A Beautiful Ride

On Saturday evening, January 25, 2020, at the Track Cycling World Cup in Milton, Canada, Stefan was given a heart-felt honouring. The announcers welcomed Stefan onto the track to a standing ovation. He rode five laps around his national home track for the first time since the August 30, 2018 injury. As a friend joked later, “Stefan, that was your slowest kilo ever.” And in Stefan’s words, “It was great! I could’ve stayed out there for an hour!”

Thanks to Kris Westwood and ALL Cycling Canada staff who made this beautiful tribute ride possible. In the Canadian Cyclist article, it shares how behind the scenes the ride came to be. Basically Stefan was not expecting to ride the track. And before one knew it, all the pieces fell into place for it to happen. A very pleasant surprise indeed, along with getting a new track suit!

A Place of Possibility and Awesome Support!

For me as a Mom, it was great to see Stefan reunited with his former coach, teammates, and the tremendous Cycling Canada staff support team. As well as how the broader cycling community and many cycling families were all very excited to see Stefan at the track. Everyone’s support of Stefan in so many ways is really appreciated and warm’s the heart!

Reunited with coach Franck Durivaux
Photo Credit: Canadian Cyclist
Reunited with coach Franck Durivaux
Photo Credit: Canadian Cyclist

What is next for Stefan? While, the world is full of possibility. As one door closes another opens. On the Sunday, Stefan was able to shadow a photographer and get a feel of what life is like on the other side of the camera lens. Check out his photos from the Milton World Cup.

 

Thanks again to ALL for your ongoing support!

Photo Credit: Canadian Cyclist

posted by Barbara Ritter

My Track Cycling Career

photo credit: Cycling Canada Instagram Story

It has been over a year now since my crash on August 30, 2018. The road to recovery from a severe traumatic brain injury is long and challenging. Although my recovery is going incredibly well, I still have the final portions of it ahead of me. With that being said, it is with a very heavy heart that I am officially resigning from racing with the Canadian National Track Cycling Team.

The reason for my decision to leave racing, is a matter of my long term health. I want to live a long and healthy life, and racing poses an immeasurable risk, a risk I simply can’t afford to take anymore. All the medical professionals who I’ve worked with since my crash, have strongly advised me not to go back to racing with my long term health being the primary reason.

Racing on the track at the elite level and being in the high-performance environment on a daily basis has truly brought me so much in many areas of my life. All of my training, racing, and the mentality I’ve cultivated throughout it all, has been so instrumental in my recovery. The skills you learn in training and racing go beyond the act of riding a bike, they are applicable to the bigger picture – to life itself. On top of that, racing has taken me all over the world to amazing places, and along the way, given me amazing experiences with amazing people, all of which I am extremely grateful for.

Although my career was relatively short, it was indeed a very rewarding journey. It was very fulfilling, and one that I don’t have any regrets with. My career started in 2010 with the Juventus Cycling Club in Edmonton on the 1978 Commonwealth Games Velodrome at the age of 12. While my interest in track cycling grew, I continued to race on the road, mountain bike, and cyclocross. In January of 2015 I got the opportunity to wear the maple leaf as a junior at Cyclo-Cross World Championships in Tabor, Czech Republic. Later that same year I also represented Canada at the Junior Track Cycling World Championships in Astana, Kazakhstan. I then quickly realized that track sprinting was my strength. One year later in Aigle, Switzerland I became the Junior Kilo World Champion and also won a bronze in the sprint. Later on in that same year at the Pan American Track Championships in Aguascalientes, Mexico I set 2 new junior world records in both the 1 kilometre time trial and the flying 200 metre events. Two years later in the winter of 2018, I won silver in the keirin at the World Cup in Minsk, Belarus. Shortly after, I then competed in the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games for Canada. Being my first multi-sport games, it was truly a special experience for me. My track cycling racing career only spanned 3 years from August 2015 to August 30, 2018. Despite that it was nothing short of incredible, from the people I’ve met, to the knowledge I’ve learned, as well as the experiences I’ve had, all of which I am truly grateful for.

Elk Island Road Ride

Here is a photo of me on a road ride I went on with my Dad before the snow came this fall. Going for rides and spending time in the gym, both of which I am really passionate about, are playing a vital role in my recovery. And as for the next step in my life, the plan is to first fully recover. Then I can honestly say I’m not sure which path I’ll choose or what my future holds in store for me. I’m still young, at 21 years old. I’ve got ideas and I’ve got options. But I’m still undecided as to which way I will go.

