Saturday, July 21, 2007

sadler's ultra challenge

Lately I have become a bit of an armchair cycling fan. (No, not cycling IN armchairs — that would be absurd.) I have been catching stages of the Tour de France on TV, but lately I have turned my attention to an equally exciting race: the Sadler's Ultra Challenge. This is an eight-stage, 267-mile endurance race for disabled athletes, run every summer for 22 years from Fairbanks to Anchorage, Alaska. There are divisions for wheelchairs and handcycles, but in recent years the handcycling category has come to be far more popular and competitive. This year the race, like most elite handcycling races over the past few years, has been dominated by the Mexican-American Alejandro Albor. This guy is really amazing; I've seen him ride and he makes it look so effortless, which I assure you it is not. A double amputee, Albor has a built-in advantage since he's not dragging any dead weight, but he also has a unique style of movement, sort of rolling back and forth over the handcranks of his bike. (He is one of the few handcyclists I've seen who uses alternating cranks, like a regular bike, rather than double/simultaneous cranks.)

You can read Ian Lawless' blog entries about the 2007 Ultra Challenge here and view complete stage-by-stage results here

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