Para athletes power through RoadNats
BALLARAT-Sebastopol Cycling Club had a strong para-cycling presence at last weekend’s Australian Road National Championships in Buninyong.
In Thursday’s time trials, Reece-Emerson Van Beek won the men’s deaf category, William Zammit placed second in the men’s C3 section, and Christian Ashby finished second in the men’s C2 category.
On Saturday, the men’s C3 road race saw Zammit place second to Mackay’s David Nicholas, Van Beek won the deaf men’s division, and Ashby placed second to Norwood Cycling Club’s Darren Hicks in the men’s C2 road race.
“I was up against individual time trial world champion, Darren Hicks, who also represents Australia in the road race. Competition is always tough in our category,” Ashby said.
“Because of my disability, the time trial is always quite tough. From my accident, I have a deformed hand… plus I’m fused in ten vertebrae, so I struggle to bend. I have a brain injury… so cornering is challenging.
“I’m unable to get into a position that most other cyclists can, but I always do the best I can. The road race I’m more suited to because I don’t need to be as aerodynamic.”
Ashby’s been competing in the RoadNats for three years, following his accident. In 2020 he won the C2 road race and time trial.
“It’s fantastic to have the Nationals in your own backyard. I train on the course regularly, which gives me an advantage, but having a home crowd yell your name in the four or five laps you go round is inspiring.
“Having the paracycling and able-bodied cycling integrated as part of the national scene is great. With our disabilities, we can’t be as fast, but to be taken seriously is really important, which Cycling Australia does well,” Ashby said.