I would like to sincerely thank everyone from the bottom of my heart, for  all the support during my career, as well as all the encouragement, thoughts, and prayers for me after my crash. I will always look back at this part of my life very fondly, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every second of it. But as this good ride comes to an end, it marks the closing of this chapter in my life as a track sprinter. At the very same time, new doors are opening for me. I find myself entering an exciting time, a renaissance, a new beginning, and I can’t wait to see where it will take me.

All the best,

Stefan

Links to articles relating to my leaving Elite Track Cycling:

Cycling Canada

Canadian Cyclist

7th Month Healing Update

The healing and rehab continues steadily and Stefan is in great health. Today, March 29th, is about 7 months since Stefan’s accident, and as the doctors have said, “The brain heals but it takes time.” Now what has Stefan been up to . . .

The Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital here in Edmonton continues to stand up to its reputation of assisting people in recovery. Stefan is receiving ongoing Occupational and Physiotherapy as an out-patient. This will continue till June and perhaps beyond.

Physiotherapy started Stefan on the CAREN (Computer Assisted Rehabilitation ENvironment). It allows participants to interact with the simulated environment for immediate feedback on performance. There are some pictures below showing Stefan using the various programs to test balance, gait, scanning and the brain all at once – very cool! We are grateful to have access to this therapy.

Sports continue to be a big part of Stefan’s recovery, like dribbling the basketball with the left hand, practicing setting the volleyball, continued focus on weight lifting form, and playing table tennis and badminton. Every now and again he tests out his running. Spinning on the bike is still a major part of rehab. And Stefan was super happy when in early March he could once again do a pistol squat on both sides (one legged squat while holding the other leg forward). And the unsung hero of recovery is rest. The brain needs breaks throughout the day and good sleep habits. Stefan has incorporated rest (aka naps) into his day more regularly. It has helped tremendously.

Stefan’s thoughts on healing:

 “I feel like I have been given a second chance, and happy for every day! Thanks everyone for your ongoing support.“

We are very grateful for the visitors who have come through our house and the continual inquires and prayers for Stefan.

With much Love and Gratitude,

Barb, Stefan, Norm and Carsten

 

Caren

3rd Month Healing Update

picture taken on December 4th, 2018

Stefan’s brain injury and body continues to heal daily in small, stable, and steady ways. We continue to see subtle improvements in vision, voice, memory, left arm movement and left leg movement. True to Stefan’s dedication to training as an elite athlete, he uses these skills towards bringing about overall healing within himself. Ask him about the future and he replies that he is excited and positive about what the future holds. It is great to be alive and healing. Ask him about the moustache . . . “It represents how far I have come in my recovery.”

On October 5, 2018 Stefan was transferred from the Royal Alexandra Hospital to the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital Brain Injury Recovery in-patient Program. Within two weeks of being in the program, he went from wheelchair to walking independently, including stairs and to being able to eat regular food.

As of November 30, 2018 (the three month mark since the accident), Stefan was discharged from the Glenrose in-patient Program. He will continue with an out-patient rehabilitation program at the Glenrose. We are grateful to have access and provincial health care coverage to such a supportive program here in our city.

Now at home full-time, Stefan has included almost daily spin training on his road bike, and he says it feels amazing to be back in the saddle. A shout out to Cycling Canada for shipping the bike back to Edmonton and to AVRA “Argyll Velodrome Racing Academy” for supplying the LeMond trainer.

Stefan continues to be truly grateful for all the love, prayers and support sent his way. We as a family are also very grateful.

Merry Christmas 🎄 and Best Wishes in the New Year 🎉

With much love and gratitude,

Stefan, Barb, Norm and Carsten

DSCF3217

 

Healing & Thanks 👍

Thanks Be To God and YOU !!!

Thank YOU for being part of Stefan’s Healing Journey to date and also thanks for in whichever way you have participated in the 21 Day Stefan Karl Ritter Healing Prayer!!!

May you all be so incredibly blessed with abundant love, health, happiness and strength!!!

We are so very humbled by how many of you around the world have taken time out of your life to send healing prayers, thoughts and vibrations to Stefan and to hold Norm, Carsten and myself up.

Stefan continues to heal and strengthen everyday. He is very well established to make a full and amazing recovery.

For those of you who personally know Stefan’s appetite, well . . . his body needs lots of nutrition. The tube feed through the nose will continue at night for a few more days. Stefan’s body is burning calories both naturally and due to the brain injury.

Below is a picture of Stefan on October 1, 2018.

