Cody Jung competes in the MC4 29.1 kilometer time trial at the 2021 U.S. Paralympic Team Trials on June 19, 2021 in Minneapolis.
The moment Cody Jung has been training for is so close, like a child knowing it is 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve. The anticipation is visceral, and the moment that only lingered in the imagination is appearing as true.
Jung, a rookie Paralympian in cycling, is ready to hit the road course at the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 and see what happens. The 29-year-old from San Diego is set to make his debut Tuesday in the men’s time trial C4, on the hilly and technical course in the shadow of Mount Fuji. He’ll then be back on Friday for the men’s road race C4-5, where he’ll be racing alongside teammate Chris Murphy.
While Jung races solo in the time trial, Murphy is planning to aid and push him to a strong finish in the road race. But no matter what happens, Jung said the journey to this important moment is his present.
“I’m keeping my head down right now for that next step, the race, and just thinking of the process,” Jung said. “I’ve had the opportunity to race at a really high level the last couple of years, and I’ve learned that it is important to have a process with your family, your coach, your spirituality — which for me is super important — and your training.
“That process has been the biggest part of my success, and I’ve really particularly enjoyed it the past two months since the trials. I’ve just been working good, hard training blocks and getting dialed in. I feel really good and feel very blessed right now.”
Jung comes into the time trial with some momentum, having taken silver at the world championships in June in Portugal before turning around just a few days later with a blazing time at the U.S. trials in Minneapolis.
Jung, who was born with cerebral palsy on his left side, rides with able-bodied and adaptive cycling teams to push his skill and training. He feels ready for the technical course at Fuji International Speedway, despite having limited time to train on it because of the tight Covid-19 regulations. Cyclists cannot just jump on their bikes and ride, like in a non-Covid Games. An appointment must be made the day before, and there must be strict monitoring of the ride. That means scant opportunity to get multiple rides in on the course.
Jung sees the course’s curveball: the first half is downhill, with the back half at a 5 percent climb. Legs and lungs will be burning, testing all riders.
The ultimate prize of a Paralympic medal lurks within Jung’s grasp, but he is quite definitive about the hardware not being the goal. He keeps his cycling medals in their boxes, away from display, instead cherishing the moments and memories as more precious.