Meet Mel, age 32

Meet Mel – Bike Beyond team member and Team Trainer! Give to her fundraising page and follow her on Instagram.

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Mel HAS RAISED $6706

Final Update from Melissa!

10 weeks ago I pedaled out of New York, expecting the epic physical challenge of riding across a continent. What I got was that, and so much more. For the first time in over 14 years I felt normal – I found my tribe and suddenly diabetes became okay. Instead of being my secret shame or a burden, I got to experience diabetes life as the every day.

To the 18 people I lived and rode with across America, I cannot thank you enough for giving me this gift. You have all filled a gaping hole of loneliness that was eating away at my heart. I had never realised how isolating diabetes can be. We had the adventure of a lifetime together and I’m incredibly blessed to be going home with a new family of people who were all crazy and audacious enough to sign up to be a part of this.

My heart is full. You all inspire me. Keep living beyond.

San Francisco, CA

Update from Melissa!

Just biked across a continent… .

Nick Jonas Meets the Team in Napa

Update from Melissa!

So so so excited to be bringing Stanley home to Brisbane with me thanks to the incredibly generous Steve from Know Foods Cannot thank you enough for keeping us fed all summer AND now giving us all the opportunity to take home the bikes that have gotten us all the way across America! So grateful 

Update from Melissa!

Climbing in to Napa! Only 1 ride left with my trusty#ruby Stanley. I’m going to miss him, these amazing views, and experiencing every day life on a bike

Biking beyond Type 1

[Post originally published on Nevada Appeal, available HERE.] 

Diabetes may seem like a debilitating diagnosis, but 20 cyclists are working to prove this isn’t the case by riding over 4,200 miles across the United States.

(more…)

Sacramento, CA

Update from Melissa!

Diabetes in the wild. Changing my pump site 50 miles in to today’s ride to Davis .

Fallon, NV

Update from Melissa!

Another day in Nevada, a few more summits, and my longest ride ever. Another wonderful day!

Austin, Nevada

 

3 days, 385km, 11 summits… Nevada has it all, desert heat, mountains, sock doping, and one cyclist who never thought she’d be able to do this!

Austin, NV

Not going to lie, today was a deep dark pit of awful in my head. The ONLY reason I rode was because it was Austin day, and I wanted to persevere and inspire for a friend who has always, always got my back. Because I want his son to grow up in a world where dreams can come true.

Pancake Summit

Another day in Nevada, another 4 summits. Epic 💪

Update from Melissa!

Made it to Nevada, with 4 summits in 1 day. Hardest & most rewarding day with Stanley!

Green River, Utah

Living the dream.

Moab, Utah

Here’s a video captured by Neil Greathouse of the brushfire that started right after lightning struck a field across from the house the team was staying in!

Moab, Utah

Update from Walt!

Thanks for the day Abbey and Melissa…

Rocks and rivers…

Colorado National Monument

Update from Melissa!

Hey, no bike this time  #gotsickofcarryingit #paradise  #colorado  #grandjunction

Update from Melissa!

Today I was reminded again that cycling across America is tough & that I’m way too hard on myself.

After 40km of steady climbing, I fell apart on a 5km switchback climb – ride 500m, pull over, sob hysterically, repeat. Altitude may have been taking its toll too, as I was not feeling well.

And what did I learn about myself… that determination isn’t always pretty, and it doesn’t hurt to be your own biggest fan sometimes.

Props to Silvi & Abbey for sticking with me during my meltdown 😘 #diabesties

*this pic was taken about 2km into my meltdown… that’s right, less than half way up the climb!

Update from Melissa!

 

“Wishing you strong legs only. Your spirit and heart are already strong”. Crushed the Rockies with these two rockstars today!

#whendadalwaysknowswhattosay #topoftheworld #almost #bikebeyond #livebeyond @beyondtype1daily @beyondtype1 #iamspecialized #iamspecialized_wmn #whatsworthit #cycling 

Update from Mel!

I am actually riding the Rockies!

Day 2 in the Rockies, Loveland Pass today up to 12,000 feet. #bikebeyond#rockymountains #allthewayup

Boulder, CO

Update from Silvi!

Bike Beyond hits the Lake!

Update from Melissa!

Here’s to doing all the things that I never dreamed I’d be brave enough to try #fireintheheart

#bikelife #cycling #colorado #sisu #dreambig #doingthethingsthatscareyou

Denver, Colorado

Update from Melissa!

 

We made it to the Rockies!!! So exciting to finally see the mountains as we rolled in to Denver.
#bestday #bikebeyond #livebeyond #denver #bikelife #cycling #trailparadise #allthemountains #iamspecialized

Update from Melissa in Colorado!

Passing the time, waiting for the storm to hit!

 

Alma, Missouri

Update from Melissa!

We’re almost halfway to San Francisco! It’s hard to believe how quickly this journey is flying by. Each ride day is different, but the routine of cycling, eating, and sleeping is certainly one that I could get used to.

