Lowell Taylor and his wife Julie stepped off the plane at the Lethbridge Airport, and into the waiting arms of their two young boys, as they arrived home Monday from the 2020 Para-Cycling Track World Championships. “It was just an incredible experience” said Taylor as he stopped for a short interview with CTV News in the airport lounge.
Born with a genetic eye disease, Taylor's peripheral vision has been progressively disappearing, but his focus on competing in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic games remains razor sharp.
“We needed a top eight position and we got seventh in the world," he said. "We needed a standard and we met that. We set a new Canadian record in a kilo event.”
At the championships Taylor raced with a new pilot, Ed Veal of Ontario. In their first ever attempt at the one-thousand metre time trial, the pair powered their way to a Canadian record with a time of 1:04.722.
Best of all, the duo set the record in front of Canadians.
“This was the first Track World Championships Canada has hosted," Taylor said, "and it was a great honour to represent Canada, to wear the maple leaf.”
Taylor said he was not only thrilled with their times, but has come away convinced that the duo has what it takes to compete with the best. “There’s absolutely room for improvement. We had more gas in the tank," he said.
Taylor and Veal now switch gears, with the goal of meeting the standard for road cycling. They will fly to Phoenix next week, to join the Valley Of The Sun Race, where they hope to do well enough to be selected for the UCI Para-Cycling Road World Championships in Ostend Belgium at the beginning of June.
Taylor said after the success in Ontario, he will also be taking part in training or racing events in Montreal and Italy.
“We have a lot more training camps, we have more races, and it looks like we need a new bike to compete with top teams who all have brand new high-tech bikes, so it’s going to be pretty costly these next few months," he said.
Like many athletes with Olympic or Paralympic dreams, Taylor and Veal have started a GoFundMe page (please link to: vision2020tokyo.ca) with the goal of raising $30,000 to help cover the cost of a new bike and other expenses.
Taylor hopes the payoff comes June 22, when Cycling Canada officially announces its team for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games this fall.
“We're in really good form, and really good fitness, and we're only getting faster," he said. "With more practice, more specific training and as our fitness improves, we will definitely be ready for Tokyo.”
But for now, it’s good to be home again, “I’ve been away for a long time," he said. "I look forward to my own bed, and to some snuggles and play time with my kids.”