Colbourne's success at his first UCI Para-Cycling World Cup
This weekend saw Welsh cyclist Mark Colbourne (Tredegar) compete for the first time at a "UCI Para-Cycling World Cup" event for Great Britain in Segovina, Spain. And he didn't disappoint as he took the Bronze medal in the C1 Time Trial event.
Achieving a bronze medal at a UCI World Cup event is an amzing achievement for any rider, but more so when you consider Mark's pathway to the podium.
As a Disability Sport Wales Academy cyclist Mark has had an incredible journey since he broke his back in a paragliding accident at Rhossili on the Gower in May 2009, which resulted with him being air lifted by the Welsh air ambulance and spend three months at Rookwood Hospital, Cardiff. The severity of the injuries didn't put off Mark's enthusiasm for sport and through a meeting FDSW Performance Manager Anthony Hughes during his stay at the hospital his first port of call upon leaving Rookwood in September 2009 was to the Wales National Velodrome in Newport and an introduction to FDSW Paracyling Coach Neil Smith.
They quickly set to work on their first goal of teaching Mark to ride a bike again, something Neil and his team are well versed at doing over the years and after a couple of weeks on stabiliser's, yes I did say "stabiliser's", Mark was up and riding solo once again. The work didn't stop there and with hundred's of hours of training and only seven months after meeting Neil for the first time, Mark found himself on the start line at the Paracycling Grand Prix of Wales International, where he not only won his events, but also broke the respective British records in doing so.
With the prospect of Welsh winter training ahead of him, Mark took the opportunity to spend the 2010/11 winter in Crete, where he continued to keep in contact with Neil his coach back in Wales via text, email and even sending back video clips for analysis. The hard work and emails continued until Mark's return in May and a targeted round of the British Cycling Disability Time Trial Series in Doncaster. The results from this event where enough to catch the eye of the Great Britain Paracycling Team and the hard work of the winter paid of when Mark was invited to ride for Team GB less than two years from learning to ride a bike again !
So reaching the podium on his first appearance is quite a remarkable achievement and as the GB Cycling Team prepare for the final World Cup event in Baie-Comeau, Canada next month and the Paracycling World Championships in Roskilde, Denmark in September, there is for sure a lot more to be added to Mark's amazing story!