Megan Giglia has had an incredible two-and-a-bit years. In January 2013, the then 27-year-old from Stratford-upon-Avon was working as a multi-sport coach, coaching aspiring rugby players and gymnasts.
Then a stroke changed everything, leaving Megan with right side paralysis and an uncertain future. Now, just over two years on, Giglia is about compete in her first UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships, which take place from 26-29 March in Apeldoorn, Netherlands.
Suffering a stroke at any age is a life-changing moment but for Megan it was a turning point that she compelled herself to face in a positive light.
“If I was to look at it any other way I don't think I would be where I am now,” said Giglia, poised to compete for her country in the C3 para-cycling class.
“It's taking something that's a negative and turning it into a positive. It's something that is going to be with me for the rest of my life so I might as well make the most of it.”
The road to recovery hasn’t been easy for Megan but from early on in her rehabilitation, cycling has played a major role.
“When my partner was off at work and the kids would be at school I would do things to keep myself active and try and mobilise my right side,” she said.
“One of the things I did was I got an old mountain bike and was trying to ride. I fell off numerous times and got side-tracked and ended up in a hedge or ended up on the floor.”
The old mountain bike was to be the start of something. Megan recalled taking an incredible 120-mile ride from her home in Warwickshire to a friend in Cambridgeshire, where she would get some advice that would give her what she needed to move forward.
“It ended up taking me about 11 hours,” said Megan. “I cycled 120 miles from Warwickshire. I lost my way a couple of times but got there by about one in the morning in the end.
“But I got there.
“I'd lost my right side and I couldn't cope at all. I was really struggling and her mum came over and her mum is lovely person. She was suffering with terminal cancer so she was a real inspiration for me because she was still carrying on no matter what, knowing that she didn't have long to live.
“She gave me this goal - she said - look, why don't you look at all the different sports out there and get yourself to the best that you can be. Because I was sick and tired of being held back and not being able to do the things I could before.”
Megan made some enquiries and by October 2013, just nine months after her stroke, she went to a para-cycling selection camp for women. At this point Megan still needed to use crutches and a wheelchair at times. But the die was cast and Megan embarked upon a six-month camp.
“Each month I went for a few days and did a few activities to show them my abilities and went away and did bits and bobs that they set me, tasks, and came back stronger every time,” she said.
“And then it just went from there.”
In early 2014, just a year on from her stroke, Megan was accepted on to the British Cycling Paralympic Development Programme but in October 2014, as she was about to make the step up to academy life, disaster struck, a freak training ride crash leaving her with a broken back.
“I was in a club ride in the Peak District and we were going down a descent and there was a blind bend and it narrowed off. The road conditions weren't great, it was a bit wet.
“There was a rider in front of me who suddenly braked and I was unaware of it. I was carrying too much speed. Although I'd left a nice gap it wasn't enough.
“So I decided to take myself off towards the hedge but it meant that the wheel clipped an earth mound at it took me up into the air and I actually somersaulted. I ended up being airlifted to hospital.”
Thankfully Megan’s injuries proved not to be as serious as first feared and she recovered sufficiently to take part in her first major international event, the Newport Para-cycling International at the end of January, where she claimed silver in the C3 pursuit and bronze in the 500-metre time trial.
“That was a real experience for me,” she said.
“Obviously I would have been happier with gold and even with gold I would have been nit-picking at myself because I'm a terrible nit-picker.”
Following Newport, Giglia was thrust into the full-time world of Academy life, making the move north to the squad’s home in Manchester and getting used to a totally new regime.
“My life consists of cycling and sleeping and eating,” she said.
“And that's pretty much it, oh and of course drinking. A lot of fluid.
“I sleep for England. Whenever I'm not cycling I'm sleeping. I suffer from quite a lot of neurological fatigue so at the moment the coaches are working a lot with me just to try and get that balanced and under control.
“Once that's under control hopefully my physical ability will improve even more.”
Perhaps understandably given the turbulent past few years, Giglia is approaching her first worlds with a healthy dose of perspective.
“I'm just taking it as training really,” she admitted. “My ultimate goal is Rio so I'm just taking it day by day. Every day is a training day and a new experience.”
And of Rio she is similarly level-headed.
“It's definitely something that's in the pipeline and it's achievable but I have to commit 100 percent and prove myself and I've got a lot of work to do,” she said.
“But I don't see why I can't achieve that at all. I've got the ability there, I've got the potential and I've got the determination and I want it.”
Megan Giglia will be the first Great Britain athlete to compete at the UCI Para-Cycling Track World Championships, in the C3 500-metre time trial, which take places on Thursday 26 March, her 30th birthday.
Live reporting, results, images and reaction will appear on the British Cycling website.