You may see Melissa Bales wearing a black and white ride marshal jersey during DCC weekend, but even she didn’t anticipate she would eventually take on that role.
In 2012, Bales had made a commitment to refocus her life on health and fitness. When Lennar had offered to sponsor a few zimmerman employees, she didn’t own a road bike, didn’t know the rules of the road and hadn’t been on a bike in a while. Everything was foreign to Bales, which was apparent by her mismatched outfit and sneakers with cages. Her friends, who were skilled riders, encouraged her to sign up for 170 miles. With the help of rest stops, massage therapists and encouraging friends, she completed the 100 miles on the first day, and pushed through her fatigued legs to finish 70 more miles the next day.
“The 170 total miles suddenly felt amazing as I crossed the finish line,” Bales said. “The DCC weekend officially solidified my new passion for road cycling while getting to help others. I’m now Event Manager for zMotion Foundation and a 3rd-year ride marshal and Heavy Hitter for the DCC. What’s better than that?”
For a new rider, 170 miles can be daunting, but Bales knew her pain was none compared to the pain cancer brings to people’s lives.
“I lost my grandfather to cancer,” Bales said. “It was devastating to everyone who knew him. Every year, I learn of more and more friends fighting this horrible disease. Fundraising is not always easy, but cancer is so much worse. Knowing I am playing a role in us finding ways to get rid of it is extremely motivating.”
Not only a ride marshal, Bales is also a Heavy Hitter and committed to taking her fundraising to the next level.
“I took on becoming a Heavy Hitter because the organization does such a good job of raising money and it inspired me to do the same.”
Today, Bales is one of the biggest advocates for the DCC, encouraging everyone she meets to join the organization is committed to finding a cure for cancer.
“There are so many ways you can take part in the DCC,” Bales said. “For safety-focused riders who want to help other riders in action, you can join me as a ride marshal. For those who can’t/don’t want to ride, consider volunteering. Even just cheering riders on at the rest stops is huge. Don’t live locally? Consider sponsoring a rider. The opportunities are endless. Just choose to get involved. I promise you won’t regret it.”