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Inspiration (or, the Roller Coaster Built for Two)

September 10, 2010

A few years ago, my more-older brother (who shall henceforth be known as GB) got involved with the US Paralympic program by becoming a pilot for a blind man on a tandem bicycle.  The person who rides the rear of a tandem is called the stoker, and GB’s stoker (henceforth known as CP) is a heck of a guy.  GB and CP trained together, and got better and better riding together, both in events on the road, and on the velodrome.  Riding a tandem on the track is intense, especially in the stoker position.  I have done it both with DH and GB, and it really is like being on a roller coaster that you help propel but not to control. This is NOT my brother, but he has met they guys in this example video, who are paralympians as well.  This is mild compared to some horrific pileups that have happened on velodromes, but it’s especially stressful on the stoker, who knows what is going on but must have faith in his pilot.

There are many classifications of paralympians besides blind athletes; there are also amputees, wheelchair athletes and athletes with cerebral palsy or some other neurological disability.  They are an impressive bunch and every one of them I have ever met has a killer sense of humor.  I’ve been so proud to watch my brother work with CP and see both of them improve over time; then last September, they went to the World Championships and won for the 4 km pursuit on the track.  GB and CP are a huge inspiration to me to get better as a cyclist, and I’ll always be grateful to GB for getting me into cycling in the first place.

I am so proud of my brother and CP, that I am going to post a photo that is not mine, grabbed from a screen shot.  I wanted to buy copies of the picture, but the photographer was some British guy who didn’t post any contact information to the site where I found the photo.  I’m sure it’s out there somewhere, and if the owner ever comes across this crappy little thumbnail, please let me know so I can pay you for it!

Biggest Damn Smiles, ever!

Too a non-cyclist, those jerseys might look a tad…perhaps…queer.  But the World Champion stripes are a huge deal. For a cyclist to see them on a rider (and have them be legit, not some poser jersey you bought off the internet) would be like the average American male shaking hands with a guy he meets at the gas station, only to discover a Super Bowl Champion ring on the guys hand.  Anyone who saw it up close would have to appreciate the World Champ medal though…it weighs about a pound.  Awesome. I love my bro!!

One final note: we often refer to the tandem as the Pain Train.  Gotta get on board. Wooo Woooooooooo.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. September 11, 2010 9:41 pm

    My dad is a cyclist here in town and I remember him doing tandem racing during El Tour a few years ago. Too cool!

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