One Arm and One Leg Enough for 1,600 Miles in the Saddle


With the sport of cycling continually marred by doping allegations, professional cyclists using motorized vehicles for a little assistance and a film about professional sports' biggest cheater nearing release, it's a welcomed break from the onslaught of negative press to come across a story about two-wheel travel that's uplifting and inspiring.

You can probably chalk this general "how-the-hell-did-that-happen?" moment up to courage, endurance and perseverance. But, one can only describe what recently transpired in the mountains of Europe as miraculous. Christian Haettich, a 54-year-old double amputee, completed amateur cycling's toughest marquee event, the Haute Route.

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The Haute Route is a 1,600-mile race that traverses Europe's most difficult climbs. This strenuous ride involves 200,000 feet of climbing and weaves through the Alps, Pyrenees and Dolomites. It's a ride even the most physically able, obsessive cycling veterans would fail to complete. However, Haettich, missing his left leg and arm, laboriously pedaled his specially made bike all 1,600 miles to the finish line.

With one arm on a handlebar and one foot on a pedal, Haettich accomplished an astounding feat that provides proof no one should feel hindered from enjoying this beautiful sport.

To add more commendation to this inspiring story, Haettich, who's been cycling since he was 36, wants to go professional. And, why not? After completing one of the most difficult treks in the world, he can virtually do anything.

Haettich, interestingly, doesn't look at his disability as a burden, but rather, a gift. He attributes meeting his wife, the birth of his three sons and beginning his cycling hobby all to his circumstance. All of which, he contends, would have never happened had he not been in a car accident when he was 15 years old, which took his two limbs.

"I have a very serious disability, but my right side lets me do everything," Haettich told Daily Mail. "I thank my disability everyday for enabling me to do everything I do. I wouldn't have done all this without it, for sure.

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