With much love and gratitude,

Stefan and Family (Norm, Barb and Carsten)

Life is Precious, Life is Great, Life is LOVE in action . . . THUMBS UP!

IMG_3739

 

21 Day Stefan Karl Ritter Healing Prayer

Healing from a brain injury is an unknown journey. In the unknown lies unlimited potential. Out of unlimited potential arises the creation of a new possibility. We invite you to participate in Stefan Karl Ritter’s healing journey by praying/asking the 21 Day Stefan Karl Ritter Healing Prayer below. With love, gratitude and blessings, The Ritter Family.

Healing Update as of December 21, 2018

Healing Update as of October 1, 2018

As human beings we each have been given unlimited potential. This potential is accessed

  1. through purposeful and focused prayers, thoughts, and intentions
  2. accompanied by a deep desire and passion
  3. and then these prayers, thoughts and intentions are released – – let go – – set free. Meaning we no longer interfere by setting a prescribed expected outcome; instead we allow the miracle to unfold like watching a young child grow and flower.

It is a paradox but this is how miracles happen. When applied on a daily basis (ie. intentions set, passion applied and then released) miracles result.

For the next 21 days, beginning Sunday, September 9 to to Sunday, September 30, we ask people who feel called to do so, to send Stefan Karl Ritter the following daily:

  • if unable to start September 9, please begin on whichever day works for you and continue for 21 days
  • place one hand on your heart
  • breath in calm, peace and love into your heart first
  • once in this space send this calm, peace and love with the following intentions/prayers to Stefan either read or spoken (spoken has more power)

Dear God of my understanding,

  • We pray/ask that Stefan’s body harmoniously balances his blood pressure, temperature, heart rate, breathing rate and oxygen levels to promote the highest healing.
  • We pray/ask that Stefan’s soul continuously calls on God (the ever loving presence of unconditional love, healing and forgiveness which surrounds all of humanity) for healing.
  • We pray/ask that Stefan’s body & brain, soul & will, and spirit & energy all be interwoven and foundationally set within 21 days ending Sunday, September 30th, from which he can further flourish and heal.
  • We pray/ask that Stefan lives a long, healthy, accident free, vibrant and fully bodied capable life unified in body, soul and spirit.
  • We pray/ask that all cyclists when training and competing remain accident free.
  • We pray/ask that all who participate in this 21 day prayer in whichever way they are called, are also blessed with health, happiness and safety.

AMEN

God Bless,

With much love and gratitude

Barbara (mom), Norman (dad) and Carsten (brother)

check out High Performance, High Risks, High Healing

  • We are grateful to all the individuals and spiritual communities around the world praying on Stefan’s behalf.
  • We are grateful that Stefan is receiving amazing care at the Royal Alex ICU in Edmonton.
  • We are grateful to God, the unconditional love that holds all of humanity in love, truth, forgiveness and compassion. Thanks be to God!

 

 

High Performance, High Risk, High Healing

High Performance

From a very young age like about 4 years old, it was quite clear to Norm and I that our son Stefan would become a gifted athlete. It is not something we really shared with others, but it was a deep knowing. In elementary school, one project he completed of his own choosing was a timeline of the Olympic Games. One can sense when you meet Stefan personally that he is destined to become an Olympic Athlete. Not for the medals nor the glory but for the challenge of it all, for the love of the sport, and for curious exploration of what his body, mind, soul, and spirit can do.

Regardless whether or not he ever participates in the Olympics, he is deep within his soul an Olympian.

High Risk

The sport in which Stefan chose to pursue this dream eventually became Track Sprint Cycling. We as parents know the risk of this sport. And yet as parents of a gifted athlete in a risky sport, we were not about to prevent Stefan from pursuing his dream, and have always given Stefan our full support all the way. Since mid June of 2017, Stefan has been involved in four crashes: two in training and two in competition. This last crash on August 30, 2018 in Aguascalientes, Mexico during the Pan American Track Championship’s Keirin race was by far the most serious. 

High Healing

Stefan is now in the most Olympian healing of his life. He is currently in ICU in Edmonton, Alberta recovering from the head injury. There is no doubt in our minds as parents that Stefan wants to heal, and we have personally witnessed this day after day since the accident. And in particular today, Sunday, September 9, 2018. And if you have been following Stefan and his cycling career and also want to see him heal, and feel called, we ask for your prayers/thoughts/intentions in the following way:

21 Day Stefan Karl Ritter Healing Prayer

Healing from a brain injury is an unknown journey. In the unknown lies unlimited potential. Out of unlimited potential arises the creation of a new possibility. We invite you to participate in Stefan Karl Ritter’s healing journey by praying/asking the 21 Day Stefan Karl Ritter Healing Prayer below. With love, gratitude and blessings, The Ritter Family.

