Para-Cycling National Championship kicks off the Twilight Criterium

Posted at 4:00 PM, Jul 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-10 20:07:54-04

BOISE, Idaho — The Para-Cycling National Championship is a series of races this weekend in Idaho and the second national championship event was the crit at the Twilight Criterium in downtown Boise.

This year more adaptive athletes competed than ever before at the Twilight Criterium and there were two races one for handcycles and another for upright bikes.

Idaho athlete Will Groulx won the national championship for his division as he stayed near the front of the pack on his handcycle.

"The energy to do it here in conjunction with the Twilight Criterium is massive there are crowds and spectators, the venue is fantastic," said Groulx. "We ended up getting multiple guys on the podium."

In these races, there are multiple divisions but everybody including both men and women both compete at the same time in the national championship crit.

"When we all get to race together my goal is to stay with the more able-bodied of the challenged athletes," said Jaime Whitmore who came from northern California.

These athletes all have unique stories some were born with disabilities, others served in the military like Groulx and others like Whitmore was a world-class Xterra athlete before she got cancer at the age of 31.

"It was called a single cell sarcoma and it left me with a permanent disability where I have complete drop foot and most of my left leg is paralyzed," said Whitmore. "It took me about three years to get back on a bike and once I did I started racing for the U.S. Paralympic cycling team, I made it to Rio and won a gold and a silver medal."

These racers have now completed two races and Whitmore has won both the time trials on Friday and the crit on Saturday, the last race will be on Sunday for the road race in Melba as these riders battle each other and the heat.

"The recovery component is just as important as the racing so we stay hydrated use bags of ice, whatever you can do to stay cool it’s all beneficial."

The pro races begin this evening and the opening ceremonies will kick that off at 6:45 and a live stream of the women and men pro races can be found here.

But if you go down to the races please be careful and be courteous to the volunteers manning the crosswalks there was an incident this morning when a rider on a handcycle struck a pedestrian, an ambulance, and a fire truck had to show up delaying the first race of the day.

The other event of the day that is a fan favorite is the kid's ride with three-time gold medalist Kristin Armstrong and Muffy Davis.