A pair of men who won multiple medals at the 2012 London Paralympics led the way Monday when the Sadler's Alaska Challenge -- which bills itself as the longest, toughest handcycle race on the planet -- kicked off with a time trial in Anchorage.
London double gold medalist Rafal Wilk of Poland blistered the 9.1-mile course from Lake Hood to Kincaid Park in 25 minutes, 42 seconds, to post the fastest time of the day.
Walter Ablinger of Austria, who won gold and silver in London, was 40 seconds back in 26:22. Carlos Moleda of South Carolina, the 1999 Sadler's champ, posted the third-fastest time in 28:35.
Thea Rosa of California racked the fastest women's time, clocking 36:18.
The seven-stage, 267-mile race continues Wednesday with a 46.3-mile road race from Ester to Nenana. The race finishes Sunday with a climb of Hatcher Pass.
This is the 27th edition of the Sadler's race.
Sadler's Alaska Challenge
Stage 1, Monday
Lake Hood to Kincaid Park
9.1-mile time trial.
H-4 Division -- 1) Alfredo de los Santos 29:28; 2) Robert Puckett III 31:30; 3) Joseph Beimfohr 41:11.
Women -- 1) Thea Rosa 36:18; 2) Carrie Finale 39:42; 3) Karin Korb 42:49.
H-2 -- 1) Walter Ablinger 26:22; 2) Peer Bartels 30:45; 3) Jacob Freeland 33:51; 4) Michael Bishop 45:01.
H-3 -- 1) Rafal Wilk 25:42; 2) Carlos Moleda 28:35; 3) Butch Martin 28:55; 4) Michael Postell 32:56; 5) Gerard Ah Fook 33:49; 6) Larry Coutermarsh 47:44.