Ahead of Track Nationals, Para-cyclists Spend Time In Community Visiting Local Students and Patients

By Melissa Zhang | Dec. 07, 2018, 5:21 p.m. (ET)

Jason Macom, Ryan Boyle and Justin Widhalm speak to students at John Adams Elementary School.
Jason Macom, Justin Widhalm and Ryan Boyle visited John Adams Elementary School. 

Four members of the U.S. Para-cycling national team spent time making a positive impact in their community on the days leading up to the 2018 U.S. Para Cycling National Championships.

On Wednesday, Jason Macom, Justin Widhalm and Ryan Boyle visited John Adams Elementary School to speak to a group of fifth-grade students.

The three cyclists described their journey getting to this level of their sport and what adaptive sport meant to them, among other things.

Macom told the students about his long-time bike racing experience, which began when he was a young boy, and how he was able to switch from able-bodied cycling to para cycling. 

Boyle told the children about his experience winning gold in the men’s T2 road race at the International Cycling Union (UCI) Para cycling Road World Cup earlier this year. The road cyclist brought his gold medal and rainbow-colored jersey from the event, as well as his silver medal from the Paralympic Games 2016 Rio, to show the students.

Widhalm described his background growing up locally in Colorado Springs and joining the Army, as well as his introduction to adaptive sport after getting wounded on his second tour in Iraq.

Students asked the athletes questions regarding their training, racing experiences and more.

Boyle, Macom and Widhalm also encouraged the students to come attend this weekend’s events to see cyclists in action on the track.

Clara Brown paid a trip to UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central on Friday morning to read Christmas books to the patients there.

She spent time with patients ranging from just 25 days old to 16 years old, delivering Team USA shirts and stickers, as well as holiday books.

“I love doing things like this,” Brown said. “I spent a lot of time in the pediatric section of hospitals when I was younger, so I definitely want to do this kind of thing more often.”

The Falmouth, Maine native spent the week training in Colorado Springs, capping it off with a visit to the hospital right next door to the Olympic Training Center. Brown will compete in her first national championships this weekend, and will become a full-time athlete at the OTC in early January.

Brown, Macom and Widhalm can all be found competing in the velodrome this weekend. The para-cycling national championships will be held on Dec. 8 and 9 at the Olympic Training Center velodrome in Colorado Springs, Colorado.