In between elite road-racing stages at the Redlands Bicycle Classic, the first-ever PossAbilities Hand Cycle race showcased the talent and dedication of some of that sports top riders. The strenuous 5 km Time Trial course was the season-opener for the U.S. Hand Cycling Series. David Lee, Cardiff by the Sea, CA, took first place, followed by Australian-born Todd Philpott, NY, NY; and Keane West, Lake Placid, FL.
This race was a great kickoff for the series; it sets the bar for the rest of the season, said Ian Lawless, executive director for U.S. Hand Cycling. Its our mission to create integrated hand cycling opportunities. This race creates awareness and blurs the line between people with disabilities and those without.
The steep grade of the course proved to be one of the athletes more difficult events. David Lee, race winner, described the race in two words, Uphill. This was the hardest handcycle race Ive competed in. It was an awesome challenge. Lee finished in 20:21.23.
Todd Philpott echoed Lees sentiment. I wish I had my bike set up for the hill, but these things happen; Im still happy with the race, said Philpott, who finished second with a time of 24:30.69. Ive been competing for five years and this is the best atmosphere People look out for you. The integration is what its all about. There are some of the best male and female riders out here. Being a part of this is like coming of age.
Tyler Blackwelder, director for the Hand Cyle race and PossAbilites volunteer helped the inaugural event take place. This was a big success, says Blackwelder. Were excited it went so well, especially for as tough as a race as it was. All the racers were an inspiration, showing the true spirit of the sport. This year was a building block for years to come.