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Anton, CO

Update from Melissa!

Record time changing my flat today, too bad I don’t have a pump with me 😱Sitting by the side of the road, hanging out with the corn #bikebeyond

Burlington, Colorado

Update from Melissa!

Bike Beyond morning, heading to Last Chance, Colorado today – just under 100 miles!

Manhattan, Kansas

Update from Melissa!

People are awesome, especially other #type1diabetics

#bikebeyond #livebeyond #diabadasses

Topeka, Kansas

Update from Melissa!

Care package from the best mum ever 😍 After some tough, hot ride days, this absolutely made my day, and also made me cry a little #mademyday#queenie #motheroftheyear #bikebeyond #moresockdoping #t1dmum

Olathe, Kansas

Update from Melissa!

These legs are officially halfway to San Francisco!! It’s about time to start calling myself a cyclist#bikebeyond #livebeyond #cycling #bikelife#rocktape #diabadass

Leawood, Kansas

Update from Melissa!

Stanley made it to Kansas!! State number 11… or thereabouts #bikebeyond #livebeyond#iamspecialized #iamspecialized_wmn

Oak Grove, Missouri

Update from Melissa!

40 miles in to 90 miles of hell, I mean hills.#tootiredtoselfie #bikebeyond #cyclinglife #cycling#bikelife #shutuplegs 

Alma, MO

Update from Melissa!

Tonight’s digs: Santa Fe High School  #iamspecialized#iamspecialized_wmn #highschool#sandimashighschoolfootballrules #alma #missouri

One hard day

[Post originally published on Melissa’s personal blog, available HERE]

I’m in the van again today. I rode 100 miles a few days ago, which was awesome! It was a great ride, I felt pretty good, but I didn’t recover properly. That’s been one of the challenges with this ride – it’s hard to get enough food & sleep every day.

So, I then rode another 70 miles the day after my century & my knee was bugging me. I was actually having a terrible ride day overall. I was super tired, so I was crying by mile 30. My body hurt, so I was riding pretty slowly. The ride went through lots of mud & gravel, which didn’t improve my morale. Plus it was hot. By the end of the day I couldn’t move my knee. Luckily, we had a team rest day, so I got a bit of recovery. I really wanted to ride today, but with 6 weeks left it seemed silly to try and push through.

It seems ironic to realise now that it’s a bad idea to push myself. I’m not sure why I insist on not quitting so often. Part of me worries that I do all these crazy endurance events because otherwise I wouldn’t be “enough”. I never thought that diabetes made me feel like less, but sometimes I worry that I’m trying to make up for the broken part of me. Or, I’m trying to prove to myself that I can do the things that scare me, which makes me less broken.

Cycling used to be something that scared me. I was never confident or comfortable on the bike. Whereas, these days, I actually miss being on my bike. It’s such a nice change from my real life – riding, lying in the grass, meeting cool people. Today is the first day that I’ve seriously thought about how much I don’t think I want to go back to my life. My life is so structured back home. There are parts of it that I love, mainly the trail running. However, more and more I feel like I’m not contributing to the world in my real life. This journey feels like I’m searching for answers, but I still have no idea what my questions are.

My rough day on the bike meant I spent a lot of time thinking about why I was doing this. Both, why I was pushing myself to suffer through those 70 miles, and why I was pushing myself to do this ride at all. I’m not sure that I came up with any answers though.

This ride might be one of the only things I’ve done in my life that’s bigger than me. We need something like this in Australia – all of the kids growing up with diabetes shouldn’t be allowed to feel alone, or limited, and this ride is the cure for that.

Fourth of July Update from Melissa!

91 miles on the bike, popsicles, gear dumping, future chats, hot dogs, kettle corn, fireworks, deep fried oreos, staring up at the night sky, laughs, sweat, and friends that have become family. My first ever 4th of July in America done right #nailedit #bikebeyond

Hannibal, Missouri

Update from Melissa!

From Hannibal to Moberly, 90 miles, it’s good to be back on the bike #bikebeyond #livebeyond#diabadass #cycling #bikelife #mississippi#lighthouses

St. Louis, MO

Update from Melissa!

Ride all the miles. Eat all the food. #restdaybestday#fatmel #bikebeyond #strongnotskinny

Centralia, Illinois

Update from Melissa!

Just about the worst ride day ever, turns out 70 miles the day after 100 miles is bloody awful #overit #strugglestreet #caniquityet

Eldorado, IL

Update from Melissa!

So I biked my first century today – 100 miles!! Apparently it’s a thing #100milerlife #bikebeyond #diabadass #cycling

Kentucky

Update from Melissa!

Firemen and fratboys #livingthedream#bikebeyond #kentuckydreaming #diabadass#restdaybestday

Bike Beyond Picnic!

Thanks to Neil Greathouse for capturing this fun video of the team picnic!

 

Nashville, TN

Update from Melissa!

