By Jessica Kunzer \ May 27 2009 \ 0 Comments
Chris Waddell, the most decorated male skier in Paralympic history, has set another world record. Waddell just returned from a groundbreaking trip to Southern Utah’s popular White Rim trail. Waddell used a handcycle to propel himself across 103 miles of dirt road in less than three days. The previous record was six days.
“It is a huge deal,” explains Waddell. “What this means to me on a social level is that I can do this on my own. That feasibly I could go on this type of a ride and keep up with able-bodied friends on mountain bikes.”
Waddell spent three days peddling himself through the dirt and sand roads of the White Rim Trail. The last and most difficult leg of the trek requires a 1500-foot climb and a 12- mile uphill ride back to base.
Waddell’s determination, spirit and strength are an inspiration to many. “Never have I seen someone put their head down and dig so deep from within,” comments Dave Penny, Waddell’s trainer and coach. Waddell’s next and most challenging expedition is set for the fall of 2009 in Africa. This is where he plans to summit the 19,340-foot Mt. Kilimanjaro. If successful, he will become the first paraplegic to summit the tallest free-standing mountain, unassisted.
Waddell, who was involved in a skiing accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down, was determined to get back on the slopes. He mastered the monoski and spent 11 years on the U.S. Disabled Ski Team where he won 12 Paralympic medals over four years. The Kilimanjaro climb is just one facet of Waddell’s new concept called One Revolution (www.one-revolution.com). While in Africa, Waddell and his team will be donating handcycles to disabled individuals in Tanzania.
The purpose of One Revolution is to change preconceived notions about the disabled community. “One Revolution means so many things to me,” says Waddell. “One revolution of the handcycle, one revolution to change the way people see the disabled community and one revolution of the globe, which symbolizes steady, fundamental change.”
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