November 11, 2011 (Guadalajara, Mexico) – I have been quite lucky throughout my life. I have a loving family and lots of support, a healthy and happy son and I was born in an amazing place. I feel very fortunate and very lucky because a lot of this that has come my way seems out of my control.
Now I know some might argue and say, “I don’t believe in luck”. But to some extent I do think you can create luck with hard work, by being open-minded and knowing when to go for, and seize the right opportunities to have more success. But having my health, loving parents, and a healthy baby plus being born is Canada appears to be out my control – so I’m VERY lucky!
Now I say all of this as I write to you from Guadalajara, Mexico at the Para-cycling Pan-Am Games. I have been down here now for four days getting ready to compete for Canada and represent my country for the first time on the national team. This opportunity only came my way because I took an invite back in July to compete on a tandem bike at the Para-cycling Nationals.
I enjoyed it so much I competed with Brian at the Paracycling Track Nationals in Bromont, QC, and not only did we bond a bit more and become more of a team, Brian and I won the gold in the 4km pursuit. However, Brian and I did not qualify for Pan-Ams, as Daniel Chalifour and Alex Cloutier were the team selected to go and have been the top male tandem in Canada for a few years. Alex would be here piloting Daniel if his wife hadn’t just given birth to a happy healthy baby (lucky guy). Alex made the call to stay home with his newborn and Daniel made the call that he would like me to fill in for Alex. The result at Nationals and a little bit of luck got me here piloting Daniel at the Para Pan-Am Games and I couldn’t be happier.
This is quite the group and it all starts at the top with the head coach Eric Van Den Eynde. He leads the team and puts his heart and soul into things. As a coach myself I appreciate the work ethic he has and his knowledge of the sport is overwhelming. As a self trained athlete until now I took a big step and have taken him on as my very first cycling coach. So far the experiencehas been amazing. What he does with these para-athletes, and how he has already had an effect of me, says so much about him as a person, and a coach. Once again I feel lucky this path has brought me to him.
This race is a unique balance of pacing and power and you need to be perfect at both to get the result you want. It’s 16 laps of pain and you start from a dead stop. Give too much too soon and you will pay for it late in the event as your legs fill up with lactate. Go to easy off the start and you will not have time to make it up because the event is so short.
We are back to the track tomorrow to try and perfect the 4km Pursuit and all this track/speed work should have us ready to rip up the TT as well. Look for a report from each event and be sure to follow my updates on twitter and facebook as the week goes on….wish us luck!