Mandy Marquardt began on the road to bike racing early in her life. Born in Mannheim, Germany, she and her family moved to the United States when she was six years old. She had an extremely active childhood in Fort Lauderdale, Florida filled with tennis, swimming, and running. She started riding at age 10 when her parents introduced her to track cycling. She was instantly taken by the sport and loved racing a bike that didn’t include brakes. Soon she began riding on the open road, where her father would follow group rides in his car just to make sure his young daughter was safe.
Within a year and a half after she started riding, Mandy earned a coveted spot at the U.S. Junior 10-12 National Road Championship and the U.S. Junior 10-12 National Track Championship. Her supportive family piled into an old Cadillac and drove across the country to Texas where Mandy won the time trial and the criterium and was runner-up in a photo finish in the road race.
As Mandy’s success and passion for racing grew, she decided to move back to Germany to get some European racing experience at age 15. Just two months later, she was competing in her first German Junior National Track Championship where she earned a podium spot by taking third in the 500-meter time trial.
Three months after winning that third-place podium, Mandy’s German state cycling team, Team Rothaus for the state of Baden-Württemberg, put all athletes through routine blood work and metabolic-threshold testing, which showed Mandy had abnormal blood glucose levels. At 16, Mandy was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and hospitalized for two weeks. Without any other symptoms, Mandy had a difficult time accepting her diagnosis. Things got worse when her doctor said she would never compete at an elite level again. Being a true competitor, Mandy saw this as a challenge. With the help of a diabetes educator, she got back on the bike and learned how to train, eat and live with diabetes.
Only nine months after her diabetes diagnosis, Mandy took the podium again in the 500-meter time trial at the German Junior National Track Championship. She cherishes this moment because she was able to prove that not only could she keep competing, but she was able to continue to achieve success as an elite athlete.
Mandy is currently a senior at Penn State Lehigh Valley where she is a two-time Collegiate National champion in the 500m time trial (2010, 2011). Set to graduate this May with a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Management and Marketing, Mandy has spent her entire college career juggling her time as a student-athlete and diabetes ambassador. She credits her success with diligent time management skills. Last summer, she interned for Rodale at Bicycling.
After graduation, Mandy plans to focus on her cycling career and dreams of making the U.S. Sprint National Team and earning a spot on the U.S. 2016 or 2020 Olympic Track Team. Catch Mandy racing this summer in the World Series of Bicycling on her hometown track at the Valley Preferred Cycling Center in Trexlertown, PA.
If I take care of myself and my engine, then I will be able to perform.
I race a bike. I’m a National Champion. I have diabetes.