2014 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships coverage | Jon-Allan Butterworth biog | About para-cycling
Written by: Eddie Allen
Video: Eddie Allen
Current C5 kilometre time-trial world record holder Jon-Allan Butterworth is aiming to better his time at the UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in Aguascalientes, Mexico on 10-13 April.
The venue, which is located 1870 metres above sea-level, saw records tumble at the recent UCI Track Cycling World Cup round and the 28-year-old from Sutton Coldfield hopes to set a record that will stand for some time.
"I'm the record holder for the kilometre time-trial so I'm hoping to better that record again,” said Butterworth, who joined the Great Britain Cycling Team through Help for Heroes’ Battle Back programme.
Butterworth was a weapons technician in the RAF before losing his left arm in a rocket attack on his station in Basra, Iraq in 2007. He joined the Great Britain Cycling Team full-time in 2009 and hasn’t looked back.
Butterworth competes in the C5 class – for riders with mild cerebral palsy, single amputations or minimal neurological dysfunction.
Since joining the team, Butterworth has been dominant in the C5 kilometre event, smashing the world record in his first world championships appearance in Montichiari, Italy, 2011 with a 1:07.615 before breaking the record again in Los Angeles a year later, in a time of 1:07.212.
Butterworth won three silver medals in the 2012 Paralympics in London but lost his world record to Alfonso Cabello, the Spanish rider producing a stunning 1:05.947, beating Butterworth by just four-tenths.
But the Briton retook his world record at the 2013 British Cycling National Track Championships, lowering the bar to 1:05.725.
However the athlete revealed that his run-in to the worlds hasn’t been ideal, with a persistent knee-problem hampering his preparation.
“I'm going through a tough winter of having a few setbacks and injury problems,” he said. “I'm nursing an injury at the moment so I'm kind of hoping that it's not going to hold me back too much at the worlds.
"I'm having to choose my sessions wisely and use the ones that will be most effective without trying to put myself in a box and to make the worlds in a healthy state rather than not making it at all."
The athlete also discussed the specific altitude conditioning that he and the team were undergoing to prepare themselves for the physiological demands of the Aguascalientes venue.
"[I’m doing] various different things, altitude-wise. Chamber stuff, sleeping in altitude tents, that kind of thing, trying to prepare your body as best you can to deal with the effects of altitude.
“I should adjust quite well once I get out there - at least get the ball in motion to adapt to conditions."
Butterworth is aware that altitude riding brings rewards as well as challenges and hopes that his nagging knee injury won’t prevent him from setting an enduring record in kilometre.
“I think it's going to be one of those races,” said Butterworth. “It's going to be quite weird because it's altitude I'm expecting to see my record broken a few times before I get up onto the start gate.
“Going off last in the race because I'm current world champion I get to see my record get broken a few times.
"Hopefully I'll put the final say to it and break it again and it will be a really good record to hold for a while so it's going to be fun.
"The guy who wins on the day will break the record - that's how fast the track is. Until you go back to altitude again, the record should stand for a long time, which is quite an incentive to do well."