2018 Paracycling National Championships–Awesome adventures in Augusta Georgia and reaching a new level of success!! By Jenna RollmanJenna Rollman
The most important event at the 2018 Paracycling National Championships was the Time Trial. This race served as the qualifier to be selected for the second World Cup in Emmen, Netherlands or to make it on the National Team, requiring hopeful athletes to meet the National Standard in their respective classification, which is no easy task!
On the morning of the time trial my stomach was filled with butterflies and my mind blankly unfocused as I got ready to warm up. Even though my body felt good and I was on schedule with nothing to worry about the unsettled nervous feeling refused to dissipate. I had a few words with my Coach and he could sense my uneasiness, at first I hesitated to open up about the heavy emotional anxiousness I was experiencing but he gently coaxed it out of me and I expressed that I wasn’t feeling too great. 😓
Intuitively Rick responded with understanding and sage advice, dissolving my stress and causing a smile to emerge on my face. 🙂 Taking off on my warmup ride with a better outlook I used the alone time to transition into a healthier headspace and as I came rolling up to Jeff shortly before my start time we prayed together, asking God for peace, a safe race, focus, positive hearts and strength to endure the pain so I could give it my best!!
At the end of the prayer I felt like myself again, ready to charge the start line and time trial like a BEAST!!!
Going through the handcycle inspection was a breeze and I assumed my place in line, taking one last mental check as the minutes ticked closer to 8:42:30. This. Is. IT!!
Gabby’s TT time arrives and she goes off before me…now I’m up..30 seconds…3, 2, 1.GOOO!!!
Surging forward I let the energy flow from my muscles to my hands and into my cranks, the mission was to hold NOTHING BACK which is exactly what I did!! Enduring the physical pain, engaging my brain to keep my arms going against the desire to slow down, and concentrating on a smooth powerful cadence over the steep grades and across the flat sections while simultaneously sustaining a breathing rhythm is a game of unwavering perseverance that I had been preparing all year for!
Soon the 2K sign came into focus and this was the moment to let the reserves loose and welcome in the extreme HURT because it’s NOW or NEVER!! 1K to go…LET THE BEAST OUT!!!
I pushed HARD and saw nothing but the finish line in front of me, willing myself to follow through because in a few seconds it would all be over!
Barreling past the finish line I hear the time called out in between my desperate gasps for air, it is 35:50:55. Although I didn’t hit the time per kilometer I wanted to, and almost all the other racers shared my sentiment due to the tough course, I knew I had won another National Championship title for the time trial and that was a satisfying feeling in itself!!
While analyzing my time trial numbers my coach and I were pleased with the performance, I put everything out on the road just like I wanted to, raced STRONG, and left no regrets. Despite falling short on one goal I did meet all the other targets I set out to achieve so we were all happy!
The 2018 Paracycling National Championships is a time in my life I will remember forever for many reasons. I learned a lot and brought home my first TWO Gold medals EVER!!!
What an incredible feeling to come home with the title of Two-time National Champion in Road Race and Time Trial; when I look at my gold medals or put on the National Champion jersey I can’t help but smile and think of all the people who have come together for me and lent a hand to make this milestone moment possible!!!
I cannot say thank you enough because my journey is still in full swing and I will need to continue relying on my wonderful community to aid in progressing Forward towards reaching my lofty Paralympic goals.
It is an honor to share this accomplishment with everyone because I definitely never could’ve done this alone!!
Exceptional appreciation to my Paracycling Coach Rick Babington, he is an expert in his field and has steered me in the right direction from the moment we started training together. I owe my athletic development to Rick, the best coach I could ask for and MORE-I am BEYOND lucky to have him!!!
CONGRATULATIONS to all the incredibly exceptional paracyclists who raced HARD and gave it their BEST, we’re all going home stronger and wiser from this adventure at Paracycling Nationals!