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Joey Desjardins, who recently placed in the top 15 at the Paracycling World Championships in South Africa, is seen here sporting one of his Team Desjardins t-shirts beside his road bike. (Submitted Photo)

Local paracyclist rides to top 15 finish at world championships

Big wheels keep on turning for local athlete Joey Desjardins.

The hand-cyclist competed at the Paracycling World Championships in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa at the end of August, where he placed 14th in both the road race and the time trial.

Desjardins says the results are a reassurance that he can compete with the top competitors in the world.

“To get top 15 against the best in the world feels great. It’s my first world championship, so I’ll learn from it and improve for next time.”

These most recent results come after Desjardins travelled to Emmen, Netherlands for the Paracycling World Cup back in July, where he placed eighth in the time trial and 14th in the road race.

The completion of the world championships marks the end of the 2017 race season. After his last race, Desjardins took a two-week-long break to “reboot the system”. That might not sound like a long time to be away, but Desjardins says he could definitely feel the effects when he got back on the bike.

“Studies say you can lose up to 7 per cent of your output after only a week off. When I went out the first time after the break I pushed hard—probably too hard. By the halfway point I was dead. It’s coming back though now,” he explains with a laugh.

Desjardins says he has been taking advantage of the uncharacteristically warm September weather to get in some extra road training before the off-season.

Community contributions

To help cover trip expenses, Desjardins has been selling “Desjardins Racing Team” t-shirts at local establishments and out of his own home. So far, he and his wife have sold exactly 567 t-shirts—Joey has the number memorized.

In addition to the t-shirt sales, Desjardins also received $200 in funding from Champlain Township, after he wrote a letter to their offices explaining the costs involved with his trip. Desjardins says he couldn’t be more grateful for all the support he’s received from the community.

“This community is friggin’ amazing. Everyone has been really supportive and I appreciate that.”

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