Paralympics blog - Race-ready as opening ceremony looms

Shropshire paralympics coach Chris Furber, who works with the British para-cycling team, blogs from London 2012  as he settles into village and prepares for the opening ceremony.

From left to right: Chris Furber (Lead Coach), Tom Stanton (Endurance Coach), Dave Readle (Psychological Support), Kevin Gill (Performance Analyst) and Gareth Sheppard (Programme Manager).
From left to right: Chris Furber (Lead Coach), Tom Stanton (Endurance Coach), Dave Readle (Psychological Support), Kevin Gill (Performance Analyst) and Gareth Sheppard (Programme Manager).

We have had two full days at London 2012 and the para-cycling team are settling into village life nicely. We have found all the good places to eat and are comfortable with the route over to the velodrome and how to get about.

Before major track cycling events there are always warm-up sessions on the track so that everyone can get use to the surroundings.

We have 2 hrs each day to get our final training done but we have to share our session with other nations. Here in London we are on the track with the Netherlands, New Zealand, Argentina and Russia.

The Dutch and the Kiwis are well know to us and the coaches are brilliant so it’s easy to co-ordinate efforts for each of our riders. The Russians and Argentineans don’t tend to communicate to much when they go on the track so it’s a bit of a guessing game for us as coaches and the riders are playing 'dodgems' in order to avoid collisions.

All athletes 'taper' for major events, that is to say that the volume of training goes down in the last 10-14 days prior to competition to ensure that when they race they are as fresh as possible.

It’s always a fine balancing act between doing enough to keep them in top condition, but not too much. Athlete feedback is vital in this process so the riders feed back to us on how they feel all the time.

During this phase we also decide what 'gear' the riders will race on. A track bike only has one gear, so it’s important to select the right chainring and sprocket for race day.

Our final track session before competition was this morning and the park is now on lock down for the opening ceremony.

We have decided not to attend the ceremony as our riders will be competing soon and having a late night is certainly not good preparation.

It’s nearly time to go racing – we can’t wait!