USA Cycling and Sun Valley Adaptive Sports (SVAS) announced two off-road para-cycling events which will be held at this summer's USA Cycling Cross Country Mountain Bike National Championships for the first time. The off-road hand cycle and off-road two-wheeled competitions will be held on Thursday, July 5, 2012 at Sun Valley Resort.
"This year is a perfect opportunity to introduce two off-road para-cycling events at the Mountain Bike National Championships," said USA Cycling National Events Director Kelli Lusk. "It's been a collaborative effort with USA Cycling, Sun Valley Adaptive Sports, US Handcycling, and US Paralympics. We hope this establishes an event model to implement at future mountain bike national championships."
The non-national championship events will take place on the short track cross country (STXC) course and are scheduled to begin at 3:45 pm local time. Both races will be 15 minutes, plus one-lap with all riders will finishing on the leaders final lap.
"We are thrilled that USA Cycling has included a mountain bike event for athletes with disabilities," said Ian Lawless, executive director of US Handcycling. "Event organizers in Sun Valley are helping us set the bar high as Para-cycling continues to grow in the United States."
Anyone with a physical disability may register and participate. A one-day USA Cycling license will be required, and all riders must sign the USA Cycling athlete release form. Online registration will open via the event webpage on May 4 at 11 am EST at a cost of $30 per para-cycling race. On-site registration will be available on Wednesday, July 4.
"US Paralympics is both honored and excited with the inclusion of a para mountain bike category at the 2012 USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships," said Craig Griffin, US Paralympics director of high performance cycling. "As far as I know, this is a first for para-cycling - not just in the USA, but the world, and will showcase an amazing display of courage and athleticism."
All equipment must be human powered. No equipment may be motorized or assisted and must pass inspection prior to staging for the start. Athletes will be divided in to two main groups, standing and sitting, with separate starts for both groups in each race. Standing athletes with upper and/or lower extremity disabilities compete on standard mountain bikes, with various adaptations. Sitting athletes compete on handcycles specifically designed for off-road riding.
Adaptive vendors will be on hand in the event's expo area to offer product demos. Expo space will be provided at no charge for any adaptive program wishing to participate. A tech/expo application must be completed and submitted to reserve space. SVAS may also have equipment on loan for the event.
For more information on the US Mountain Bike Cross Country National Championships, visit www.usacycling.org/2012/mtb-cross-country-nationals.