Community Champion: Gregory McNeill

Gregory McNeill: Capturing the Spirit and Action of Our Cycling Community

We are thrilled to reintroduce Gregory McNeill to our community, a true cornerstone of the MCA family. Gregory was honored as Volunteer of the Year in 2017, and his dedication continues to inspire us all.

As a volunteer behind-the-scenes photographer, Gregory brings our events to life through his lens. He meticulously pre-rides the trails to scout the best locations, ensuring he captures the most memorable action shots of our athletes. His commitment to showcasing the spirit of our community is truly inspiring.

But Gregory’s passion extends far beyond the camera. His love for cycling is evident in his impressive list of personal accomplishments:

Cycling Accomplishments

  • The Arrowhead 135 (2020): Gregory conquered this grueling 135-mile winter bike ultra marathon in Minnesota, a testament to his endurance and determination.
  • Manitoba’s Winter Ultra Marathon: He is the only person to have completed both the 100-mile run and 125-mile bike events, demonstrating his versatility and resilience.
  • Manitoba Brevets: Gregory achieved the remarkable feat of completing the 200k and 300k brevets on a fatbike, making him the only person to do so.
  • BMX Racing in the Early 1980s: In the early 1980s, Gregory raced BMX bicycles for Corydon Cycle (Ron Lowe), ending his career in 1985 in the 15 Expert class. Competing against hundreds of kids at tracks like Chalmers, East St. Paul, Optomist, and Elie, his highly acclaimed Hutch bicycle made him popular among enthusiasts.

Gregory’s diverse talents extend beyond cycling. Alongside his achievements in the sport, he has also made significant contributions to writing. He authored a story on Epica for ‘Our Canada’ and penned approximately 10 to 20 stories for the Community News Commons, a platform supported by the Winnipeg Foundation.

His journey into photography began in 2013 when he purchased a camera and some lenses. Despite not having prior experience or a particular interest in photography, Gregory dove into the craft headfirst. His initiation was at a CX race at CMU, where he began capturing moments through his lens. Self-taught and fueled by a desire for improvement, he delved into photography forums, critiqued his own work, and devoured over 200 YouTube tutorials to refine his skills.

Combining his newfound passion with his background in computer simulation from his time at the University of Manitoba, Gregory swiftly grasped the technical intricacies of photography. This synergy enabled him to not only capture stunning images but also contribute to course setups and designs, further enriching his involvement in the cycling community.

In the 1980s, Gregory also raced BMX bicycles and fondly remembers poring over magazines like BMXPlus and BMXAction, dreaming of shredding it like the pros. Although he no longer races, he spends his spare time in a local boxing/kickboxing/MMA gym and continues to take pictures of bicycle racing and assist with track design and setup. Balancing both hobbies is crucial for his physical and mental well-being and personal enjoyment.

Despite the challenges of volunteering, including early mornings and occasional equipment failures, Gregory believes in living in the moment and being grateful. The relationships he has formed within the cycling community are invaluable, and he cherishes the friendships he has made.

Will he be doing this tomorrow? Gregory isn’t sure, but he knows he can do it today, and for that, he is grateful. In the end, Gregory is a fan and participant of local bicycle racing, and with his camera, he captures the essence of the sport he loves.

Join us in celebrating Gregory McNeill, a dedicated volunteer and extraordinary athlete, whose contributions continue to enrich our community.

Check out more of Gregory’s work on his Flicker account: Gregory C. McNeill’s albums | Flickr