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Lethbridge para-cyclist heading to 2020 track world championships
Para-cyclist Lowell Taylor celebrates winning a pair of silver medals at the 2019 Parapan Am Games in Lima, Peru
LETHBRIDGE -- For Lethbridge para-cyclist Lowell Taylor, 2019 was a big year. He won gold at the time trial at the Canadian championships, and a pair of silver medals at the Lima 2019 Parapan American Games last August.
"This is a beautiful medal, and one of my most prized," said Taylor, as he proudly showed off the medal he brought back from Lima, Peru.
"In Paralympics, they put braille on the medals, and there’s braille underneath saying Parapan Am Games, and it’s got the Aztec design. It will be a very cherished medal."
Taylor said competing at the Parapan Am Games was an amazing experience. His wife Julie, their two boys, and Julie’s parents were able to travel to Peru and cheer Taylor on.
"It’s an experience I won’t ever forget."
At the same time, Taylor is now setting his sights on the next step in his journey, having been selected as a member of Team Canada that will be hosting the 2020 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in Milton, Ont., from Jan. 30 to Feb. 2, 2020.
"This is the biggest race that I’ve ever done," said Taylor, "It’s my first world championship, and this is the main event to get me selected for Tokyo."
Born with a genetic eye disease, Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), Taylor’s peripheral vision has been progressively disappearing, and he now sees through a pinhole, that gets smaller every year. He was the first visually impaired contestant on Amazing Race Canada, appearing in season four with his wife.
He’s also a registered psychologist, and provides counselling, coaching and consultation. He often speaks about turning obstacles into opportunities, and through this journey, hopes to inspire others to follow their dreams.
"I planted a seed to compete in the Paralympics. I needed a big dream, this big audacious goal, and I've spent five years chasing the dream, and as it gets closer, I’m getting more and more excited," he said.
At the same time, Taylor knows there are no guarantees. Despite their successes last year, Taylor and his partner Andrew Davidson failed to qualify for carding and lost their national funding for 2020. But he will have a new pilot for the world championships, 43-year-old Ed Veal, from Queensville, Ont. Veal is cycling medalist, who holds Canadian and world records.
"My best chance at the Tokyo Paralympics is in track, and for the track world championships I needed a track specialist," Taylor said.
Taylor and Julie have created "Vision 2020" as the name for Taylor’s push for the Paralympics. They are selling "Live with Heart" gear and are being supported by several local businesses; including platinum sponsor Stranville Developments, as well as other sponsors like Dominion Lending and Ascent Cycle.
Taylor said pursuing his dream will cost about $30,000 this year; about $15,000 to buy a world-class time trial bike, and another $15,000 to cover trips and travel.
"To get to this level I have to make a lot of sacrifices, and it is a lot of time away from family, and a lot of time away from work," he said.
This weekend, Taylor and other members of the national team will travel to Los Angeles for two weeks of training, prior to the world championships. Taylor said in order to fulfill his dream, he will have to do the best he can do, in all areas.
"We are competing against some other really amazing athletes who are all vying to get selected for the Paralympics as well."
That said, Taylor believes anything is possible.
"We have a really good shot at being one of the top podium teams in the world, and it’s coming," he said.
"It’s all happening now."