World Championships Bound!!!Travis Gaertner
This is my first post with Team PossAbilities and I couldn’t be more excited. I’m relatively new to handcycling but not to international sport. The much younger version of myself has been to the Paralympics twice and earned two gold medals in wheelchair basketball. In 2017 I decided to see what was possible in handcycling. While I earned a few international medals I missed the Tokyo 2020 games by one spot.
I am a firm believer that each individual should strive to be their specific best and that is not defined by how others do, or frankly whether or not you qualify for the Paralympic Games. It’s all about finding your specific limits and then challenging them with everything you have. Despite that, I was disappointed enough in missing out on the games that I wasn’t sure I was going to continue. After a period of reset, I was ready with the right focus to keep going. I did lose my main financial sponsor due to internal restructuring at the company and was discouraged with a lack of resources to compete at my personal best. PossAbilities couldn’t have come into my life at a better time. The support I received at a critical time in this season was worth much more than the dollars themselves. Somehow it triggered something inside of me and I’ve redefined what my best really is and have been taking down ceilings ever since.
This past week we tried out for a spot on the World Championships roster. The course was one of the most challenging courses I’ve raced on and did not favor handcyclists. The vast majority of the spots on the World Championships team were filled by upright paracyclists. There was a lot of climbing, very technical turns, and it all happened in dangerous conditions with rain in the morning when the handcyclists competed. Without a renewed and reset mindset these past two months, I likely would not have succeeded in attaining a spot on the roster. My engagement in the sport is back where it was in 2019 and I’m harnessing all the hard work I’ve put in these past few years realizing what it really means for my potential.
We will compete during the first two weeks of August in Quebec and I couldn’t be more excited! I will be back to post about my experience then but in the meantime will keep the journey fresh on Instagram as well (handle is travis.gaertner). More soon!