Cast your mind back about a month ago, if you live in the lovely south End of Western Australia, think about that weekend in March where it was raining all day Saturday (and night) and the Sunday morning…during that rain myself and around 100+ other cyclists were participating in a 24 hour cycling race, why would you cycle for 24 hours you ask?? Why not I ask…
When I saw information coming out on Facie (Facebook) about this ride, I had a debate / discussion with T1D about entering and if we could do it as a team to achieve 400kms in that 24 hours…we came to an agreement, I would try my best to help T1D keep in control so long as it let me stay on the bike for 400km.
For those of us who love Strava and stats, you can check out my results on Strava;
Not only did I find this a challenge cycling and endurance wise but also as a challenge for dealing with the Diabetes as well.
If you are uneducated about Type 1 Diabetes as unfortunately a lot of people are, exercise speeds up insulin absorption, meaning blood sugar levels fall a lot faster when you have ‘active’ insulin in your system, you need insulin in your system to make sure energy you consume in the form of carbohydrates, sugar, fat and protein is put in your muscles to allow them to function…so you see you can not do without it.
I had a lot of planning to do, and I am pretty sure I took the entire pantry of food with me, I had to make sure I had enough glucose in the event my blood sugars kept going low for long periods of time, enough carbohydrate to sustain blood sugars, back up insulin in case my pump failed, an abundance of blood sugar testing strips and food for meals (as it was a 24hr race I needed all meals).
After multiple long rides I have worked out the effort levels I should be riding at (Heart rate, Cadence and average speed) so this is how I was able to control how much insulin and food to put in my engine while cycling non stop.
Sounds like I have it sorted right?? Well there were still times when I was cycling along eating that lovely dirty water from the tyre in front, tasting that crunchy dirt every time I took a drink from my drink bottle and trying not to crash on the soaking wet corners every lap, when my legs would just simply STOP moving…what is going on here?? I stop at our teams tent area and test my blood sugar,
“#$&* sake I would say to myself, bloody low!!”, now comes the difficult part eating enough fast acting glucose and carbohydrates to bring my blood sugar to a sustainable level, how much further down are they going to go before the glucose will have effect, or are they already on their way up because I have been low for some time and my body has released glycogen from my muscle to increase blood sugar by itself???
So I ask my friend T1D, well that’s pointless, he has no glucose left in his brain so can’t think properly and answers incoherently, great! I thought we were supposed to be a team on this and tell me when you were heading low, so unreliable…then again what’s new?
Anyway, after my friend was drugged back up on glucose I could understand what he was saying now and we got back on the bike…I ended up cycling 329km out of my 400km goal, not because Diabetes stopped me (because we had an agreement remember) but simply because I had really bad knee pain, which is sorted now thankfully.
Most of the time we worked as a team and got through an awesome challenge and I would do it again in a heart beat…
You can achieve anything you put your mind too, you just have to remember to work as a team and don’t be afraid!