Sunday, January 03, 2016

Road to Rio!

Lowell and his blind ambition had a spectacular 2015... and I don't envision that slowing down for 2016!

My blogging presence has been sporadic at best, and I haven't even documented the results of Lowell and Mark's spontaneous trip to the National Track Cycling Championships in Milton (near Toronto) in OCTOBER. For shame! I shall now remedy that. As I was not even there, consider this my foray into the world of journalism...

For starters- a Mark-and-Lowell selfie. I frequently present Lowell with selfie challenges, and he always delivers. Like, for example, when I requested a selfie with his look-alike-urologist, and he did it... directly following a vasectomy consult. Not awkward, not awkward at all. Anyhoo, this time was no different. I requested selfies, and he sent them.

Mark & Lowell en route to TO...

The boys gearing up to race...

Photo cred: Higuchi Photos.
Selfie cred: Mark. haha.
They participated in two races: the Kilo and the Pursuit. The Kilo was first. It's a 1,000 metre time trial. From standing start to finish, their time was 1:11... five seconds behind the winners, and a respectable third place finish. HELLO BRONZE MEDAL! This was the first time Lowell experienced the "track hack" (a crazy, lingering, blood-tasting cough following intense physical exertion... sounds fun).

Photo cred: Higuchi Photos.
Lowell & Mark don't match because they didn't have time to acquire coordinated jerseys, and also they don't have corporate sponsorship yet... interested?! ;)
The Pursuit was the following day.  The Pursuit is a 4,000-metre (16-lap) race. With blood in their lungs, and screaming quads, they finished in 4:57.... and scored another bronze medal! Flying around a 250-metre track at over 50km/hr proved exhilarating but also challenging. Mark's job was to keep that huge lug of a bike straight and as close to the bottom of the track as possible (despite crazy G-forces), and Lowell's job was to pedal smoothly and not move at all (to prevent crashing).

Photo cred: Higuchi Photos. Boy am I glad Mr. Higuchi was there to capture shots like this... I LOVE this picture!

Two bronze medals! Not too shabby considering Mark and Lowell MET two weeks before the races... Lowell's first true velodrome experience, and the first time Mark plopped his derriere on a tandem. The nubes surely shook things up a bit. I'm willing to bet that the french guys who scored gold and silver cycled right out of the womb... did you SEE those quads? Incredible.

Fast forward a few weeks, and Lowell attended a Paralympic scouting event at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary. The timing was perfect in that we were just on our way home from LA when it was going on. Not so perfect, however, because we had been up since 3am, and were running on no exercise and a diet of McDonalds two to four times a day. Still, Lowell was Lowell. He put his mind to the task, and he performed. The organizers were particularly impressed with his power, and following advice from his coach, Stephen, this ultimately led to the decision to shift his focus to track and road cycling (from triathlon), and push for Rio. As in, the Rio De Janeiro Paralympics 2016 (!!!!!!!!!).

Mark is on board, a training plan is in place, an appropriate bike has nearly been purchased, and the boys are on the road to Rio! Because competing in the Paralympics is based on points- and the boys have not had the opportunity to receive points- it's not a surefire thing that they'll make it. However, there are a couple of major races coming up, and if they can do what I know they CAN do... then Rio is a distinct possibility!

Have I mentioned that Lowell is 50lbs lighter than he was a year and a half ago? Talk about setting a goal and sticking to it! The first year that I piloted the tandem for Ride for a Reason (summer 2014), he was literally twice my weight. That made for some tricky piloting.

Photo cred: Shelley Coffey.
The next time (summer 2015), he had already dropped about 40lbs and I could definitely tell... my piloting task became easier!

Photo cred: Shelley Coffey
He has now lost a total of 50lbs AND 17% BODY FAT.... and I might have to kill him if he gets any closer to my weight. Kidding kidding- he doesn't want to lose more mass because mass = power. He just wants the mass to be muscle and not fat. And if I do say so myself (from my completely unbiased wifey perspective), he is looking mighty fine. Sexy beast. *ahem* so anyhoo...

The new tandem that has been (almost) purchased is a used bike that was custom made. The previous owner is a retired competitor, and the measurements just happen to be perfect. What a fortuitous way to save a few (thousand) bucks! There are still many costs ahead, however. Another tandem (as they hope to pursue both road AND track cycling for Rio), proper training equipment, and registrations/flights/accommodations for races for Lowell, Mark, and let's face it... me (hahaha kidding.... sort of).

I know Lowell better than anyone, and I truly believe that he can do anything he puts his mind to... sight or no sight. He's the most determined man I've ever met. He's leading a crazy life with bizarre/amazing opportunities, and I'm just thrilled to be along for the ride. If you want to join me on the journey of supporting Lowell and Mark on the road to Rio, financial support is always an option! He'll be setting up a fancy pants website soon enough, but you can still donate now if you so desire (including corporate sponsorships in exchange for advertising). HERE.

Or you can email money transfer to save fees associated with that fundraising campaign (3%). But still... no pressure. ;)

What will you get out of it? Wellllllll.... nothing. haha. Other than feeling like you are part of his inspirational journey, and obvious BRAGGING RIGHTS! If Lowell and Mark make it to Rio, YOU HELPED GET THEM THERE!! If not Rio, then all funds will be very useful as he sets his sights on Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. THANK YOU!

I'm confident that one of these days, my heart will actually pump right out of my chest with pride!


Chelsea said...

Love, love, love! That guy is kind of incredible... but has to be to fit with you other three! Great job, LOWELL! Julie, Frase-man, and Stef, great job as well, your support is kind of paramount to the goal-smashing happening around there. Awesome!

Carlynne said...

So exciting! It's too bad there aren't coed events as then you could be Lowell's pilot and go to the paraolympics too! You would be great!! I rather enjoy reading your posts. They make me laugh out loud.

Lowell & Julie said...

Thanks Chels- and I agree... Lowell is pretty incredible!!

That's a sweet sentiment, Carlynne, but I'm about as strong as Mark's pinkie, so I think he's Lowell's best bet. haha! ;)


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