Ride Like a Girl: Meg Fisher

Ride Like a Girl: Meg Fisher

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This is Meg. Keeper Jim and I found Meg spinning loops around Mercer Island, big-ringing the rollers in the pouring rain. Meg likes sunsets, puppies, and had a gerbil named Fränk. Meg doesn’t need bad weather to be considered a badass; Meg rides her bike with one leg, so riding in the rain is hardly a blip on the Badass Radar.

Meg Fisher is on the US Paralympic Team, training for the qualifiers at US Nationals in June to make the squad headed for London. At the time we chatted about it, it didn’t occur to me to ask about any other events besides road cycling she’s involved with, but the ten minutes of Google Research I did for this article revealed that she’s a world-class road cyclist, time-trialist, track racer, mountain biker, and triathlete – and has the world and national championship titles to prove it. She also refers to herself as “Peg Leg Meg”.

Meg’s prosthetic leg appears to work amazingly well (if her going to the front and drilling it every time she felt Jim and I were going too slow is any indication), but my ignorance on such matters is nearly comprehensive. It should come as no surprise, I suppose, that as much or more research goes into making athletic prosthetic development as anything else. Cycling-specific race prosthetics are made of carbon fiber and designed to be airfoils. I assume the airfoil design is 50% for function and 50% for extra damage points when employing a front-flip drop-kick. Meg needs one of these for the Paralympics (not for cage fighting). At the time of writing, Velominati is checking with Meg to see if she’s got a donation or sponsorship fund set up for this, and if so, we’ll advise the Community as such. If not, we’ll see what we can do to help arrange for one.

Once she gets her upgrade, I just hope Pat McQuaid doesn’t come staggering by with his tape measure. On the other hand, I’d like to see him try and catch her.

// Look Pro // Racing

  1. What a great read – both the article and the comments. Meg and her mum are both quite clearly heavily laden with awesomeness. I’m keen to chip in. And to read how her races go at the ‘lympics. Nice one.

  2. @minion

    Also awesome

    Paula Tesoriero was a customer at the shop, pretty awesome to deal with. She used to come in with what I assumed was her partner/coach, and I remember first time I met her asking a few questions thinking she was a punter and getting shot the dirtiest look, which spoke volumes. She might still use the shop, Bretto might know if he was ever there and put his phone down.
    Don’t think she still rides at the same level, but on nasty round the bays rides she’d be out turning the pedals over.

    Haven’t seen Paula in the shop for a little while, but yeah as you say I’m never there and I might’ve missed her. Her partner is a good guy too, can’t remember his name but usually saw them when they’d be going away for a race and would grab some bike boxes. Can’t have been more than a year or two back I guess.

  3. Geez, Meg’s mom is commenting. Now I feel like a dope for using bad language.

  4. I am blown away by all of your comments and support!! Thank you!

    I recently moved to Seattle from the wilds of Missoula, Montana. Over yonder, everyone is badass. I learned quickly that if I wanted to keep up with my friends, I had to toughen up and get fast. It was excellent preparation for international para-competition. I have had the good fortune to race triathlons, mountain bikes, road bikes, and on the velodrome. I must admit that the track bike in the snarling picture above is not mine. In fact, I don’t even own a track bike. I am borrowing that one for now and looking to buy a speed machine to race in London. The National Team coach thinks my best shot at medalling is on the track.

    I have read some comments about my pedal stroke. If anyone is curious, I would be happy to geek out on how I have adapted my prosthetic and my bike.

    The possibility of racing in the Paralympic Games is a dream come true. Ten years ago, when I laid in a hospital bed after coming out of a coma, staring at where my left leg used to be, I never could have imagined the position I am in today.

    I am grateful for all of the support. I have not gotten this far alone.

  5. @Meg Fisher
    Welcome, Meg! It’s awesome to have you around.

  6. @Meg Fisher

    I am blown away by all of your comments and support!! Thank you!

    I recently moved to Seattle from the wilds of Missoula, Montana. Over yonder, everyone is badass. I learned quickly that if I wanted to keep up with my friends, I had to toughen up and get fast. It was excellent preparation for international para-competition. I have had the good fortune to race triathlons, mountain bikes, road bikes, and on the velodrome. I must admit that the track bike in the snarling picture above is not mine. In fact, I don’t even own a track bike. I am borrowing that one for now and looking to buy a speed machine to race in London. The National Team coach thinks my best shot at medalling is on the track.

    I have read some comments about my pedal stroke. If anyone is curious, I would be happy to geek out on how I have adapted my prosthetic and my bike.

    The possibility of racing in the Paralympic Games is a dream come true. Ten years ago, when I laid in a hospital bed after coming out of a coma, staring at where my left leg used to be, I never could have imagined the position I am in today.

    I am grateful for all of the support. I have not gotten this far alone.

