Lora Fachie: Paracycling Champion Says having a Child has been really Difficult

Two-time Paralympic champion Lora Fachie discusses how motherhood has presented unique challenges in her athletic career.

Fachie, who is married to fellow Para-cyclist and Paralympic champion Neil, welcomed the arrival of son Fraser in November 2022. In an interview with BBC Sport, she candidly shared that motherhood has proven to be her most challenging endeavor yet.

“Pushing your body to its limits during training can be challenging and uncomfortable, but ultimately, you have the power to overcome,” expressed the 35-year-old individual.

“Being a parent can be quite challenging, as there is no manual to guide you. You have to constantly adapt, evaluate, and modify your plans.”

“As an athlete, I thrive on structure and logical thinking. Dealing with babies, however, can be quite challenging in that regard, especially during the early days.”

Lora and Neil are looking forward to the Para-cycling Track World Championships, set to begin on Wednesday in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Fraser will be there to support them as well.

They will be joining a 27-strong British team, alongside Jody Cundy, Kadeena Cox, and Jaco van Gass. All of the riders are aiming to deliver impressive performances in order to secure their spots for the upcoming Paris Paralympics.

The Fachies, who both have visual impairments, created a lasting impression during the Tokyo Games in 2021. They achieved remarkable success within a short span of time. First, Neil and his sighted pilot Matt Rotherham secured a gold medal in the B 1,000m time trial. Shortly after, Lora and Corrine Hall triumphed in the B 3km individual pursuit.

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However, the joyous celebrations felt distant during the initial stages of parenthood due to the difficulties surrounding Fraser’s birth and the challenges faced with breastfeeding. Lora’s decision to speak up about these struggles sparked a broader discussion on the topic.

“I wish I could go back to my past self from 12 months ago and assure her that everything will be alright. When you’re in the midst of it, it’s incredibly challenging, but I can confidently say that things have improved significantly,” she reflects.

“I struggle to handle setbacks, and I had a series of them that made me realize I needed to reevaluate how we were feeding Fraser.” Sometimes, a shift can bring about positive outcomes, and as a result, both of us began to flourish.

Neil expresses admiration for Lora’s decision to speak out. It was truly touching to listen to the stories shared by others who reached out, some facing challenges, while others had already overcome them. It was a beautiful display of community unity.

“We believed it was a highly significant message to share with the public. It was a challenging experience, but I believe it aided Lora in her emotional journey. Discussing the matter definitely proved beneficial for me.

In addition to motherhood, Lora also faced the challenge of resuming training and competing. She successfully made her comeback at last year’s World Championships in Glasgow, a remarkable achievement just eight months after giving birth.

Hall and Fachie have been cycling together since 2013

She achieved a silver medal in the B individual pursuit with Hall, but expressed dissatisfaction with how she was treated by British Cycling upon her return. She felt that she had been unfairly penalized for starting a family and experienced feelings of isolation and a lack of support.

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The organization voluntarily initiated an independent investigation, but prior to the recent incidents in Rio and Paris, Lora has observed some encouraging developments.

“British Cycling has provided me with support for my travel to Rio, allowing me to stay close to Fraser and be there for him whenever he needs me,” she explains.

“My main focus is on preparing myself for Paris, as Fraser will be with his grandparents and enjoying himself. However, due to security reasons, I may not be able to spend as much time with him as I would prefer.”

“The Paralympics offers a unique and transformative experience, and if I have the opportunity to attend in Paris, I am committed to being in peak physical condition.”

“Occasionally, it’s necessary to prioritize oneself.” However, it is crucial for me to be aware of his happiness and well-being under the care of my parents, as it allows me to concentrate on my own responsibilities.

“Winning gold in Rio would be amazing, but my main focus is on securing my spot on the team for Paris.”

The couple are eagerly anticipating an official diagnosis to confirm Fraser’s potential visual impairment. Lora mentions that there is no certainty regarding whether or not they will join their parents on a tandem bike in the future.

“People inquire about whether we have acquired a bike for Fraser yet. We have purchased a trike for him, but she emphasizes the importance of him developing his own identity rather than just becoming a cyclist,” she explains.

“I hope he can have his own spotlight, separate from Neil and me.” I hope he discovers his own path. If it’s cycling, I’ll back him up, but I’d prefer if he discovered his own passion – be it in sports, music, or any other pursuit that brings him joy.

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“He is growing into an individual with a unique personality. He has such a great sense of humor and it’s always refreshing to come home to him. I’ve never had so much amusement in my life, even when witnessing your antics just to elicit laughter from him.

“It is an exceptional substance.”

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