Rafael Lopez 

It never gets easier. You just go faster

What can I say? I love bicycles. I believe that the number of bicycles a person should own is equal to n + 1, where “n” is equal to the number of bicycles currently owned. And I truly believed that if everyone took a little time out of their lives to discover what they could do on a bicycle, the world would be a better place. However, I like to think of myself as more of a pragmatic person, so one of my commitments is to sharing my love of cycling and sport with others in hopes of shaping my little corner of the world for the better. I’m a runner, cyclist, and triathlete, and I’m passionate about amateur sport and helping others push themselves to see what they’re really capable of. In 2012, I was lucky enough to become a part of the Ridleys Cycle family and with them I hope to help others to get involved in sport, and cycling.

Rafael Lopez

My History

I always loved riding my bicycle growing up, and I can still remember every bike I ever owned, but it wasn’t until 2009 that I decided to make my relationship with sport a little more formal.  Every year I would watch the Kona Ironman coverage and be inspired by the stories of the thousands of athletes racing in triathlon’s Mecca.  So one fateful November afternoon in 2009, having never raced a triathlon, I signed up for Ironman Calgary 70.3.  Having not swam further than 50m since I received my Grey Badge (never completed the colours), and having never run a half marathon, and not biked more than 100km in one go, I knew I was in a little over my head.  But in eight months somehow I managed to get my butt across that line, and then I was hooked.

Thirteen months after my first triathlon, I was on the start line to Ironman Canada.  My jump to the big one was hasty but as long as there was a bigger race out there, I knew I would not be satisfied until I’d crossed that finish line.  The bike is definitely my strong suit, and in an event that long I figured it would play in my favour that day, it did and I finished with a respectable time. 

Fast forward another 12 months and I was racing at the ITU Long Course Triathlon World Championships in Vittoria, Spain with the words “Lopez CAN” across my chest.  “CAN” actually is the abbreviation for “Canada”, but it was nice to know that “I could”, and so can you (Cut me some slack, I have to be a little cheesy).

Bikes

Triathlon- Trek Speed Concept 9.5; Road- Cervelo S5; Mountain Giant XTC2.

Favourite Ride

Downtown Calgary to Hwy 22x and on to Bragg Creek and Elbow Falls, then out to the end of Route 66 and back.  Its probably something like 150km but you get a little bit of everything on the ride, downtown, the reservoir, the suburbs, farmlands, rolling foothills, mountain passes.  You can just get lost in that ride and its amazing.

Post Ride Meal

A good old fashioned homemade burger with a Heineken on the side.  I believe you can eat whatever you want after a big ride.

What I do when I’m not riding

Well if its triathlon season then when I’m not riding I’m either running, swimming or doing yoga.  If its off season then I’m skiing, playing hockey, or playing Call of Duty.

Favorite Race

To date, my favourite race would be Ironman Canada, it was my first Ironman and I’ll never forget a moment of it and the energy of Penticton.  But a close second would the ITU Long Course World Champs in Spain.  Spain felt like I was racing the Vuelta, towns and cities full of Spaniards yelling “Venga, Venga! Venga!”  Just awesome. 

Ever since those races I’ve made it a point of when I’m at races yelling at people to push with all they’ve got.  I know that seems strange, but it makes a world of difference when you’re the athlete and you’re putting your heart and soul out there on the course.

Mentor

I draw inspiration from seeing other people race, getting to know their stories, and learning what pushes them to do what they do.  Everyone has a reason for racing, or participating in sport, I find those stories so amazing sometimes that its hard not to be inspired.

Follow me on Twitter here @RafLopez or visit my other blog at Run Raf Run.