Adolfo Almarza: Be Determined

Nov 16, 2013
by Simon Paton  
Views: 46,918    Faves: 167    Comments: 5

As a sports commentator, I see many athletes, from professional to grassroots riders, fighting their own personal battles to the finish line. More often than not, those battles are temporary and can be usually be fixed with replacing a component on a bike or taking pain medication for an injury. For Chilean rider Adolfo Almarza, the daily challenge of being a double amputee professional downhill racer is greater than most of us will face in our lifetime and it is one of the most inspiring stories in our sport.

My favourite photo from all of Crankworx. This was in the start house for the Garbanzo DH. Rider is Adolfo Almarza of Chile.
Adolfo at the start house for the Garbanzo DH 2013. Photo credit: Scott Robarts

I was so pleased when I saw Adolfo Almarza competing in his second Crankworx in Whistler, Canada this year. At an early age, Adolfo tragically lost both his legs in a road traffic accident but his disability has only made him stronger and he's now riding faster and going bigger than many able-bodied riders.

bigquotes If I can, you can too. I invite you to be determined - Adolfo Almarza

During Crankworx this year, Adolfo proved to be an instant hit with the crowds. When co-commentator Brad Jay and I announced Adolfo was on track during one of the races, the crowd turned their gaze up towards Whistler Mountain to watch this truly inspirational athlete tear down the track and cheer him on across the finish line. Competing in the Pro category during the week-long event, Adolfo raced the Garbanzo DH and Air DH where he secured impressive times in both races.

Riding a bike is a helluva lot harder when you re relying on prosthetic legs to get down the track. Adolfo Almarza taking the high left line through In Deep .
Riding a bike is a helluva lot harder when you're relying on prosthetic legs to get down the track. Adolfo Almarza taking the high left line through In Deep. Photo credit: Colin Meagher

At the Crankworx Whip Off World Championships, Adolfo styled it up alongside freeriders and downhillers. Hitting up Crabapple Hits, he left a trail of dropped jaws in the crowd below and behind him. By the end of the week, Adolfo's achievements had made him a true Whistler legend and a true inspiration to us all.

Chile Nevados de Chillan 2013
Adolfo getting a tune-up. Photo credit: Claudio Olguin

You can follow Adolfo on Facebook or learn more about him and his achievements via his website.

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106 Comments

  • + 177
 way quicker than me, with two less legs - nothing like a wonderful and wildly inspirational story like this to make me feel inadequate.

but joking aside, mad props to this guy. the words of lord warner apply here - "he's an absolute legend"
  • + 160
 He should be sponsored by Rockshox and have Boxxer stanchions for legs :O
  • + 31
 i think that fox inverted prototype would be better ... other than that, Adolfo is bloody good ... props to him
  • + 55
 Kashima legs! haha
  • + 36
 One of the big suspension manufactures should make him some shins/feet that would give him 4 or 5 inches of "ankle travel" like everybody else has. They would be fully adjustable with rebound,CTD etc. It would be a great r and d project and also a good pr exercise.
  • + 7
 Wow! Goose bumps allover.. Huge props to this guy!
  • + 8
 I think dropper posts would be better if you were really tall he could just raise up to your height, to short he just drops
  • - 13
flag annimaxdh (Nov 17, 2013 at 1:20) (Below Threshold)
 To get them broken or with failures like most of boxxers... No thanks, better something that would not fail after 6 months
  • + 4
 Boxxers are excellent forks, one of the most consistently good forks on the market as far as I know. I guess that's why thousands of people use them, but hey, what do they know right.
  • - 10
flag annimaxdh (Nov 17, 2013 at 5:27) (Below Threshold)
 Excellent? Ha! Perhaps is very popular because of it price, and nominal performance, but doesn't mean is good one.
Is just question to see how many goes back to the bikeshop for malfunction issues, how frequent do they need service, and the number of plastic parts inside. Perhaps the most used dh fork in the world but also the most broken in the DH History
  • + 9
 Something similar's already been done: www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHUaHWfOjgM
  • + 1
 mtbmonkey, that is awesome! The action shots of the leg were impressive.
  • + 1
 mtbmonkey that was class, I wonder though would it work with a shock on the front and back of the ankle piece so the foot would have more natural movement?
  • + 2
 Kashima legs would be super plush.
  • + 2
 Actually the possibility of a shock in a prosthetic has already been accomplished several times. Here's a couple links...

www.prostheticarm.com/page3.html

www.bikeradar.com/gallery/article/sea-otter-2012-component-round-up-continental-to-wtb-33805/25

