Meet some of the 2016 Paralympic Cycling women – Part 6, H1-3 handcyclists

screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-21-21-37Because the Rio 2016 Paralympic Road Cycling isn’t being televised, I’ve been writing about some of the women who’ll be contesting the races, because they are such fantastic athletes with great stories, with some real jaw-dropping achievements.  You can read about the H4 and H5 handcyclists here, and the final installment is all about the H1-3 riders.  I can absolutely guarantee you won’t be disappointed by these women!

I described handcycling a little bit in that other piece, and as a reminder, in Rio there are two combined-category Handcycling ITTs on Wednesday 14th September – H4-5 and H1-3, with 1 gold in each, while the road races are H1-4 and H5 on 15th – and the startlists and livetimings should be available via the racing schedule.

As always, I haven’t managed to get to all of the riders, so if I’ve missed any facts, or your favourites, please let me know in the comments, or on twitter, and I’ll edit the information in.  And after the riders, I’ll tell you a little bit more about the courses.

So who’s competing in the H1, H2 and H3 categories?

Justine Asher, H2, South Africa

She’s only on her fourth year handcycling, and has won two World Championships golds.  Finding funding is very difficult for her, as there isn’t much funding for cycling, let alone paracycling, in  South Africa, but she’s hoping to inspire other disabled South Africans to get involved in sports, and raise awareness – in in turn, funding!

She’s had an interesting life – a former fashion model, who sued a biotech company for fraudulent stem cell treatment, and seems to have won.  She says her husband and children’s support is what enables her to race – and you can find out more in this Video profile, and another one here, including her talking about becoming World Champion – follow her on twitter

You can also watch her swim with sharks…

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Meet some of the 2016 Paralympic Cycling women – Part 5, Trike riders

screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-21-21-37As we’re into the Road Cycling races at the 2016 Paralympic Games, and unfortunately they’re not being streamed or broadcast, I’m writing about some of the riders competing in the Time Trials and Road Races.  I’ve looked at the Tandem pairs, C1-3 and C4-5 bike riders and the H1-3 and  the H4-5 Handcyclists, and now it’s time for the smallest Paracyling category, the tricycle riders.

The main reason a rider would use a trike is if she had a condition that affects her balance, for example Cerebal Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, or a brain injury.  Some riders use bikes adapted to three wheels, and others are specially designed for racing.  racing trikes can be expensive, are heavier, and less maneuverable than 2 wheel bikes, especially taking corners and on any kind of off-camber surface – although watching the top tricyclists cornering is a thing of beauty.  There two subcategories of UCI trike riders, T1 and T2, with T1 riders more effected by their disabilities than the T2s, but their races are combined for the Paralympics, with only 1 gold.

The Tricycle Individual Time Trials are on Wednesday 14th September, and the Road Race is on Friday 16th, and I’ll tell you a little bit about the course underneath the rider information.  If you click those links, you’ll get the startlists, live timing for the ITT and hopefully for the Road Race too.

Let’s have a look at some of the riders racing trikes in Rio

Carol Cooke, T2, Australia

Cooke is a Canadian who had worked in the Police Force, including working with in an undercover drug squad, before moving to Australia in 1994 and taking citizenship.  She talks about how when she was first diagnosed with MS in 1998, she was told to basically prepared to die – you can watch a video about that, and how she coped with change.  But obviously she didn’t, citing cycling as what keeps her out of a wheelchair – and now she’s in Rio, aged 55, racing her third Paralympics

Her first was in Beijing, where she was a Para-rower, before switching to Para-cycling, after buying a trike “on a whim”, and winning gold in the mixed gender T1-2 ITT at the London Games.  As a born-and-bred Londoner, I love how she talked about 2012 in this video:

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Meet some of the 2016 Paralympic Cycling women – Part 4, H4-5 handcyclists

screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-21-21-37We’ve moved from the 2016 Paralympic Track Cycling to the Road, and a category we haven’t seen yet in Rio – handcyclists.

