We believe the greatest athletes are not just those who finish first- but those people that motivate, inspire, and challenge us to do greater things. Extraordinary people doing extraordinary things on Trek bikes. We are proud to be a part of their pursuit and to say that Great Athletes Ride Trek.
This October, Melissa Stockwell represented the United States in Auckland, New Zealand and defended the title she's held for the two previous years in ITU Paratriathlon competition: World Champion. In 2008, she was a member of the US swim team that competed at the Beijing Paralympics. Representing the US as a world-class athlete is just one part of what makes Melissa an inspiration. How she got there, and the limitless positivity she carries with her every day is what makes her a true champion.
A Bald Eagle leads Melissa on the head tube of her Madone
Her unlikely and unexpected journey began eight years ago, nearly ten thousand miles away from Auckland, in Baghdad, when Melissa was a 2nd Lieutennant in the 1st Cavalry division of the United States Army. On April 13, 2004, during a routine patrol, the HUMVEE she was riding in was hit by a roadside bomb that left Melissa an above-the-knee amputee. The event earned her a Purple Heart, a Bronze Star Medal, and a year of surgeries and rehabilitation at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
The date on which Melissa lost her leg is inscribed on her frame
During her physical therapy, Melissa discovered swimming and quickly learned she was fast in the water. She applied the same dedication and drive to swimming that she had had throughout her recovery, and began to compete in Minnesota where she was studying for a career in prosthetics. After a few short years of training and racing, Melissa moved to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs and qualified for the Beijing Paralympics. It was clear that she had the talent and determination to compete with the best in the world, and after transitioning to triathlon, quickly rose to the top of the sport.
This past summer, Melissa, with two Paratriathlon World Championships in tow, stopped in Texas with the Wounded Warrior Project for the Warrior 100 Ride, a 3-day, 100-kilometer mountain bike ride. The Wounded Warrior Project provides unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members, including adaptive cycling resources and events. It is an event that Trek is proud to be part of. It was at the Warrior 100 ride that Trek President John Burke met Melissa, and invited her to visit Trek in Wisconsin (read more about the ride on John's blog).
Trek President John Burke and Melissa at Trek World in August of 2012
Melissa joined us at our annual Trek World retailer show in Madison this August, sharing the work of the Wounded Warrior Project, her experience as an American paralympian, and her passion for the sport. As her bike sponsor, we wanted Melissa to have a race setup that reflected her story and personality, and she worked closely with our graphic designers and Project One team to come up with one of the most impressive paint schemes we've ever seen.
Melissa's Madone pays tribute to two of her great loves: America and triathlon
With her new Madone at The Bike Rack in St. Charles, IL - a big supporter of Wounded Warrior Project
Melissa's new Madone was delivered just in time to race at the World Championships this year, where she both defended her title, and set a personal record on the bike split. Despite strong headwinds and stiff competition. She's taken the challenge of a life-changing injury, and used it to inspire people the world over as a dominant professional athlete. At Trek, we believe in great athletes and are proud that Melissa rides our bikes and has allowed us to share her story.
You can catch Melissa (if you're fast enough) training along Chicago's lakefront as she prepares for her first Ironman this November in Arizona.
To see more images of Melissa's bike, check out the Facebook gallery.