and made a gap of over 20 yards. I picked up the speed and the gap got bigger until the other riders were not insight anymore. Now it was just me and the two lead rides (Shaun and Dave from Mammoth lifestyle) on road bikes making sure the way was clear and hazard free.

The wind was very strong in parts, with lots of cross winds making it hard to stay in a hard gear and maintain the pace. Towards the end of the race along the riverbank I had a slight problem, a big fat dog was blocking the entire path and would not move. This caused my to slow down a lot as the only place for me to move was left taking me in the river! Shaun managed to move the dog (with force) as the owner decided not to help in anyway. I was on the final section taking me back into the town centre, I took the final left hand bend to the finish line looked up and in front of me was a wall of people. A lot of shouting went on as I approached the finish line, but I still had to slow down to prevent any accidents. This has not happened before, and due to my speed over the course I don't think they were ready for me at the finish this year. As you may guess I came first with a time of 46:12, about 4 minutes ahead of the next rider.

UCI 20/8/2007 - 28/8/2007
Bordeaux, France.

Belgium 29/7/2007
Long Distance Road Race Saturday 28th July:

On the morning of the Time Trial the weather was not good with heavy rain overnight, and it was still raining, but the race did not start until late afternoon. I did not have a good sleep, because we traveled to Belgium by car and there was an accident on the motorway. I was unable to try the circuit before the race due to other races going on, which made it very had for me to do a Time Trial on a course I did not know.

I was one of the last riders to go as I am 3rd overall in the General Classification. The count down started and I was off, the course was still wet and slippy and I started off steady. There were lots of sharp corners and 3 climbs which made things harder. The Time Trial was only a short 10km one, which meant a full on sprint to the line. I didn't feel to good halfway round and my heart rate was higher than normal for me, but I still managed to get 4th place, and only 1.5 seconds of the podium. Maybe if I could afford the correct wheels I would have won!

Sunday 29th July:

Today the weather was even worse, raining a lot more and it was in for the day too. This road race was a 2 hour race, which would prove to be very hard over this course because the climbs felt bigger every lap. I had to start at the back of the field because the start of the race was brought forward due to the bad weather.

British Cycling National Disability Championships 22/7/2007
On Sunday I made my way to Darley Moor Race Circuit for the National Championships. The sun was out for a change,but there is always a head wind on this circuit which makes it hard. THe race was going to be a 1 hour race, but was changed to 16 laps, and to make things worse I had to ride against all the other disabled classes, but they were on normal road bikes. This was not a fair race as Handcyclists use there arms, and the others are able to use there legs like normal cyclists.

But I got my head down and worked as hard as I could over the 16 laps (about 4 minutes a lap). Despite racing against normal road bikes, I was able to come 3rd overall, and 1st in the Handbike division, which was not a bad result for someone using arm power!

London WHF / EHC Tour de France Prologue 8/7/2007
I went to London on the Friday to take part in the opening of the Tour de France, which was Live on ITV4 and Eurosport. After a bit of a practice run, the GB handcycling team was called on stage. I was the one being asked all the questions to represent the team. I was asked about who I was, and what races we were doing over the weekend in London. As we were going back to our cars people were asking to take photos, and we were filmed by another TV crew.

The first race on the Saturday was a Time Trial at a new race circuit in Deal Kent. This was an International World Cup Event. There were riders from all over the World, including USA, Australia, New Zealand, and all over Europe.

The riders went off at 1 minute intervals, it was my turn to go, I started off steady and got into my zone, I managed to pass several riders who went of before me including one of my team mates who went off 6 minutes ahead of me. It was a 35km race, which meant we had to do 10 laps, which seemed very long towards the end! I came over the finish line in 59 minutes, which put me into 2nd place, but this meant I had to win the road race the next day because both races were combined points.

On the Sunday morning I made my way into the centre of London ready for the road race, on the same part of the circuit the the Tour Riders did on the Prologue the day before. When it was our turn to get on the course to start our race, there was a problem in the race before ours due to a crash. This meant that we were not able to warm up, and we did not get to ride over the course, which we had not yet seen. I started at the back of the group because I could not get through the crowds of people in time to take my position near the front. The gun went and we started our 45 minute + 1 lap race, everyone went of steady I guess because no one had warmed-up or seen the course.

