'I was standing at the bar and my leg snapped in two': From shock diagnosis to Paralympic ambition

Refusing to let amputation sideline him from sport, Jake Woods is rebuilding his athletic career – only this time it’s his hands turning the pedals

Jake Woods in his handbike
(Image credit: Future)

This article was originally published in Cycling Weekly's print edition as part of the long-running MY FITNESS CHALLENGE series.

"I remember sitting in the bath on a Sunday night and thinking about who on the squad was faster than me and how I would beat them.” Jake Woods is retracing the emergence of his competitive instinct as a teenage swimmer – leaving behind his inactive child self and transforming into an athletic man. “As I lost weight and gained confidence, I built myself up through my own sheer will.” Over the next few years he reached national level in the pool, qualified as a beach lifeguard in his native Sunderland, and while at university threw himself into triathlon. “My first race was a half-Ironman,” he grins, “and I did just over six hours, which I thought was totally fine as a first attempt.” 

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David Bradford
Fitness editor

David Bradford is fitness editor of Cycling Weekly (print edition). He has been writing and editing professionally for more than 15 years, and has published work in national newspapers and magazines including the Independent, the Guardian, the Times, the Irish Times, Vice.com and Runner’s World. Alongside his love of cycling, David is a long-distance runner with a marathon PB of two hours 28 minutes. Having been diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa (RP) in 2006, he also writes about sight loss and hosts the podcast Ways of Not Seeing.