When you haven’t seen family for weeks, and you just happen to be cycling into Nashville the same day that your rockstar cousin is playing a festival 😍 😍

Update from Melissa!

Why we ride: awesome peeps and awesome donuts

Update from Kentucky!

 

Ride all the tractors!

1000 miles down

[Post originally published on Melissa’s personal blog, available HERE]

It’s day 20 and we’ve travelled over 1000 miles. Today, we made it to Kentucky, which I think is about our 8th state. It’s hard to believe that we’ve come this far. Day 15 was when it really sank in that riding across America is hard work. We’ve been through so many small towns, hot days, wet days, rough roads, gravel bike trails, hard days, fun days, flat tyres, ice cream stops, lunch time summer naps in the grass, that it’s all starting to blur together.

I didn’t ride today. Rain was predicted all day, and it was another very long day – 90 miles and lots and lots of elevation. I feel a little guilty for not even starting out, but it’s a long haul still to go, and I’m hoping the endurance athlete in me is slowly peaking. Also, this journey is about so much more than just cycling, so I pulled out my FairWeatherCyclist cap.

I’ve never called myself a cyclist, but I’m starting to feel like one. I did my longest ever ride (150km) the other day. Just a week ago I don’t think I’d have been able to ride that far. I still remember the girl who wasn’t that confident being on her bike. These days, the best part of every day is definitely the cycling. On the bike there’s so much space to think, feel, laugh, and enjoy moving forwards.

I’m of course still having moments when I’m not sure that I can do it. Breaking it down, day by day, makes it easier. There have been way too many moments already when I’ve been struggling up a hill that I’ve thought to myself ‘there’s no way I can do the Rockies’. Day after day we have to be getting stronger, so maybe I will be able to conquer the Rockies after all. I’m at least going to give it a red hot go.

There have also been many cool things and amazing moments, but here’s a selection of them:
1. I saw fireflies for the first time.
2. I got to catch up with an old US friend and hear all about his life, which was both happy and sad, and made me realise how much life just happens while you’re making plans. Sometimes you have to be brave and take a leap.
3. I used a laundromat for the first time. Turns out they are great spots for calling your favourite sister and talking for hours.
4. There are lots of hills in Ohio.
5. Random places I have slept – a condemned/haunted college dorm, on top of a picnic table in a fairground, and some huge luxurious houses (just being able to sleep on carpet is such such a pleasure these days).
6. The more that you talk about diabetes, the more that you meet other amazing diabetics, and it is so very cool to know people who just ‘get’ diabetes.
7. I haven’t had a flat tyre in the last 10 days. It’s a record (which I’m hoping I didn’t just jinx).

At the moment, what I’m feeling the most, is just how much people change. I’m not the same person I was just 3 weeks ago. Back then, I was a girl who wasn’t confident riding in groups, nor riding in places where she didn’t know where she was going. These days, getting on the bike and having random adventures on a daily basis is just about a perfect day for me. I can’t imagine who I might be by the end of this trip.

I was in such a good place in my life before I came over here – work, running, family, friends, I was happy. Yet, I still wonder if somehow this adventure is going to give me answers, though that seems to be a big ask when I’m not sure what my questions are. I hope this ride is more than just for me though – I don’t want anyone to feel the way that 18 year old Mel felt when first diagnosed with diabetes – helpless, alone and defeated. So, the hills may be tough, my legs may burn, there may be days when cycling is the last thing that I want to do, but maybe I’ve already found the answer I’m looking for.

You’re much stronger than you think you are.

Update from Melissa!

 

My longest ride ever yesterday – 149km. A week ago I wouldn’t have believed I could ride that far, especially not after 300+km in the 3 days before. Shout out to the amazing endurance athlete ladies in my ride group, Abbey and Cheryl, who just made the day even better!

Loving this ride, eat, sleep, repeat lifestyle right now

Update from Melissa!

What do you get when you put an endurance cyclist, an ultra-runner and a marathon-swimmer in the same ride group for a day of 90 flat, Ohio miles?
A 20mph pace line and a few moments to get in your zone and find that endurance athlete head space.

When our ride mileage was unexpectedly doubled for today and we left an hour late, 90 miles sounded like the LONGEST day. Fortunately, I rode with these two badass woman and we KILLED IT — AND finished before the rest of the team (love you guys, but ya know…).


Feeling strong as hell after a challenging but awesome ride.

Update from Melissa!

 

Longest short ride day ever, saved by awesome#diabadass teamies

Day 16

 

120km. Massillon to Mt Vernon. Today was tough – definitely had me questioning whether I can do this! Things I learnt today: 1. Ohio is not flat. 2. Actively avoiding hills was not a sound training plan. 3. Riding across America is hard work. 4. Sock doping totally works

Update from Melissa!

#TeamTopless rides again

Cleveland, OH

Update from Melissa!

Flat tyre a mile out from Cleveland…

but the team made it!