I stayed at the back of the group, until I knew the course better. I made my way through the pack of riders, but the front riders kicked hard and the pace went to a sprint, we were doing 30mph on a short climb! This happened several times to try and split the group. On the last time two riders mad a gap, so I came from the back and sprinted hard to pass them, at this point some of the others got on my wheel and we split the group down to a 5 man split, which included myself. The pace was very fast for the last few laps, but I was able to get away and make a brake to stay out at the front. I had made the right move and stayed out to win the C1 division overall. I had won my first big race of the season, and I had done it in London on the same course as the Pro Riders and Teams of the Tour de France.

Louny Time Trial30/6/2007
Chris Madden and myself flew out to the Czech Republic on the 25th June, so we could train on the course as we do every year. The weather was warm but lots of storms all week and hard winds.

We put the bikes together and went out on the course, the wind was very strong on the course, our speed on the way down to the first turn was around 30mph with no effort. But on the way back up the course our speed was half this due to the strong winds across the course.

On Saturday morning it was still windy but dry and warm. I started my warm-up on the course, and I was off at 10:46am. I went to the start line, 3,2,1 I was off again, I know the course very well so I was able to pace myself down to the first turn. I passed many riders along the way as we were setting off at 30 second intervals. It was hard riding back up the course due to the wind and the open areas the course went through. Everything was good up to the last left turn into the finish area, I was riding at over 30mph put my brake on at the last minute, but it did not work and I could not slow down in time. I came out of my bike and was dragged along the road with my right arm on the road. I got back into the bike and sprinted hard over the last 100 yards.

My arm was bleeding a lot, and my bike took a bash also. Even though I crashed I still came 5th and was only 2 seconds off, shame I could not stay on the bike.

Louny Criterium 30/6/2007
In the afternoon I had to race again, I managed to fix the bike with the help of Chris, and my arm had bad road rash and was still bleeding lots.

After a good rest and food at the hotel, I started to warm-up again on the Criterium course. This course is short and very fast with lots of climbs and very sharp corners. The start was fast again, and I got caught up with another rider at the start so had to stop to prevent a crash at the very start. I had to work very hard to get back with the group again, and my arm was hurting a lot from the Time Trial. I dropped my riders on one of the climbs and worked alone which was better for me due the sharp corners, because I find it hard to get round them in a group. One of my team mates from Handbike cr had a very bad crash into the corner before the start/ finish line. He hit the curb hard and his helmet split in half due to the force of the impact. He had to go to hospital and have 9 stitches in his head and his nose was broke. I was tired towards the end, and the race was over a 1 hour duration, I looked at the time as I passed over the start / finish line, it said 1 hour 1 minute. But still on bell, I went round again, and this time I heard the bell ring for the final lap. Thank god it was the last one I don't think I could have done anymore. I came 6th in the Criterium, which was good for me out of 26 riders,I am happy with that because the course is very hard.

Parabiago 17/6/2007
Road Race

I woke up Saturday morning having had a good night sleep, the weather was good already in the 20's at 9:30am. I put my Handbike together and looked for any damage from the transport the day before. There was a small bit of damage, it looked like the bike had been dropped but was working okay.

I went to the race village to register and have my bike inspected. It was now time to warm-up ready for the road race which started at 7:45pm, this gave me another chance to have a few more laps around the course looking at all the sharp corners and pot holes, and believe me there were many holes. As always the riders went off at a fast pace and I worked my way up the front finding a safe place to sit. I worked with the Slovakian team who I was good friends with, this helped me recover from the fast start. About 9 laps into the race I got caught up behind back markers and the woman's race at a sharp turnaround. I had to come to a stop to stop me from crashing, I then lost the back of the lead group and began to chase hard. I had to go into Time Trial mode and caught up other riders who had been dropped from the front group. I worked with these riders for a couple of laps, but they were too slow so I went off the front and did the last couple of laps on my own. I came over the finish line in 7th place, but I noticed then my Handle was hanging off.

Parabiago 16/6/2007
Team Time Trial I flew out today for Milan, due to the different disability classes we were unable to make a team with the riders we had.

