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On Saturday, 09.07.2016, Matthias Schindler started as the first Paracycling Athlete on Track A of the Salzkammergut Trophy in Austria. Schindler is suffering from an incomplete paraplegia since having a tumour surgically removed from his spinal canal. He is a competitive cyclist in the handicapped Sport “Paracycling“. Track A in Bad Goisern is one of the toughest Mountain Bike Marathons in the world with 211km length and 7119m height.
Supported by his sponsors and suppliers Schindler already started to prepare himself for this event some time ago. It was his goal to finish Track A within the time limit. This had never been attempted by a handicapped cyclist before. Frequently up to 50% of the Starters at the Salzkammergut Trophy fail because of the time limits during the race.
In June, Schindler already spent one week of training in Bad Goisern, to get to know and check out the whole Track A. During this time he realised, how hard this race was going to be and that he wouldn’t be able to ride parts of the downhill sections due to his handicap. He also had trouble because of the uphill sections with inclines of up to 30 degrees.
Last Saturday, the race started at 5am in Bad Goisern. During this time Schindler was accompanied by a friend and supported by his wife at Assistant Points. It was raining the first six hours of the race. This made the track conditions more difficult and the race even tougher. Schindler was wearing Sealskinz “Full Finger Summer Cycle Gloves” and luckily the waterproof “Thin Ankle Length Socks”. Schindler had to get off his bike and push it downhill more times than planned. He could balance this with a higher speed at the uphill and flat sections. As the rain stopped, he changed his dirty gloves at an Assistant Point to new Sealskinz “Fingerless Summer Cycle Gloves”. After ten hours of racing Schindler got some problems. Because of his irregular cycling, due to his handicap, his knees started to hurt so much, that he was unable to walk the tough uphills. Furthermore he got digestive problems.
In agony Schindler fought his way through the race, crossed the last mountains and turned into the home straight after 15 hours. He crossed the finish line, completely exhausted, after 15:03 hours as the first handicapped cyclist in the history of the Salzkammergut Trophy in Bad Goisern. This special moment for him can`t be described. His dream to finish Track A already existed before his disability and due to this it seemed out of reach. In this race only 515 out of 719 competitors reached the finish line in Bad Goisern. Many failed because of the time limit. It sure will take some time for him to assimilate this race. He finished on place 328, but this placement is absolutely not important to him.