Posted by Editoress on 04/5/11
Despite windy conditions and a threatening sky, Saturday, April 2nd saw one of the largest contingents of para-cyclists ever lined up for a race in British Columbia. As the direct result of willingness of Jeff Ain and the Escape Velocity Cycling Club, seven hand-cyclists plus two other para-cyclists on single bikes attended the 12 kilometre time trial held as part of the Spring Series Stage Race. Attendees included Provincial TT Champion Karen March and Provincial Silver Medalist Simon Harrington from Courtenay. Additionally, given the receptiveness of Escape Velocity to hosting para-cyclists, a small contingent traveled from Calgary to attend this race - and the racing did not disappoint.
The rains held off (at least for all the Para-cyclists) and everyone was able to get their first TT of the year under their belts, in the face of a fairly significant headwind on the way out. Particularly impressive were the performances of Simon Harrington, who took five minutes off his time from 2010, and Karen March, who took three minutes off her time from 2010. Clearly, the bar is being raised by leaps and bounds.
After the times were corrected to allow for the different classes, the result was a tie between Karen March of Victoria (H1) and Simon Harrington of Courtenay (H3). Third place went to JP Austring (C5) of Team Yukon.
Additionally, the para-cyclists participated in Sunday's Road Race, with Simon Harrington deciding to go it alone after the first 500 metres, and eventually lapping the other handcyclists. After the event, all of the para-cyclists were really enthusiastic about not only the courses but the warm reception they received.
With clubs like Escape Velocity actively encouraging the participation of para-cyclists, this is the start of what could be a new era for cycling in British Columbia.
Courtesy Peter Lawless, Provincial Coach
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