This weekend, Huntsville will be the epicenter of intense cycling competition, as the The U.S. Paralympics Cycling Open arrives April 8-10, 2022 at Cummings Research Park and downtown Huntsville. This is the second year that the U.S. Paralympics cycling event has taken place in Huntsville.
The three-day event is free for anyone to attend and watch.
What spectators can expect at the U.S. Paralympics Cycling Open
Cyclists in the race will use a variety of cycle styles, and within each category there are classifications based on the athletes’ challenges. (Gregg Gelmis / We Run Huntsville)
The competition features a broad spectrum of cycle style, and within each category there are classifications based on the athletes’ challenges. Among the cycles:
- Handcycles, using arm or arm trunk power while in a recumbent position, and another classification in which the athletes are kneeling.
- Tricycles, for athletes who have balance issues or other restrictions.
- Tandem cycling, with an able-bodied pilot in front, and a “stoker” in the back who is visually impaired.
- Traditional two-wheeled cycles.
Saturday races will be time-trials, beginning at 9AM and lasting until approximately 3:30PM with athletes starting at designated increments. So there will be a constant flow of racers in front of you.
Sunday’s action begins at 12PM, racing on a 12.1K course. The start-finish line is at Columbia High School.
Where and when to watch the races
The first event begins at Big Spring Park Friday at 6PM. But the three days are full of more competition throughout the city. Here are the course maps.
The weekend competition schedule looks like this:
Friday: The handcycle relay race will take place around Big Spring Park in downtown Huntsville at 6PM. Racers will do three laps from Monroe Street and Clinton Avenue to Church Street and Williams Avenue.
Saturday / Sunday: Racing starts at 9AM on Saturday and at 12PM. Sunday.
Saturday will include the time-trial races, with a 15K lap around Cummings Research Park, then a path through the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, and up and around the McMillian Park Double Helix Trail. The start-finish line is at Columbia High School.
Road races will take place on Sunday, on a 12.1-kilometer course, with races lasting anywhere from two to seven laps, depending upon the category.
Make a day out of it, bring a picnic and watch some fabulous competition
You do not have to be a fan of cycling to enjoy this event. This is a chance to be outdoors in Huntsville and witness competition at its highest level and to watch extraordinary athletes do some pretty extraordinary things.
“Seeing people who were dealt bad hands and just deal with it. Seeing it in person and having that personal experience of triumph can change minds across the world. I definitely feel like people should come watch, to cheer us on, to see strength and see adversity and see perseverance. And we love having fans!”Samantha Bosco, two-time bronze medal winner in the 2016 Paralympic Games.
Spectators can bring a cooler and camp chairs and a blanket, and watch from any of a number of spots on the perimeter of Explorer Boulevard — no crossing the road to watch from inside the track – and you should be weather-prepared. Check the forecast before you leave the house. And in case you wondered, there will be plenty of portable restrooms available along the course.
Parking is available at Columbia High School. You’ll have to access this throughout the day via Farrow Road and Slaughter Road. Many of the Cummings Research Park companies on the exterior of the course are providing complimentary parking, including:
- Collins Aerospace
- ASRC Federal/Aviagen/Yorktown Systems Group
- Bridge Street Town Centre
- Delta Research
- Kord Technologies
- Lakeside Office Center
- Quantum Research
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