U.S. Paracycling OpenOwen Daniels
The U.S. Paracycling Open is back again in 2022 and I was excited to see if I could duplicate the success, I was able to have in 2021. The race dates are April 8-10 with a race on each day. A team relay on the 8th, time trial on the 9th and finally the road race on the 10th. Being in a new classification this year brings new opponents and new challenges. This year the paracycling open is a very important race being that it is set to be the deciding factor in helping Team USA chose the roster for the upcoming world cups. The roster was going to consist of 14 riders. The top 5 men in the rankings list, top 5 women in the rankings list, and up to 5 discretionary picks chosen from the time trial results. I was able to secure a 3rd place podium along with other members of my relay team and grabbing my first medal of the event.
Next race up was the time trial on Friday April 8th and the most important race of the event. the conditions during the time trial weren’t as ideal as they were in 2021 with it being very windy which would make for slower times than the previous year. I did have one advantage though as i got to go last off of the starting block for men’s H3 being that I was the national time trial champion of 2021. This meant that all the other riders would be in front of me, so this gave me some extra motivation to try and chase them down. At the start of the time trial, I felt great and felt like I was putting down a good time. the goal was to finish the 15-kilometer course around 23 minutes. Coming up just short of my goal I crossed the finish line with a time of 24:02.8. I was still very pleased with my effort, and it was good enough for 3rd place just 16 seconds off of second place effort. when the rankings list came out for the time trial, I fell short of top 5 men placing 10th out of all classifications. however, there was still a chance I could earn a discretionary pick and be selected for the world cup roster.
Saturday April 10 was the road race and the final day of racing. After 2 days of racing, I was tired but so was everyone else. from the start of the race the intensity was high and the speeds were incredibly fast. A small group formed in the race with one specific rider in my sights from the group. It was the rider who had placed second in the time trial the day before and I was determined to give it my all to grab at least one silver medal from this race. After repeated hard accelerations from the group I had noticed that the rider I needed to beat to grab the silver had been dropped by the group. I kept the pace high for the remainder of the race knowing if I didn’t he would have a chance to catch back up. Next thing you know on the very last lap I look into my rear view mirror and who do I see? The rider that had been dropped just laps earlier. I gave it everything I had to stay in front of him and was able to just hold his efforts off and grab the silver medal I so dearly wanted.
Now it was time to wait and see if my results from the past 3 days were good enough to earn me a discretionary pick by the U.S. paracycling committee. After a few long days of waiting, I was informed via email that I was not accepted to the USA roster but would be awarded partial funding that would help a ton financially. Partial funding would help pay for all my lodging for the 2 week trip to worlds cups #1 & #2 and I was incredibly grateful because the funding was just enough to assure that I would be attending those world cups. keep up with my blog to get updates on the first world cups of the year and how I did.