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As any entrepreneur knows, sometimes the best partnerships come together organically, when you least expect it. That’s what happened for Factory and Mandy Marquardt.

Factory was still under construction when Mandy visited for the first time through an introduction from one of her former professors at Penn State – Lehigh Valley. Rich Thompson, Factory’s managing partner, gave her a look around.

“Rich handed me a hardhat and I got a tour! When I went back for an alumni event, the building was completed. I was so captivated by how dynamic and fun it was inside,” said Mandy, who in addition to being a graduate of Penn State, is also a professional track cyclist.

The feeling was mutual.

“We immediately fell in love with Mandy and wanted to find ways to support and sponsor her,” Rich said. “She is a wonderful person and a great brand ambassador for both Factory and for Honey Stinger.”

Photo courtesy of Mandy Marquardt.

Mandy began cycling at age 10 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, where she grew up. Less than a year later, she competed in the U.S. Junior National Championships and won two gold medals and a silver. She’s been cycling competitively ever since and now has her sights set on qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, which have been postponed to 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

As part of the sponsorship arrangement, Factory always keeps Mandy well-stocked with Honey Stinger’s waffles (her favorites are the honey and strawberry flavors), chews and other sports nutrition products to fuel her training.

Photo courtesy of Mandy Marquardt.

“I have type 1 diabetes, so it’s important for me to be fueling when I’m training or racing to help stabilize my blood sugars and have energy,” said Mandy, who is a member of Team Novo Nordisk, a global all-diabetes professional cycling team, who inspire, educate and empower everyone affected by diabetes. “Over the years, I’ve had my fair share of bars and snacks foods while training and the Honey Stinger products not only taste good, but also sit well in my stomach and are easy to digest. It’s funny, at training, as soon as my teammates see me pull out a waffle, they say, ‘where’s mine?’ and ‘do you have any more?’ I do occasionally share!”

Part of what drew Mandy to the Lehigh Valley for college was the Valley Preferred Cycling Center, referred to locally as simply “the velodrome.” In the summer, riders from around the world race in both amateur and professional races at the track in Trexlertown. Internationally sanctioned races where cyclists compete for World Cup qualification points are typically held in June.

Photograph by Matthew Jones, courtesy of Mandy Marquardt.

“The Lehigh Valley is home now for me. I live here with my fiancé—a former pro cyclist who still rides for fun—and our two dogs and two cats,” Mandy said. “I’m happy to have found such a great community.”

Unfortunately, racing at the velodrome has been postponed this summer due to Covid-19, though the track has recently opened for cyclists to train on a limited basis. Depending on local public health guidelines, you may still be able to catch Mandy racing later in the summer—if you do, look for the Factory logo on her sleeve!

“I feel really lucky to be representing Factory and having them along for the ride with me!” she said.