Monday, March 26, 2012

Redlands Bicycle Classic 2012: Paracyclist Prologue...

Quite a number of the racers were injured military veterans, racing with the Paralyzed Veterans team. It is great that cycling, in one of its many forms, is allowing these men and women to carry on an active and competitive lifestyle.

My intentions were good. I thought I could have this done a couple days ago, but had to settle for a Monday afternoon posting. Thirty-one racers competed in the para-cycling competition during the 2012 Redlands Classic. I was there for the prologue portion on the first day where climbing those steeps required an extra degree of grit and determination; remember these athletes do not have the advantage of multiple bike positions - there is no getting out of the saddle for a little extra umph when needed.

Fermin Camarena

I know there was a former world champion in the race but, regardless of the rainbow stripes,
I did not get her bib number, so am not sure if this is her.

Like the bicycle racing we may be more familiar with, para-cycling is governed by both national and international rules and regulations. Categories of racers are based upon physical disability - vision impairments or blindness, amputation, spinal cord injury, neurological disorders, for instance, as well as type of cycle - recumbent, handcycle, tandems, and of course, the sex of the racers themselves. There were no tandems at Redlands, so the competitors were either on recumbents, propelling themselves with their legs, or handcycles, using their arms and shoulders for power. No small feat trying to get up those stepped hills when you are flat on your back, a few inches off the ground, turning the cranks with just your arms, I am sure. More photos are here.

This racer was doused with cold water - he asked for it. Glad I could oblige.

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