THE COURAGE TO GO FURTHER:
FIONA MAJENDIE’S JOURNEY FROM DIVISION 1 TENNIS TO MEDICAL SCHOOL TO NATIONAL TEAM CYCLING
The path to success for Fiona Majendie '15 has been anything but ordinary. From her days as a student-athlete playing Division 1 tennis and pursuing pre-med courses at the University of San Diego, to her current role as a rising star on Canada’s National Cycling team, Fiona has been driven by her passion for excellence and her unwavering determination to achieve her dreams.
Fiona’s journey took a turn when she transferred to the University of British Columbia for the second half of her undergraduate studies. There, she studied integrated sciences, focusing on pathology, neuroscience, and physiology, and found a deep fascination with all things medical. Fiona has always wanted to be a doctor. “I used to dress up and play ‘hospital’ with my baby dolls,” she states. It’s been an unwavering goal of hers to go into medicine. Her love for the academic material in medicine matched her desire to help people and make a difference in their lives.
Fiona’s passion for helping others was evident when her mother, Janet Majendie, was on the
Coast Mental Health board during the COVID-19 pandemic. With many of the organization’s
regular fundraising events like galas cancelled, brainstorming creative ways to raise money
during a pandemic became a top priority.
“We were discussing what would be doable in a pandemic and what would pique people’s interests. My mom and I had the idea that we could make a fundraising challenge surrounding exercise and the outdoors. I was inspired by a viral story of a 95-year-old man raising money by walking around his garden; my mom and I created the “Courage to Go Further Challenge,” says Fiona.
As an avid cyclist, Fiona decided to take on the popular “Everesting” challenge, which meant climbing the height of Mount Everest on her bike in a single ride. Mount Everest has an elevation of 8,850 meters, equivalent to climbing up Mount Seymour, a local Vancouver mountain, 10 times. In the summer of 2020, Fiona completed this gruelling challenge. The ride took her 11 hours and 45 minutes. Along with her team, who took on their own challenges, the group raised a total of $250,000 for Coast Mental Health. Fiona also ended up being the
fastest female to Everest in Canada and the 9th fastest in the world at the time.
But Fiona’s cycling journey didn’t stop there. Her talent and dedication caught the attention of Canada’s National Team, and she was invited to a National Team Camp in Burnaby, B.C., in March 2022. “All the national team athletes were there, so I was able to train with them for two weeks,” she says. The camp finished with the Westerns Challenge, a three-day race where Fiona ended up doing really well, beating most of the national team girls. Her journey to the national team was rather abrupt. Fiona only started road cycling about three and a half years ago and finally got to race in the 2021 season. At the end of the same year, she decided to try out track cycling and absolutely loved it.
Despite being relatively new to road cycling, Fiona’s performance at the National Team Camp was outstanding, and she was invited to attend a National Team Selection Camp in Milton, Ontario. Initially, she was told she was too new to attend, but Fiona persisted and advocated for herself, “I knew my level was good enough to attend that camp” she stated. Ultimately, Fiona secured an invitation to the camp with the help of a national team coach who had seen her race. To everyone’s surprise, Fiona was selected for the World Cup and went on to race the Team Pursuit with Team Canada at the National Camp where they placed sixth.
Fiona’s cycling journey continued throughout the summer of 2022, with her competing in track races around the world, including the Nations Cup in Cairo, Egypt for the team pursuit. She is currently gearing up for the Milton Nations Cup, with her sight set on earning valuable Olympic points to secure a spot on Team Canada for the Paris 2024 Olympics. This year is crucial for Olympic qualifications, and Fiona is determined to give it her all to achieve her Olympic dream.
Balancing her cycling career with her passion for medicine has not been easy for Fiona. Currently, on a leave of absence from medical school, Fiona made the difficult decision to take time off her studies to focus on cycling. With her upcoming third-year clerkship, Fiona knew she would be in the hospital every day with call shifts and no ability to take time off. Thankfully, the UBC Deans of Medicine School were very understanding and excited about her upcoming opportunity to ride for Canada. Her school granted her a two-year leave of absence to pursue cycling and hopefully achieve her dream of going to the Olympics.
Fiona plans to return to school at the beginning of 2025, entering her third-year clerkship to continue towards her medical career.
Updates on Fiona as of November 2023
Fiona Majendie was a member of the track cycling women's team with Team Canada during the Pan Am games and won gold in the Santiago 2023 Pan Am Games. She is now training for the Olympics in Paris 2024.