Saturday, October 03, 2015

Lowell, Mark, and the National Track Championships!

Let me introduce you to Stephen Burke (of Burke's Integrated Bicycle Training) and Mark MacDonald... the latest additions to Lowell's para-athletic dream team.

A few weeks ago, Lowell attended an 'intro to tandem cycling for the blind' workshop (offered through ASRAB) where he met Stephen- a national paracycling coach. They went for a ride together and bonded.

Then Stephen became Lowell's cycling coach.

Then Stephen hooked Lowell up with Mark- a seasoned competitive track cyclist.

Last weekend, Mark piloted Lowell's tandem at the outdoor velodrome in Calgary. It was Lowell's second velodrome experience (if you can really count the time we went like six years ago for a casual cycle in New Zealand), and it was Mark's first time on a tandem. Like, ever.

What's a velodrome, you ask? I'll just straight up copy Wikipedia's definition for you. "A velodrome is an arena for track cycling. Modern velodromes feature steeply banked oval tracks, consisting of two 180-degree circular bends connected by two straights." Also, specific bikes are required (fixed gear/no shifting/can't stop pedalling/no brakes). And they speed around the track at 50-60km/hr. Sounds fun right?

Lowell & Mark spent a little more time at the track this weekend. Because of their combined power and Mark's technical experience, Stephen believes they have a shot at nationals. Soooo.. they are heading to Toronto to compete in the National Track (cycling) Championships. THIS WEEK. For real. It's all happening so fast, but Stephen believes in them, and I believe in them too!

I was unable to be at the track for either excursion, but Verdun & Kurt graciously transported Lowell and took on my paparazzi role, and Marc and Tara were also able to witness the magic and text me updates. I HATE missing these things... mama likes to be in the loop!

Lowell & Mark!

Hi Mark!
That's Stephen leading the way!

The gal biking with the boys is Michelle Salt. She's a paracyclist under Stephen's direction. Like that's not enough, she's also a paralympic snowboarder and a fitness model... with one leg. What an incredibly ambitious and inspirational woman. She'll be at nationals this week as well, and I'm eager to follow her progress!

 We are fans. Welcome to our world, guys (and thank you for welcoming us into yours)!

In other cycling news, Fraser (who just turned four) participated in his first charity ride this morning! He raised $140 for the Lethbridge Pregnancy Care Centre... thanks to those who donated! Fraser was a total trooper as he completed the ride in the freezing cold (it felt like -3 degrees) with 60km/hr wind gusts and SLEET. A much deserved Starbucks treat was in order at the end!

Stefan showing some pre-ride pride for his bundled-up-and-ready-to-ride big bro!
My fingers nearly froze off, so photographic evidence of the event is less than optimal... but at least it exists. Kind of.

Speedy McSpeedster.
Poor Stef nearly froze his noogie noogies off on the back of my bike. 
Fraser SORT OF enjoys cake pops.

Give these kids a few more years of growth and experience, and I'm sure they'll be more than capable of piloting their daddy on the tandem! In the meantime, we're thrilled that Warren & Mark have risen to the challenge.

I'm super pumped for Lowell & Mark to head to Toronto this week but I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M MISSING IT. Kids? Work? WHAT?!? Rest assured, we'll be screaming our heads off from afar. But if any of you just HAPPEN to be at the Milton Velodrome on Wednesday and Thursday, feel free to cheer your brains out and generously snap photos (then promptly share them with me)!

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