Off to the Races!

Last week Sean participated in a training camp and competed in the USA Cycling National Championships in Augusta, Georgia.

Sean spent a week training at Ft. Gordan with other paralympic cyclists and hopefuls.  They learned about cycling, training, equipment, and teamwork.  Sean was paired with pilot Art Van Noppen from California.  This was the first time they rode together.

On Thursday the riders competed in the Time Trials where they raced toward a standard instead of against each other.  Sean said it rained the entire race.  They rode 19 K or 11.43 miles in 33 minutes 24 seconds.  Sean was just two minutes shy of reaching the military time standard which is the first of four levels (military, emerging, talent pool, and national standards) he needs to meet to be considered for the paralympic team. 

I had the wonderful opportunity to fly to Augusta on Friday with our friend Mark to watch the race.  We had a fantastic trip!  Sean was thrilled to have us there to support him and cheer him on. 

Seventy-seven disabled men and women turned out ot compete in the road race on Saturday.  There were riders on single bikes, tandem bikes, and handbikes.  Sean and Art rode a 72 K course (45 miles) over extremely challenging hills with scarcely a second to rest their legs.  The weather was humid and hot, hot, hot!  It was overcast as the race began, but slowly the sun took over the sky and was beating down up riders and observers.  Art and Sean completed the race in 2 hours 44 minutes 1 second. 
As we watched the riders we were impressed by their strength and determination.  No one gave up, and they all showed support of each other following the race.  It was a remarkable experience!  I was so proud to see Sean out there cycling after watching him train in our basement–finally some road experience!  He traveled without me, spent a week training, and then competing, and he did it on his own.  I wanted to cry seeing him so independent and determined.  It showed me a different side of Sean, one that has been missing for quite some time. 
Pilot Art Van Noppen and Sean

Sean and Art before the Road Race

Sean and Mark

Melissa and Sean
Handcycles

5 Piece Brass Ensemble at the Start/Finish Line

Color Guard

Ready to Start the Road Race

Crossing the Finish Line

Art, Sean, and Melissa

Sean and Coach Rick Babbington

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