Para-cyclist Kate Brim is a double world champion
Katie Brim on the podium after winning the women’s H2 time trial at the 2022 Para-cycling Road World Championships in Quebec City, Canada, August 11, 2022.
Kate Brim likes to climb hills.
Four competitions last week prove it.
Brim made her international debut at a UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup last week in Quebec City, Que., and won both events she entered.
On Thursday, on the opening day of the 2022 UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships in Baie-Comeau, Quebec, she won a gold medal in the women’s H2 time trial, sailing to victory by nearly four minutes.
That winning streak continued on Saturday morning when Brim claimed another world title, this time in the H2 road race.
“I’ve become a really good climber,” Brim said after a practice session on Friday. “Fortunately, that’s definitely what helped me (Thursday). I ended up just under 4 minutes behind my competitors.
So in her first four races since being named to the U.S. National Paralympic Cycling Team, she’s four out of four. It’s a great start for a 24-year-old hand cyclist who just a few months ago was without a trainer and was competing in road races with wheelchair lessons near her hometown of Lowell, western Michigan.
“Every race and every national race I’ve done in the para-cycling world, I just feel like I’m stuck in a little daydream,” she said. “It all seems so surreal. Just seeing the growth I’ve had over the past year has been an eye opener. It kind of confirmed to me that what I’ve set my sights on is the outcome I’m going to get.
Going into Saturday’s road race, Brim said she was still learning the nuances of this type of racing, where cyclists race together. In the time trial, each cyclist runs alone.
“I just want to be able to put in as good a performance as possible,” Brim said. “I’m still so new to understand, for example, how I have to place myself in the road race compared to my time trials. Right now, I hope to be able to keep my lap times at a very close and similar pace. Also, hopefully I can have a little better encounter when my competition gets drafted on me.
These are the little tricks this cyclist from the outskirts of Grand Rapids, Michigan has discovered on the world stage. Much like a NASCAR race in which drafting is a key strategy, the same sort of thing happens in a bicycle race. Drafting often leads to a spectacular sprint finish at the end of the race.
“They like to use you rather than a teamwork approach,” Brim said of opposing runners. “When I did the road race last week, I had to slow down my run because I knew she wasn’t going to try to pass me to continue the course without me. It was more like, she wanted to sprint to the finish.
And yet, Brim is undefeated in international races. Here’s a reason: Since qualifying for the US World Cup and World Championship teams with a strong performance at the US National Road Cycling Championships as the only H2 entrant, Brim has transformed her training sessions. training in his daily classroom.
Brim worked with four-time Olympic medalist in cycling Sarah Hammer-Kroening at the US Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She has established useful relationships with a number of para-athletes, including cyclists Clara Brown and John Terrell.
“They (Brown and Terrell) gave me such great insight,” Brim said. “First, what it takes to be able to compete at this level and also all the benefits that come with that. You create a little family when you join cycling teams.
Brim’s history with these athletic families dates back to Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids, where she rehabilitated after her spinal cord was damaged following two surgeries for a herniated disc. She joined the school’s wheelchair rugby and handcycling teams.
“The fact that I was able to, a, just be part of society and have a full-time job…and go to school and also be able to be involved in adaptive sports, it’s just amazing,” said she declared. “Seeing these accomplishments has given me such happiness to know that a better life is possible if you really put your mind to it.”
A graduate of Lowell High School, Brim is now taking online college classes at Southern New Hampshire University and working for Amazon as she plans to move to Colorado Springs to train. His parents made the trip to Canada for the World Cup and the World Championships.
The world is moving fast for Brim and now there can be a conversation about the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.
“I take it all one day at a time,” Brim said. “I’ve never been one to set long-term goals just because I’m a firm believer in living in the moment and soaking in whatever I can. I’m always going to work as hard as I can. as possible.
“Opportunities that come my way, I’m 100% open.”