"Pedal not for a medal": how to support children with Down syndrome cycling

While the instructor attached my shoes to the pedals, I looked around cautiously. A room with almost three dozen exercise bikes was filled with people in strikingly better physical shape than me. I expected something similar, and was afraid. Journalists over thirty - the people are not very mobile: running with a microphone throughout Moscow does not allow the status acquired in the profession, and time just does not allow running. Life goes on behind a laptop and in a soft chair.

And then the test of strength and endurance just came up: the Love Syndrome charity foundation, together with Rock the Cycle, holds a campaign for the second time in four months in support of children with Down syndrome. You make a charitable contribution - and you pedal under the guidance of an instructor for 45 minutes. Children - all the money, you - an invigorating load.

Photo: press service of the Love Syndrome Foundation

Oleg Rudakov

founder and ideological inspirer of the cyclic rock studio Rock the Cycle

We have been holding charity events for a long time. For example, they brought here the pupils of the orphanage.

Every year we participate in the charity challenge of TechnoGym company, which produces exercise bikes. With the charity fund "Syndrome of Love" this action is already the second, there are more participants. I would like to show that it is easy to provide assistance. I thought for a long time whether to talk about it. After all, we have such an upbringing: we cannot talk about good deeds.

But at some point I decided that it was necessary to talk about it, on the contrary, because it was important to take charity as a given, an absolutely ordinary thing, akin to brushing your teeth. And the people who came here last time come again. It can be seen that they were waiting for this, so the project will continue.

I am relieved to notice that the woman on the next simulator cannot get into the corresponding grooves on the pedals with the grooves on the sole of the sneakers. The guy has the same problem at the back.

So, also for the first time. So, there is a chance not to look completely disgusting against their background.

- It will be uncomfortable in jeans, - the instructor interrupts my thoughts.

I decided that for the ten minutes that I can last I don’t take sports shorts - I think, but I don’t say anything out loud. I recall a short interview with a participant of the previous race - he clocked more than 28 kilometers in 45 minutes.

- I didn’t have to kill for this number, this is a training agreed with the coach. In fact, a simple anaerobic load - without knowing it, Denis Vasiliev from Kaspersky Lab is ashamed of me. - I take part both in individual actions, and in mass. The largest of them was the Baikal marathon: 42 kilometers along the frozen Lake Baikal. I want to make sense of their races.

We lovers do not represent our country. At first you run for yourself, with simple goals, but then you look for some meaningfulness.

The lesson begins with a brief briefing.The technique is clever: you go into the application on your smartphone, scan the QR code on the simulator itself - and now your cadence appears in large pictures on the huge wall of the hall. Too big.

However, maybe no one will see my shameful figures? But no: the instructor explains that the speed indicator will be circled in green, blue, yellow, orange or red, from the smaller to the larger. I think that this is for the sake of children and we should try to try.

Photo: press service of the Love Syndrome Foundation

Olga Novosyolova

project manager “Athlete for the benefit” of the fund “Syndrome of love”

В about 110 people participated in the past and we collected almost 250 thousand rubles. Today we have about 160 people. And if there were empty seats last time, then this time we did not have a single empty seat in a few more days.

The beginning of the lesson was simple, even too much. I pedal at the same pace as I usually do on a simple bike. All confidently stay in the "blue" zone. To my misfortune with aggressive dance music, the instructor instructs to sharply speed up the pace. Half of the numbers on the wall turn red, I carefully put myself on the yellow indicators.

Another minute passes - and the team receives a lift on the simulators, working only with the legs and back surfaces of the hips (probably this is called that) and staying in the “red” zone. I remain seated: a long-standing injury interferes with working fully with two legs. So does the guy behind me and a few more people. I pedal as fast as I can. I also get to the red numbers, but I'm sitting! The pulse feels like two hundred.

I think that it will be cool not to die on this simulator, and I’ll raise the pace even more.

After a short respite (it’s just a decrease in pace to the “blue” zone, in which everyone is resting, and I continue to seriously strain my leg muscles), the instructor suggests repeating the previous exercise, while squeezing the steering wheel with my hands exercise bike. There are almost only girls in my row - each one does this without much stress. I blush and pretend that I can’t continue, because I urgently want to drink some water. An indecently long pause ended at the same time as the water and the exercise itself ended.

Guilty look around.

- Since our foundation exists for people with Down syndrome, then our events should be accessible to them, says Olga Novosyolova. - Of course, we sent out invitations to families, they come at a convenient time. Not all children do equally well, but another thing is important: for them it is a new experience and emotions, they fall into a new environment - healthy, cheerful and emotionally open people. This is of great benefit.

Well, other participants look at the children and understand: yes, there are differences - so what? And they realize for whom this is all arranged: for the guys who smile at everyone and enjoy the sporting event along with everyone.

Photo: press service of the Love Syndrome Foundation

I thought I would last at this pace for ten minutes, but lasted twenty. I try to leave the hall with a person saying that I’m ready to pedal all day, but it’s time to take a couple of interviews. Those who were outside did not see my shame.

- Are you limping? - the founder of the studio Oleg Rudakov asks me anxiously.

I talked to him less than an hour ago, but it feels like an eternity has passed.

- An old injury, - I answer casually so as not to think that it was from a twenty-minute load that everything hurt.

- Does the metal stand?

I nod in response and see that a child with Down syndrome is sitting on the sofa near the hall. One special person was brought to each race, some worked out, but I did not see this on the simulator. In the approached mom of the guy I recognize the woman who pedaled on the next exercise machine.

- Good loads, says Ruzanna Petrosyan. - We were invited, and we thought that it could be very interesting. We try to bring Arman to such events. He liked it, although he did not sit on the exercise bike. It can be difficult for him when there are a lot of strangers around, but look, since he is sitting and smiling, it means that he is comfortable.

I wouldn’t like it - I didn’t sit.

- How old is Arman? - I ask.

- Fifteen.

- It is good to meet interesting people, - Arman enters into a dialogue.

Photo: press service of the Love Syndrome Foundation

I have another interview with Andrei Kavun, general director of IRONSTAR triathlon competitions.

The Love Syndrome Foundation is a charity partner of IRONSTAR competitions, and Andrei more than once together with his colleagues, as athletes for the good, opened a personal fundraising.

Andrei eagerly carries out his mission: he is photographed in the most ridiculous wigs and gives interviews to several journalists in a row. In a conversation with me, Andrei mentions that today he "traveled" 20 kilometers. I decided to cheat a little, because in the evening of the same day and the next he would have a swimming training.

- But the guys from our team took first and second places in our race, - says Andrey.

- With "Syndrome of love" we have been cooperating for the second year. In general, we are actively working with charitable foundations, including targeted. For example, last year we went to Austria, took part in the race as athletes for the good (girls - 9 kilometers each, guys - 17 kilometers each) and managed to collect a large sum. It is very stimulating. When you already want to surrender at a distance, you remember that you need to plow, because you plow for good.

As in the project "Athlete for the Good", in which we participate both individually and as a team.

Leaving the studio, I promise myself that I will not watch how much I drove. Already in the evening, unable to resist, I looked into the application: eight kilometers in twenty minutes.Probably for the first time not bad?

Photo: press service of the Love Syndrome Foundation

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