April 18, 2011
Here are a few interesting stories that I've run across lately: a blind solo cyclist, a blind waterskier setting a sighted world record, and a blind runner training solo for an ultramarathon.
I've done a lot of bike riding over the years, including a ride across America, a ride across Vietnam, and the infamous Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike race. But it's always been on a tandem with a sighted pilot. Matt Gilman is a 30-year-old guy who started losing his vision about 8 years ago due to Type 1 diabetes. He's blind in one eye and nearly blind in the other. And he's an amazing trials rider who does mind-blowing tricks—solo! I'm impressed and think you will be too. I'm also jealous of his bike mechanic skills, which is something I need to work on myself. Check out his web site, BlindBikeTrials.com, where there are several more videos of Matt in action.
Steve Thiele has been blind since he fell from a tree at age 8 and damaged his optic nerve. Now 45-years-old, he just set the waterskiing world record for time/distance. Ironically, though he is completely blind, Guinness World Records made him wear a blindfold since they don't distinguish between able-bodied or disabled. The previous record was 20 miles and Steve managed to hold on for 23.85 miles. Talk about a brutal leg workout! In the process he raised over $3,000 for Cancer Research UK and nearly $700 for building schools in Ghana.
Simon Wheatcroft is a runner in Doncaster, England who lost his vision over a decade ago to retinitis pigmentosa. On June 24th, he will be competing in the Cotswold ULTRArace.100, which is a 100-mile ultramarathon on hilly roads in central England. What's really remarkable is he's doing all his training solo next to a busy road! This sounds terrifying and I'm told the video is scary to watch. You can follow his training on his blog at www.andadapt.com.
Thanks for reading and leave a comment here if you know of any other good inspirational stories about people taking on adversity!