Cycle of success: Team Army cyclist gear up for the DoD Warrior Games
By Joseph Jones, Madigan Army Medical Center Public Affairs

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - Team Army cyclists are training at full-throttle for the upcoming cycling events at the 2019 Department of Defense Warrior Games.

As an adaptive sport, cyclists who have limited use of their lower body use handcycles. Handcycles allow athletes to use their arms to power the bicycle instead of their legs. Most handcycle athletes compete in a reclined position, while others kneel.

"This year, I'll be competing in the cycling road race and the time trials," said U.S. Army retired Spc. Brent Garlic, who is competing in the Warrior Games for the second time. "I'm fairly new to cycling," said Garlic. "It's different for me as a wheelchair basketball player where you do not get to lay down instead of being upright. I did cycling in the previous Warrior Games and I have taken quite a liking to it. It's not just a physical challenge but a mental grind too; it opens up another spectrum of what your body can do and what your mind can do."

The time trials event, which was introduced at last year's Warrior Games, begins with a standing start and athletes compete against the clock to complete a set distance in the fastest time.

"I got the silver medal in the cycling time trials last year, and a gold in the road race, this time I'm going for all gold," said Garlic.

This year's cycling competition includes hand, recumbent, upright and tandem bicycles. Competition events are time trials and road races. The road race distances are 10 km, 20 km, and 30 km based on the type of bicycle and each athlete's classification. Athlete classifications are based on the type of bicycle used, as well each athlete's ability. Teams are allowed six athletes from each gender for each competition classification.

"I'm in the cycling road race and the cycling time trails this year," said Spc. Stephanie Johnson. "I was told that cycling was something I could not do. Whenever people tell me I can't do something, that pushes me even harder to succeed. Together, everyone here pushes each other in a positive way, coming together as one, that's what is so amazing about the Warrior Games"

The cycling competition also includes tandem cycling. Tandem cycling allows service members and veterans with visual impairments to compete in the cycling events. It requires two cyclists on one bicycle. The bicycle is specially designed with two seats and two sets of pedals. Only the front cyclist can turn the bike. Visually impaired cyclists ride tandem. This adaptive approach to the sport allows even more inclusion into the competition.

The cycling time trials competition will take place Sunday, June 23, from 8a.m.-12p.m. and the cycling road races on Wednesday, June 26, from 8a.m.-6p.m. as a part of the 2019 DoD Warrior Games which will run from June 21-30 in Tampa Bay, Florida. The athletes participating in the competition are comprised of wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans representing the United States Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Special Operations Command. Athletes from the United Kingdom Armed Forces, Australian Defence Force, Canadian Armed Forces, Royal Armed Forces of the Netherlands, and the Danish Armed Forces are also competing in this year's DoD Warrior Games.

For more information about the 2019 DoD Warrior Games visit: https://dodwarriorgames.com