Alumna to compete in fourth Paralympics

As if one Paralympic gold medal isn’t enough, Allison Jones is on track to get another one — but this time in a different sport.

In 2006, Jones (BSME ’07) took home a gold medal as a skier. Now she’s racing for one as a cyclist.

Jones was born with a malformation of her right leg that left her without a femur. She will compete in Beijing Sept. 6–17 in three events: on the track (also known as the velodrome) in the 500-meter sprint and the 3-kilometer individual pursuit and on the road in the 24-kilometer individual time trial.

Jones explains that the 500-meter is a sprint while the pursuit is more of a paced event. The 24-kilometer time trial is what she calls an “all out on the road,” where pacing is needed while riding at 100 percent for 40 minutes.

But she’s not focusing on the games just yet. Right now, she’s only focusing on today.

“I’m worried about getting everything done before I show up, going into it completely satisfied and happy with what I’ve done,” she says. “It’s not about three weeks from now, it’s about today.”

And every day is a training day.

On rest days, Mondays and Thursdays, Jones doesn’t even walk around; she just relaxes.  “It’s what your body needs to recoup,” she says.

And the 13-member U.S. cycling team — who trains at the U.S. Olympic training center in Colorado Springs — definitely needs those days to recover.

A weekly training schedule may look something like this:
•    Tuesday, the team spends three hours cycling on the velodrome, working on strength before working out in the gym for an hour.
•    Wednesday, they ride for two hours at a steady rate, focusing on consistency and being able to control heart rate.
•    Friday is usually a repeat of Tuesday.
•    Saturdays and Sundays consist of longer rides, such as two to three hours of “power intervals” on the road — six minute periods of muscle focus —        followed by intense 30-second sprints, with two minutes to recover.

It’s Jones’ mindset that gets her through this grueling schedule: “I’ll still be alive tomorrow. Just because it feels bad right now doesn’t mean I can’t do it tomorrow … it’s not a life threatening exertion … each day I ride, it’ll help me out.”

But Jones is familiar with this type of thinking and lifestyle since she’s just as committed on the slopes as she is on a bike. Beijing will be her fourth Paralympic Games, but only her second time competing a cyclist.

“This all comes back to DU. Without DU, I wouldn’t be able to be where I am now,” she says. “DU gave me the option to do both [skiing and cycling] at the same time.”

[Editor’s note: This story was updated on Aug. 26 to correct a misspelling. We regret the error.]

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