Aug 11, 2017

USABA Tandem Team to Climb America’s Mountain

Kevin Meyers and his pilot, Greg Miller, will pedal their tandem to the top of Pikes Peak, America’s Mountain, this weekend in Colorado Springs as part of the 2nd annual USA Cycling Hill Climb National Championship.

The tandem team met in 2008 at a Learn to Race Cycling Camp hosted by U.S. Association of Blind Athletes. Meyers and Miller raced together and were even part of the National Team talent pool until 2010. Due to personal obligations, Miller was unable to devote the time needed for training and racing with Meyers. Meyers found other pilots but the two have stayed in touch ever since.

“This will be our first national championship event since 2010,” Miller told USABA. “We’re excited!”

Meyers and Miller will mount their tandem at 9,390 feet and ride 12.42 miles at an average grade of 7% gaining 4,725 feet to cross the finish line. Last year, Miller piloted the first tandem to the top of Pikes Peak with Paralympian Clark Rachfal.

“I had a great time racing Pikes Peak with Clark, and love riding in CO,” said Miller. “So it was an easy answer when Kevin brought up the subject while he was staying with us in Knoxville, racing in the Tennessee Paracycling Open in May.”

The two have been training separately, Miller in Tennessee and Meyers in Wisconsin, but Miller has been able to help Meyers prepare by sharing insight from his experience with Rachfal last year.

“I learned to take it easy in the first half of the race,” said Miller. “Because the road gets steadily steeper and of course, the air is thinner. The main lesson was that I learned I could drive a tandem at 14,000 feet, which was not anywhere near a given, since I live at 990 feet above sea level.”

Miller trained on gravel climbs in Tennessee with his wife on their mountain bike tandem.

“We have a two-hour ascent on rough abandoned jeep track which is very similar, effort-wise, to the ascent of Pikes.”

Though Miller is now familiar with what to expect, weather is an unknown – as is Meyers’ adjustment to high altitude. Overall though, the team is looking forward to the challenge.

“This is truly an adventure, with the outcome unknown,” said Miller. “I'm excited to ride with my old friend again, and take on a new challenge with him!”

Aug 09, 2017

Students Awarded 2017 USABA Scholarships

Each year, thanks to the generosity of the I C You Foundation and Arthur & Helen Copeland, USABA offers scholarships to members who exhibit exceptional drive in athletic achievement and educational endeavors. We are proud to present the I C You Foundation Valor Achievement Award to Charles “Chaz” Davis (Grafton, Mass.) and the Arthur E. & Helen Copeland scholarship to Vanessa Coleman (Lakeland, Fla.).

Charles “Chaz” Davis (Grafton, Mass.) lost his vision suddenly to Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON) at 19 years old. He was a freshman at the University of Hartford. “I thought my life as I knew it was over,” Davis told USABA. One of his biggest concerns was would he ever be able to run again. “I’d spent my high school years running,” said Davis. “Cross country, track, community races, fundraising runs. I loved the freedom, competition and stress relief running provided me.” He gained weight and dealt with some depression following the diagnosis. When he stepped out and tried running again, he aimed for running at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. He qualified for the Games at Trials in the summer of 2016 and competed in the 1500m and 5000m races in Rio. That winter, Davis won the USABA Marathon National Championships at the California International Marathon and set a new American record. He moved to Denver in 2017 to attend the Colorado Center for the Blind and will begin pursuing a Master’s degree in social work beginning this September at the University of Denver. “My long-term goal is to help others with similar challenges find meaning through their own passions, in the process, getting their life back.” Davis is the recipient of this year’s I C You Foundation Valor Achievement Award Scholarship.

Vanessa Coleman (Lakeland, Fla.) began losing her sight at 9 years old due to Stargardts (or Juvenile Macular Degeneration). Coleman began playing goalball at the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind (FSDB) where she competed with the girls’ goalball team for six years. During that time, Coleman was awarded a spot on the All-American team five years in a row and was named Most Valuable Player at the 2016 Youth National Tournament. She was also recently awarded Athlete of the Year by FSDB and St. Johns County/St. Augustine. Coleman represented the U.S. at the IBSA Youth Goalball World Championships this summer in Budapest. “Goalball is not just a sport or recreational activity to me,” Coleman told USABA. “Goalball is a way to express myself and a career I’d like to pursue. Goalball has taught me how to communicate with others, stay focused and the true meaning of commitment.” This Fall, Coleman will be attending SUNY Broome Community College where she will begin courses in their Early Childhood program. She aspires to be a teacher of the visually impaired and coach goalball after graduating. Coleman is receiving this year’s Arthur & Helen Copeland Scholarship.

Congratulations to this year’s USABA scholarship winners! We’re proud of their accomplishments and excited to be part of their athletic and academic journeys.

To learn more about USABA scholarship opportunities, click here.

Aug 02, 2017

2017-2018 Women’s National Residential Goalball Program Announcement

TO:      ALL U.S. Goalball Women’s National Team, Talent Pool, Emerging and Military Athletes
From:  Mark Lucas, Executive Director
Date:   August 2, 2017            
Re:      2017-2018 Women’s National Residential Goalball Program Announcement

The United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) operates a long-term women’s residential goalball program in partnership with Turnstone in Fort Wayne, Indiana. This comprehensive program provides the opportunity to enhance playing skills through participation in a training program geared to individual athlete needs, with the objective of developing athletes for future world championship or Paralympic teams.  Training will generally include 5 days of court time per week and a rigorous in-and-out of season individual strength and conditioning training plan.

Accepted athletes who desire to apply to enter the Resident Program must commit to the full Resident Program period. Natural break periods will be built into the Resident Program training cycles, but athletes should be prepared to commit to living and training in the program as indicated in the below listing of important tentative dates.

• October 1, 2017:  Start of 10 week cycle #1
• November 19 - January 6: Holiday Break and Pan Am Games
• January 7, 2018: Start of 10 week cycle #2
• March 18 – March 31 Spring Break
• April 1, 2018: Start of 8 week cycle #3 (Pre-Worlds Prep)

Athletes accepted to the Resident Program will be eligible to receive the following benefits:
• Residence in a housing facility which includes furnishings, appliances, internet and utilities
• Weekday lunch meal support
• Goalball facility use
• Access to strength and conditioning resources
• Day-to-day training led by the coaching staff
• Athletic trainer support

• Be a current U.S. Citizen who is eligible to obtain a US passport
• Have completed High School or earned an equivalent degree
• Be at least 18 years of age
• Must be able to classify as a B1, B2 or B3 athlete
• Be willing to submit to a complete health profile coordinated by USOC Sports Medicine including thorough medical history and comprehensive physical examination
• Athletes will be expected to work in a paid or volunteer status a minimum of 8 hours a week or be actively taking a college, university or vocational training course while in the resident program

• Space availability
• Athlete’s current “home” training environment and competition activity
• Potential for the athlete to make the 2018 World Goalball Championships and 2020 Paralympic Games
• Impact of the goalball Resident Program on the athlete’s goalball potential
• Athlete’s desire and willingness to commit fully to training in the Resident Program

All interested candidates must submit a sports resume and one page cover letter and send to USABA High Performance Director John Potts to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) by August 21, 2017.  Acceptance to the Resident Program will be at the sole discretion of USABA staff and men’s national coaches. Prior to entry into the program, selected athletes will be expected to sign a contract that covers their enrollment period in the residency program and they will be expected to make a $100 refundable damage deposit.  All positions in the Resident Program may not necessarily be filled. 

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