    You.

    Are.

    Awesome.

    PLEASE let us know how we can contribute to the ‘PEG LEG MEG KICKS THE WORLD’S ASS’ fund, for new carbon bits, new legs, new bikes, whatever.

    And I would be HONORED if you were to crush me in a race!

    -Bianchi Bob

  7. @Meg Fisher

    I am blown away by all of your comments and support!! Thank you!

    I recently moved to Seattle from the wilds of Missoula, Montana. Over yonder, everyone is badass. I learned quickly that if I wanted to keep up with my friends, I had to toughen up and get fast. It was excellent preparation for international para-competition. I have had the good fortune to race triathlons, mountain bikes, road bikes, and on the velodrome. I must admit that the track bike in the snarling picture above is not mine. In fact, I don’t even own a track bike. I am borrowing that one for now and looking to buy a speed machine to race in London. The National Team coach thinks my best shot at medalling is on the track.

    I have read some comments about my pedal stroke. If anyone is curious, I would be happy to geek out on how I have adapted my prosthetic and my bike.

    The possibility of racing in the Paralympic Games is a dream come true. Ten years ago, when I laid in a hospital bed after coming out of a coma, staring at where my left leg used to be, I never could have imagined the position I am in today.

    I am grateful for all of the support. I have not gotten this far alone.

    Thanks for posting, Meg!

    Yes, I am super curious about your pedaling stroke. Specifically, about how much power you are able to generate from your left leg, compared to your right. Frank mentioned different crank lengths; how does that help you? Finally, do you have any comments about cleat placement on your right shoe and prosthetic?

    Thanks a lot; I find this stuff fascinating and your are a de facto expert in my eyes.

  8. @Meg Fisher
    Geek out? On things like pedal stroke and related matters?

    It’s what we live for around here. Geek away.

  9. @Meg Fisher

    I have read some comments about my pedal stroke. If anyone is curious, I would be happy to geek out on how I have adapted my prosthetic and my bike.

    I believe you have found the right place to geek out considering the geek factor here is high enough to generate 4 pages of discussion regarding proper sock color.

  10. @The Oracle: As I said before…no worries about the language! I have two older brothers so I probably heard it all! :)

  11. @Meg Fisher

    I am blown away by all of your comments and support!! Thank you!

    I recently moved to Seattle from the wilds of Missoula, Montana. Over yonder, everyone is badass. I learned quickly that if I wanted to keep up with my friends, I had to toughen up and get fast. It was excellent preparation for international para-competition. I have had the good fortune to race triathlons, mountain bikes, road bikes, and on the velodrome. I must admit that the track bike in the snarling picture above is not mine. In fact, I don’t even own a track bike. I am borrowing that one for now and looking to buy a speed machine to race in London. The National Team coach thinks my best shot at medalling is on the track.

    I have read some comments about my pedal stroke. If anyone is curious, I would be happy to geek out on how I have adapted my prosthetic and my bike.

    The possibility of racing in the Paralympic Games is a dream come true. Ten years ago, when I laid in a hospital bed after coming out of a coma, staring at where my left leg used to be, I never could have imagined the position I am in today.

    I am grateful for all of the support. I have not gotten this far alone.

    Meg welcome aboard! I applaud only a few that choose to swim before a ride and run after a ride. You are added to the list!

    My roommate Joe at the USMC Trials, see his team link below, is the other…

    http://www.truespirit.org.uk/the%20team/townsendjoe.html

  12. @itburns

    +1. Don’t forget the following discussion on length, another 4 pages.

  13. @Meg Fisher

    I am blown away by all of your comments and support!! Thank you!

    I recently moved to Seattle from the wilds of Missoula, Montana. Over yonder, everyone is badass. I learned quickly that if I wanted to keep up with my friends, I had to toughen up and get fast. It was excellent preparation for international para-competition. I have had the good fortune to race triathlons, mountain bikes, road bikes, and on the velodrome. I must admit that the track bike in the snarling picture above is not mine. In fact, I don’t even own a track bike. I am borrowing that one for now and looking to buy a speed machine to race in London. The National Team coach thinks my best shot at medalling is on the track.

    I have read some comments about my pedal stroke. If anyone is curious, I would be happy to geek out on how I have adapted my prosthetic and my bike.

    The possibility of racing in the Paralympic Games is a dream come true. Ten years ago, when I laid in a hospital bed after coming out of a coma, staring at where my left leg used to be, I never could have imagined the position I am in today.

    I am grateful for all of the support. I have not gotten this far alone.

    would love to help support you and your fellow athletes in any way I can… Don’t forget to let us know when there is an avenue for donations. On a more serious note I recommend you consider a new nick name… instead of “Peg Leg Meg” how do you feel about “One Gun”… more cycling specific! Best of luck to you and your team mates going forward.