As human beings we each have been given unlimited potential. This potential is accessed

  1. through purposeful and focused prayers, thoughts, and intentions
  2. accompanied by a deep desire and passion
  3. and then these prayers, thoughts and intentions are released – – let go – – set free. Meaning we no longer interfere by setting a prescribed expected outcome; instead we allow the miracle to unfold like watching a young child grow and flower.

It is a paradox but this is how miracles happen. When applied on a daily basis (ie. intentions set, passion applied and then released) miracles result.

For the next 21 days, beginning Sunday, September 9 to to Sunday, September 30, we ask people who feel called to do so, to send Stefan Karl Ritter the following daily:

  • if unable to start September 9, please begin on whichever day works for you and continue for 21 days
  • place one hand on your heart
  • breath in calm, peace and love into your heart first
  • once in this space send this calm, peace and love with the following intentions/prayers to Stefan either read or spoken (spoken has more power)

Dear God of my understanding,

  • We pray/ask that Stefan’s body harmoniously balances his blood pressure, temperature, heart rate, breathing rate and oxygen levels to promote the highest healing.
  • We pray/ask that Stefan’s soul continuously calls on God (the ever loving presence of unconditional love, healing and forgiveness which surrounds all of humanity) for healing.
  • We pray/ask that Stefan’s body & brain, soul & will, and spirit & energy all be interwoven and foundationally set within 21 days ending Sunday, September 30th, from which he can further flourish and heal.
  • We pray/ask that Stefan lives a long, healthy, accident free, vibrant and fully bodied capable life unified in body, soul and spirit.
  • We pray/ask that all cyclists when training and competing remain accident free.
  • We pray/ask that all who participate in this 21 day prayer in whichever way they are called, are also blessed with health, happiness and safety.

AMEN

God Bless,

With much love and gratitude

Barbara (mom), Norman (dad) and Carsten (brother)

  • We are grateful to all the individuals and spiritual communities around the world praying on Stefan’s behalf.
  • We are grateful that Stefan is receiving amazing care at the Royal Alex ICU in Edmonton.
  • We are grateful to God, the unconditional love that holds all of humanity in love, truth, forgiveness and compassion. Thanks be to God!

2018 Pan-Amercian Track Cycling Championship

Stefan crashed on August 30th at the 2018 Pan-Amercian Track Cycling Championship in Aguascalientes, Mexico.

We (Barbara, Norman and Carsten Ritter) would personally like to thank the Cycling Canada for all their love and support at this time. As well as the love, outreach and support from lots of family, friends, Edmonton and world wide cycling communities, our Trinity Lutheran church community, and Cycling Canada family.

We are also very appreciative of the excellent medical care Stefan is receiving at the ICU in an Edmonton hospital.

We are very appreciative of Prayers being said on behalf of Stefan in various spiritual communities and by many individuals around the globe.

Please read the 21 Day Stefan Karl Ritter Healing Prayer as a way to assist in his recovery.

Here is the Press Release from Cycling Canada.

STEFAN RITTER STATUS
Sept. 8, 2018 – Canadian cycling team member Stefan Ritter is in stable condition at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton after crashing heavily at the Pan American Track Championships in Aguascalientes, Mexico, on Aug. 30.
Stefan, 20, was competing in the men’s Keirin event when the crash happened. He lost consciousness and was treated immediately at trackside by Canadian medical staff before taken being to hospital where he was sedated and placed in intensive care. On Sept. 4, as soon as an ICU bed opened up in his home town of Edmonton, Stefan was transported there by air ambulance. He remains in intensive care.
Stefan’s treatment is focussed on his head injury: despite the severity of the crash, his only other serious injury was a fracture to his cheek bone, which is expected to heal in due course. His family and medical staff are optimistic that he will make a full recovery, though it will take time.
The Ritter family has asked they not be contacted directly by media about his condition. Any significant public updates will be shared through Cycling Canada’s media channels.
In the meantime, messages of encouragement or support to Stefan and his family will be warmly welcomed. Please send them to Cycling Canada High Performance Director Kris Westwood at kris.westwood@cyclingcanada.ca.
——
Kris Westwood
High Performance Director
Cycling Canada
Directeur de la haute performance
Cyclisme Canada
Mobile: +1 613 447 2849
Skype: kris.westwood
Here is a link to an article published in the Edmonton Journal:

posted by Barbara Ritter

GC2018 XXI Commonwealth Games

2018 XXI Commonwealth Games

Gold Coast, Australia – April 4 to 15, 2018

Stefan competed for Team Canada in the four Track Sprint Cycling events in the newly built Anna Meares Velodrome in Brisbane from April 4 to April 8, 2018.

