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#MyTri: A Near-Death Experience Changed the Way I Live—And Tri

When a car struck Cheyenne Meyer on a training ride, her athletic future was in doubt. Becoming a guide for athletes with disabilities helped motivate her in recovery.

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In #MyTri, we let triathletes share their own stories. Submit your story and photo for consideration by emailing us at letters@triathlete.com with “My Tri” in the subject line. If we choose your story for publication we’ll be in touch.

In 2016, I was on top of the world in competitive triathlon, winning races and hitting PR after PR. In August 2016, my world got flipped upside down when I was struck by a car, just days before the USAT Age Group National Championships. I broke my pelvis in seven places, fractured several other bones and took a contusion to the brain. I was flown by Life Flight helicopter to downtown Houston where I was operated on for nearly 7 hours.

An x-ray image of a woman's pelvis. Multiple screws, pins, and staples are visible in the image, indicating major orthopedic surgery has taken place.
(Photo: Cheyenne Meyer)

The recovery was rough: eight days in ICU, two weeks in rehab, and three total months of zero walking. It took a long time before I was able to walk, much less run, again, but I had the full support of the Houston and San Marcos endurance communities. By April 2017, I was fully recovered and winning local races again.

I’ve definitely slowed down over the years due to my injuries and new pieces of metal in my body. But that life changing near-death experience gave me the opportunity to refocus. In addition to having a platform to teach cycling safety to kids and adults alike, I have also had a chance to focus more on helping others. Since 2016, I’ve worked with Team Catapult and the United States Association of Blind Athletes to serve as a guide to athletes who are visually impaired. Eventually, I enrolled in ASL classes to assist athletes who are deaf-blind.

A black man in a black running singlet smiles as he runs alongside his visually-impaired guide, a white woman in a pink running singlet.
(Photo: Cheyenne Meyer, Digital Knight Productions)

Since my recovery, I’ve guided four athletes who are visually impaired or deaf-blind in Ironman 70.3 races, helped one win the USA Paracycling Championships in 2019, and helped another secure the silver medal. I’m planning to guide a woman who is visually impaired in a full Ironman later this year.

Solo racing is fun, but I’ve found it to be more enjoyable and fulfilling to do it while tied to someone else. The mental and physical recovery from my accident was one of the toughest things I’ve ever experienced in my life, but I’m proud to say that it didn’t break me. I will, for as long as my body will let me, continue to enjoy these sports I love, and lend my eyes and ears to others who want to do the same.

RELATED: How to Become a Guide for Athletes with Disabilities