Toronto – On the final day of cycling at the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games, U.S. cyclists cruised through the Canadian countryside and battled a strong headwind to capture six podium finishes in the time trial.
After two days circling the track of the Cisco Milton Velodrome, the cyclists ventured outside to test their wheels along a nearby stretch of rolling plains. While the start carried riders out on a nice tailwind, the competitors were then burdened with knowing they would face a considerable headwind on the home stretch. The route proved to not be as technically challenging, but more so a mental test of the rider’s ability to identify their pain threshold and endure it for the long haul.
Looking to sweep gold in all four of the C1-5 medal opportunities this week, Joe Berenyi (Oswego, Illinois) led the fleet of U.S. medalists across the finish line, with a time of 28:17.91 in the mixed time trial C1-5 to settle for silver behind Brazil’s Lauro Chaman. Allison Jones (Colorado Springs, Colorado) outlasted competitors as the top-scoring female, finishing at 28:35.43 for her second bronze medal of the week. The American crew dominated the pack by taking five of the top seven spots, including Jamie Whitmore in fourth (Mount Aukum, California), Shawn Morelli (Leavenworth, Kansas) in sixth and Todd Key (Scottsdale, Arizona). in seventh.
“Time trial is all in your head, it’s just you against the clock,” Jones explained. “I absolutely won’t quit and have a hard time settling for an easy pace, so I constantly told myself to push harder, tried to play with the wind and picked little spots [on the course] as goals.”
Team USA continued their winning ways in the handcycle division with another 1-2 finish – Brian Sheridan (Clarkston, Michigan) captured gold this go around at 17:11.44 – while Will Groulx (Portland, Oregon) followed closely behind for silver in 17:38.46. Charles Moreau of Canada took the with bronze, while Americans Will Lachenauer (Reno, Nevada) and Tom Davis (Fremont, Indiana) rounded out the top five.
“My number one motivator is that I’m here representing the United States of America,” Sheridan said in reference to maintaining focus during a time trial. “Beyond that I have many people that talk to me along the race, including my parents, wife and children – even if they’re not physically out on the course, they’re always yelling at me to go harder.”
Fresh off her first world championship victory, and admittedly doubtful that she could battle with the boys, Jill Walsh (Jamesville, New York) surprised herself in clinching the mixed time trial T1-2 gold medal with a time of 21:55.30. Ryan Boyle (Colorado Springs, Colorado) also brought home his second Parapan American medal with bronze, finishing less than thirty seconds off Walsh’s time at 22:13.74.
“Wind was the big factor. You get to a certain pain level and have to keep telling yourself that it will end, and to just breathe through it,” said Walsh on the mental and physical challenge of a time trial. “It’s been a great year for me so this win is just icing on the cake. It was the year of building confidence in myself, with it being my first year in competitive cycling, so I’ve come to realize that I can go places if I believe I can.”
After four days of competition, Team USA stood atop the overall medal standings in both road and track cycling with 19 combined total medals (seven gold, seven silver, five bronze) – five more than host country Canada in second place.
The Parapan American Games conclude with the closing ceremony on Saturday, August 16. For complete results and more information, visit TeamUSA.org/ParapanAm.