I grew up hearing about my dad's cross country bike adventure. I was captivated whenever he would describe dipping his rear tire in one ocean, and then weeks later finally dipping his front tire in the other. In my head, it wasn't a matter of if I would ever experience those two moments, but when. Then, at the age of 18, that dream faded: I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
Dad (front right) at the age of 16 on cross country bike trip
I saw other people doing incredible things in spite of this disease, but my own journey in learning how to manage it was rocky. I felt fragile. There was no way I could ride my bike across the country with this new, complicated full time job of trying to be a pancreas. So, I gave up and tried to forget about it. I found a new dream: competing on the Miss America stage, and poured my energy into that instead.
A couple years after being Miss Idaho and being involved with Beyond Type 1 (before they started taking insulin money) I got a call from them saying they were coordinating a cross-country bike team of all type ones, and could I
host an event in Boise if the team's route took them through Idaho? "Is it a team of professional cyclists? Or just anyone who signs up?" I asked. When they responded that it wasn't for pros, I told them I was sorry. I wouldn't be available to organize an event or host them in Boise--I needed to be on that team. On June 3rd, 2017, I dipped my rear bike tire in Atlantic Ocean and then rode across the Brooklyn Bridge to set out for San Francisco. 10 weeks and 4200+ miles later, I was looking at the Golden Gate Bridge, dipping my front tire in the Pacific.