Alex Brooke-Turner put in an exceptional ride to take 10th place in the MH4 (handcycles) category in the World Championships in Scotland, on a 17km course in Dumfries.
A big achievement in its own right, the race is also an important marker in Alex’s preparation for next year’s Paralympics. Here is a video of Alex crossing the finishing line, and below that is Alex’s account of the big day.
This was my second paracycling World Championships, and first since 2021. For anyone who doesn’t know me, I ride a handcycle on the British Cycling team. I broke my back falling off a bicycle in 2011, trying to cycle from London to Croatia. In 2013 after finishing my degree I bought a handcycle and finished the trip, cycling from Belgium to Croatia. My first contact with Dulwich was in 2013, where I’d go on the beginner club rides to try and prepare me for that trip.
This year’s Worlds was the first ‘Super Worlds’. With all forms of cycling gathered to celebrate cycling. Ranging from road, track, mtb, cx, paracycling, to less well known events such a freestyle, downhill, to the slightly more obscure of cycleball and artistic cycling.
For staff, it is basically a dry run for an Olympics / Paralympics – only with many more bikes as you don’t have the same limit as to how many riders you can take. The result of this was the mechanics having to get hundreds of bikes ready in the three weeks leading up to the event.
Usually an Olympics would come a few weeks before a Paralympics, whereas here they were integrated. Resulting in staff at full capacity and all hands on deck.
Thankfully it all turned out flawlessly. My time trial and road races were in Dumfries. So away from the hustle and bustle of Glasgow. But they were sandwiched between the Men’s Road Race and Women’s Road Race the following week. This meant we (the para riders) got a lot more media attention than we were used to.
I came 10th in my TT, and 13th in my RR. To finish off the Para Championships I took part in the relay which preceded the Women’s RR in Glasgow. We came 6th in this, with me being part of a three person GB team for the race.
The experience of both racing and watching was unforgettable. I’ve raced all around the World, and the last time we (paracycling) have had anything close to this was for Harrogate in 2019. But that was just a one-day standalone event, piggy backing on the World Championships. This was a weeklong event.
We all had follow motos in the TT. There was a fanzone with a big screen and food and beer stalls. We had crowds of people.
Usually we are lucky to get an intermittent start finish line stream on Youtube, but here we had full coverage of all the racing, which we could watch back on Iplayer if we wanted.
It was a very special event to be part of, and one I won’t forget. I am already looking forward to the next ‘Super Worlds’ in France in 2027.