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Home bike advantage: Local cyclist sets sights on podium

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In many professional sports a 33-year-old athlete would be considering retirement. In the case of Delta’s Dr. Meghan Grant, she’s just getting started.

A member of Team Canada’s NextGen program targeting athletes for the 2020 Olympics, Meghan is aiming to represent Canada in Track Cycling in Tokyo, Japan. If all goes as planned, she’ll be 37.

“I really think age is just a number,” Meghan tells Something Good Magazine while enjoying a coffee in Tsawwassen. “I think I’m healthier now, and feel better and I’m more athletic now than I was at 25 when I was in the thick of med school and my residency. I sort of want to prove that age doesn’t matter and that old dogs can learn new tricks.”

Perhaps what makes Meghan’s story even more amazing is that she didn’t start cycling until five years ago while undergoing her medical residency while at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH).

“At that time I was working 80 to 100 hours a week. So it was kind of crazy with 30 hour shifts. Surprisingly, adding cycling made me feel better and not worse. So just having some physical activity in a busy schedule made me more productive.”

Today, she’s no less busy, splitting time between being a Sport Medicine Physician in Burnaby, a doctor in the emergency room at VGH, and spending three weeks at a time away at cycling events. Finding the optimal balance, whether on a track or in life, is still a challenge, says Meghan.

A product of Tsawwassen, Meghan grew up in the neighbourhood and graduated from South Delta Secondary. Although she lived in Vancouver during her medical residency she now lives in Ladner with her mother.

The irony of aiming for the 2020 Olympics is that it took her participation in the 2010 Olympics to become motivated in sports again. A former figure skater with the Canadian Ice Dance Theatre, Meghan “retired” due to chronic sports injuries.

However, when the Olympics landed in her backyard, Meghan was invited to participate in the Opening Ceremonies and being around athletes reminded her how much she missed being active.

It’s not that uncommon for women to take up pro cycling well into adulthood. American cyclist Evelyn Stevens was an investment banker on Wall Street and left it all to become one of the top riders in the world.

“You can still do it when you’re 80,” says Meghan of cycling. “It’s a really great sport that way. We have a lot of crossover athletes from other sports as well, like speed skating and alpine skiing.”

As a local, she’s participated in the Tour de Delta road race every year since she began cycling in 2010, with a goal of improving each time out. Last year she finished in the top 20 but is shooting for the podium in 2016.

“I think it’s really special to be able to do that by riding by the high school you went to. So even though my main focus is the track right now, one of these years it would be the goal to win the Tour de Delta road race. My hometown race, that would be really special I think.”

Meghan said the Tour de Delta could be quite interesting this year because with the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, some elite cyclists may use the Tour as a means of training for the big show.

For more info about the Tour de Delta happening July 8-10 visit tourdedelta.ca.

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