Ten members of Team PossAbilities will compete in a field of 40 para-cyclists in the PossAbilities Para-Cycle Race Series, which will be held Wednesday, May 2, through Sunday, May 6, in conjunction with the Redlands Bicycle Classic. PossAbilities is a free community outreach program of Loma Linda University Health.
Although they may prefer to call themselves “empowered athletes,” para-cyclists are disabled individuals who ride special adaptive bicycles, hand cycles or tricycles. Riders are categorized in 14 different classes determined by gender and type of disability.
Many of the competitors view the series as a stepping stone to much larger events, such as the USA Cycling Para Road Race and Time Trial National Championships, which will take place in Augusta, Georgia, this June, or the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
For Christopher Sproule, the PossAbilities Para-Cycle Race Series is an opportunity to hone his skills in a highly competitive field. Sproule will be riding the $14,500 racing handcycle purchased for him from proceeds of the PossAbilities Sports Luncheon in November 2017.
Sproule, who works as the chief metropolitan medical response system coordinator for the Las Vegas Fire & Rescue Department, lives in Nevada and travels as a volunteer PossAbilities ambassador.
“I’ve been having some good races lately and am excited to see what happens in Redlands,” Sproule said. “I’ve had the racing handcycle for a couple of months now. I’m comfortable with it. It’s all dialed in and the results are showing.”
Sproule, who dreams of bringing home a gold medal for Team USA, added that the high level of competition at the Redlands event will help him prepare for bigger events. “I’m so excited about the opportunity to go to Tokyo in 2020,” he said.
The race series consists of four separate stages.
Stage 1, a time trial in Big Bear, California, will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, May 2. The race, which is open to riders of all classes, will start at North Shore Drive opposite the East Boat Ramp. Distance will vary for different classes of riders.
Stage 2 is a road race in Yucaipa, California, on Thursday, May 3. Riders will start at 9 a.m. from Sunnyside Drive north of Oak Glen Road. The race is open to riders of all classes.
Stage 3 is a criterium long-course race in Redlands, California, on Saturday, May 5. Open to Class H and recumbent riders only, the race will be held at Citrus Avenue in downtown Redlands beginning at 1:30 p.m.
Stage 4 is a criterium short-course race in Redlands, California, on Sunday, May 6. It is open to Class H and recumbent riders only, and will begin at 3:05 p.m. from Citrus Avenue in downtown Redlands.
Information about fees, race rules and registration for the race series is available online at http://redlandsclassic.com/para-cycle/. Additional information about Team Possabilities is available at https://teampossabilities.org/.