By Griffin O’Hara Media Writer
SOFIA, Bulgaria - In a race that passed old monasteries and recent wrecks, American cyclist John Klish sped along a steep course that looped around Gornobanski Monastary on Lyulin Mountain, on his way to a second bronze in the men’s mountain biking cross-country event Thursday.
Klish trained on the peaks of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains to prepare for the men’s mountain biking event, new to the Deaflympics this year, and came in mentally prepared for a strenuous effort.
“Halfway through the first lap, I hit a wall,” Klish said. “It’s always like that. (You have to) keep going. You will regret it if you don’t.”
The course was difficult – a 5.6km loop with more than 300m of ascent and 300m of descent, which made the course particularly slow and treacherous. The men biked four laps for a total of 22.8km; the women biked two laps, or 11.4km.
The course was slower than average, Klish said, bringing down his usual speed from 14 miles per hour to 8.5.
Teammate Lindsay Lorenz also raced but crashed near the beginning of the first downhill section and soon after pulled out of the race with nasty scrapes and a dented helmet.
Lorenz was not alone.
The women’s event also claimed three other cyclists, guaranteeing the last three standing would medal.
The U.S. men’s cycling team competes in the 50km points race at 9 a.m. (2 a.m. ET) Friday at the Botanical Gardens in Sofia.
“To medal, I have to keep going until I’m in a wheelchair,” coach and cyclist Paul Wood said.