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A story of rebirth

PAOLO CAZZARO, A STORY OF REBIRTH

Paolo Cazzaro is an Italian para-athlete. He decided to take up a sporting activity to divert his attention from the chronic neuropathic pain in his left leg and pelvis caused by a permanent injury that resulted from a serious motorcycle accident in 2004.

After six months of  hospitalization, the long period of rehabilitation and drug treatment began. He was treated for twelve years with anti-epileptic, antidepressant and neurotrophic drugs.

Paolo weighed 100 kg, smoked forty cigarettes a day and felt that his life was collapsing, despite being only 44 years old.

THE TURNING POINT AND BMX

On his forty-fourth birthday, during a trip to the mountains, Paolo reached a turning point; he threw out his cigarettes and began to feel free and breathe for the first time since the accident.

 

He cautiously began to take short bike rides to regain the feeling of physical strength that the drugs had slowly taken from him. At the same time, he was trying to figure out what could help contain the exhausting pain that persisted despite heavy doses of medication. BMX was the solution!

 

Riding a BMX was a childhood dream that he had never realized. In a short time, he found himself riding on a brightly lit dirt track surrounded by wonderful, supporting people. However, he realized that the neurotrophic drugs limited his proprioceptive and athletic capabilities. Paolo began to discuss with neurologists whether it was possible to contain the excruciating pain, that started from the buttock and shot down to the foot like a saber, without drugs. Almost no one agreed to a total stop in medication but, under the supervision of another anesthetist, he began to slowly decrease the doses of the neuro-controllers. Unfortunately, a routine medical check up found an arrhythmia which kept him from competing in BMX for a year.

paolo cazzaro italian cyclist

ANOTHER REVELATION

Determined not to give up, Paolo began to train alone on the bike.

 

He did repetitions on a long and steady climb at night, because the pain was more bearable in the evening.

 

One day he noticed that the endorphins produced by this sporting activity allowed him to better tolerate his pain. It was then that, under medical supervision, he began an alternative therapy based on neutraceuticals (diet and supplements). Muscle tension slowly eased, the jolts of pain subsided and he learned to manage the constant pain.

 

Three years ago, he met Alex Zanardi, who told him that the Federation of Italian Triathlon (FITRI) had a dedicated section for Para-triathlons. It was a moment of revelation and the perfect match!

 

Paolo accepted Zanardi’s invitation, joined FITRI and starting training with Luca Zenti. That year he took home third place in the Italian Championship. The following year, in February 2020, he earned silver at the Winter Triathlon World Championship in the PTS4 category.

paolo cazzaro italian cyclist

BREAKING THE HOUR RECORD AND TEAMING UP WITH Q36.5

Paolo’s ultimate dream, breaking the hour record, was next on his list.

To make this dream a reality Paolo needed the right support and clothing that would help him better tolerate the pain during long sessions in the saddle. Thanks to the connections he had with Elastic Interface, he came into contact with Q36.5. After long, detailed talks with Manuel, Q36.5’s Product Manager, the company was able to develop a tailor-made product that would provide added support on the saddle and reduce pain.

Paolo describes Q36.5 as a “sartorial laboratory, where every tiny detail is taken into consideration and every element of the garment is the result of meticulous research. Starting from the woven fabrics through to the construction of the patterns, their eye for details and perfection makes for revolutionary garments.

Thanks to the fruitful collaboration with Q36.5, Paolo better manages the severe pain he has to endure every day and he has been working on the World Record in the Track Mc4 category of para-cycling for more than a year.

For months he has been training four days a week on the road and two on the track. He has already unofficially broken the record a few months ago. But in order to make it official with UCI, Paolo must break the record in a certified Velodrome and, for this, official validations are required. Paolo hopes to be able to have everything in place by the autumn of 2021.

Our team is honored to be able to support Paolo in this uplifting story of determination, love of sport and, ultimately, rebirth.

Paolo Cazzaro interview by Garmin / Beat Yesterday

Video owner: Garmin

paolo cazzaro italian cyclist