Bronze medalist Allison Jones celebrates with silver medalist Denise Schindler of Germany after the women's individual C1-3 road race during the Paralympic Games London 2012 on Sept. 6, 2012 in Longfield, England.
An extended business trip might not be where one would expect to rediscover a sport, but that’s what happened for Allison Jones.
In preparation for a charity ride last year, Jones took her bike from her home in Gladstone, Oregon, to just outside Indianapolis, where she was doing engineering work.
“I ended up going back to that same location for three out of four months,” Jones recalled. “So, I was there a long time and working a lot of hours. The only physical thing I could do, because all the gyms were closed down (due to the pandemic) … was I rode my bike.
“I fell back in love with riding my bike again. That little spark kind of happened again.”
Jones, an eight-time U.S. Paralympian who had earned eight medals in cycling and alpine skiing, had gotten off her road bike after the 2017 world championships, where she had won a gold medal in the road race and a bronze medal in the time trial. That had given her a total of 22 world championships medals on the road and track since her first appearance in 2009.
“It was one of my best years,” said Jones of 2017. “Came out super strong, and that’s kind of how I wanted to end it. I felt like I had retired on my own terms.”
The idea was to finally put that mechanical engineering degree from the University of Denver to good use to make more money than her racing and speaking engagements could provide. She secured a position in Portland.
“I absolutely love it,” Jones said. “It was the perfect transition job back into a full-time engineering position.”