Handcycling is ridden on bikes were the riders us their hands to pedal.  They can be recumbent, or riders can sit in them, depending on the categories, which run from H1-5.  As with all Paralympic categories, the lower the number, the more the athlete’s disability affects their sport, so an H1 handcyclist may be a paraplegic, and have limited movement in their torso, while an H5 rider may half, for example, a missing leg, and sit in her handbike.

There are two combined-category Handcycling ITTs on Wednesday 14th September – H4-5 and H1-3, with 1 gold in each, while the road races are H1-4 and H5 on 15th – and the startlists and livetimings should be available via the racing schedule.

None of the Road races will be streamed live, so I’ll tell you a bit about some of the women riders.  I haven’t managed to get to all of them, so if I’ve missed any facts, or your favourite riders, please let me know in the comments, or on twitter, and I’ll edit the information in.  And after the riders, I’ll tell you a little bit more about the courses.

So who’s racing?  I’ll start with the H4 and H5 handcyclists…

Laura de Vaan, H5, Netherlands

It’s her third Paralympics, and she’ll be looking to beat London, where she ended up with two medals – silver in the Road Race and bronze in the ITT.  She has to be one of the big riders to beat as the current Time Trial World Champion.  And if you want to find out about a handbiker, who better to ask questions than another handbiker?  Check out this interview with her by Christiane Reppe:

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Meet some of the 2016 Paralympic Cycling women – Part 3, C4-5 bike riders

screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-21-21-37I’m pulling together a series looking at some of the women who’ll be racing on the road in the 2016 Rio Paralympics.  So far I’ve looked at the Tandem riders and C1-3 bike riders – and now it’s time for the C4-5 riders.

There are separate Individual Time Trials for the C4 and C5 riders, on Wednesday 14th September, and then a combined Road Race on Saturday 17th, with one one gold.

The bike riders are the  biggest Paralympic cycling category, and there are 5 levels, with C1 being the riders whose disabilites impact their cycling the most, and C5 the least.  There are a mix of visible and invisible disabilities within the same category – and different disabilities impact cycling in different ways – for example, a rider who can’t grip as hard, or pull on the bars, could find the climbing hard than a rider with a prosthetic etc.  Bikes may be modified to help riders in different ways, too.

Let’s look at the riders

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Katell Alençon, C4, France

Most of the Road riders have also ridden Track, but not French woman Alençon.  It’s strange, seeing how strong France are in the able-bodied Olympics, that they’re not developing Paracyclists as well, but Alonçon is bucking that treand.  It’s her first Games at 28, and although she started cycling aged 5, she started off as a wheelchair racer before moving to racing bikes

She won the ITT and Road Race in the Bilbao round of the 2016 Para-cycling Road World Cup.  There’s more about her in this article, and this video

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Meet some of the 2016 Paralympic Cycling women – Part 2, C1-3 bike riders

screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-21-21-37We’ve just finished a fantastic set of Track Cycling races that were all broadcast live – but since the Rio 2016 Paralympic Road Races won’t be televised, I thought I’d tell you a bit about some of the women who’ll be racing.  Of course I don’t have space for all of them, so if you have fun facts about riders I’ve missed, please do tell me, in the comments, or on twitter, and I’ll edit it in.

I’ve looked at the Tandem riders already, and now it’s the turn of the C1-3 Bike riders.  By far the biggest Paralympic category is riders on bicycles, and there are 5 categories, with C1 being the riders whose disabilites impact their cycling the most, and C5 the least.  There are a mix of visible and invisible disabilities within the same category – and different disabilities impact cycling in different ways – for example, a rider who can’t grip as hard, or pull on the bars, could find the climbing hard than a rider with a prosthetic etc.  Bikes may be modified to help riders in different ways, too.

