This weekend saw the launch of Team Battle Back at the Help for Heroes Recovery Centre, Tedworth House, in Wiltshire.
The aim of the weekend was to introduce what’s available through Help for Heroes for those with an interest in cycling, whether recreationally, competitively or at an elite level, with the pinnacle, for those who want it, being the Paralympic Games. It was also a chance for those wounded, injured or sick taking part in the Hero Ride to get together for some training.
Team Battle Back is born out of the Race Across America (RAAM) legacy which saw us take eight cyclists, all of whom had suffered life-changing injuries, cycle 3,051 miles across America in just 7 days, 7 hours and 39 minutes.
Help for Heroes has long been associated with cycling, both through our signature charity rides for supports such as the Big Battlefield Bike Ride and the new ride for 2013, Hero Ride, through to supporting Paralympian Jon-Allan Butterworth to go onto win three silver medals at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Team Battle Back presents those who use cycling as part of their Recovery with many opportunities.
Paralympic Talent Identification
The weekend included a talk from Chris Furber, Lead Coach of the GB Para-Cycling team at British Cycling. Chris has been working with Help for Heroes for a number of months now to identify talent from our current Band of Brothers with an interest in cycling.
He explained to the cyclists what the current GB squad looks like and the need for a bigger base of cyclists needed in order to grow and develop the sport. The aim of the Para-Cycling ID is to fast track potential talent into medal contenders and provides a pathway for athletes into the future, post 2016.
Cycling is the third biggest sport in the Paralympic Games with 50 medals available, with the gaps in the current squad being in hand cycling, there are some fantastic opportunities available for those who are interested in the sport.
Those who were keen were tested as part of the identification process and measured against the minimum requirement for British Cycling. The tests consisted of 6 seconds maximum effort (for upright cyclists) and cycling for 3 minutes at your best effort (for both hand cyclists and upright cyclists) and many were very close to, or beat the minimum requirement set by British Cycling.
As well as the testing, the riders did either a 70k, (for the less experienced riders) or 90k (for the more experienced) cycle route on the roads around Tedworth House over the two days to give them the experience of more long distance cycling.
If you’re inspired, don’t forget you can still sign up for the Hero Ride now!