Has anyone ever had dinner with an Olympic gold medallist? or maybe a former formula 3 racer? or maybe even one of the only organ builders and professional organ players in the world?Well, I have.
In England, we had dinner with my Mum and Dad’s friends Phil and Jan Dowsett. We had the pleasant surprise of their son Alex also joining us. We had dinner at a really nice traditional English pub. Over dinner I heard all about what Alex had done.
Alex Dowsett has won many competitions. As well as winning an Olympic gold medal, he has a silver and bronze medal and 1 world record and 3 British records. When Alex got the world record it was for the 1 hour distance record where you have to do as many laps around a track as possible in the time period of 1 hour. In the build up to this world record, he tried on 52 different bike suits. Some suits were slower at the start but faster when you got faster and others were faster at the start and slower the faster you became. Eventually they created the perfect suit. His bike was also tested differently to create the fastest possible bike for him. Alex trained every day and was tested in a wind tunnel so he could train against the wind. They also briefed him on how fast or slow he had to go to beat the previous world record holder. When the day came, Alex had the perfect suit and his bike was all set up. When he was racing, he told me that all he could think about was how he could get faster. He was just behind the previous record holder until the end where he overtook the previous world record holder and won the world record. He had an average speed of 52.6 km per hour – that’s faster than a car! As well as thinking about his life in sport, Alex is thinking about his life after sport and has set up a charitable trust called little bleeders. “little bleeder’s charity supports young people with blood disorders.it was set up by professional British cyclist and haemophiliac Alex Dowsett”. Alex’s achievements are even more impressive considering his haemophilia. (haemophilia is a genetic bleeding disorder that prevents the blood from clotting. It can cause bleeding to never end and joints to bruise and flare. There is no cure but it is treatable)
As well as talking to Alex about his career, I also talked to Phil about his career. Phil is a former formula ford, formula 3 and formula Atlantic auto racing driver. He competed quite regularly in many races – one of them the British touring car championship. After dinner we said goodbye and headed back to their house for the night.
A few days later we headed to York where we met up with my mum’s old teacher Pam and her husband Geoffrey. Geoffrey is an organ builder but as well as building organs he also plays the organ at a professional level. He was the former organist for York minster cathedral. He showed us around the Minister and showed us how to play on an organ that he had built.
Meeting up with all these people that are at the top of their game was pretty cool and inspiring.