Alex Zanardi has faced many challenges since a devastating 2001 accident at a CART race in Germany left him a double amputee, but the 46-year-old Italian is in excellent spirits these days after coming off a gold-medal performance in the 2012 Summer Paralympics. In a video interview on CNN, Zanardi acknowledges that he cheated death in auto racing, and he is now seeing how far he can push himself in his latest sport, hand-bike racing.
He first began cycling in 2007 as way to keep fit, although his competitive spirit quickly kicked in as he looked for ways not only to race but also to improve the sport, such as helping develop the carbon-fiber body for his hand bike. Zanardi averages about 28 miles per hour on the machine, which is far slower than the 200+ mph of his CART race car, but still faster than the 25-mph speed limit for motorcycles in Italy.
In comparing his bike to his former open-wheel racer, Zanardi says that the "dashboard" display on his hand bike is more complicated than the gauges he would see in a car. While he is still looking to get back into car racing, it seems that he's thoroughly enjoying his new role in competitive paracycling.