Monique Hanley

MoniqueSince being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1998, Monique Hanley has smashed through any obstacles in her way by treating it as a challenge to be overcome.

A promising basketballer in her teenage years, Monique made the shift to cycling after her retirement in 2000, when a friend of hers (who also had type 1 diabetes) convinced her to buy a secondhand road-bike – “Harry” Gios – which she started riding with Warragul Cycling Club, in Gippsland.

During her time backpacking in Canada in 2002, cycling soon became much more than just a way of getting around, when Monique rode from one side of Canada to the other – over 7,800km in 66 days.

MoniqueMonique’s next major ride was in 2003, when she followedLe Tour de France, solo, armed with little more than a tent, sleeping bag, diabetes supplies, and of course, the ever-trusty “Harry”. After her return to Australia, Monique’s enthusiasm and determination saw the formation of a group of diabetic cyclists (some of whom had never ridden road bikes before), who entered the Murray to Moyne Cycle Relay – the first team entirely made up of people with type 1 diabetes to take part in the event. With Monique as president (and inspiration) this group has evolved to become HypoActive (www.hypoactive.org).  Each year the organisation fields an all type 1 diabetic team (including all type 1 support crew) in the Murray to Moyne cycle relays, and organise a huge range of activities for anyone with type 1 diabetes interested in exercise.  One of Monique's greatest achievements has been the successful delivery of AcT1vate, a weekend conference focussed on providing the best information available on type 1 diabetes management during exercise.

MoniqueDespite devoting so much of her time to the growth of HypoActive, Monique’s own cycling career flourished.  She made the transition from recreational tour rider to track racer, becoming the Victorian Champion in the Individual Pursuit and Points Score, as well as winning bronze in the Individual Pursuit at the National Track Championships, and helping Victoria to secure silver in the Points Score and Scratch races.

In June 2007, Monique also made a return to road racing, after being invited to be part of Team Type 1 (www.teamtype1.org) – a team of cyclists with type 1 diabetes – for the “World’s Toughest Bike Race”, the Race Across America (www.raceacrossamerica.com). As well as inspiring diabetics around the world by their determination to not let diabetes hold them back, Team Type 1 won their category, with the fastest overall time of 5 days, 15 hours, 43 minutes for the 4 900km trip from San Diego to Atlantic City.

From 2007-2009 Monique raced professionally in the USA, racing road tours, criteriums and track events across the country and speaking at many community events along the way.  While racing in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 2009, Monique crashed badly.  She sustained four spinous process fractures in her back and severely damaged her right shoulder.  In 2010 she became pregnant and gave birth to a daughter in January 2011.  While taking 2011 off from racing, she intends to return again in 2012.

Monique won the 2007 Diabetes Exercise and Sport Association International Athletic Achievement Award, and in 2011 won a Abbott Diabetes Case Study Award for the introduction of new testing protocols for all HypoActive events.  The paper was called, Managing Insulin During Prolonged Intermittent Exercise Activity: HypoActive on the Murray to Moyne.

News:

Diabetes No Barrier to Determined Cyclist (2007)

Living Well with Type 1 Diabetes: An Interview with Monique Hanley from Team Type 1 (2008)

DESA Profile (2009)

HypoActive featured in Australian Cyclist (July/August 2010)

RunSweet Cycling Profile (2011)