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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Watch the 2015 Pietermaritzburg Para-Cycling Road World Cup LIVE!

The final Para-cycling Road World Cup of the year is being held in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, and it’s being streamed LIVE!  Huge thanks to Sreamit360º for showing it.

The World Cup is on 11th-13th September and you can see the stream from Friday’s ITT day here with all the handcycling, tricycling, tandems and C1-5 road bikes.

The Day 2 stream, on Saturday 12th, runs from 6:30am-4pm BST (07:30-17:00 Euro CEST; 3:30pm-1am Aussie AEST; 1:30am-11am North American EST) and the Day 3 stream on Sunday at the same times.  You can see what races will be shown when from the programme (scroll down), but it’s handcycling and tricycling on Saturday and road bikes and tandems on Sunday – and if you miss them live, those links should also be the archived coverage.

There’s more information about the competition on the race race, previews from the UCI, Cycling Australia and British Cycling, keep up to date with the action and results on the UCI World Cup portal and with the UCI Para-cycling twitter, Cycling South Africa twitter and the #Paracycling2015 hashtag.  And for a rider point of view, here’s Australian Carol Cooke’s blog on winning her Tricycle ITT.

The Paralympics – and why I don’t understand some cycling fans

I loved the Olympics, and was walking around in a daze of happiness, with a huge grin all over my face, and I always knew I’d love the Paralympics too, but I didn’t realise HOW much I would.  To me, it’s been even better, even more accessible, even more inspirational.  Part of that is down to Channel 4’s really excellent coverage of the Games, which emphasises the stories and personalities of the athletes, and (to me) gets the tone exactly right, balancing explaining the disabilities and the sports with celebrating the achievements with making sure we all know how damn hard these people have had to work to get here.  So I’m very happy – but I’m also genuinely confused about what it seems to be showing about some British cycling fans.

I stress British, because I know some countries – notably the USA – aren’t showing the Paralympics at all, and that’s just shitty for fans and disrespectful to their amazing athletes.  If you’re in a country that’s not showing these excellent Games, check out Channel 4’s youtube.  It’s Brit-centric, understandably, but it’s full of highlights videos.  As a start, here’s Sarah Storey winning the C5 Individual Pursuit on day 1.

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