There's your kashima
  • + 1
 wisconin-freerider, the second on is the on in mtb monkeys video just upgraded and a different foot shock isnt it?
  • + 1
 Not sure haven't been following it that closely, Ill have to check it out.
  • + 66
 not to be dis respectful but , how sweet is that not to have to worry about taking a peddle to the shins ..... kinda awesome
  • + 10
 Plus he gets to get flipped upside down to get worked on, lets all just let the child in us come out and say that would be kind of fun...
  • - 6
flag alex-auger (Nov 16, 2013 at 19:30) (Below Threshold)
 @respond he can take his leg off and put it in his bike stand
  • - 5
flag Dreamdownhillmax (Nov 16, 2013 at 20:34) (Below Threshold)
 He doesn't take pedal to the shin, but he can take the saddle in is ball D: Flat pedal D: ... That guy have some really big balls D:
  • + 45
 I'm from chile, and i meet Adolfo in the RB VCA 2013, in that race he had a devastating accident that broke his jaw, at the time of upload to the gurney to take him to a hospital, he's took off his right orthopedic leg And raised in signal of victory and showing to every person in that place (500 or more people) he was in perfect condition, from that day I consider the most incredible person in the world. as we say in Chile " dale parafa culiao ( come on f*cking parafa !!! ) parafa it's his nickname in chile jajaja Big Grin
  • + 4
 I race enduro in chile and i have seen him pedal up with the rest of the competitors. I have a lot of respect por parafa and I think he's a true inspiration, not only for our sport, but for all humanity, grande parafa!!!
  • + 40
 All the shit that was online about crankworx and we only get this now? That seems wrong somehow. I'd love to read or see a full length interview with this guy.
  • + 6
 agree with u!!! because he is not come from North America!
  • + 1
 Spike, At Crankworx, in Master open, I rode with a competitor who was completely blind! He is American and did not get front page either. I do agree that more coverage for these guys would be awesome at the time of Crankworx but its not a preferential treatment issue.
  • - 4
flag BDKR (Nov 17, 2013 at 10:13) (Below Threshold)
 Exactly! So sick of rampage it's not even funny!
  • + 2
 ???
  • + 19
 This guy is one great example of what a person can do if they really put their mind to it! What a great man and keep on ripping, Adolfo!
  • + 9
 www.youtube.com/watch?v=jlKbmCbf4GQ
Adolfo sufrio un accidente el ultimo 4 de octubre.. una caida de 10metros mientras entrenaba en iquique. Gracias a dios el sector donde cayó tenia un poco de arena suelta lo cual disminuyo el impacto... Al parecer "Parafa" es imparable.. y un excelente ejemplo para la gente con algun tipo de discapacidad.
Grande Parafa!
Aqui un link de la noticia: www.soychile.cl/Iquique/Policial/2013/10/04/204271/Un-ciclista-cayo-desde-un-barranco-de-10-metros-en-el-sector-de-Bajo-Molle-al-sur-de-Iquique.aspx
  • + 2
 translation:

link to the video of the accident that parafa had on last october 4th, where he fell 10 meters (30 feet) while training in Iquique city. Thank god the place where he fell had some loose sand to soften the impact. Parafa is unstoppable and a great example for all people with some kind of disabbility. Link to the newspaper article.

Grande Parafa!!!
  • + 4
 Hey aidy I agree, a fellow with this determination,drive,focus,commitment and one huge heart........it ONLY surfaces now as a story from Crankworx, what does that tell all of us about sports, advertising and company's making money instead of thinking about unique special people !!!!!!
  • + 3
 Unfortunately it tells us we live in the real world where people like this go unnoticed for so long and its largely about who you know that dictates if you're recognised. Its sad, there are so many inpirational stories and people in the world who do amazing things daily but we are bombarded instead by famous people who do stupid things or accomplish minor feats (sure its nice to recognise but i dont care about an actors who just went on a holiday and ate a pinapple and risked thier life by bunggeyjumping with a thousand harnesses) these don't measure up to the amazing things and struggles people over come and do every day that we should be recognising.

Its great when these people get the recognition and respect they deserve I just wish we would recognise these amazing people more often in the mainstream.
  • + 2
 Let me hear how you're too tired or feeling a bit sore and can't ride.......this dudes got two prosthetic legs and his doing more training and riding than many. What a champion, this is true grit and determination. Makes you think twice about all the excuses we tell ourselves when we don't have anything like this to overcome. Props mate absolutely inspirational and crazy dedication.
  • + 2
 Amazing guy and massively inspirational.

Something like this could be helpful maybe?
cdn.mos.bikeradar.com/images/news/2012/04/24/1335349434507-15szlmzct2t59-670-80.jpg

Vid here
www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHUaHWfOjgM
  • + 1
 Alot of respect for that guy for perserving and achieving what he has inspite of his handicap. But seriously thanking god! Guy takes your f*cking legs and he still thanks him...gotta love religious people, haha! Oh yeah bring on the negative props lol
  • + 4
 massive respect to him, come on all you million dollar bike companies sponsor him, he's earned it as far as i'm concerned
  • + 1
 www.flickr.com/photos/randomsaint/7771699170/in/set-72157631026555526

www.flickr.com/photos/randomsaint/7800376154

Always had the biggest smile. I didn't run into him this year. These are from 2012 Crankworx.
  • + 1
 Adolfo was an inspiration at Crankworx, I searched for a photo that I thought would highlight his abilities, not his disability. Every time I think I am too tired or too cold or too scared or too whatever, I think of this photo.

