San Diego, California, USA / @megankalmoe
My first Fuji was…
2018 Fuji Brevet 2.3 -- my first road bike!
What kind of impact did cycling have on your life?
I have been training with the Olympic Rowing Team for the past fourteen years. I was preparing for 2020 to hopefully be my fourth and final Olympic Team appearance, when COVID-19 changed everything. Just a few months out from the Games, my teammates and I found ourselves unable to row or train together, and we had no idea if, when or how we would be back on the water again. Many of us started looking for alternative ways to train while in isolation, and found our way to cycling. I bought my Fuji secondhand but unused off a classified site from a mom of two in the suburbs who had bought it for a triathlon, and then never rode it. It was in absolutely perfect condition with bits of shipping styrofoam still on the chain and a thin layer of dust on the full carbon frame. On an Olympian's budget, it was the deal of a lifetime and I was thrilled. I had never done any serious cycling, and knew nothing about bikes but somehow it seemed like this bike had been waiting for me. Since then, I have embraced being a novice in a new sport again after having spent all of my adult life as an elite athlete in a very different endurance sport. Every time I go out on a ride I'm learning something new about my bike, my community, my teammates, my physiology, and myself as an athlete. The feeling of starting over at this stage in an athletic career is a luxury that few get to experience, but it brings you right back to your beginnings as an athlete and what made you love learning, competing, racing, and always pushing yourself to improve in the first place. With my bike I was excited to just be able to train, be outside, and work together with my teammates again while we waited out our shelter-in-place order. Planning rides and staying in touch with my teammates was invaluable in helping to process the disruption of our preparations, the postponement of Tokyo 2020, and the general chaos we are all dealing with around the world at the moment. My team are my family, and having a way to stay connected with them and to continue to challenge each other and rely on one another over the past several months has meant so much to all of us. The gear, the lingo, route planning, surviving our first falls, the hunt for QOMs on Strava...we are all junkies now, and this minor sidetrack has absolutely brought us all closer during the age of social distancing. And while I do think it's a little late in the game for me to become a multi-sport Olympian, I am looking forward to many more miles with my Fuji when I hang up the oars for good.