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Mandy Marquardt - Olympic Hopeful

Professional Track Cyclist and Olympic hopeful Mandy Marquardt discusses what it's like to live and compete at the highest level of sport while managing Type 1 Diabetes.
Mandy racing Image provided by Mandy Marquardt

I love riding a bicycle. It has given me a unique opportunity to earn a living, to represent my country around the world, and to pursue my Olympic dreams. It has given me an outlet to eclipse expectations as a person living with type 1 diabetes, and has ignited a passion for me to inspire others. 

I live in Allentown, Pennsylvania and my home track is the Valley Preferred Cycling Center in Trexlertown. I began racing my bicycle in 2003 at the age of 10, when I lived in south Florida. The Brian Piccolo Velodrome was a short drive from our home, so that was a safe place to learn to ride. Less than a year later, I raced at the U.S. Junior Women’s 10-12 Road National Championships, where I won two gold medals in criterium and time trial, and took silver in the road race.

Riding in my AltRed Gear Photo provided by Mandy Marquardt

Fast forward to 2020, and I am proud to have 18 U.S. National titles, 10 UCI Track Wins, six Pan Am Championships medals and two U.S. National Track records (2016 500m Time Trial and Team Sprint). I am fortunate to continue as a member of the USA Cycling National Team, and in June of this year was selected by USA Cycling as a member of the Long Team for Women’s Track (the final selection to be determined in late spring of 2021 since Games were moved due to Covid-19).

In 2008, when I was 16, I was undergoing routine V02 max testing and bloodwork when doctors found I had elevated blood sugar levels. I was in the hospital for two weeks, and diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. It was a challenging time in my life and I didn’t want to give up. Two years later I joined a team with other cyclists living with type 1 diabetes, called Team Type 1 at the time, which was a turning point for me. I am proud to continue to be a member of Team Novo Nordisk, a global all-diabetes professional cycling team, who inspire, educate and empower everyone affected by diabetes. 

Being part of Team Novo Nordisk and the USA Cycling National Team has not only provided me a stage for racing a bicycle, but also a platform to help others. Being an elite athlete is a full-time job, and managing diabetes is 24/7, but I wouldn’t wish for it to be any other way. I strive to be a role model for young girls to pursue dreams, as well as a role model for people with diabetes to inspire and motivate them to live life to the fullest. 

It’s important to me to pursue my sport at the highest level. I’m particularly aware of the importance of good nutrition and I truly believe that food is just as important as training when it comes to preparation and recovery. 

A couple years ago, I went with my god-father, who works in the candy/food industry, to Momence, Illinois  and was able to tour the facility at Van Drunen Farms (VDF). VDF is a worldwide ingredient supplier and the parent company of Sur PhytoPerformance, the creator of AltRed. Part of the tour included meeting Jeff Van Drunen, Founder of Sur PhytoPerformance and an avid cyclist. It was an amazing experience. I was impressed by their endless resources and passion about helping people.

Part of my daily regimen is to use AltRed. On training or competition days, I take one capsule an hour before cycling, and one every two hours throughout my workout. On rest days, I take one capsule in the morning. I've noticed it helps me throughout my workouts, as well as my recovery. There has been an increase in my exercise efficiency and a raise in my lactic acid threshold. 

Who knew that beets could be so good? I travel a lot, so having AltRed, a betalain concentrate made from beets, in a capsule form is great. I trust that the product is clean because it is NSF Certified for Sport and Informed Sport. 

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, racing has been shut down since March and there are limited opportunities to train at the track. It’s been a challenge for sure, but my sights are still set on representing Team USA at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (moved to July 23 to August 8, 2021). Not only would it be the pinnacle of my athletic career, but also a great platform to continue to inspire others. I greatly appreciate the support from USA Cycling, Team Novo Nordisk and partnerships with companies like Sur PhytoPerformance.

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