The PanAmerican Race in Sarasota, FL, USAAndre Barbieri
Dear readers, I bring good news from my 1st race of the year, from the most important season of my life –the one that will define if I’ll make it to the Paralympics or not. The Pan race gives us more points than a regular World race, because it’s the “continental cup” of our sport, and I was happy to finish in 3rd!
It was a beautiful sunny morning, which was great. We had 40% chances of rain, and every day the wind comes up at some point, which is annoying on the swim and bike specially. A flat and fast course, I was right behind the 1st place for the majority of the time. Even though I’ve been improving my run, that’s still where he put 5min on me. And then, on the final chute, with 50 yards to the arch that marks the finish line, I was visualizing and practically celebrating the 2nd place. Then the athlete which was in 3rd place came running for his life… I fought hard, giving my all side to side with him, on a moaning and electrifying battle. Unfortunately I couldn’t surpass his speed, and he deserved the Silver. I was really frustrated for a couple minutes, but then I remembered 2 rivals and athletes that couldn’t even come to this race: Levi fell on the bike and broke his collar bone, 2 days before the event. Fabiano was on the plane about to take off in Brasil, when the storming rain damaged the air strip lights, so he couldn’t even leave the airport. He wasn’t able to catch a connecting flight to make it in time for the event. These 2 facts are way more frustrating than a 3rd place.
The battle for the Paralympic qualification ends in July, and “The Race” in Rio will be in September. I started the year in 14th on the World Rankings, and with this FL race I should improve my situation a bit. Like I’ve mentioned, only 10 people will be on the StartList in my category, unless something changes, but that’s what I got to focus on now.
In the following weeks and months I’ll be competing and criss crossing the Globe, always battling for the Rio qualification. I’ll keep you all posted, and next Sunday I already have a race in South Africa!
Thank you all so much for the prestige of reading and following my trajectory:)
Thank you Team PossAbilities and Quest Diagnostics for making it all possible. Thank you Karina for being there with me.