On their way to gold…(Photo: David Fitzgerald-Sportsfile)

I only can say wow…what a performance of the golden pair of Tandem Cycling…leading the race from lap 1, taking more time in laps 2-3 and catching the runners-up from Britain at the final meters of the race…a hairy moment as well in the last lap when 2 tandems, a tri-cycle, and a media motorbike nearly collided…luckily a crash was avoided due to the skills of the Paralympics Champions (see photo below) They did the 32km in a time of 47:32:07 one minute ahead of Britain’s Lora Fachie and Corrine Hall. A sportive reverse of the result at the track last week, when the Brits took gold in the 3km pursuit! Sweden took the bronze medal.

Poor photo quality, as it was taken from my TV

And Team Ireland got already a bronze medal earlier this morning!! CI reported…”Gary O’Reilly took his medal in the Hand Cycling TT (C5) The Portlaoise hand-cyclist set 39:36.46 to take third place in a hard-fought event around the famous motor racing circuit in the rolling foothills below Mount Fuji. Dutch rider Mitch Valize took the win with 38:12.94 while French rider 39:15.16 took silver. It was a difficult race with the early stages of the Time Trial seeing Gary lose time as the splits came in but he worked through each pedal revolution and clawed back onto the podium as the kilometers ticked by to give Ireland its second medal”  

Gary taking the bronze (Photo: David Fitzgerald-Sportsfile)

The sacrifices of the athletes are a constant theme here at the Paralympic Games in Japan and Gary explained how that has affected him.
“As my friends all know, I don’t get to spend as much time with them – like when they’re going out for a pint. You don’t get to go out so you spend a lot of time in the room at home alone on a turbo trainer for four or five hours on turbo trainer. It is all worth it on a day like today,” he said. Gary will line out in the road race tomorrow morning and he is anxious to recover as he pursues his second medal of the Games.

Photo of Gary celebrating his medal from the CI website

In sweltering heat and high humidity, Richael rode her first road event in the Games against the best in the world. She lined out in the Women’s C1-C3 Time Trial over two laps of the Fuji International Speedway over a total distance of 16 kilometers. The brave Roscommon rider worked hard and set a time of 30:55.24 on the road, leaving her in 14th place. The medals were taken by Keiko Sugiura of Japan with 25:55.79, silver by Anna Beck from Sweden with 26:18.03, and bronze for Australian athlete Paige Greco with a time of 26:37.54. Richael spoke of the immense difficulty out on the course and the challenge of riding safely. “It was really hard to be honest. I found it so tough, not even the hilly parts but the technical parts. For me my right side is so much weaker, so when I’m going I kind of, not panic, but I went to use my right hand in the race the way I used to use it to and it caused a bit of a slip. I had to slow down a bit in the bends, just be cautious going into them to keep upright. It is the hardest TT I have ever done. I pushed so hard today, and that’s what I wanted to do – just leave it all out there – I feel like I did that. I looked down at one point and my heart rate was 200 – I went as hard as I could. I didn’t come here to get a medal, but gain as much experience as I could. Two years ago I wouldn’t be able to do this – so I’m happy to be here and competing,” she said. Richael said the Paralympic Games have been a huge learning experience for her and said it will feed back into her performances in the future (report courtesy of CI)

(Photo: David Fitzgerald-Sportsfile)