Last year at the 2022 Sea Otter Classic, as I was walking through a parking lot near the Expo I came across a pair of athletes with the most incredible bicycles I’d ever seen. They were rugged, heavily-built trikes with two mountain bike wheels in the front and a massive single fat mountain bike tire in the back, and an electric drivetrain was apparent on each. Both athletes were in wheelchairs. Later that weekend I’d see them, and other para-cyclists, compete in both the Downhill and Dual-Slalom events. It was the first time para-cyclists had been given their own separate classes in any Sea Otter event. I was flabbergasted and, honestly, in awe of not just the bikes but by the para-cyclists and how hard they were sending it on every single run. I came back to Sea Otter this year to talk with and document a few of these athletes.
The dawn has barely broken and early rays of summer sunshine splatter golden light across the yard while Meg Fisher throws a ball for her pup Pax. She knows she’ll be leaving him for a good chunk of the day while she gets out for a training ride and wants to make sure he gets some of his puppy energy out before she goes. Her laughter echoes under the trees and her stoke is palpable. With the great state of Montana as a backyard, the number of trails and gravel roads at Meg’s disposal are enough to make anyone want to pack up and move west.