The XV Parapan American Games in Guadalajara Mexico was a fantastic time. I was my first games experience and the Canadian Paraolympic Committee quickly made me feel at home. You no longer had to worry about disabilities. It was a great feeling to be amongst elite athletes, talking with them, seeing their equipment and learning about their sports.
The Althlete’s Village was large and difficult to walk around at for me. The Canadian Paralympic Committee orgainized things so I could have a wheelchair. That made things much more easier. I could use my enery for trike racing rather than for walking place to place.
What was really neat was that I knew the physiotherapist for team Canada. Agnes Makowski and myself are physiotherapy classmates from the University of Toronto program. We were super-excited to reconnect here in Guadalajara, Mexico. The staff with team Canada were all helpful and made sure everything was right and that we didn’t miss anything.
I was there for two races. The first race was a Time Trial and the second was a Road Race. The course was mostly flat with roundabouts and false flat areas. It was a factored event as the men and women T1 and T2 raced against each other. There were 7 athletes racing each other. I was able to keep up to the athletes for a short period of time. About half way through the race I passed the T1 male. I rode and did my best. In the end, with the factoring I came in second. A silver medal. It was my best time trial ever, first in the T1 women’s category.
The rest of the team did very well. Our men’s tandem team of Daniel Chalifour and pilot Ed Veal got a bronze medal. It was the first time they raced together. Our World Champion tandem of Robbie Weldon and pilot Lyne Bessette won a gold medal. Unfortuately our T2 female rider, Marie-Eve Croteau who crashed badly finished 4th overall. Personal bests were established by Mattieu Parent and Eric Bourgault.Without the trike racers the rest of the team moved on to race at the velodrome. Watching the event, I saw our tandems win their pursuits in very close races with the USA. The following day another gold for Robbi and Lyne, Daniel and Ed got a silver.
While others were competing at the Velodrome, a coach was present to train with the trike racers. We were able to train around the stadium. It is a secured place, no traffic. We were able to get ready for Saturday’s road race.
My second race was the Road Race. It was the same course as the triker Time Trial, only longer. Two laps instead of one as was for trikers in the Time Trial. There was no factoring in the Road Race. T1 Females are expected to be the slowest riders in the group of T1-T2 riders. I came in 6th. Our tandem teams came in first, Marie-Eve Croteau won a bronze medal and Marie-Claude Molnar won a bronze medal. All of the girls won a medal at these games. It was all great for Canada!
Shelley Getting The Silver Medal