Para-cycling athletes compete in opening stage at Redlands

By: Lauren Roos
March 13, 2019 (Yucaipa, CA) – Wednesday’s Time Trial stage of the PossAbilities Para-cycle Race Series in conjunction with the Redlands Bicycle Classic began with a challenging seven-mile course that started and finished at Crafton Hills College. The course featured a fast decent down Sand Canyon Road and a grueling climb back up the same route to the finish. On this opening day of racing, athletes from the multiple categories, dug deep to try and give themselves the winning edge in the overall points category.

According to Cotie Williams of PossAbilities, Redlands is a real draw for para-cycling racers because it is one of the few races that offer races for all para-cycling classifications. The Classic also doubles as a precursor to nationals for the elite athletes – a chance to size up the competition and test fitness levels at the beginning of the season.

This is the third race of the season for the Paralyzed Veterans Racing team. Redlands Bicycle Classic caught up with team director Jody Shiftlett as his athletes rode the time trial course. “This is probably the most important event of the week and will be a real eye-opener,” he said.

“It was very windy and unusual to have a time trial course that was all down and all up, so that was a challenge,” stated Alicia Dana, women’s H3 category, after she completed the time trial with a winning time. “It was a great race! The weather was beautiful…these are perfect conditions,” she said, comparing this to her home training grounds of Vermont.

Racing for the second time here in Redlands, Brandon Lyons, competing in the men’s H3 category adding, “This is an interesting course; it’s very, very technical. There was a massive headwind, so you actually had to work going downhill. Then, it was pretty much just a grind getting back up the hill.”

Despite the challenging conditions on the course, Lyon’s rode his way into 2ndplace for the day and is enthusiastic about the rest of the race. “We have a couple of the national team guys here, Ryan Paine and Dave Randall. It’s a really good size field and it will be really fun to race against those guys.”

Following a rest day on Thursday, racing will resume on Friday with the PossAbilities Para-cycle Circuit Road Race in Yucaipa. Riders will begin at 9:00 a.m., racing 15 laps on a 1.7-mile loop around Sunnyside Drive.

Photos: Ben Mesa