Feels Like Home – Race Local, Race Lakeside

Ryan Van Praet and Syd Trefiak on the run course at the Welland Long Course Triathlon.

Ryan Van Praet and Syd Trefiak on the run course at the Welland Long Course Triathlon.

For many the end of the triathlon season is approaching. For myself, it is somewhat beginning. After a race in Welland Long Course, I’ve spent the summer training and getting ready mainly for #BarrelmanTri (in two weeks) and Ironman Florida in 10 weeks.

However, this weekend I will return to a race I’ve done a few times, twice as a solo athlete (back when my vision was better) and once as a Paratriathlete.; I’m speaking of the Lakeside Triathlon, held northeast of London, somewhat in the direction of St.Mary’s.

I’m vague on the exact direction as to me this is part of the appeal of Lakeside. Plopped down in what seems to be the middle of nowhere, if you were not looking for it, you’d never know there was such an awesome triathlon venue tucked away in those trees and farmers fields. Read more

Paratriathlon Makes Its Debut at Rio 2016

Ryan Van Praet (left) with his guide Syd Trefiak at the 2016 Welland Long Course Triathlon

Ryan Van Praet Previews the upcoming Paratriathlon Debut

Many of us can recall where we were in 2000 when a young kid from Kingston named Simon Whitfield, surged in the final kilometer to win the first ever gold medal in triathlon at the Sydney Olympic Games.

How many of us will be glued to our TV’s or computers in order to watch a similarly historic moment in the sport that we all love so much? In Rio de Janeiro later this summer, our sport will take a giant step forward once again as it seeks to showcase the true potential of human capability. Paratriathlon will make its debut in the Paralympic Games and thus will signal a very important moment in the world of physically challenged triathlon. The Paralympics showcase the best in the world of disabled sport, providing us a glimpse into a world of extraordinary determination, work ethic, possibility, and positivity. Inspiring is a word often tossed around and para-athletes hear this often. This can describe wonderment of how an athlete can participate and endure despite dealing with certain physical impairments. A key thing to remember however is that they are athletes first and foremost. Read more

Paratriathlon – It’s Okay To Be Curious, Some Facts & Fiction to Consider

Written by Ryan Van Praet (pictured on the left)

As the season has kicked off recently in Ontario and I look to toe the line in Welland for the Long Course to kick off my year, it seemed like a good time to write this article.

No doubt in the past you have seen the odd triathlete or two show up at a race and look a bit “different”. Maybe they were missing an arm or leg, rode a specially adapted bicycle, or were tied to another triathlete by a cord? Paratriathletes (athletes with a physical disability) are out there and with Rio just around the corner, the Paralympics provide a new visibility for Paratriathletes.

Being a legally blind triathlete for over 18 years, I have had the privilege to race all over the world, from ITU sprints, to the Hawaii Ironman, and more. It has provided a wonderful opportunity to gauge the curiosity of the public on what exactly are Paratriathletes. Often times we can seem like some sort of alien beings descending on a race with our contraptions and ropes and braces, etc. I wanted to tell you first and foremost: IT IS OKAY TO BE CURIOUS!! Read more