Jul 24, 2001 5:57 PM
|Here's my pretty straight foward question.
Can you be a successful road racer with only one eye?
I was born blind in my left eye at birth so I don't know any different but I was worred about pack-dynamics etc in large races. I was thinking of aiming to be a TT-er. I've ridden bikes since I was 6 and haven't had any major probs.
Any other one-eyed racers out there??
Jul 25, 2001 8:30 PM
|Sure, I would say that you could be a good bike racer with the sight of only one eye. I would imagine that time trials would be your best bet though. The biggest obstacle that I can imagine would be a fast moving pack. The blind spot that you would have could cause problems with other riders moving into you and your ability to avoid them, particularly in a field sprint situation. Sometimes bike racers move without any rhyme or reason, and the ability to quickly react and avoid can be critical to avoid crashes. Marcel Wurst, sprinter for Festina and Tour de France stage winner retired this season due to an injury that he sustained in a criterium that left him without the ability to see from one eye. He felt that the lack of sight from that eye wouldn't allow him to proceed safely in the field sprint situations that he exceled at. He also expressed caution about being in a fast moving pack without being able to see with his full field of vision. I heard that at the Tour this year that he was there as a journalist and rode his bike from his hotel to the race each day and is still quite fast on a bike. So, in short a peloton with racers moving here and there might be a little dangerous not so much due to your ability but because bike racers can be squirrels sometimes. You wouldn't have to worry about pack dynamics in a time trial though. The only thing holding you back from being a World class time trialist would be genetics and training. I would start out racing there and see how it goes for you. I know that even with sight in both eyes I sometimes prefer time trials where I know if I fall that it was my own fault. Can't always say that in a peloton. Try it out, and good luck to you.|
Jul 26, 2001 1:28 AM
|In my country there is one fellow, a track racer, who is riding in world cup level and doing well. He also rides some national group races, but we know it and he knows it, so there is no problem and crashes for that reason.|
Jul 26, 2001 2:55 AM
|Thank you both. I assumed that the peleton problems would be quite interesting. I guess I'd just have to develop a sixth sense.
I will continue to train and I will race on of these days. I guess I'll just deal with these little problems later.
|I was at...||Lazy|
Jul 26, 2001 7:06 AM
|The National Track Championships last summer. The team that won the tandem match sprint had a blind guy as a stoker. Boy were those guys fast. Not really pertinent to this discussion, but it was really cool. Inspiring.|
|Well, not Jonathan Vaughters||jw25|
Jul 27, 2001 9:26 AM
|but that's a whole other level of racing(If you aren't following the Tour, Vaughters got stung over one eye by a wasp, had a strong reaction that swelled his eye shut, and had to abandon). |
I'd think that with some practice riding in fast groups, you could do just fine. Personally, I'm using all my senses in a race (well, not common sense, or I wouldn't be there...okay, that was bad), especially hearing. Just from breathing sounds, you can tell where people are behind you, and how they're moving - setting up for a sprint, sucking your wheel, etc. Plus, there should be some communication between team members, and a bit between everyone in the peloton.
Vision, and peripheral vision, are useful, but as you've been seeing out of one eye only for life, you should be compensating already. Do you drive? Granted, there you have mirrors, but it's still a similar enough environment. Chances are you scan more than 2-eyed people, or even turn your head more towards the good eye.
So, if you aren't already, get into some fast group rides (let them know beforehand, but stress that there shouldn't be any favoring, since the pack at races won't all be friendly.) If you can handle a paceline at 30 mph, you're ready to race.
That said, a TT might be a good way to get into racing. No pack to worry about, no drafting, pacelines, and for me, less pressure, but still exciting. I wouldn't limit myself to them, if I were you.
And let us know what happens. Have fun. Jon
|Well, not Jonathan Vaughters||bp.)|
Aug 1, 2001 10:57 PM
I am compensating a lot already. I have developed great ability to turn my head a long way to the left so my right eye can see down the left side.
I will not let it put me off until I see how I go.
|re: one-eyed rider??||Mutual|
Jul 27, 2001 12:11 PM
|Not to sound like a bad guy or anything, but no. I have a friend who used to race as a pro, he got into a car accident, lost some of the use of his left eye and he stopped racing because he thought it was to dangerous-not enough depth perception I think. Daniel|
|I have no doubt||bp.)|
Aug 1, 2001 10:54 PM
|that your friend would find it difficult after being in an accident and losing sight in one eye. Ask a lot of people to "play catch" with a patch on one eye and a lot will have trouble. I on the other hand have had 24 years experience and know no other way.
What am I saying? Different circumstances. Was kind of looking for people who had been blind in one eye for a long time etc.
Thanks for sharing though ...