The full cycling team travelling to South Africa to compete in the World Transplant Games in Durban, South Africa this July will be 13 strong – for the stato’s amongst you that’s 4 livers, 7 kidneys, 1 heart and 1 bone marrow transplant. 11 of the 13 made it to Stourport. It’s the biggest team we have managed to take to a World Games and it would have been bigger had funds allowed. All of the riders are self-funded – we have to raise the £3000 or so it costs each of us to get to the games individually and this can be a real push with family and other commitments. We’re not complaining, we've been given a second chance at life and this is our chance to do something to raise awareness for a cause that is close to our hearts (and livers and kidneys – see what I did there? )
We are also lucky to be supported by friends and fellow riders who help us out at the sessions. We mix some skilful and fearless youth, junior and senior riders into the Tx team and throw them around some 180 degree hairpins and see what comes out the other side. I'm polarising for effect of course, we had two Level 3 British Cycling coaches and a number of trainee coaches there for the day - we're starting off from a pretty well established skill base and improving riders’ technique by demonstration and practice, practice, practice. The simple truth is, the races at Worlds levels are separated by single seconds and tyre widths – if you can get the power down a fraction of a second earlier out of a corner, it will make the difference between a podium position and a top 10. Frankly we want podiums – preferably top step – so we train and practice.
There’re more women than men in the team for the first time ever. Over the last two years we've gone from core skills like getting on and off a bike, drinking and eating on the move to cornering in formation at race speed with some of the best bike handlers I know – shoulder to shoulder, big smiles and great satisfaction at new levels and skill and confidence.
Huge thanks to Ron, Craig and Jess Ansell, the Brothers Perry (Mick and Dave) and Will, plus Charlie Smith of the Wolverhamption Wheelers and Wrekinsport’s Del Jones for their continued invaluable help and support during the day.
Stay tuned for exciting news about new sponsors and new kit… more, oh so much more, later…