GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — Power and speed. It’s all needed to be a professional cyclist. Clara Brown has both, but it’s been a long road to get here, and it all started at gymnastics practice when she was 12
“So I was just kind of messing around in the gym with my coach and fluke accident…fell on my head.”
She damaged her spinal cord and was paralyzed from the neck down, but slowly regained mobility. It was about a month before she got back on her feet, heavily assisted with braces and a walker. That was a decade ago. Years of persistent work and an inner-drive led her to recreational cycling 6-years ago.
With a modified bike, the brake and shifter on the left side away from her impaired right hand, she started competing. After only 18 months, Brown has already medaled at the Parapan and World Championships. Now she’s prepping for the Paralympic trials and recently spent time training in Minnesota, home of what she described as “beautiful long, flat roads”
Each week, she rides between 200 to 250 miles and on race day, when she slips on the jersey…the pride swells up
You never know where life will take you, but Clara proves the test of true character is how you react
“Really, you are not held back by your impairment, you just have to modify the way you do things.”
The Trials will bring 400-athletes to Minneapolis June 25-28. All of them looking to represent Team USA at the Tokyo Paralympic Games later next summer.