By Jackson Russell
AUSTRALIAN Paralympic cyclists have taken advantage of Broadford’s State Motorcycle Sports Complex in preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
With the Games’ road cycling events at a former grand prix circuit, Fuji Speedway, the athletes have been training on the complex’s road circuit to better understand the difference between a motorsport track and city streets.
The cyclists have also been out and about in Broadford, with the whole group out for dinner at the Broadford Hotel on Monday night.
Cycling Australia head of performance solutions for paracycling Keren Faulkner said they were all excited about how the town had supported them.
“We’ve really enjoyed meeting people locally and people have been really engaged with what our athletes are trying to do in preparing for Tokyo so it’s been a great opportunity for us to share some of the journey with local people,” she said.
“The course here in Broadford is absolutely perfect for what we’re trying to do. There are a lot of great advantages.
“The course really helps coaching, you can see most of the course and we’ve been able to apply lots of science and a bit more data and video collection that what we’ve previously not been able to do.”
Darren Hicks will compete in the road race and individual time trial as well as on the track in the individual pursuit where he will defend his gold medal from the 2019 Para-Cycling Track World Championships.
Hicks said the biggest advantage of training at the Broadford circuit was learning how the surface differs from public roads.
“You get to learn what the tyre does, it’s no different to what the motorcycle guys out here enjoy about it, it’s nice and smooth, nice and predictable, which is what we’ve got to face in Tokyo,” he said.
“I wasn’t expecting there to be such a large amount of climbing as far as the hills go on this track so it’s really cool to have the big undulation changes and really pushing the limits of what we can do so it’s been fun going 70-odd km/h down the hills.
”Hicks rides in the C2 category and only uses his left leg to pedal while his amputated right leg sits in a custom-made socket attached to the seat post.
“That helps me stabilise as well as generate a bit of power,” he said.
“It’s different, that’s for sure but it’s just a bit more training to learn how to ride with one leg.”
By Jackson Russell