Epic Ketones

What a brilliant long weekend of fun and mountain biking down south, I just wish my freeloading friend, T1D would have played the game to make it a better weekend…

We decided last month that a few of us would go camp down south to Manjimup to watch the national round cross-country mountain bike race in Pemberton over the long weekend, we hired a great little camper trailer, left the kids with my parents and headed into a great Australia day long weekend.

Apart from going to see the wineries and explore Pemberton, Richard and I planned to get some mountain biking in, one of which would be a section of the Munda Biddi trail – 84km from Manjimup to Pemberton which actually ended up being 78km due to a forest logging detour but still managed over 1000m of climbing.


Manjimup to Pemberton Profile

So with 3 days of riding, I had 3 chances to test out nutrition and diabetes management strategies in preparation for the Munda Biddi this year. I have to be honest, although I really love having the artificial pancreas system looking after me during the day and at night on ‘normal’ days, I am struggling a bit when it comes to big exercise days like endurance mountain biking.

Thursday we drove 5 hours to our destination so by the time 3pm rolled around we were ready to settle in for a relaxing and early evening, keeping an eye on my continuous glucose monitor I noticed my blood sugars rising and the system trying to combat it however it seemed as though it was struggling.

About 90 minutes later I decided to take action and replace my pump infusion site and in doing so noticed the end of the cannula was bent (one of the big reasons I stopped pumping, to begin with), for the muggles out there this means that although the pump was pushing out the insulin, it wasn’t reaching my body because there was a ‘blockage’ at the end of the pipe.

A new set, new insulin and of course right on cue the epic low blood sugar drop.

bent cannula

Anyway, 3 strategies… Day 1 of riding was fun, we rode all the tracks the elite racing peeps were riding in that weekend’s race, good fun but seriously technical with a lot of sharp turns into climbs that looked like walls!

Day 2 was Manjimup to Pemberton on the Munda Biddi trail, I ate Macadamias and hard-boiled eggs along the way and ran with a temporary basal rate of zero for the whole thing. Pre-ride was bacon, eggs, avocado and a slice of Herman Brot low carb bread, unfortunately, I didn’t intervene quick enough when I woke up to stop and bolusing which left me with some extra insulin on board for the ride, not what I wanted.

BIG warning here for anyone attempting this part of the Munda Biddi, honestly please take note as it could totally ruin the rest of the ride for you.


The rest of the ride saw us encounter emus, snake, frogs, rain, wind, smoldering bushfires and field loads of dairy cows, it had a bit of everything including a shit load of hills to climb!


By the time we arrived at Jarrah Jacks brewery for lunch with the girls, I had consumed 2.5 glucose tables along with my macadamia’s and eggs and I was still sitting in the high 2’s, mind you, my ketones were epic so the low blood sugar didn’t affect my performance or my cognitive function but I have found out that my tolerance threshold for ketones is around 4 mmol – Based on how I was feeling, it was in the 5’s for sure…anyway after that and I feel really crook, safe to say when we stopped I had to lay down.

Text message from my mate to my wife ‘I think he is dead’ – appreciate the love mate!

The rest of the day saw me trying to eat so I could take insulin to bring my ketones down but the stomach just wasn’t having a bar of it, that was until we arrived at Lavender and berry farm in Pemberton, everyone around me was eating these fresh warm scones with cream and jam (some people even chose to eat lavender scones, not sure what the appeal is there, it would be like eating the potpourri from your undies drawer!).

They looked so good and for once since the ride finished my stomach said YES! so I enjoyed a couple of bites of scone with jam and cream, sooooo nice. From there, insulin started to flow and ketones lowered to a tolerable level and I could enjoy the rest of the day.

CGM Saturday

The final day of riding was a recovery ride, as soon as I woke I switched off automatic bolusing and set a temporary target of 6.5mmol – Breakfast was bacon, eggs, avocado, tomato and homemade low carb pumpkin bread, then off to the local Manjimup trails.

The trails had not been ridden for a long time and were overgrown a lot but this made it more fun AND blood sugars stayed stable for the ride and for the rest of the day, finally a win!

CGm Sunday

So you win some and you lose some but as long as you have fun its gotta be worth it right!?

I have a few more pieces of data and strategies to use now for the next trip…