Parabiago 15/6/2007
The day of the Time Trial, this is what I was waiting for, Time Trials are good for me. The weather was very hot again which made it harder, I looked at the handle on the bike and made sure it was tight on. I got my race kit on and went to the start with the other GB lads, they were off before me because they were racing in the B division and I was in the C. I watched them go off first and I went to do my warm-up for about 40 minutes, after I had warmed-up I went back to the start and watched Rob come in from his ride. I asked him what the course was like as we were not able to train on the course before the Time Trial, he said it was fast, technical in places and had some climbs. I went up to the ramp ready for my turn, the riders were going off at 1 minute intervals. It was my turn, 3,2,1 off I went round the corner, in front of me was a lead motorbike.

I started of steady and got my speed and heart rate up, I was now in my zone for a Time Trial. I kept my speed around 22mph and recovered into the corners. I passed 3 riders on the way, but 4Km to the finish my handle came off again. I had to slow right down and put it back on, I thought it was race over.

I put more power through my other handle so the one that was broke stayed on to the finish. I crossed the line but did not know my time as I did not stop my clock in time when I was passed the finish line. I had to get back to the hotel because we were going home after the race. As I was packing my bike up, Rob came over to me and said well done you got 3rd place, I said don't mess around, but he was right I had 3rd place. This is the first time anyone from the UK has got on the podium in a World Championships I was over the moon and could not understand what was going on.

The Time Trial is the best race to get on the podium, no one can sit on your wheel and do nothing, then pass you on the line.

Karel 5/5/2007
I flew to Louny in the Czech Republic two days before the road race, this is where I train with my team through the year so I know the circuit very well.

My training prior to the race went well with no problems with the flight and bike. On the morning of the race the weather was good, and not too warm. I started my warm-up to the start line with my training partner Chris, I was on the front line on the start grid so had a good start with no slow riders getting in the way.

3,2,1, the gun went off and I pushed hard, but as I pushed my left crank moved part way around and stopped!. This put my cranks off set, which made it almost impossible to push. I was able to stay with the group until the last couple of miles. My left arm started to cramp a lot due to the extra work it was doing (Most of the work) because I was not able to get any power through the right arm and crank. Due to this problem with the crank I was only able to come in 5th place, which is a shame as I had won the C division last year, and its one of the only times I get to race against my team mates due to all the divisions going off a once from the gun.

Cycling 21/4/2007
Could not race due to EHC races and training.

Rosenau Mulhouse France EHC Road Race 8/4/2007
Race Report from Rosenau, France:

The journey didn't get off to a very good start. A vehicle was parked in my allocated space delaying me. At the airport I was forgotten about while waiting for my bike to be sorted out, so I lost my flight and had to wait five hours for another - causing an early morning arrival and little sleep before the race.

Breakfast over, good weather and a good warm up; but a bad race start because I was trapped behind a rider who failed to get going. This left me at the back of 170 riders!

I worked hard to get to the front pack doing speeds of 32 mph, then a rider flipped his bike at 30 mph and I almost lost it I went onto two wheels trying to avoid him. Regained control and heard many voices behind me as a mass pile-up ensued. Lost time again and put much effort in to get back to the lead group. Eventually some of the lead riders lost energy while I powered up but, due to all the hard sprints I had to do, my arms were feeling the pace at the end of the race. The rider that crashed next to me ended up in the back of an ambulance, and his face looked a real mess. Handcyclists really tough it out!

I came fourth - which was miraculous given such a bad start and an eventful race, and I covered the Marathon distance in one hour twelve minutes, which is the fastest a British rider has ever done.

Stafford Road Race 18/3/2007
On the morning of the race the weather was bright. I did my warm-up on the Turbo, as the roads are busy and the circuit is closed during the race. The race started off good for me as I took the front from the gun. I kept my position at the front and never looked back to see who was behind me. There was a slight problem when I tried to change gear on the first hill, my chain came off I did not stop to fix the problem and was able to put the chain back on and kept all my fingers in the process! I was not under any pressure during the race and came over the line 5 minutes ahead of the next rider. I also broke the course record again, which I had set last year.

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Tour of Britain Photos

I was invited to the Stoke on Trent stage of the Tour of Britain as a VIP guest along with my son. It was very interesting as a cyclist to be able to see up close all the Pro teams and get to meet / chat with some of the top Pro cyclist in the World including, Sky, HTC etc. I took some photos at the event, which I have put on my website for everyone to see.