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Para-cycling World Champ Ryan Boyle “Relieved And Encouraged” By Additional Year To Train For Tokyo

By Alex Abrams | April 16, 2020, 2:54 p.m. (ET)

Ryan Boyle competes at the 2018 UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships on Aug. 3, 2018 in Maniago, Italy.


Ryan Boyle’s email address includes the phrase “Cycle Psycho.” The nickname fits the Para-cyclist who has been known to keep riding even with a flat tire.

Boyle has three tattoos, including one on his chest of the interlocking Olympic rings. He has occasionally sported a mohawk dyed red, white and blue.

Boyle rides his tricycle a few hours every day, and a typical ride for him covers around 30 miles — which is too intense for his family to keep up with him.

“I tell you, he’s probably the most fearless person I’ve met on a bike,” said fellow American Para-cyclist Samantha Bosco, who’s a two-time Paralympic bronze medalist.

With his colorful hair and personality, Boyle, 26, has enjoyed plenty of success riding on the world’s stage. He’s a three-time world champion and a Paralympic silver medalist. He has a tattoo on his arm that came after winning gold medals in both the road race and time trial at the 2018 UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships.

Boyle was hoping to win his first Paralympic gold medal in August to go along with the silver medal he earned at the Paralympic Games Rio 2016. However, he’ll have to wait a little longer after the Tokyo Paralympic Games were postponed one year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Oh, (winning a gold) would just be the icing on the cake. I mean that’s what everyone dreams about,” Boyle said. “Yeah, I have a silver and that’s pretty special, too. But you could only get one better, and I want the best.”

Boyle, at 5-foot-11, 170 pounds, was among the favorites to win gold in both road cycling events in Tokyo. Last September, he defended his world title in the men’s T2 road race at the 2019 worlds in Emmen, Netherlands.

Boyle has earned eight medals at five world championships, including two silver medals and three bronze medals in addition to his three golds. 

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“On one hand, I was disappointed,” Boyle said of the Paralympic Games being pushed back to 2021. “But, on the other, I was more so relieved and encouraged because it gives me a whole other year to train and get stronger. So there’s always two ways of looking at a situation. For me, the decision has been made and it’s out of our control, so you’ve just got to make the most of it.”

Boyle, who suffered a traumatic brain injury at age 9 when a pickup truck hit him, typically lives at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. However, he has lately been staying at his parents’ house in Castle Rock, Colorado.

Boyle said the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus hasn’t affected his training that much. While he’s unable to go a gym as usual, he can still do core exercises inside his parents’ house. He just has to be a little creative with exercises. 

At the same time, Boyle said the roads around Castle Rock are “fantastic” for riding. He still goes on daily rides. If he can’t take his trike out for some reason, he has a stationary bike he can pedal indoors.

“I’ve been working a lot on strength in certain areas like sprinting, things like that, so my attacks in races are better and I can sustain more power for longer,” Boyle said. “Of course, it has been a lot of hard work, and it’s not over by any means. But everything is coming together in my opinion.”

Boyle has progressed so much over the past few years he laughed when asked if he thought he was better in road races or time trials. At the time of the Rio 2016 Games, he would have said he was by far a better cyclist in road races.

“But now I have the world championship in both the time trial and the road race,” Boyle said. “I’m proven to be very good in the road race as well, so I think I have an equal shot of getting the gold at both.”

Boyle keeps his Paralympic silver medal locked in a safe at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center. He admitted he’d like to add more to his collection.

“I really want a gold, and I know I can do it,” Boyle said. “By the grace of God, we just got another year of strengthening, so I feel very confident about that then. I’m not going to take this time lightly.” 

Alex Abrams has written about Olympic and Paralympic sports for more than 15 years, including as a reporter for major newspapers in Florida, Arkansas and Oklahoma. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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Ryan Boyle