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Greta Neimanas, Laura Sobchik aim for Paralympic Games

January 20, 2012 |  9:21 am


This post has been corrected. See note at the bottom for details.

The Olympics aren't the only games in London this summer. The Paralympic Games follow the Olympics in August, featuring disabled athletes from around the world competing in 20 different sports.

Two Southern California cyclists are among those hoping to go the distance. But first, Greta Neimanas of Cardiff and Laura Sobchik of Santa Monica have to do well at the World Track Cycling Championships Feb. 9-12 at the Home Depot Center Velodrome in Carson.

In the video above, Neimanas and Sobchik are training with Team USA for Track Worlds. They are riding fixed-gear bikes without brakes -- that's because if you tried braking on the Carson velodrome's 45-degree banked track, you'd slide off. You'll also slide off if you go too slow. But when you go fast, you can feel the G-force pushing you up track.

Both Neimanas and Sobchik ride time trials -- racing against the clock over fixed distances. A 500-meter race is two laps around the track, for example.

For Neimanas, who rides with a prosthetic arm, making it to London would mean coming full circle. She won an essay contest and a trip to the Athens Games in 2004. The first event she saw was track cycling.

"I thought people were absolutely nuts to race around the velodrome on a bike with no brakes and one gear and super-skinny tires and [at] 35, 40 miles an hour," she said. "And naturally I wanted to try it."

Track Worlds is free to the public.

[For the Record, 11:58 a.m. Jan. 20: An earlier version of this post said a 500-kilometer race is two laps around the track. It should have said a 500-meter race.]


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