Born - May 15, 2020

"Paul, would you like to write a blog for Rogelli?"

"Of course! I've never done that before, but it seems like a lot of fun."

I am Paul Ramakers, 35 years old and I live with my two children in Born. The better I get to know myself, the more I realize that I am addicted to challenges. Where I used to look for that in my work - the higher my targets, the better I performed - I now look for that challenge more and more in myself, both physically and mentally.  This explains why I didn't need any time for reflection when my physiotherapist asked me at the end of April if I wanted to participate in the HandbikeBattle one and a half months later. Uhm... wait a minute, handbike? Never heard of it. But as an avid mountain biker, I knew that 1000 altimeters on a distance of 20 km would be quite a challenge. 

For the first HandbikeBattle 2019 in Kaunertal (Austria), I was 200% "on". I trained as efficiently as possible, adjusted my nutrition and studied every detail of the climb. I realized that I would probably be the one with the least experience in handbiking. And, oh yeah, another trait of mine: losing... I have a hard time with that. 

On the big day, June 13, I went up that mountain fully focused. "Above all enjoy" I had been advised several times, but putting in a performance and outdoing myself were just as important. And I did enjoy it! Four months after I lost my leg in the fight with cancer, I crossed the finish line as the second H5 handler! That second place is very nice, but more indescribable is the feeling that I have regained confidence in my own body. Looking at what you can still do, instead of what you can't, has brought me to where I am today. 


After the battle I continued training at full speed and in just eight months after my amputation I was allowed to show my nose at Papendal and received one of those yellow push-through sheets that read: "we see paralympic potential in you". From that moment on I have only one dream and one goal: the Paralympics Paris 2024. The switch has been made and I'm on my way from being a five-day office cyclist to a five-day handcyclist. This also brings the necessary changes and is mainly a financial challenge. But as I said, it suits me. 

After a winter of hard training, I look forward to my new measurement moment. Carefully I plan all my races and decide what I want to focus on, but then: Corona... Within a few weeks I will have crossed a line through all my races this season and I am looking for a new footing and a short term goal to find the motivation to keep "dry training" this summer. 

But actually I can only conclude that I just enjoy every second on the handbike. Challenging myself to become stronger and better every day and not forgetting to enjoy the beautiful pieces of the Netherlands that flash by me along the way. Because I need to have a clear goal in mind and work towards it, but the intrinsic motivation to make kilometers is enough to give me all this summer. 

To be able to fully focus on achieving my goals and to perform optimally in competitions as soon as the competition calendars are filled again, I attach great importance to good clothing. Temperature, fitting, but also appearance are important to me. I am therefore very honored that Rogelli supports me in achieving my dream. This season I will ride in the Rogelli colors and together we will achieve the best result. 

Do you want to stay up to date with my adventures? 
Then follow me at: 
Facebook: PassionPersistencePaul 
Instagram: @paul_ramakers