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Former Lloyd skater changes gears

By July 14, 2022No Comments
Ryan Dodyk, right, a former Lloydminster resident and member of the Lloydminster Border Blades Speed Skating Club, will compete in the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, in four indoor track cycling events from July 29 to Aug. 1. Supplied Photo

 

‘I like to ride my bike in circles really, really fast.’

That’s the first line on the website of track cyclist and former Lloydminster speed skater Ryan Dodyk.

The 25-year-old will be competing as a member of Cycling Canada’s Track Cycling Sprint Team at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, from July 28 to Aug. 8.

He’ll be joined by Olympian Alison Jackson from Vermilion in the women’s time trial and road race.

Dodyk’s going for gold in the indoor team sprint, sprint, keirin and time trial in his first Games.

He got his start skating fast around circles as a member of the Lloydminster Border Blades Speed Skating Club from 2007-14.

“From speed skating to track cycling, it just kind of makes sense because you’re just trying to go really fast and then turn left. It’s the same sport, just on a bike,” said Dodyk, who is currently training with the national team in Milton Ont.

Dodyk says the skating club was fun to be a part of and is a key part of his athletic development as a globetrotting athlete.

“I got quite good opportunities to compete out of being part of that club. I got to go to a few of the age class nationals, so that was pretty cool,” he said.

His skating coach, Richard Starke from 2007-10, says when he heard Dodyk had switched to cycling and was doing extremely well, he was not surprised.

“This was a young man you could tell was going places,” said Starke.

“He was a very driven and very talented competitor. I’m proud of the young man. He was fun to coach; he was very receptive to any suggestions you gave him on technique. He was always wanting to improve. He was also a good teammate.”

Starke says there’s a lot of speed skaters that are also good cyclists such as Olympian Clara Hughes, who won medals in both sports at the winter and summer Games.

Dodyk says his transition started with some road cycling in Lloydminster before graduating from Lloydminster Comprehensive High School.

“My dad kind of got me into that. He got an old road bike, the old style with the down tube shifters from his sister, and we fixed it up together and we started going on road rides together on country roads. It was really fun,” he said.

“Eventually, I started going on road rides by myself to train for speed skating, so I had some bike experience,” he said.

Joel Turcotte, who also coached Dodyk in speed skating for a few years up to 2013, is also not surprised by his success in cycling.

“Ryan was an elite athlete, an elite skater to be honest with you. He was meticulous in every phase–his equipment; he was always trying to get the edge on a piece of equipment or he was one-upping the way he trained,” recalled Turcotte.

Dodyk and his family moved to Sherwood Park in 2014 as a freshman at the University of Alberta and continued skating with the Edmonton Speed Skating Club until he tried out track cycling and got hooked on it.

He’s been a career cyclist since graduating in 2019 with a civil engineering degree with his sights now set on Birmingham.

“I don’t really have any expectations. I’m just going to try and have a good time and enjoy the experience. That’s kind of always my mentality going into competitions,” said Dodyk. 

“There’ll be some fast people there and I’m excited to get to race with them.”

Dodyk will head to Birmingham having competed this year in two of the three UCI Nations Cups. 

In 2021, he and two teammates set a new Canadian record in the team sprint in Cali, Columbia.

Later that year, he competed in Roubaix, France for the UCI Track Cycling World Championships, setting a personal best in the kilometre time trial. 

Dodyk’s advice to youngsters in Lloydminster who may want to follow in his footsteps is to get out and ride your bike if you like cycling.

“I used to ride all over Lloyd just for fun, just go exploring to see what was out there. Just do what you enjoy. If you have the opportunity, go for it,” he said.