This week we’ve got a bit of an exciting interview for you – with double Deaf Olympic medalist and Cardiffian Tom Smith, who is definitely one of our local heroes!
Many people have asked me; if I’m from Cardiff, it must be really hard to ride my bike in the city? Quite the opposite in fact. Town, as we call it, isn’t as busy as one might think compared to the likes of London or Birmingham. We have the River Taff which offers a calm path in and out of town as well as access to the Bay.
The roads are wide enough in the city itself for cyclists to easily navigate through stationary cars at the lights, but where I do most of my training is in the surrounding areas of Cardiff. So close but yet so far away, many people don’t realise of the abundance of country lanes and quiet roads. Yes there is Cardiff the city, but also Cardiff the area, which stretches out along the coast for miles as well as northwards. So growing up in Cardiff and riding my bike hasn’t been an impossible task when it comes to training properly in preparation for a cycling event.
Two years ago I went to Belgium to pursue my cycling career after a big injury forced me to stop racing for a few years. As Britain now offers more to the elite cyclist after the British success at the Tour de France, the time was right now to make the move back home.
Home for me is Thornhill, which is a great nice place to set off from for a bike ride. Something that not many people are aware of is the walking/mountain biking paths travelling up Caerphilly Mountain. There are a few spots where there are some cracking views, but the best one is up on the Graig- there’s a deep circular basin lined with rock and slate with a great view over Cardiff. Smashing when the sun is out as you can see far and wide, but just as good on a winter’s day. The view makes you appreciate what a great city you live in. The ride from Cefn Onn park up the narrow twisty path is a bit of an adventure to get there too!
Now that I am back home from Belgium, I will using the roads of Cardiff and South Wales every day to get myself race fit for the 2015 racing season. I will be riding for a British Pro Team (yet to be announced), and will be competing in major events across the country. The most notable are the Pearli Izumi Tour Series, The Premier Calendar Elite Road Series, and the British Road Race Championships; all of which will be televised on ITV and British Eurosport.
My aims for the year will of course be those races, but also the Deaf World Championships. I have already won a bronze medal in the Point’s Race at the Deaf European Champs in 2012, and at the 2013 Deaflympics I won 2 medals; silver in the Road Race and bronze in the Points Race. So to add a World Championship gold with the stripy jumper on top of that would be awesome!
Tom Smith is a double Deaf Olympic medalist from Cardiff to be exact. He is an elite cyclist, meaning he competes against professional riders in top races without getting paid a salary. His passion is to achieve his goal of turning professional and being the first deaf person to ride the Tour de France. He funds his pursuit of sport himself through his personal training/coaching business, whilst competing at elite level. This is a hard thing for anyone to accomplish at this level in sport; to be a full time athlete with a job.
If you want to support Tom, he’s got a GoFundMe page http://www.gofundme.com/tomsmiff-roadtopro. Support our local heroes! Every little helps, as they say. Even if you’re not in a position to help out, Tom would really appreciate it if you could share this link with colleagues, friends and family.
And if you see him on the road, feel free to give him a wave – he always waves back!
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