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U.S. Paralympic Cyclists - Eric's description
Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Sighted pilot, Eric DeGolier, has put together a brief description of our team members on his website.  It serves as a "who's who" for his readers.  He has biographical sketch information and his own personal observations and anecdotes of each of us. 

While you can also review the standard bios of our team at, here is Eric's lighter version of the same thing.


The Players

This is a list of the people competing in Athens on the Paralympic Cycling team.  Im sure theyll all pop up in my stories sooner or later so Im going to describe them all here first.  Its hard to describe someone in a couple of paragraphs, but Ill do my best.

Al Machini Classified as a CP4, Al has cerebral palsy, which has severely limited the growth of the muscles on one side of his body.  Al works as an engineer, which makes him inherently cool.  Al is my brother, or so we were told at processing.  We are currently working on making up a believable story about our childhood. 

Al has been a competitive cyclist for more than 10 years, but only started competing in Paralympic events starting in 1999. His events are the road race, time trial, kilo, and pursuit.

Alessandro Alessandro is in the handcycle C category.  He has had both legs amputated and rides a handcycle that he designed and created himself.  The guy puts Matt and I to shame on the road daily.  At the last camp we had a 10 minute time trial to do and Matt and I, two big guys on a tandem, just barely beat Alessandro on his handcycle. 

Alessandros story is pretty crazy, so Im going to tell it here.  He moved from Mexico to the U.S. in 79.  In the early 80s he met the first real love of his life and was blissfully happy until she left him 6 or 7 months later.  Deeply depressed, he tried to kill himself by driving his car in front of a train.  After surviving the impact he found himself trapped in his crushed car.  The paramedics were left with no choice but to amputate his legs on-site, while he was still conscious. 

Since then Alessandro has become a mechanic and a welder in California, completed two years of a biology degree before deciding it wasnt his cup of tea, and of course, made himself into one of the best handcyclists in the world.

This is the first year handcycles will compete in the Paralympics and all the handcyclists will compete in both a road race and a time trial.

Allison Jones Allison is an above the knee amputee from Colorado Springs.  Well, OK shes not an amputee, she was born that way, so thats called congenital.  Shes one of the youngsters on the team, and will be starting her third year of college while we are in Athens.  Clearly one of the more intelligent people on the team, she is studying to be a mechanical engineer.  In fact, Ill be tutoring her in Fluid Mechanics, Mechanics of Materials, and several other courses while we are in Greece. 

Allisons first love is downhill skiing, the sport that got her to her first Paralympics, in Salt Lake City.  Allison will be competing in the kilometer time trial, road race, and time trial.

Andrezj Bek Sprint coach for both the Olympic and Paralympic sprint teams.  We started working with Andrezj right after the Olympics ended.  He has a reputation for being a very tough coach, and more than one athlete has left his program for that reason.  However, in the short time Ive worked with him Ive found him to be an excellent coach who doesnt expect anything more than for you to give 100% every time you get on the track. Since thats what I expect as well I think well get along just fine. 

I believe Andrezj is Polish, and he still talks with a thick accent. 

Barb Buchan (Babs) Classified as a CP3, Barb suffered a severe injury while competing in the World Championship Qualifiers in 1982.  She took the worst of a 24 woman pile-up.  Until then she was an Olympic hopeful for the 84 team.    Instead of going to the Olympics in Los Angeles she spent two months in a coma, fighting for her life.  She eventually recovered but now sufferers from seizures and she takes the title of The Only Person I Know With A Worse Short Term Memory Than Me.   Yet somehow she can still remember the names of everyone she meets, so maybe shes still one step ahead of me.

Barb owns at least one world record right now and is a favorite for several medals in Athens.  She will be competing in the kilometer time trial, pursuit, road race, and time trial.

Bernard Bernard will be our head mechanic once we get to Athens.  He is the national team mechanic for the track, so he has years of experience working on track bikes.

