Back on the bike

By RACHAEL HEADLEY, Features Editor

During Easter weekend, Brian Toone took first place in the Heart of the South, a 517-mile cycling race, and won with a time of 30 hours and 13 minutes.

The second place winner trailed Toone by six hours.toone-winningALstatechampionship-2012

After the computer science professor taught classes all day on Friday, he began the race at 8 p.m., and finished on Sunday morning at 2 a.m., and rose just a few hours later to spend Easter with his family.

This victory comes not only as a “confidence builder” to the computer science professor as he prepares for his next race but also reminds him that just one year ago, he was in the hospital recovering from a cycling injury.

Toone was involved in a collision with a car last April while biking on a Monday afternoon. He spent days in the hospital and months recovering from his injuries that included broken ribs, a broken jaw, a broken shoulder blade and a torn medial collateral ligament (MCL).

Despite the severity of its nature, the accident didn’t discourage him – instead it just pushed him harder.

“After [the accident], that’s when I decided that I was ready to compete in the Race Across America,” Toone said. “I would have to wait until the next year, but I was going to do it.”

Although Toone had plans to compete in the 3,000-mile race since 2013, he was searching for the right time.

The year after his accident became the new window of time for his training.

The Race Across America begins just north of San Diego in Oceanside, California, and stretches across the country, ending in Annapolis, Maryland.

Although competitors must follow a specific path, their time off the bike is completely up to them.

Toone said that those who can compete on fewer hours of sleep are more likely to win.

“[It is] the competitive nature of bike racing. You are trying to figure out your strategy to win,” Toone said. “I’m definitely looking forward to that.”

As Toone approaches this next race, he said that he reflects on his time in the hospital last year and his preparation for these races.

He said he simply could not have done it all without his wife, friends and Samford community.

“The outpouring of support from everyone has been incredible,” Toone said.

On June 16, Toone will get back on his bike and begin his predicted eight-day journey to race across America.

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