  14. @Meg Fisher

    I’d love to hear more about how you adapted your prostetic leg and bike. I find bioengineering and biomechanics fascinating, especially how athletes can perform so exceptionally well and work with their machines. I’m planning on taking a bioengineering module as part of my mechanical engineering degree. Will you be going for the road race or triathlon too in London? I’d love to cheer at the roadside! Maybe make a V banner!

  15. Nice one Frank, and chapeau Meg! You really take all the good excuses out of the cycling equation. There are a lot of amputees out there making the rest of us look bad, and good one them for it.

    And I know these prosthetics are all carbon fiber and Ti, just what gets people on this site all hot and bothered. You could get the free Rule #5 tattoo, meet Frank at Seattle tattoo shop for the Velominati deal.

  16. Ahh… the fine art of pedaling.
    Refining my unique pedaling stroke has taken a long time. The journey has not been quick, easy nor pain free. Please ask questions at any point.

    For a couple years, I rode like everyone else. I buckled “both” of my feet into into a Sidi Dominator mtn bike shoes (with Shimano spd’s) and hit the trails. That’s right folks, my roots are in the dirt. I rode my Cannondale F600 til the headshock gave up the ghost. Then I rode a Specialized StumpJumber M4 til I realized that 29″ wheels are a gift from the lord almighty. Now I ride a Niner Air9 with Edge Composite wheels. And yes, the wheels are sexy.

    I can’t tell you how many hours or miles I have put in riding trail. All the while, I rode with my everyday walking leg and two equal length crank arms. At a 24hr mtn bike race in 2008 I met Sam Kavanaugh, a fellow knee amputee and member of the US paralympic team. I solo’d that race, placed 3rd overall and 1st in the women’s division. Sam noticed some potential and got me in touch with the US National Team Director. Since Paracycling only includes road and velodrome events, I have had to focus my energy into bikes with skinny tires.

    You all are probably well aware of the importance of a good bike fit. A proper fit is essential- especially with road bikes. However, with mtn bikes there is some fudge factor… or as I like to say, “room to party.” After riding my road bike for extended periods of time, while wearing my everyday leg and using equal length crank arms (170mm), I began to develop bilateral knee, right low back, and right hip pain. Keep in mind, I’m missing my left leg.

    Oh boy… this post is getting long. How about I ask Frank to let me write an article? Sound good?

  17. @Meg Fisher

    I’ll speak on behalf of Frank and the Keepers here…

    YES.

  18. @Meg Fisher

    Yes, full article please!

    I’d be interested to know if you feel like your quad has to work ‘overtime’ to make up for the missing calf, or if it isn’t as big of a deal as it would seem?

    Also, if you ever meet Oscar Pistorius, tell him that being the ‘blade runner’ is cool and all, but he should really take up cycling!

  19. @Meg Fisher

    Um… Yeah! Please do!

    So much I want to know… Can you pull back on your prosthetic at the bottom of the stroke, for example, and forward over the top?

  20. @mcsqueak

    @Meg Fisher

    Yes, full article please!

    I’d be interested to know if you feel like your quad has to work ‘overtime’ to make up for the missing calf, or if it isn’t as big of a deal as it would seem?

    Also, if you ever meet Oscar Pistorius, tell him that being the ‘blade runner’ is cool and all, but he should really take up cycling!

    Yes, that, too… To bring you up to speed Meg, last week, we were talking about cleat placement and the contribution of the lower leg muscles to the pedal stroke.

  21. @Meg Fisher
    Yes, please.

  22. @brett

    @Meg Fisher

    I’ll speak on behalf of Frank and the Keepers here…

    YES.

    What he said ^

  23. @Calmante

    Yes, that, too… To bring you up to speed Meg, last week, we were talking about cleat placement and the contribution of the lower leg muscles to the pedal stroke.

    Damn, I missed that. As a pedantic know it all, I would have had something (probably meaningless) to contribute, I’m sure.

  24. @Meg Fisher
    Meg, welcome. I think that you’re awesome.
    Please share more of your story.

  25. @Meg Fisher
    I just wanted to add to these comments and send massive respect and good luck with your olympic goal. Be good to hear how you get on.

  26. @Meg Fisher
    Welcome and can’t wait for the full article! By the sounds of it, we may need it loaded in parts 1, 2 and 3!

  27. @Meg Fisher
    It’s spelt Fhronk, BTW he is THAT hardcore dutch.

  28. @Meg Fisher
    Another +1 for the full series of articles.
    Inspiring, for sure, but more so for interest’s sake.
    Looking forward to reading them.

  29. @Meg Fisher
    An article would be fantastic, the pedal stroke aspect is without doubt interesting but I’d also love to know how you’ve manage to prevent prevent those back and hip pains from becoming more serious, presumably they’re a result of the work put in by those areas to balance out the imbalance between the right and left sides?