At the suggestion of one person, I have created a Photoshelter album where high-res photos can be downloaded for inspirational screen wallpaper images. LINK: scottrobarts.photoshelter.com/gallery/Adolfo-Almarza/G00004ugdyd1qpLs

The password is "parafa".
  • + 1
 Not only are his accomplishments amazing but what an inspirational message to others. A true hero to more than those lucky enough to know him. Thank you, this has made my day.
  • + 2
 Grande amigo você é demais tem o meu respeito ! além de uma grande pessoa é um ótimo piloto, nos vemos em Santos parceiro.
.pedrosouza | specialclick
  • + 3
 What a legend! He makes me look shit!
  • + 2
 The last picture on the right is so funny, I'm weeping tears off my eyes !! Big Grin
  • + 3
 right on man! don't let your foot off the gas!
  • + 2
 Interesting choice of cliches to use. Regardless, much respect to this inspirational young man.
  • + 2
 i know! i didn't even realize it till i posted it. oh well lol didn't mean anything bad by it
  • + 3
 You might say you kinda put your foot in your mouth with that comment eh?
(Couldn't help it. Apologies for seeming insensitive.)
  • + 4
 you sure tip toed around that one. it was knee jerking.
  • + 2
 well i'll be sure not to go toe to toe with your quick wit. i'm sure to be de feeted.
  • + 2
 holy shit!now think about ur problems in life.do they compare?
  • + 2
 respeito absoluto ! parabens pela fe !
  • + 2
 Massive respect mate. True hero !
  • + 1
 Dios te vendiga amigito you are so cool bro good job on the down hill ______0^0_______
  • + 1
 No excuses, just go ride! A true feelin you simply cannot teach. Respect, me'nizzle.
  • + 2
 Met this dude in whistler last year, he is a fucking hero !
  • + 1
 I'm about the same age, and can't imagine going through that. Truly inspirational.
  • + 2
 who needs legs when you have a heart like his
  • + 2
 salute bro.......trully inspirational hero
  • + 1
 I just want to give this guy my bike, he'd tear that thing up way harder than I could
  • + 1
 I saw his times live at the crankworks and they were freakin fast! this man is beyond beast. Halfsharkalligatorhalfman!!!!!
  • + 1
 one of the greatest example of determination and will power I've seen in the downhill, you have my respect!!!!
  • + 1
 He can change his feet size if there aren't any shues in the shop which fit him ( the only of benefits) big RESPECT !
  • + 2
 Con todo! Una historia de aquellas! Decidido!!
  • + 3
 Con dos cojones !!
  • + 1
 this guys is faster then most with no legs, you sir id like to buy a drink
  • + 1
 about time this guy got recognition he deserves
  • + 2
 man respect
  • + 1
 :O how awesome would it be to have spd feet Big Grin
  • + 1
 Respect on a whole new level. Keep ripping it bro!!
  • + 1
 the human spirit can be quite good. bravo, adolfo.
  • + 1
 am inspired again to keep going never back down.
  • + 1
 when i saw him at crankworx I said "impossible!"... you're great Parafa!
  • + 1
 Truly inspirational, amazing the things people can do these days
  • + 1
 And no clip! props to him.
  • + 1
 Inspirational! What a guy!
  • + 1
 Love the handstand picture!
  • + 1
 Did your such a boss! Really inspiring.
  • + 1
 I lost it when I saw him in the bike stand.
  • + 1
 Legend... plain an simple
  • + 1
 And he rides flats like a boss!
  • + 1
 I thought that rock roll was decently hard with two legs...
  • + 1
 ...con fé, confianza y mucho trabajo!!
  • + 1
 muy inspirador!
  • + 1
 WOW GO GO GO !!!!!!! NICE !!!!!
  • + 1
 that is a pure will for life!
  • + 1
 pit i cullons!!!!!
  • + 1
 thats a man
  • + 1
 Very inspiring Smile
  • + 1
 Mad Respect!!!
  • + 1
 Respect
  • + 1
 Unreal, speechless.
  • + 1
 Great Words Man!!!
  • + 1
 VOD!!
  • + 1
 RESCPECT!
  • + 1
 Eres un HEROE!
  • + 1
 牛逼!
  • + 1
 this is hero . amazing
  • + 1
 grande parafa !
  • + 1
 RESPECT!
  • + 1
 Respect for this guy!!!
  • + 1
 man!!!
  • + 1
 Grande Adolfoooo!!!!
  • + 1
 WOW!!
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