Since 2013, Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) have kicked off the year with an annual Para cycling talent identification camp in New Plymouth. 2018 was no exception, however, with an increasing interest in Para cycling from individuals with a wide range of experience and aspirations on the bike, the format of the event has changed to include both an introduction to Para cycling for riders of all abilities, and a talent identification day for those interested in pursuing a high performance pathway.
The camp was led by PNZ Para Cycling National Development Coordinator Laura Thompson, PNZ Para Sport Community Development Manager Kieran Wall, and PNZ Para Sport High Performance Athlete Development Manager Melissa Wilson. Para cycling pathway coaches Kerry Reyburn (Northland) and Michael Bland (Waikato) were on hand to assist with coaching, and PNZ Bike Mechanic Felix Laufkotter provided essential bike set-up and maintenance support.
Seven Para athletes from across the North Island participated in a series of information workshops on Para sport, Para cycling, Paralympics New Zealand, and high performance pathways, before heading to the Taranaki Cycle Park for a day of bike safety and skills training. Laura, Michael and Kerry led sessions on bike handling, gearing, and cornering, while Felix taught the group about the various parts of bike, how to take care of your bike and how to change a flat tyre. Rio 2016 Paralympian, World Championship medallist, and Taranaki local, Stephen Hills joined in on the action, showing the new riders how it is done on the bike, and sharing his personal journey in Para sport to date.
On the final day of camp, all participants opted to take part in the talent identification testing to see if they had what it takes to be selected for the PNZ Para Cycling National Development Programme. Testing included watt bike power testing at Rampage Fitness, and a 3.5km time trial around the Taranaki Cycle Park. Everyone gave it their all, impressing staff with their determination and effort.
Camp attendees now have the opportunity to join their local cycling club, and participant in further training, development and competition opportunities with Paralympics New Zealand. The next PNZ Para Cycling activity is the North Island Para Cycling Open Training Camp, scheduled for 2-4 March in Cambridge. The North Island Para Cycling Open Training Camp is open to all Para athletes with a basic level of cycling experience. The training camp is free of charge, and will include a group road ride, an athlete development workshop, a special guest speaker and social activities. National classification for Para cycling will also be available.
The North Island Para Cycling Open Training Camp will run alongside the Parafed Waikato Activ8 Para Cycling Event, which provides a great opportunity to compete in a Para cycling time trial and/or road race. This event is specifically for Para athletes and is perfect for riders racing for the first time, as well as experienced competitors.
Registration for the North Island Para Cycling Open Training Camp is open now, so complete the online registration form below to receive more details:
North Island Para Cycling Open Training Camp Registration Form
Please note that registration for the Parafed Waikato Activ8 Para Cycling Event is separate to the North Island Para Cycling Open Training Camp, so please see the flyer below for more information and event registration information:
Parafed Waikato Activ8 Para Cycling Event
For general enquiries about Para cycling, please contact PNZ Para Cycling National Development Coordinator, Laura Thompson, via email at email@example.com.