Tell us about yourself! What is a sighted guide? How did you first become a sighted guide? What inspired you to start?
I'm Cheyenne and I'm a sighted guide for athletes who are blind, low vision or DeafBlind. I've been guiding runners who are blind since 2016 and triathletes who are blind since 2017. I got inspired to begin this journey when I saw my friend racing as a guide for a local athlete who is blind at a triathlon. Very soon after that encounter, I met with them at the park and they taught me everything I needed to know. I was hooked! I loved sharing my eyes and love of running and triathlon with someone else to help them accomplish their athletic goals, plus it's fun to always have a friend to chat with when racing. I also found that tandem cycling is so much more fun than solo cycling - you can go so fast! :)
How many races and different types of races have you been a sighted guide for? How many different athletes have you worked with?
I couldn't tell you how many races I've done as a guide or how many folks I've raced with because it has been so many! I work with organizations like Team Catapult, Dare2tri, Metro Blaze Blind Soccer and the United States Association of Blind Athletes to guide athletes who need a partner for races and training. I also use the sighted guide database, United in Stride, to find partners locally as well as in places I am traveling for vacation or work. It's a great way to make friends, get some exercise and gain valuable perspective.
Tell us about one of your favorite/most memorable experiences as a sighted guide?
In 2022, I had the privilege of guiding my friend Randi at Ironman Alaska. Although attempting the race was challenging and didn't go as we planned, it was an amazing experience all around as we were surrounded by incredible nature and culture the entire trip.
What is something you learned from being a sighted guide?
In the last seven years, I've learned a lot about the importance of accessibility and inclusion. I've learned how to be more expressive with my words when describing things to others, and I picked up a new language, American Sign Language, to better communicate with my friends who are DeafBlind. I've also learned that races are far more enjoyable when you have a friend to enjoy them with.
What is your go-to ID and why? Do you have a saying/quote/inspirational message on your ID?
I love the Phoenix (orange) badge with the light blue pin-tuck band. Orange was my mom's favorite color, the color of my car, and is my "power color" I wear when racing. When my accident happened, other people wore orange to show their support. I also love the meaning behind the phoenix...rising from the ashes and overcoming adversity.
How has ROAD iD personally impacted your life?
ROAD iD gave my family information and peace of mind when I wasn't able to speak for myself. I didn't have my Driver's License on me and my phone was locked when my accident happen, so EMTs were able to use my ROAD iD and call all my loved ones to get them where they needed to be to make sure I was okay. ROAD iD is a conversation starter, it's a platform for preaching safety when exercising or even just traveling, and it's wearable, fashionable peace of mind that fits my active and adventurous lifestyle.
Anything else we should know? What do you have planned for 2024?
I will race as a guide for my friend Randi in September at Ironman Chattanooga, then again as a guide for my friend Kathy in October at Ironman California! Next year, I have a few more races planned with athletes from all over the U.S. (and even Denmark!), and my fiance and I plan to get married in 2024 as well.
If you had one piece of advice to our community about trying something new and how our efforts can contribute to the greater good, what would that be?
My favorite quote is from the late, great runner Steve Prefontaine: “to give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.“ No matter what you’re doing, always give your best, whether that’s handing out water at a local race, racing yourself, taking your rest day, trying a new sport, serving others…Always give your best! Trying new things can be scary but give yourself permission to try and fail.