Two-time Paralympic champion wins in front of home crowd
When the US Para-Cycling Track World Championship team was revealed just seven weeks before the competition, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling rider Shawn Morelli suddenly had a new goal on the horizon: to defend her rainbow jersey in the C4 individual pursuit.
Coming fresh off of two Paralympic gold medals in Rio, the 40-year-old Army veteran could no longer ease into the 2017 season as previously planned. After learning she was on the roster, Morelli immediately left to LA to prepare on the Carson track for the next six weeks.
“It was definitely a crash course,” she said. “After Rio, I didn’t have anything on my calendar until road season started. I took some time off and wasn’t concerned about training because my first major race was in April.”
Of course, all that changed after the announcement. Morelli had to rearrange her training to get ready in a relatively short amount of time.
“After I was selected for Worlds, I stopped base training and went directly into VO2 type training again.”
For Morelli, a typical training day went like this: an hour warm-up on the road bike, then three hours of specific track training. After her track time was over, Morelli would cool down for another hour, load her car up and drive back to her LA residence to recover. Along with track training, she also hit the gym every other day to do a variation of core and strength work.
“During that period I never went home,” said Morelli, who lives in Colorado with her husband.
Competing at the Para-cycling World Championships level wasn’t new to Morelli. However this time around, things were a little different for the defending champion. Her friends and coaches were sitting in the stands, including her family, who flew from Pennsylvania to cheer her on.
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