Healdsburg bicyclist's Paralympic dream

  • Healdsburg resident David Abramo is raising money for a new bike he needs to compete in the Summer Paralympics in Rio in 2016. Abramo has pain in his legs, hips and back from Cerebral Palsy.(Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2014

There are basically two constants in David Abramo's life: pain and optimism.

And for the Healdsburg personal trainer, one thing eases the former and reinforces the latter — getting out on the road on his bicycle.

Abramo, 43, who was born with a type of cerebral palsy that affects his legs, back and hips, wants to show the world what he can do on his bike. He hopes he'll get the chance at the next Paralympic Games to be held in September 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.

But he is asking for help to get there, becoming a pitchman, fundraiser, planner and trainer with the goal of representing the U.S. in para-cycling at the world's largest international competition for people with disabilities.

And while it's more than two years away, Abramo says he has had to gear up quickly.

For one, he has to raise funds for a new custom-built bike, which is expected to cost $18,000. For another, qualifying races have already begun for the 2016 Paralympics.

In early July, the 2014 USA Cycling Amateur & Para Road Nationals will be staged in Madison, Wis., and Abramo, who is registered for the Road Race and Time Trial events, has to get both himself and his new bike to the meet.

The road to Rio begins now.

"I'm putting everything into this," he said. "I haven't even thought about failure. Not too much, anyway."

That might as well be Abramo's personal motto. Smart and self-effacing with an easy charm, Abramo has spent the past few months knocking on doors, asking for donations from friends and strangers in person and online, and recruiting sponsorships.

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