Well as the end of 2010 approaches â€“ what a year it has been! With the highs of winning the World and the Europa Cups to the lows of not achieving the results we were capable of at the World Championships â€“ this year has certainly had it all. Along with the many adventures that have happened on the tandem, in a bizarre way this is posssibly one of the hardest blogs that I have had to write.
I suppose really I should explain why this is so difficult. December closes the end of a chapter for me being on the British Para-cycling Academy. With not achieving the results at the World Championships this year, meant a reduction in funding â€“ which ultimately meant that I would have to go back to work, as well as trying to balance full-time training and racing. Unfortunately being on the academy and in this situation is just not a viable option.
It is a very difficult decision to step away from the academy, but for one it will certainly not stop me going after and achieving my goals and ambitions in 2011. I finished 2010 ranked number one in the world on the tandem, and I have every ambition of being back there again.
At the beginning of the year, Catherine Merry gave us a great talk at the ASDA Sporting Chance day saying that everyone wants to take the direct route to achieve their goals, but as we all know, that never really happens. The one thing is to enjoy the journey, even if you never make it to your destination.
More than anything, this year I have enjoyed and loved every moment of racing on the tandem, and this wouldnâ€™t have been possible without the ASDA Sporting Chance scheme â€“ who have helped fund all those vital preparation races in the UK to enable us to peak at major championships and to purchase and maintain equipment throughout the season. The 120-mile instore ride at Oadby, Leicester was a great day â€“ even if I was riding stationary for 5 Â½ hours, the support showed from the staff and public that day was overwhelming.
Anyone that knows me, knows that Iâ€™m never down for long, and Iâ€™m certainly not going to stop competing â€“ if anything it has made me all the more determined to succeed. Besides if sport was easy, everyone would do it. There have been numerous athletes who have shown that it is possible, those in UK Athletics who had their funding cut and went on to perform superbly this year, and cyclists who have shown that it is possible to achieve their goals outside the academy set up.
So what does 2011 hold? For the moment I am planning my newly revised season, but I have been offered a place on a new team and will be competing in the UK and in Europe which is exciting. Iâ€™ll also be working on developing new and up coming talent on the tandem â€“ and hopefully passing on my experience and knowledge.
So all that remains to be said is a massive thank you to all those at ASDA and those that have followed my season throughout 2010.
I hope you all have a fabulous Christmas and new year and I hope you continue to follow my progress in 2011.