Paravelosport in Russia: who are handbikers and how do they train

Photo: personal archive of Alexander Davidovich

-I got injured at age 21, almost immediately after I came from the army. The management of the woodworking factory, where I worked, violated safety procedures, an accident occurred. Both legs were amputated to me. He was in the hospital for six months and was recovering. Before the army, I was engaged in various sports: hockey, football, in winter - skiing.

Then he learned that there is such a sport as bean skiing, and decided to try it.

While lying in the hospital, he gained 25 kilograms of excess weight. At first, training was hard. Sometimes I wanted to quit, but I went over myself. And for 13 years now I have been a member of the national team ( Alexander Davidovich participated in the Paralympic Games in Sochi, became a bronze medalist in cross-country skiing and biathlon.

- Ed. . ).

I’ve been in cycling for the second year. Once I found out about a hand bike, I realized that this type of cycling is developing in Russia, and decided to do it in parallel with skiing and biathlon.

Preparing for skiing became a chore, I decided to add variety.

I began to look for where and how to get a hand bike. It’s not easy to do this: handbikes are very expensive, and to perform at a professional level you need to make this shell for yourself. I had no sponsors, I bought a bike at my own expense. In 2017, I went to the championship of Russia - for intelligence: I talked with the participants, met with the team’s head coach, saw how the competitions were going.

In 2018, I won two races in this championship: a mass start at 42 kilometers and a race with a separate start at 15 kilometers. The main thing in cycling is not to take prizes in the national championship, but to show the time that will correspond to the international level. Over time, I was in the top six, I was invited to the national team, and I went to the World Cup stage. My handbike was already outdated, it was not suitable for international starts. Before the World Cup in Holland, they gave me another bike, I had only two days to ride it and get used to it at least a little.

Then on one of the races I took sixth place, on the other - fourth.

There are places for handbike training in Russia (and in particular in Ufa, where I live), but there are very few of them. Usually I have to train on the highway. Sometimes a coach rides in a car or bicycle from behind, but mostly I train alone. Security is zero.

But there is no other choice, because you need to prepare for the starts.

In bad weather, classes are held in the hall on a special machine. I train six times a week - from one and a half to four hours a day. Most classes take place in Russia, sometimes we go abroad to training camps. Of course, during trainings failures occur: you will pierce the wheel, then the chain will fly off.

Before each race, the bike is inspected by a mechanic and eliminates technical problems. It is most difficult to overcome steep climbs on a hand bike, and even steep descents - the speed is high, you need to enter the turn without losing precious seconds.

For beginners I recommend starting with small loads, increasing them gradually. If you immediately give too much load, the body will not be able to cope with it.

Not all people can recognize and accept the trauma they received.

When you participate in such a major competition as the Moscow half marathon or marathon, there are a lot of spectators around you. For them, hand bike is a discovery, they begin to become interested, ask questions. This greatly promotes our sport.

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