Meet Junior Bear Athlete Meigan Butler
Every week we will introduce a new member of the Bear Development Team. This week, meet…
Racing Age: 18
Hometown: McKinleyville, CA
Race Bike of Choice: Trek Procaliber
Favorite Training Song: Highway to Hell – ACDC
Favorite Post-Ride Snack: Grilled Cheese Sandwich w/ Pesto + Turkey
Mountain biking has always been a huge part of my life. My dad was, and still is, obsessed with riding and got our entire family involved. I have been riding mountain bikes with my mom, dad, and older sister ever since I was little. Every Sunday, we would go on a family ride in our local forest. A majority of our family vacations revolve around mountain biking in unique, beautiful places. When I was young, my parents would take turns towing me on a tag along bike. Once I outgrew that, my dad and I rode on a mountain bike tandem. I wouldn’t say I loved mountain biking as a younger child. I use to dread going on rides and I could not wait for them to be over. However, once I was on the ride, especially after a fast descent or technical section of single track, I absolutely loved it. Not only did I enjoy the challenge and adrenaline, I loved being outdoors and exploring whatever terrain I encountered.
I wasn’t introduced to competitive mountain biking until my freshman year of high school. I joined the Humboldt Composite Team and for the first time ever I rode with kids my age. I made lots of friends from this team and enjoyed team rides. However, the idea of racing was still terrifying to me. I didn’t get to race my freshman year due to an injury from Track and Field, so that bought me time to think about racing in the future. I already wasn’t a huge fan of climbing hills and the idea of ‘pushing my limits’ sounded awfully painful, but my parents gave me the push I needed to try it out and see how it goes. After getting the courage to roll up onto the start line, I found it extremely fun. Being in a racing environment was an incredible experience and it got me hooked. Looking back, I wish I never lost that year since I found a passion for it.
One challenge I encountered was last year’s first NorCal race, which was only my second year of racing. Within the first ten seconds of the race, I started getting blocked out to the side and caught a pole that caused me to crash. I knew my knee was in an immense amount of pain, but I got up and pushed on. It wasn’t until halfway through the race that I noticed I had a sock full of blood. After I finishing the race fourth, tenths of a second away from third, I went to the Stanford medical tent and seeked assistance. I ended up going to urgent care and getting seven stitches. It was a rocky road after that: my knee got infected, so I couldn’t compete in the second race. I had to take antibiotics to cure it, only to find I was allergic to them. This was a six week process of endless doctor appointments and stress of trying to heal my knee. By the time I was cleared to ride, I had ten days to make train into the next race. After a strenuous and short training block, I completed the race in second place. This challenge was tough, but it made me fall in love with the training process, gave me more motivation to push my limits, and showed me how truly passionate I was about racing.
When I am not on the bike or doing schoolwork, I enjoy spending time with family and friends. We love to play games and spend time outdoors. In the summer and any spare time we can find in the rest of the year, we spend time in our vacation house in Oakridge, Oregon. During winter, my family and I cross country ski and fat bike in the snow. During the summer, we spend time hiking up mountains, fishing, kayaking, and adventuring on our mountain bikes. When I was twelve years old, I also discovered I loved tennis. I played a local team with the Humboldt Tennis Club. Through this team, I got to train and travel all over California and Oregon to compete in tournaments. In the fall, I played on the Varsity team for my high school.
This year, I am incredibly excited to be a part of the Bear Development Team and take my racing to the next level! It will be a new learning experience, challenging, and most importantly FUN! I am going to make the most out of this last year as a junior racer.