Brad Cobb Brad is an above the knee amputee from Oklahoma.  In the sporting world he owns the U.S. record in the kilometer time trial for his division.  In the real world hes an optometrist and small business owner.  Watching Brad start a kilo is truly one of the most amazing things I have seen in sport, and I know a lot of my teammates feel the same way.  With only one leg, Brad gets off the line like a wet cat out of a bathtub.  He used to let out a blood curdling yell while he was doing it, but the coaches seemed to think that was counterproductive.  If my vote counts for anything, I think he should do it again in Athens.  It would positively wake the dead in a small indoor velodrome like well be in.

Athens will be Brads second Paralympics.  Hell be focusing on the kilometer time trial, and competing in the road time trial as well.

Craig Griffen Craig is our head coach.  He is a New Zealander and still retains a good bit of the accent.  He tries to be strict with us but hes really just a big softie.  Mainly an endurance coach, he took charge of the training for us sprinters between the June camp and the start of the August camp.

Dan Nicholson Dan is classified as a CP3 And suffers from Cerebral Palsy.  Dan got married just this summer and bought a house.  On top of the stress of competing at the world level, Dan is also trying to cope with the fact that his house was just flooded to the roof and his car floated downstream. He wont even be able to see it until Sept 30th, when we get home.  Amazingly, Dan has been able to keep all of that on the side and still be in good spirits. 

Dan will be competing in the kilometer time trial, pursuit, team sprint, road race, and time trial

Glen Bunzelmeyer (G.Bunz) Glen is a tandem pilot from Seattle.  He owns some obnoxious amount of masters national champion titles, like 36 I think. Glen has been piloting tandems for years.  He likes to walk around in camouflage clothing, especially his custom made, blaze orange and green, polar fleece shorts.  He will be piloting Jason Bryn as they compete in the road race, time trial, and pursuit.

Greg Greg is classified as a handcycle B.  Greg and Jim are partners in crime, and if there are any new ladies on campus you can be sure Greg knows about them.  Greg is from Philadelphia, and is currently the national champion in his division.

This is the first year hand cycles will compete in the Paralympics and all the handcyclists will compete in both a road race and a time trial.

Jason Bryn Classified as a B2, Jason has limited sight that gets him around pretty well during the day, though he is just as blind as Matt once it gets dark.  Jason is a lawyer from Tucson, Arizona who specializes in defending the rights of disabled people.  Hes just a little shorter than the Sears Tower (68), and together with Glenn, hes able to make a tandem go faster on the road than I have ever seen a bike move before.  Its not uncommon to be glued to their wheel rolling at 40 mph on a slight downgrade.  You can find out more about him at

Jason will be competing in the road race, time trial, and pursuit

Jessica Lehman Jessica is a PhD in sports med, and she is our sougnier from now through Athens.  For the most part this means massages and stretching but she also makes sure we stay hydrated and fed.  Basically anything to ensure that were in top physical condition at all times.

Jim Jim is classified as a handcycle C.  Together with Greg, Jim has probably met everyone on campus, especially the ladies.  Always in a good mood, Jim is the kind of guy that never forgets a joke, and never hesitates to recite an off-color one, regardless of who may be listening.  One of my favorite moments from this camp was when I realized the shirt Jim was wearing that said FLAMMABLE was actually a modified shirt with the old Paralympics slogan I AM ABLE on it. 

This is the first year handcycles will compete in the Paralympics and all the handcyclists will compete in both a road race and a time trial.

Jim Lehman Assistant coach to Craig, Jim helps mainly with the road cyclists.  I dont know much about his background but I believe he was a top road cyclist before he started coaching.

Julie Julie is a sougnier. She was with us briefly in June, again for most of the August camp, and she will join us in Athens.  Im pretty sure Julie gives great massages, but Ill never really know for sure because I tend to fall asleep almost immediately, and when I wake up its a half hour later and I am drooling on myself.