  30. Awesome. I take my hat off to you Meg and your mum and fronk for the article. Please as many have said here, please let us know how we can help with some $$

  31. Great to meet you Meg, and Meg’s Mum, and thanks for taking the time to write.
    Any advice or information would be great to read.

    Here’s a link
    Meg’s blog page – keep us all posted : )

  32. Meg’s blog on Rule #9:

    “Some athletes feel like they shine when the sh*t hits the fan. I love racing when conditions are less than ideal, because I believe that I can suffer more than my competition.”

  33. Wow…

    I have spent the last few days buried in sales meetings and what a great post and string to come back to.

    @Meg Fisher you are an inspiration and I can’t wait to read your article(s), and @Poorhardworker it is obvious that you have had a big hand in the amazing person your daughter has become.

    I had the pleasure of spending a day at the UCI para-cycling track world championships last month. My wife and I loaded up our 3 year old son and spent all day there watching some amazing racing in multiple categories and got a nice helping of inspiration to boot. I’m lucky enough to have been to a number of UCI World and US track events. They are always exciting but this event seemed to raise the bar of competition and comaraderie to an entirely different level. It was an amazing day.

    All the best to you in your Olympic pursuits Meg!

  34. @Meg’s Mum sorry for bad language (the sentiment was genuine though – amazing!)
    @Meg Fisher sorry for bad language (amazing stuff, have sent the post above to some ex-army mates who are trying to get back in to sport after amputations, and yes please to an article!)

  35. @Meg Fisher – another +1 for the article here. It’s great to hear from a true Velominata at the top level of the sport.

  36. I just had a little cry. Oh my! Meg, V Cred just got a new standard!

  37. Yet again I have to say…you all are awesome! You all do my heart good…Thank you for the support for Meg and all the others in similar situations. Please do understand that what she accomplished is because she chose. She had a moment when she realized that (in spite of everything)she could be whatever she wanted to be. She was granted a
    “do over”. She chose the path she is on now and and I am a fan.

  38. Howdy Folks,

    I feel like I’m just returning to reality. After a week of final exams and a week of teaching a wilderness medicine course on the Olympic Peninsula, (with a weekend of bike racing in the middle) I am back in Seattle ready to take on the World.

    Last night, I wrote an article and sent it the man in charge. Hopefully, it will be posted. I look forward to your questions and comments.

    I hope all of you Seattleites took advantage of the sun this past weekend!
    Meg

  39. @Meg Fisher
    Looking forward to reading that. Hopefully the Keepers aren’t too preoccupied with the Tour and get it up soon.

  40. Just wondering when @Meg Fisher’s article might appear. Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving all the Keepers Tour stuff and discussion about the Rules along with the usual chat and bonhomie but am really looking forward to this one.

  41. @Jonny
    Seconded, I’m eagerly awaiting that article.

  42. Its done and in the queue – we’re just waiting to make some arrangements on the donation fund etc to post it up. Shouldn’t be long now.

  43. Just looking through the schedules for the Paralympics that start this wednesday and I remembered this article.  I’m not sure if this has been mentioned somewhere else but it looks like Meg did make the team heading for London:

    2012 U.S. Paralympic Team

    Female (8)

    • Monica Bascio (Ridgewood, N.J./Evergreen, Colo.)
    • Kelley Crowley (San Francisco, Calif./Redwood, Calif.)
    • Alicia Dana (Putney, Vt./Putney, Vt.)
    • Muffy Davis (Sun Valley, Idaho/Salt Lake City, Utah)
    • Megan Fisher (Missoula, Mont./Seattle, Wash.)
    • Allison Jones (Colorado Springs, Colo./Colorado Springs, Colo.)
    • Greta Neimanas (Chicago, Ill./Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Calif.)
    • Jennifer Schuble (Houston, Texas/Homewood, Ala.), ret., Army

    http://www.teamusa.org/US-Paralympics/Sports/Cycling/Team-Rosters.aspx

    I’ll try to follow her progress.  

  44. I just signed in to post to this thread, glad someone already did.  Meg’s first qualifying race is tomorrow!  She looked fabulous in Ralph Lauren for the opening ceremony!  What an amazing woman.  I’m so glad to have “met” her here.

  45. Looks like she got a Silver medal in the Individual Pursuit and she’s got a race tomorrow and the RR is Thursday.

  46. Results show that Meg won the Gold in the ITT – AWESOME!!!!

    But she DNF’d the RR.  Anybody know what happened?

  47. I haven’t seen her post anything about it yet.  Awesome job on the gold and silver!!

  48. Hello! I’ve been following your blog for a while now and
    finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from
    Dallas Tx! Just wanted to say keep up the excellent work!

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