|Never underestimate how much assistance, how much satisfaction, how much comfort, how much soul and transcendence there might be in a well-made taco and a cold bottle of beer.|
Miller. M’er. Mir. CHAMP. Mirtank. Large Marge. No matter what name you know her by, if you have had the opportunity to meet Miranda in person, you love her. She doesn’t like bacon, she eats Dope-Oats* for breakfast, and she wants to be reincarnated as a majestic bird. “If I could choose what to come back as, it would be some sort of bird, maybe an eagle, so I can fly and be majestic and no one could hunt me. Not that people hunt a lot of birds.”
Miranda is quirky, funny, a snappy dresser, and just really, really chill. When her name – or one of her nicknames – comes up in conversation it is usually around the topic of her ability to make people laugh and to be completely herself – suspenders and all. After spending a weekend riding on the sunshine coast with her and listening to her whale calls – “here whale, where are you whale? Damn it what whale where the hell are you?” – on the ferry, I get it, Miranda Miller is the person everyone should want to room with on the World Cup Circuit. And she does the dishes when you aren't looking.
Miranda laughed a little as she explained her last season to me, “it was a challenging one; it was non-existant.” She broke both of her arms during practice at the World Cup in Fort William in June last year. That would have been bad enough, but the July previous she had also broken her arm. In an overzealous attempt to get back to racing before the season ended in 2013, she had gotten back on the bike too soon and pulled her newly installed plate off. With surgery to reattach the plate in December it meant that she was off the bike bike until March. She was just four hours into her race season for 2014 when the double break happened, “I guess I just peaked too early.” All in, Miranda hasn't had a full season on the bike for two years.
Not one to sit around, she found a new hobby, one that allow her to rehabilitate her nerve damaged hand. “I got this old motorcycle off this old man. He’s like ninety and rebuilds them, he’s too old to ride them so he just gets them running and then sells them.” Miranda and her Dad tore the motorbike apart and rebuilt it from scratch. “It was good because it was basically an active rehabilitation for my hand, picking up all the little bolts and using tools was a more fun version of physio.” It isn’t running just yet, there is some electrical work still to be done, but she says, “pretty much as soon as I started being able to ride a bike I haven’t done anything more to it.”
As for this coming season, she isn’t risking anything this time, “I’m not going to rush into this season because there is no point.” Back on her cross-country bike, Miranda says that she feels fine most of the time, but her instincts feel a little rusty. “I kind of get thrown off balance a little bit easier,” she says of her first few rides back. With the mild winter and year-round downhill riding available in Victoria and at the Coast Gravity Park, she is confident that she will be ready to take on the Fort William World Cup in June. “I just need to get on my downhill bike and see how it feels.”
“As soon as I get in the bike park for a week or two I should be good to go.”
With her four hour comeback last season, it should be no surprise then that when it comes to inspiration she looks to Jan Hudek, a World Cup alpine skier who spent many seasons of his career plagued by injuries. In 2012, and at the age of 30, he came back to win his second World Cup. “He’s badass. He’s always getting injured but he’s always having a comeback, that’ probably what I like about him."
Also at the top of Miranda's list of admiration is Dunbar Cycles owner, Rob Venables, “he is so stoked on racing, he’s always putting on races and supports a team. He’s amped! He just sends it.” Rob was with Miranda at the World Cup in Norway, the track that she describes as her favourite on the circuit. “It’s kind of like the North West Cups; you feel like you should be practicing but every lap is so much fun. I knew I should be working on lines but it was too much fun just to ride.”
Hearing Miranda talk about the people and place that inspired her helps you to understand her. The thing about her is that, despite her go-to “don’t care” tagline, is - she does care. She cares about racing and is incredibly passionate about it. But being the well balanced human being we would all like to be, she has taken all of her injuries in stride and while they may have temporarily taken her off her bike, they haven’t taken her out of life.
"The amount of support I receive from the Squamish community as well as the cycling industry continues to humble me. There were more than a few times this past summer where I felt that my time had run out, but not a single company or person ever backed down on supporting me. To have a group of people continue to believe in me, even when at times I didn’t, means a lot more than I can really express. I have a good team of people on my side and I hope I can give back a fraction of what they’ve given me." Miranda's team includes the following companies: Specialized
, Smith Optics
, Dissent Labs
, MRP Guides
, PerformX Training
, Ergogenics Nutrition
, Squamish Nesters Market
, Shaun Greenaway
, Squamish Integrated Health
, Corsa Cycles
The next step she is looking forward to is flexing her muscles on big bikes, flanked by her favourite crew; Nick and Zander Geddes, Lee Jackson, and Remi Gauvin. And eating burritos. Of course. *Dope oats, invented by Lee Jackson, are a mixture of scrambled eggs and oatmeal. They are cooked separately, combined, and topped with all of your regular ‘oatmeal fixin’s’. Trademark pending.
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