Tuesday, 1 March 2011
Meeting Simon Richardson MBE
Picture this. It's 2001, you're a regular guy, just got into cycling, an electrician by trade, riding off to meet fellow members on a Sunday club ride.
Bam! A car hits you at 60mph from behind. You're off the bike, in agony. Back broken in two places, leg shattered. Lucky to be alive.
You go from being able bodied to disabled. After a long and torturous recovery, you've lost the ability to control your left leg. What next? What would you do? How would you re-build your life?
Wind the clock forward to 2008. You're 42 years old and on the winners podium at The Paralympic Games in Beijing, collecting the third medal of your games, two of which were gold. You're a holder of two world records and awarded an MBE by the queen.
You'd think this was a fictional story. I had the pleasure today of meeting the incredible, but very modest, man behind this achievement. Simon Richardson MBE has a story, which would make a fantastic Hollywood movie. The story of a lifechanging moment, becoming a life-defining road to success.
Simon can ride faster with one leg, than most of us can ride with two. He can do a 10M time trial quicker than most elite riders, rides some of the most horrific profiles on training rides in the mountains of Wales and can kick the ass of most capable club riders in a crit.
Yet, despite all of that, he's one of the nicest guys you'll meet. Modesty in buckets, regular, grounded and doing more miles over a weekend, than some riders do in a month. Simon asked me if I wanted to join him on a training weekend in readiness for the Dragon ride. 200KM on Saturday, followed by 120KM on the Sunday - woh, serious miles (think I'm busy that weekend). Remember, he's riding with one leg!
To put that in some perspective, jump on your bike or turbo trainer and see how long you can ride with one leg before exhaustion takes over. Could you do 200KM ride or a TT in under 20mins? Phenomenal athlete, phenomenal strength and a resolve as strong as a rock.
Simon's story is inspirational. He wouldn't admit to it. British Cycling needs role models like him and London 2012 needs him too.
I previously blogged about the awesome paint jobs on his bikes. Simon bought the time trial bike with the full dragon paint job to show me today. What a bike! Apparently it took around 100hours to paint. Top marks to painter Performance Race Art for sorting him out. You certainly wouldn't miss him!
Want to follow Simon on Twitter, find him here or read his blog here.