On Saturday, the Para Road Race Championships putting a spotlight on athletes with various disabilities.
The Para-cycling National Championship races featuring many of the best para-cyclists in the country. For some, they’re new to the circuit, and for others they’ve been competing for years.
Based on their physical disability, the racers either peddle with their feet or power their bikes with their arms.
In other races, the athletes were competing on trikes; powering their three-wheeled cycles around the 3.5 mile course starting at the Ned McWherter Park.
Gold medalist Will Groulx saying, “There are some really strong guys out there. We stayed with them for a long time, then we were able to use some team tactics to come out with a couple of good podium spots.”
The para-cyclist’s all have different disabilities; they compete in individual classifications, based on their impairment.
Silver medalist Rob Zimny is new to the sport, but after having a problem on the course, he didn’t give up.
Zimny saying, “I had a malfunction with the bike. So I went back and got some actual duct tape and came back out.”
Daniel Zimny, Rob’s father, admiring his son after watching his performance knowing the dedication he’s put into competing, “It means an awful lot. Rob works eight hours a day, he’s an insurance agent. He comes home and trains, and goes to bed.”
Knoxville hosting the Para-cycling National Championship races for the first time in conjunction with the USA Cycling National Championship event. The Para-cycling races are a prelude to the World Championship races this September in Norway.
The ultimate goal for these medalists is to qualify for the 2020 Para-Olympic games in Tokyo.