There are actually very few athletes out there competing in tandem triathlon of this nature. Although in many ways this should count as ‘parasport’, there isn’t even a category for this type of triathlon racing (that I can find) because there are so few of us.
There are, of course, Dick and Rick Hoyt, who were the first to pioneer this type of racing, and who competed for years in Ironman Triathlons. There is Johnny Agar, who has also made it up to Ironman level. And Brent and Kyle Pease have just been offered an Ambassador place in Kona for the Ironman World Championships after seven years of steady effort. And there are a few other athletes dotted around the continent trying these, but they are few and far between, and many of them are hard to find online.
In Ontario (as far as we know) we are the third team to try a triathlon.
But unlike the few athletes I’ve just mentioned who are now competing at much longer distances, we are starting with a Sprint Triathlon this year. That’s a 700m swim, a 20k bike ride and a 5k run. This is the maximum distance I have ever been able to manage independently (in my pre-wheelchair, pre-diagnostic process days), with a best time of 1:58:09 back in 2011. But a Sprint triathlon is nothing compared to an Olympic (1.5k swim, 40k bike and 10k run), a Half Ironman (1.9k swim, 90k bike and 21.1k run) or the full Ironman distance (3.86k swim, 180.25k bike and a full 42.2k marathon)!
So with few athletes to compare ourselves to and only the experience of our own training to go on, we are setting what we hope is a manageable goal: beat my previous, unassisted personal best on this course!
That means that when we finish the course, we will have accomplished something that very few people ever even have a chance to try.
It means that anything under 1:58:09 is a reason to celebrate.
But given that Trevor’s fastest time on the course is 1:05:45, I will go on record and say that the competitive bit of me might be hoping for something a little faster than that!
If you’re having trouble visualizing all of this, I would really encourage you to take a look at the amazing video that our friends at Five Points Media have put together for us. They will also be present at the Barrie Triathlon to record our race, and we’re hoping to work with them over the next several months to create a ‘how-to’ series for other aspiring accessible triathletes, as there is very little in the way of resources available for athletes such as ourselves.
We are hoping to raise some money and awareness around accessible racing with our work, to make it possible for more folks with disabilities to get out and participate. If you’re interested in helping to support this cause, please visit my GoFundMe page!
Image Credit: Sports Illustrated