A Numbers Game

As much as we don’t want to admit it, we know that living with Type 1 Diabetes is a numbers game, the issue is focusing on those all important blood sugar numbers can not only take the focus off what is important in life now but also the blatantly obvious.

The June long weekend was Round 3 and 4 of the 2018 WAMBA XCO race series (cross-country mountain biking) I have been racing in this year…2 races over 2 days.

Numbers wise my blood sugars were less than optimal over the whole 4 days, looking back on them drawn out in those truthful lines it felt like I had no control what so ever but those truthful lines also pointed out the obvious which was missed until after Sundays race when my brain had cleansed itself of the race focus (stress really) but more on that later…

So how did it all go down?

Round 3 (Sat): Dunsborough, Western Australia – 3 laps of 7.5km, 414m elevation

At the risk of sounding negative here, I think it’s always important to outline the events leading up to these races as they quite often have an impact on the performance of the day.

For a lot of the night I was up attempting to bring down some stubborn high numbers, hour after hour the CGM alarm was ringing indicating my efforts where getting me know where, aside from increasing a sleep debt I didn’t need for the upcoming race.

It is probably a fair description to say when I eventually got up Saturday morning my head was right up my ass, not only were the numbers getting to me but the nervousness of the upcoming race was playing on my mind as well.

Everything was getting to me, my keen mountain biking son took off to practice on some of the tracks but failed to tell us so of course I went wondering looking for him which limited my pre race practice time…boom temper exploded

After all that, I managed to complete a couple of laps warm up and recy of the track which I must say was fun, then while I was standing on the grass near the finish a bee decided it would land and sting me on the arm…boom temper tipped again

All of that temper, anger and frustration disappeared 5 minutes into the race, I became focused (it helped that I snoozed my CGM alarm for the 90 minutes) and really got into enjoying the ride…hills are one of my strong suits and I managed to use them to my advantage, making up numbers and then rocking the downhill each time getting more confident with the lines, rock gardens and the jumps!

9th Position. Blood sugar finished 3.1 mmol but feeling good.


Round 4 (Sun): The Pines, Western Australia – 2.5 laps of 6.5km, 459m elevation

So glad I wore those skins on my legs all night, even though I was laughed at when I put them on they did such a great job of stopping any soreness when I woke up…legs were feeling fresh, pity the mind wasn’t the same – battling to bring down my blood sugar (6 – 9 mmol) all night, I couldn’t work it out.

So once again the plan was out of the window but this time we had to leave for Margs early so I didn’t have time to make a new plan, just had to wing it – which is actually one of my finer qualities!

I was issued some minor relief after the warm up lap with Lucas on his course and getting a recy lap in around my course but that was short-lived, the numbers just kept rising. The dilemma I was in now was whether to give insulin so close to the race start, bad idea which would only end in tears – for once I listened to my gut and rode out the higher blood sugar.

Once again I was nervous as hell, I could be seen in the distance sitting on my bike staring into space thinking about the race, the blood sugar, the energy levels, the nutrition, the water intake and those nasty rock gardens!

Richard must have noticed as he came over and offered some wise words of encouragement, I forget what they were but they must have worked because as soon as the race started I was gunning for a podium spot (1st, 2nd or 3rd), each up hill section I was able to pass other riders again and pretty soon a smile from ear to ear was obvious as the fast, flowing downhills of Big Pine arrived.

Tight tracks with constant switch backs and jumps you could enter airspace with, at one point I heard a voice in the distance say wrong way and quickly realized at the top of the hill the wrong turn was taken, thankfully I stomped on it and retained my position.

Right before my wrong turn

Still feeling good and feeling relatively fresh, I passed Richard and heard him say…

“Recover on the downhill and spend the biscuits on the ups”


Totally cracked me up but those words stayed with me and kept me focused on the efforts I needed to make and when.

Final lap and the legs were hurting, I had been red lining the whole time and it was starting to take a tole but I continued to gain and maintain positions…suddenly the CGM alarm was ringing telling me blood sugar was in the 2’s…crap! – not long just keep pushing.

Now the ‘plan’ was to drink my water which had a glucose tablet and electrolytes with a little carb in it when before I start to drop but my fumbling fingers managed to discard the drink bottle whilst attempting to put back in the holder so that plan went out the window.

6th Position. Massive smile. Blood sugars in the 2’s

Recovery with some low carb high protein foods and plenty of water, later on that night I would be dreaming about those tracks, it was so much fun!

Ok, the numbers…turns out after looking back at my CGM graph for the last few days that all the insulin resistance and difficult blood sugars was more than likely dodgy levemir. Fortunately this was correct, after opening a new batch for my over night dose my blood sugars reacted effectively resulting in some well needed sleep.

One day I will be able to recognise the cause before the shit hits the fan instead of days after…

In August 2018 I will be mountain biking with my mate Richard along the Munda Biddi trail from end to end in 10 days!

This trail is 1071km long and will be a huge challenge to ride but this challenge is not for ‘fun’, we are doing it to raise $15,000 for the Telethon Type 1 Family Centre – please help us on our mission, donate and share our story.

Munda-Betes Epic Adventure – Everyday Hero Donation Page

Thanks so much for your continued support and a big thank you to our sponsors

Yanchep Beach Joint Venture

Munda Biddi trail foundation

Pedal Mafia

Joondalup Cycle City (JCC)

OHMS Environment

Perth Mountain Bike Club (PMBC)

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