Chernove on the road to Rio

Local cyclist talks about his Paralympic journey.

Tristen Chernove talks about his road to the Rio Paralympic Games.

Tristen Chernove talks about his road to the Rio Paralympic Games.

Tristen Chernove is officially going to the Rio de Janeiro Paralympic Games.

His stellar results at World Cup races and at the Canadian nationals all but guaranteed him a spot on the Canadian paralympic cycling team, however, the roster was officially announced by Cycling Canada at the end of June.

And Chernove’s name was on it.

“I’ve been an athlete my whole life and definitely being able to go to the Paralympic Games as a champion of Canada — I’ve already won some big international stuff, which in many ways was a lot bigger — but there’s something really special about going as the nation’s champion to an international event like the Olympics.

It’s going to be pretty cool,” said Chernove.

His place on the Paralympic team comes on the heels of his double-gold performance at the 2016 Global Relay Canadian Road Championships in Quebec at the end for June. Chernove hit the podium in the 50-kilometre road race, finishing with a time of 1:15.36, while also nabbing the the top spot in a 16-kilometre time trial event at 23:50.48.

“It was great,” said Chernove. “It was really exciting to be on home soil amongst our nation’s most passionate cyclists and the community. It was neat going straight to the international stuff, but this was my first time competing at nationals.

“It was a bit of a test for me, it was my first national time trial, in the context of being on a proper time trial bike, which they had just built for me days before, so everything was brand new, which added to the stress, but it all turned out real well. I was super happy with my performance.”

Now, it’s going to be all about training for the biggest stage of his athletic career as the Olympic and Paralympic Games loom in Brazil.

In a week, Chernove will be off to a velodrome in Milton, Ont, for some training and there will be some media and public relations events with the Olympic and Paralympic cycling teams.

After that, he’ll return home with his coach, who will live with him until the Games begin, to help maximize his regimen.

I think my training’s been working well for me all along,” Chernove said. “The biggest difficulty is that because I’ve done really well on road and track, and I’m doing both disciplines at Rio and not having trained for both at the same time before, the caution is knowing how my body’s going to respond because I’m trying to keep my long distance endurance but at the same time, maximize my short-distance speed for the track stuff, which is a very difficult thing to do.”

Chernove has purchased a scooter, which his coach will ride behind him while doing interval training on the local highways, so drivers — keep an eye out.

“He’ll ride the scooter to force me to basically ride at max speed intervals so people might see us around on the roads a lot, motor pacing on the motorbike,” said Chernove.

Ever humble, Chernove also acknowledged the support he’s received from his family, coworkers and the community that’s helped him on his path to the Paralympic journey.

“The support I’ve received and congratulations around town, I don’t think people realize, but it really does help,” Chernove said. “I feel like there’s all these people behind me when I have to do a workout that really hurts, it definitely helps to feel like I’ve got all those people that I don’t want to let down.

“It’s not just myself, it’s a whole community. I feel really proud to be representing Cranbrook and knowing that everyone’s paying attention and watching is definitely keeping my focus that much more clear.”