Thank you for reaching out. Your contact form has been successfully submitted. We'll be in touch soon!

Thursday Throwdown: Cheyenne Meyer

Each Thursday during October’s celebration of National Blind Sports Month, USABA athletes will be sharing their experiences and stories of navigating physical activity and workout spaces in their communities. They will share their tools, challenges, and triumphs as blind or low-vision athletes or those who support them.

We kick it off with USABA Sport Ambassador Cheyenne Meyer of McKinney, Texas. Cheyenne is an endurance athlete and signing guide for athletes who are blind, low vision or DeafBlind. After a traumatic bike accident in 2016, Cheyenne came back to sport with a passion for helping others reach their own finish lines. Since 2016, she has had the privilege of guiding athletes in races from 5k runs to Ironman triathlons. Cheyenne began learning American Sign Language in 2017 to become a better guide for athletes who are DeafBlind. She has hosted and attended community clinics and camps to help new guides improve their skills. She has also had the honor of guiding at multiple USABA tandem cycling and triathlon camps, as well as national championship races for triathlon and paracycling. 

Let’s hear from Cheyenne…

Q: How did you get involved in the blind sports community and what role do you play for athletes? 

In 2015, I was just getting into triathlon when I saw an athlete who was blind (Brandon Adame) competing at a local race. I figured it would be a neat opportunity to participate in the sport while helping someone else achieve their goals, so I connected with him to learn how to run as a guide. Later I learned how to pilot a tandem bike and swim tethered to someone. Today, I serve as my friends’ eyes and ears to compete in races from the 5k run to the Ironman triathlon. 

Cheyenne rides as pilot on a tandem bicycle during a race.

Q: What are some challenges athletes with vision impairments face in training and leading active lives? How has this shaped your role in the community?

In smaller areas, blind endurance sports are lesser known. My role in the community is to help athletes get outside and involved in endurance sports by serving as their guide or connecting them with another local guide. If they aren’t local, I like to serve as a resource to help them find guides and exercise opportunities in their communities. I also think there is a lack of awareness about blind sports opportunities. My role in that respect is to share more about available resources like USABA when teaching local “Learn to Guide” clinics across the state of Texas. 

Cheyenne guides an athlete through the transition zone after the swim portion of an Ironman Triathlon. They are both wearing black wetsuits, goggles and swim caps.

Q: What does your training look like when preparing to guide someone for a race or event?  

I like to meet my partner in advance, if possible, to practice swimming, cycling, and/or running together. I am fortunate enough to work remotely 60% of the time, so I can travel up a few days early to meet with my partner and get some practice in before the big day. I also like to get to know them and their preferences before we head to the race. To prepare for events, I have to stay healthy and injury-free and keep myself in shape so I can physically complete the distance within the pace they are shooting for. 

Cheyenne guides an athlete through the finish area of a race.

Q: What lessons have you learned through working with this community? How has this impacted your own experience competing in sports?

This community has taught me so much about the importance of accessibility, clear communication and inclusion. I’ve become more aware of how I can use my words to describe the scenery around us or what’s being shown in a photo on social media. I’ve also learned about orientation and mobility, utilizing the other senses, and how to incorporate tactile and protactile models (creating images using the body or hands) to better communicate. I’ve also learned about the power of community, making some of my dearest friends through coming together to compete in blind endurance sports.  

Cheyenne runs with her athlete during the 2021 Ironman 70.3 in Texas.

Q3: What are some resources people outside of our community could use to get involved?

The best resource for guided running is United in Stride, and the best resource for tandem cycling is the Blind Stokers Club. Both serve as databases to help athletes connect with guides in their areas for exercise. You can search your zip code and find people who live nearby who have similar interests and goals as you. It’s really a great way to grow your network and make friends who love to exercise just as much as you do!

Cheyenne gives a thumbs up for the camera while riding as the pilot on a tandem bicycle