Squirt Cycling ambassador Miles Juneau nearly lost his leg to an infection in 2019. The only way to keep his leg was by taking oral antibiotics daily for the rest of his life. Despite all the odds, he set out on a journey to face his new life challenges head-on. His story is truly inspirational, as he not only beat the odds but turned them into positive challenges and came out a better person and athlete for it.
His new perspective on life has resulted in him being a successful coach and athlete, enjoying the process instead of focusing on the end result – a valuable lesson for all of us to learn.
Read his full story here:
Who is Miles Juneau?
Passionate and highly experienced Cat 1/PRO mountain bike racer and cycling coach. In 2019, I nearly lost my leg and my life to osteomyelitis. Doctors said I would never race again. This is where my journey started. I set out to prove that setbacks are the setup for a comeback. Through this journey, I discovered my love for the process we call training and the joy that cycling encompasses. With the vision of becoming a professional mountain biker, I relocated from Louisiana to Colorado Springs, CO, to chase my dreams. Since then, I’ve become an amateur national champion, a cycling coach, and competitive in pro races across America.
Where is home?
Home is Colorado Springs, Colorado.
When did you fall in love with bikes?
Actually, later in life, when I was 21 years old, I realized I wasn’t enjoying running track and cross country anymore.
What is it that attracts you to the sport?
The social nature of group rides and rides with friends. I also really enjoy the competitive nature of racing. It fuels my desire and fire to compete and grow.
Can you tell us about your knee injury in 2019?
It all started with an infection during a simple, routine arthroscopic knee surgery. The infection was hiding in my femur bone and was highly undetectable. I had to have seven surgeries as they tried all the wildest ideas to help me. A couple times, they drilled my femur hollow and stuffed antibiotic beads inside my femur in the hopes of getting rid of the infection. It didn’t work. Nothing worked. Not even IV antibiotics that I had to administer myself at home for 6 weeks. The infection resulted in osteomyelitis of my femur and MRSA as well. I also had clots in my lungs and legs. The clots were trying to find their way to my brain, which was very scary for the doctors and me. As I lay covered in giant bags of ice to try and reduce my deadly fevers, I accepted that I was going to die. It’s a strange reality. Weeks later, the doctors and I discussed the amputation of my leg. That would get rid of this horrible infection. Besides, my leg was dead and necrotic anyway. With my leg now the size of my tiny forearm, I was okay with amputation as long as I could still ride and race with one leg.
After months, the infectious doctors discovered that if I took an oral antibiotic every day for the rest of my life, then I wouldn’t have to lose my leg. That was an easy pill to swallow, lol, despite the symptoms it causes like bad gut, gas, and feeling dehydrated often. Once I was released, I was set on the mission to go win a national title to prove to everyone that setbacks are the setup for a comeback. It took me 3 years to make that dream a reality and I still don’t have full range of motion in my knee. I walk with a major limp, but it’s enough to pedal and that’s all that matters.
Has the knee injury changed your outlook on life and bike racing?
During that injury downtime where all I could do was physical therapy, I set out to become a coach, and I did. I have my own coaching company now called Purpose Performance. I realized I want to be a part of this sport for life, even when I’m too old or injured to race myself. I also don’t take for granted being able to ride, even when it’s cold or rainy, et cetera.
What are your goals for 2023?
To grow the sport by coaching athletes on how to train purposefully and to grow myself by testing my limits by competing against the best pro’s in the country.
Strangest food you were thinking of while riding?
Crawfish or Boudin. That is the Cajun in me, though, born and raised in Louisiana.
The scar on my knee from the seven knee surgeries A constant reminder to not take anything for granted.
What do you always take on a trip?
I have to have my box fan to sleep haha
What would you be if you were not a racer?
My real job is physical therapy. I love helping others achieve their goals.
Your favourite squirt cycling product?
My favourite is the long-lasting chain lube. It keeps my drivetrain quiet and running efficiently. I also really like the bike cleaner, though! It works well to shine my bike and even degrease things like my cassette and chain! I was also impressed with how well the MTB tire sealant worked!
The best tip for MTB beginners?
Keep it fun.
Please complete the following:
I like my coffee…with mostly creamer and sugar, more than coffee lol
I would love to go ride with…my dad, if he was still alive. Now that E-Bikes are a thing that would be a blast with him.
The secret to happiness…the little things and understanding that the happiest things in life are actually free.
My greatest exhilaration… riding behind my girlfriend on downhill mountain bike trails.
I fear…Riding behind my girlfriend on downhill trails lol
Passion…Helping others realize their potential that they can’t see yet.
When I wake up…I fart. Dam antibiotics lol
I rage…when 95 year old e-bikers fly by me.
Name: Miles Juneau
Birthplace: Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Go Tigers.
Height: 5 feet 11
Shoe size: 43