Last weekend I participated in my very first para-cycling event, held in Huntsville, Alabama. It was a trip I took alone as my wife was more than happy to hang back with me not needing a handler for the weekend. So, we loaded up the truck and I drove the 10.5 hr. trip down.
When I arrived, my first challenge was getting my bike from my truck into my hotel room on my own. I eventually was able to get it up and down the elevator (multiple times) throughout the weekend. I learned quickly how much I missed my handler.
It was a good weekend catching up with old friends who I had met along the journey of the marathons I have participated with in the past, as well as meeting new athletes.
The weekend consisted of three events. I only participated in two, the 15-km time trial on Saturday and the 48.4km road race on Sunday.
Saturday's race, my start time was exactly noon. I had not ridden the course, but I had been able to drive it the night before. This was only the 3rd time trial race I have ever participated in. All in all, it wasn't a horrible outcome, I was happy with my 23:12 timed finished, averaging 24:1 MPH, which put me at a 2nd place finish in my classification.
Sunday's race was a mass start. I was racing people from my classification, four laps of 12.1km for a total of 48.4 km. The first three laps were pretty uneventful. I was working in a group of 5 people. It was going pretty smooth. As we started on our fourth lap, my left hand started cramping. I tried thinking of how I would be able to finish. There were no serious issues, but with about 1.7 miles from the finish line, I dropped my chain. It unfortunately took too long to finish, and I ended up in third. Not that not dropping my chain guaranteed a second-place finish. I was still strategizing how to complete a sprint finish with my muscles tightening up as they were.
All in all, I am really happy with how this event transpired. I feel like I had solid performances. But I also know there is room for plenty improvement, and no doubt in my mind that I can build upon this performance and get better.