DAY 1 – April 5 – Team Sprint – placed 4th – 44.346 (qualifier)

Team Sprint

Stefan and Hugo in Lap Two of Team Sprint

Team Canada qualified with a time of 44.346. They raced against Team Australia in the Bronze medal round and placed fourth with a time of 44.946. Interview and photos by Canadian Cyclist. Congratulations to Canadian Men’s and Women’s Pursuit Teams on their Bonze medal wins on that day!!

DAY 2 – April 6 – Keirin – placed 11th

DAZN GC2018 Keirin

The Keirin racing was fast and furious. The Commonwealth Games had a large contingent of top world class sprinters competing here, including World Champion Matthew Glaetzer from Australia.  Stefan held his position in the first round of Keirins and finished second with the heat having an average speed of 68.305 km/h. The second round was tougher tactic and speed wise and he placed fourth. Average speed of this heat was 70.741 km/h. He raced in the 7 to 12 final with a 11th place finish.

DAY 3 – April 7 – Match Sprints – ranked 11th – 9.803 (qualifier)

DAZN GC2018 Sprint

Stefan qualified with a time of 9.803 and speed of 73.447 km/h which was a personal best at sea level. In the 1/8 finals he versed Australia’s Jacob Schmid in which he lost by a very close margin of 0.040 which is about half a wheel. To appreciate the level of competition, Jacob Schmid went on and finished with a bronze. Stefan’s final ranking was 13th place in the match sprint.

DAY 4 – April 8 – Kilo – ranked 14th – 1:02.339

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Stefan’s text book start and first two laps were placing him in 9th position but he began losing power the last two laps. The Kilo is an extremely taxing event on the body and Stefan rode it with a broken collarbone. He rode it in 1:02.339 with an average speed of 57.749 km/h. Again there was some top notch competition with Eddie Dawkins of New Zealand breaking the 1 minute barrier first and then by Matt Glaetzer with a winning time of 0.59.340.

In Canada, exclusive coverage of the GC2018 Games was brought by DAZN, an on-line web streaming service. DAZN also kindly featured Stefan as the cover photo on the highlight videos of the Men’s Sprint events.

The Gold Coast 2018 Games, also known as  ‘the Friendly Games’, hosted over 6,600 athletes and team officials from 71 nations and territories to participate in 23 sports and 7 para-sports.  HRH Prince of Wales (Prince Charles) represented Her Majesty The Queen at the Opening Ceremonies on April 4, 2018.

Commonwealth Games Canada sent more than 280 athletes of which Cycling Canada sent 18 cyclists to compete in track cycling, road racing, and mountain biking.

Track Teacm GC2018

“The Commonwealth Games is a really special event,” said Canada’s Team Leader for cycling Kris Westwood.  “On the one hand it’s a highly competitive event that gives our veteran athletes a shot at career highlight performances; on the other hand it’s an opportunity to give valuable major Games experience to our future Olympians — this will be the first Games experience for nearly half our delegation. In track cycling, with Australia, Great Britain and New Zealand competing, the field will be world-class.

posted by Barbara Ritter

 

2018 UCI Track Cycling World Championships Apeldoorn

(cover photo courtesy of SWpix.com)

UCI 2018 Track Cycling World Championships

Apeldoorn, Netherlands – February 28 to March 4, 2018

March 2, 2018 – Stefan placed 12th in the sprint qualifications with a time of 9.828. This paired him up in the 1/16 Final against Yuta Wakimoto of Japan. Unfortunately, he lost and did not proceed in the match sprints.

March 42018 – Stefan placed 16th in the kilo time trial with a time of 1:01.923.

Here is a interview of Stefan with Canadian Cyclist recapping his rides with a broken clavicle injury.

“It’s not the ride I was hoping for,” admitted Ritter, “I was definitely hoping for a top-10.  But considering that I could not do a bunch of kilo prep and we didn’t practice many starts because of my shoulder, honestly, I’m pretty happy with 16th.  I did feel it on the standing starts; it’s painful but I can push through it.  Honestly, I’m pretty lucky that I can still ride and race.”

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posted by Barbara Ritter