Corrine Hall and Lora Turnham slowly taking over the world
They may not be as dynamic as some superhero pairings, but Mitcham’s Corrine Hall and Paracycling partner Lora Turnham are nearing world domination without the need of a cape or mask.
Hall, a former student at St Mary’s University, and Turnham returned from last month’s Paracycling Road World Championships in Canada with gold in the time trial and silver from the road race.
The pair first came together in March and immediately clicked as a duo – which is just as well, because they ride a tandem bike, and Hall has to be the eyes as Turnham is completely blind.
Now, with medal success behind them, they are starting on the long road to more glory at Rio 2016.
Hall, who is known as the pilot on the bike, said: “Riding tandem is a lot harder than riding solo.
“When you are on your own, you take a lot for granted, such as cornering, getting out the saddle or even stopping.
“When you are in tandem with a blind partner, you are constantly telling them what is coming up – which makes it a mentally as well as physically tough sport – but that is part of the challenge that makes it so great.
“Lora brings the motivation, and I bring the eyes. We clicked from the very first time we got on the bike as we are the same sort of rider. We’re similar in height and build, we’re both good at climbing and we’re both good at time-trialling.
“We also get on very well off the bike, we’re always on the phone to each other.”
The 22-year-old was invited to join the para-cycling squad after she impressed coaches during the nationals earlier this year and she enhanced her reputation even further last weekend by becoming national scratch champion.
The Matrix Fitness RA rider beat off competition from Olympic pairing Laura Trott and Dani King for a surprise win. She also came fifth in the points race, won by Trott.
But it is the Paralympics that Hall has her eye on after a meeting with Team GB coaches decided her and Turnham would stay together following their success in Canada – where gold was achieved by 10 seconds over the New Zealand pair of Laura Fairweather and Phillipa Gray and they were one minute, 33 seconds behind Aleksandra Wnuczek and Iwona Podkoscielna of Poland in winning silver. But there is still work to do.
“We work well together, but we need to really improve getting out of the saddle,” said Hall, a former pupil of Raynes Park high School.
“As a solo rider, getting out the saddle is a natural thing, but on a tandem you need to make sure you are both synchronised because the moment you’re out, the bike becomes unsteady – timing is key.
“At the moment, when it comes to a race situation, I don’t trust us to get out of the saddle. I always think we’re going to lose time so we stay in it instead.”
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