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Tristen Chernove, the rider with 13 rainbow jerseys and three Paralympic medals, looks ahead to the Games

The challenges the cyclist has overcome and continues to face on his way to Tokyo

Tristen Chernove Photo by: Kevin Mackinnon

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Tristen Chernove is heading back to the Paralympics for a second time: he’s off to Tokyo later in August. He’ll be competing in all the cycling disciplines that he can—the road race, the time trial, and on the track, the pursuit and the kilo. In this episode he’ll preview a bit of what lies ahead at the Games.

In 2009, Chernove was diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth syndrome. It’s a degenerative disease that affects the nervous system. The nerves start losing their ability to transmit signals. Chernove had been active all his life. He competed in whitewater paddling and even FireFit competitions for firefighters. Roughly six years after his diagnosis, his competitive nature had him riding the track and road as a paracyclist.

Chernove is classified as a C2 athlete. That means he rides a regular bike, as opposed to a tandem, tricycle or hand-cycle. The number in the classification indicates the level of limitations the riders have. C5 athletes, for example, have fewer limitations in their lower or upper limbs than C2 athletes. You’ll find out why Chernove might be reclassified in Tokyo.

Chernove is incredibly driven. He started a company that now manages the airport in Cranbrook, B.C. Juggling the duties of a CEO and a top athlete leads to late-night training sessions. But there’s a price for all that. In this interview, Chernove, quite candidly, delves into the strain all his commitments put on his family, that is, his wife and two girls, who are 14 and 11 years old.

The rider has 13 rainbow jerseys and he’s kind of lost track of which one goes with which win. Yet, his cycling ambitions go beyond his own victories, and they are centred on the roads and trails of Cranbrook. You find out what he hopes to accomplish while working with organizations like the Kootenay Adaptive Sport Association.

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