First, Last & Best: Meg Fisher

Photography by: Tommy Martino

Murray Buster

世界でもっとも輝いているライダー エラ・コノリーのショートインタビュー:ファースト、ベスト、そしてラスト。

Meg Fisher is seriously talented. She’s an 11x World Champion cyclist, she’s earned gold, silver and bronze medals at the London and Rio Games, and she’s a Doctor of Physical Therapy. Since retiring from Team USA racing, Meg shifted her focus to endurance gravel and mountain bike events – becoming the first para-cyclist to finish such races as Unbound 200 and Rebecca’s Private Idaho Queen Stage Race. Fair to say, Meg knows how to get the best out of herself. But that’s not all she’s about. She’s been pioneering the development of para-cycling categories at off-road events. All the while, she’s been caring for her physical therapy patients at her clinic in Missoula, Montana.

Meg’s cycling story is one born of hardship, but her infectious enthusiasm has driven her to countless personal heights and many wins for the para-cycling community, and those of all abilities. Read on to learn how Meg has turned tragedy into treasure. 

First

When was the first time you rode a bike?
Before I learned to ride a bike, I learned to ride a horse on my family’s cattle ranch in rural Alberta.  When I was a little older, I learned to ride a bike.  I have a strong memory of my mom taking the training wheels off of my bike and patiently teaching me to ride a two-wheeled bike.  She spent hours with me that day.  Eventually, she had to go inside to do unavoidable grownup things.  I refused to go inside until I’d mastered riding all on my own. 

What was your first bike?
A hand-me-down BMX bike from my cousin.

When was your first bike race?
My first race was a triathlon in 2004.  It was a sprint distance triathlon eleven months after I’d had my second amputation surgery following injuries sustained car accident. My first bike race was a 24hr mountain bike race in 2005. My first road race was in 2009. 

Can you remember the first time you thought, ‘riding a bike is going to be a big part of my life’?
After my car accident in 2002, I had a complicated recovery.  At one point, a doctor told me that I’d never walk again and I resorted to using either crutches or a wheelchair for mobility.  During that time, I was paired with a service dog to help me with daily tasks.  Her name was Betsy the Wonder Dog and she infinitely changed my life for the better.  Eventually, I was fitted with a prosthetic leg and regained the ability to walk.  Betsy’s endless energy inspired me to try mountain biking because I’d seen people do that with their dogs around my hometown in Montana.  At first, Betsy was significantly more fit than me.  She had to stop and wait for me!  My goal became to keep up with Betsy.  She helped me rediscover the joy and freedom that  come with riding bikes.

When was the first time you were genuinely lost on a bike ride?
I’m not sure I’ve ever been lost.  For many years, before I got the layout of our local trail system permanently etched into my memory, I always set out with the goal to get lost and then find myself.  Those adventures were always the best- following new trails up and around the mountains.

What’s the first thing you grab when you go for a bike ride?
My cycling specific prosthetic leg. 

What was your very first big trip with your bike?
My first big journey on my bike was a solo 24hr mtb race in 2005

Who was your first cycling hero?
Rebecca Rusch

Last

What was your last race?
My last race was Rebecca’s Private Idaho Queen Stage Race in Sun Valley, Idaho.  In 2021, RPI opened the first para-cycling categories in a gravel event.  Absolutely awesome to team up with my idol Rebecca Rusch to increase diversity and improve inclusion in our sport.  

What was your last big injury?
Thankfully, I didn’t have any injuries in 2021.  The year before, in 2020 when the world was reeling, I developed a blood clot in my left leg and was bed-ridden for 6 weeks. I couldn’t use my prosthetic leg during that time and my outlook on life spiraled down.  I had also been laid off during the pandemic like a lot of people.  So being out of work, confined to the couch, and unable to exercise was mentally hard.  I felt useless and hopeless.  Of course, none of that is true.  Still, our minds can take us to some dark places.  Exercise and endorphins are easy ways to brighten a person’s mood.  Getting back on the bike after two months was pure joy.  

What’s your last meal prior to a big day on a bike?
Banana with almond butter on toast and a hard-boiled egg. 

When was the last time you rode somewhere completely new and surprising?
Last month I got to spend 10 days in Baja, Mexico.  The gravel roads and the trails were amazing.  What a treat to ride in the desert in the middle of a Montana winter. 

バイクに乗っていていちばん良いところは何ですか?
超高速のダウンヒルだったり、難しいトラックをうまく走れたときは本当に最高。つまり、アドレナリンが出る瞬間ね! 自然と笑顔になるわ。

バイクに乗ってていちばん楽しいときは、いつでしたか?
今年のヨーロッパでの夏です。レース以外で新しい場所に行くのは久しぶりでした。仲の良いチームメイトと一緒に、素敵な場所でライドして、最高の時間を過ごせました。スキルも上がったと思います。私より上手なライダーの後ろを走ったり、大きなジャンプにチャレンジするのは最高に楽しかったです。

一番のバイクレースはいつでしたか?
昨シーズンのマデイラEWSです。トレーニングの時もすごく楽しくて、最高の場所でした。初めてエリートカテゴリーへ参加して、優勝できたので自分でもビックリ!

今までで一番の遠征は何でしたか?
NZエンデューロとロトルア EWSのレースのためにニュージーランドへ行ったことが一番かな。南島からロトルアまで、友人と一緒に車で1ヶ月旅をしました。素晴らしい場所と、素敵な冒険でした。その後、タスマニアに行き、もう一つのEWSに参加しましたが、これも最高の経験でした。次に行くのが待ちきれません。

世界一のライダーは誰だと思いますか?
いっぱい思い浮かぶけど、レーサーとして言うならグレッグ・ミナー! たくさん優勝しているし、キャリアの長さも尊敬しています。

今まで持っていたバイクの中でいちばんのお気に入りは?
いま乗っているバイクです。一つだけ選ぶのは無理です! Topstone、Jekyll、Habitを毎日乗っていますが、どれも最高です。

サイクリング以外で、あなたが一番影響を受けたのは誰ですか?
それは間違いなく、兄です! 兄がいなければ、おそらく私はこんなにバイクに乗ったり、レースを始めたりしなかったと思います。兄は私の力をよく分かってくれていて、よくヒントをくれるので、一緒にライドするのに最高の人です。

過去の自分に向けて何かアドバイスはありますか?
自分の力を信じて。

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