Sabrina Schillaci, is a triathlete, ultra-cycler, professional coach and founder of the Race Across Limits project: cycling and sports enterprises for charity.
Until August 2007 she worked as an architect and together with her husband had a furniture store. A quiet, normal life like many others, but due to an accident that happened to her husband that made him quadriplegic, it ceased to exist. Despite desperate attempts to recover what had been lost, the previous life was no longer feasible with such a severe disability, and the despair, the sense of helplessness led to an inevitable depression.
A condition that lasted almost five years until, one morning in June 2012, in Nice, Sabrina was lucky enough to witness the start of the Nice Ironman, one of the toughest races on the international circuit.
The vision of that competition woke her up from the catatonic state in which she had slipped and convinced her to take back her life, to start practicing triathlon, and to decide to cross that finish line, after 3800mt of swimming, 180km of biking and 42km of running.
Thus began a new life. Made of training schedules, swimming lessons and running technique. Two sessions a day, the first of which when the sun had not yet risen, and then rushing home to assist her disabled husband, of whom she became his caregiver.
However, she lacked a racing bike and had it given to her for her birthday. It was a used bike, a little bigger than necessary, with the wrong gears for a neophyte, but they were all convinced that after a month the bike would be back in the store, and along with it the idea of participating in an Ironman. But they hadn't considered that, even if athletically it was all to be built, tenacity, willpower and determination were there. So learning how to ride a bike was the first real sporting challenge she won.
This was followed by the first half Ironman in Pescara in 2015, a second in September of the same year,a qualification for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Australia, the first long distance Ironman and so on and so forth. In just under four years he crossed the finish line of a dozen half-Ironmans, qualified for Worlds three times, and competed in four long distance Ironman
Each milestone he passed was an invitation to continue but above all an injection of confidence to better face all the difficulties that life with a disability entails.
In 2018 the idea of Race Across Limits was born, a challenge through the limits that disability imposes on you, but also the desire to help the COME Collaboration Onlus Foundation that cares for infants and children with disabilities. To raise funds by pedalling from Besana in Brianza to Santiago de Compostela in 18 days, for 2200 km, following a route traced for the occasion, accompanied by a camper.
The journey, was the opportunity to discover that she was predisposed for long distances, and after that first experience there was the tour of Italy, 3200km in 20 days in 2019, and in 2020, due to the pandemic, the effort became a long relay crossing Italy under the name of Race Across Limits. In October there was the circumnavigation of Sicily, and in 2021 after the complete circumnavigation of Sardinia, Sabrina embarked on a more challenging undertaking: 5 cime in 5 days, surmounting the Galibier, Izoard, Sestriere, Colle delle Finestre and Barre des Ecrine.
She is now about to leave for a new, small trip, bikepacking to Pescara where the Foundation is based. A different experience that will give her the opportunity to put herself to the test once again.
Because, as she herself reveals, her drawer is full of dreams, which she doesn't want to let grow old, and which include sport, cycling and solidarity.
To face any undertaking in the best way, her preparation is demanding and constant. It provides two workouts a day, every day: swimming, running, muscle strengthening, yoga and thanks to his profession as a mental coach deepens and experiments in the field, the techniques of mental training.
The cycling preparation includes both indoor training sessions and outings, especially on hilly and mountainous routes of the upper Brianza, or Garda. She also likes to discover unknown places, watch the sun rise over a body of water and share the effort with some friends, with the same passion, because despite what you think, the bike is a woman and is a growing movement.
On her own trips, she tells us, the company is largely female. Women are capable of putting themselves on the line without fear of showing their frailties, and if their motivation is to help others, they are even more inclined to do so.