A brave Worcester woman who lost her leg below the knee more than 20 years ago is about to embark on an epic challenge by cycling across America.
Linda Chen, a patient at leading prosthetic clinic Dorset Orthopaedic, is one member of ‘Mind over Matter’, the first British female adaptive team to enter the gruelling Race Across America and raising awareness of both physical and mental health challenges along the way.
All the women involved, four military (both serving and veterans) and four civilians, have an injury or impairment of some kind, with Linda the only amputee in the group.
They’ll ride in teams of four for nine hours at a time to finish the race, which starts in Oceanside, California and ends 3,000 miles later in Annapolis in Maryland.
Billed as the world’s toughest cycle race, the Race Across America, which starts on June 15th, is 30 per cent longer than the Tour de France, and covers 12 states and more than 170,000ft in total elevation. Any team taking part must finish it within nine days.
Linda, who lost her leg when she was hit by a car 22 years ago, has been a patient at Dorset Orthopaedic for two decades and ahead of the race she was assisted by her prosthetist, Moose Baxter, to ensure she’s as comfortable as she can be on the ride, including new liners for her residual limb and adjustments to her socket.
“It’s very exciting, and even though it’s going to be really tough going I’m looking forward to it,” she said. “As a team we’ve been training together quite a lot and it’s nice because everyone totally understands one another, we don’t have to explain ourselves as to why we can’t do something or that we have to do it differently. We’re all accepted.
“We’re the first all-female adaptive team to take part so the pressure’s on to do well! We’ll certainly do our best!”
Moose said: “Linda has been a patient with us for a long time and while I knew she’d gotten back into cycling, I couldn’t believe it when she said what she was doing! She’s amazing and everyone here at Dorset wishes her and her team mates all the luck in the world.”