The women’s C1-3 categories race together for just 1 gold – the Time Trial on Wednesday 14th September, and the Road Race on Friday 16th – the schedule is here, and I hope there’ll be some form of live-timing.  I’ve put some information about the races at the bottom of the post – along with how I’ll be following them.

So, who’s racing?

Roxanne Burns, C3, South Africa

Roxy Burns is on her third Paralympics, and she’ll be racing the ITT in Rio, her last Paralympics at 28, and she’s looking to end on a high.  As her genetic condition, Ataxia Telangiectasia, is degenerative, she’s recently been reclassified from a C4 to a C3, and came 10th in the 500m and 11th in the Individual Pursuit.   She is this positive person, who has said:

I’m blessed to have AT so mildly. In fact, I’m grateful that I’m disabled. People find it strange when I say that, but I wouldn’t have had so many opportunities or have met so many people from all over the world otherwise.

Find out more about her in this article,She talks a little bit about some of the issues with the categories in the video below, and how her medical condition effects her cycling, including not being able to train as much.  Follow her on twitter at @roxy_burns.

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How to watch the Rio 2016 Paralympic Cycling

It’s Paralympics time!  And we can watch and follow a lot of it!  I’ll tell you how, with a bit of information about Para-cycling, if you’re new to the sport.

The Rio 2016 Track Para-Cycling runs from 8-11th September 2016, and we should be able to watch all of it live.   The schedule and information is all on this Rio 2016 page, and startlists will turn up around 24 hours before each event when you click the “event” tab above the schedule, which will also have the results – and when there’s a “running” icon next to each race, click through it for the live-timing.  Or you can find it all on this Paralympic Games page.

Rio is in the BRST timezone, 4 hours behind UK BST, 5 hours behind Euro CEST, 13 hours behind Aussie AEST (ouch) and 1 hour ahead of North American EDT, and all morning sessions start at 10am BRST (2pm UK BST, 15:00 Euro CEST, 11pm AEST and 9am EDT), and the evening sessions (with most of the medals) at 16:30 BRST (8:30pm UK BST; 21:30 CEST; 3:30pm EDT; 5:30am AEST).  Livestreams are the internationl feeds – if they’re not available in your country, scroll down for how to watch

There’s a little guide to the main riders to watch on the UCI website.

You’ll notice that this doesn’t include the Tandem Sprinting or C1-5 Points races, and that’s very sad, as they’re such wonderful races to watch.  I don’t know why the UCI agreed this programme, but I hope they change this for the future.

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The Road Racing is from 14-17th September, and the 9:30am BRST session = 1:30pm BST; 14:30 CEST; 10:30pm AEST; 8:30am EDT.  Hit schedule on this page to get the timetables, and “event” above each page for the startlists and results – hopefully that results tab will also include live timing.  Or you can find information on this Paralympic Games page.

  • Wednesday 14th Sept – starts 8am BRST: Men’s C1-5, H2-5,T1-2, and Tandem Time Trials; Women’s C1-5, H1-5, T1-2 and Tandem Time Trials
  • Thursday 15th Sept: Handcycling Road Races – women’s H1-4 and H5 livetiming
  • Friday 16th Sept: Women’s & Men’s C1-3 and T1-2 Road Races; Mixed Handcycle Relay – livetiming for the women’s C1-3 and Trikes
  • Saturday 17th Sept: Women’s & Men’s C4-5 and Tandem Road Races – livetiming for the women’s C4-5 and the Tandems

The road races are based in Pontal, on the same roads the Rio 2016 Able Bodied Road Race and ITTs took place on – including the Tandem and C4-5 rides taking on the Grumari Circuit – that first set of climbs and descents in the Able-Bodied Road Race, and was the lap for the ITT.  Details of the courses, and what each category of riders will race, in the Spectator guide.

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Depressingly it doesn’t look like we’ll be able to watch the Road Races live, and I think this is connected to the massive budget issues, but there is live-timing.

I’ve collected some information about some of the Road Riders:

 

 

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So how do we watch and follow the racing?

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