Karissa Whitsell (Spooge) Karissa is classified as a B3, making her the best sited of the blind athletes on our team.  She is planning on attending massage school when she gets back from Athens and would like to eventually own her own spa. 

At the World Championships Karissa and her pilot Katie set several world records in the sprint, kilometer time trial, and pursuit.  Two of those records were taken by the Aussies recently so the girls are anxious to reclaim their records. This is Karissa's second Paralympic Games at the 2000 Sydney Paralympics she set a world record in the pursuit with Spencer Yates piloting.  

Katie Katie is a tandem pilot from Colorado Springs.  She also works as a coach for CTS, the coaching company that coaches our team, and Lance Armstrong, among other people.  Katie is a former member of the national team.  She will be piloting Karissa when they compete in the match sprints, kilometer time trial, pursuit, road race, and time trial.

Mark Legg (Kiwi) Pronounced Mah-k, Kiwi is a New Zealander who has been a national team mechanic for a while.  Hes just with us for the August camp but hes been a great help as we all make the final changes and upgrades to our bikes. 

Paul Martin Paul is a below the knee amputee whos main sport is triathlon.  Since triathlon isnt a Paralympic sport, Paul chose to qualify on his cycling strengths. 

Paul lives in Denver and will be starting law school after we get back from the Games.  I dont know the full story of how Paul lost his leg but I know it involves some jail time and it was a turning point in his life.  Get the full story by going down to your local bookstore and picking up a copy of his book One Mans Leg.

Paul will be competing in the road race, time trial, pursuit, and team sprint events

Ron Williams Ron.  Where do I start with Ron?  Ron is a below the knee amp.  Hes from Birmingham, AL, and he has the accent to prove it.  Ron lost his leg to bone cancer 15 years ago, then proceeded to establish himself on the waterskiing scene, where he still owns two world records.  After moving to Birmingham he took up cycling, quickly making his way to the top there as well.  A born salesman, Ron is also an action kind of guy who gets things done.  Wired with all the toys, Ron manages to train, hold down a job, and still be just sort of hanging out whenever I see him.  If anyone is going to be in the TV room its going to be Ron, but you can bet hell be on his cell phone or checking e-mails on his Blackberry.  Ron was a featured athlete for a series OLN aired in July, during the Tour de France, and hes featured on the cover of a magazine in his hometown this month.  You can find out more about him at

Ron will be competing in the pursuit, team sprint, road race, and time trial.

Seth Seth is classified as a handcycle A.  He is like Rambo in a wheelchair.  Though he may be paralyzed from the waist down, there isnt a muscle in his upper body that isnt just pumped.

 Seth is a former Army guy.  He was involved in a motorcycle accident shortly after he was discharged from the military.  Paralyzed from the waist down, Seth took up handcycling, winning his first race in record time.  That resulted in a sponsorship by a handcycle company, a year of training in Florida, and now, the Paralympics.  After the Games Seth plans to attend college for fabricating and industrial design.

 This is the first year handcycles will compete in the Paralympics and all the handcyclists will compete in both a road race and a time trial.

 Steve Donovan Our main mechanic, Steve has been with us for every camp this year.  He works at the Turin bike shop in Denver when hes not wrenching for us, and his twenty years of experience is a big help for the team.  Every day he sees not only regular bikes but also custom weird things like track tandems and handcycles, and if theres not a conventional fix, Steve will dream up something else to make sure our rigs get back on the road ASAP.

 Stu Flacks Stu is classified as a CP3 and he suffered severe head trauma like Barb.  He broke just about every other bone in his body during the same accident.  Stu rides a trike for extra stability and he is definitely one of the rock stars on the team.  He is favored to win the road race and time trial in Athens.

Wendy Wendy is the newest addition to our sougniers. At least from my perspective.  She worked with the team last year when they went to Czechoslovakia, but she joined us only for the last week of our August camp, and will be with us in Athens as well.



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updated 09/17/2004
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US Paralympics

US Paralympics