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A Hard Lesson Learned

Joe Eldridge

April 1, 2011

I hope you enjoyed reading about my recent races in Belgium as much as I enjoyed racing them. Please make sure to take a look at the Team Type 1 Facebook page for photos.

When I left you last I was preparing for my final race in Belgium, the E3 Prijs Harelbeke. This was another 200-kilometer (roughly 125-mile) race through the hills of Belgium. I had prepared well all week for the event and had everything in place for a great race! Over my two weeks there I had fully adjusted to the time zone and my diabetes management was almost flawless. This is mainly due to the fact that we were eating the same thing every day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

On the morning of the race I woke up and went through my morning routine as normal: stretch, have coffee, eat breakfast, and pack for the race. I was ready to go, with my bike, shoes, and continuous glucose monitor (CGM) in hand. As we were driving to the race I looked at my CGM and didn’t like what I was seeing: It was reading 190 with an arrow up, indicating that my blood glucose level was on the rise. I decided to take a small injection to correct this.

Twenty minutes later I looked again and it was now 250 with an arrow straight up. I began racking my brain to figure out what was going on. I retraced my steps from waking up to breakfast and realized that I had forgotten a critical piece to the diabetes management puzzle: long-acting insulin!! I tried to convince myself not to panic, but the fact that I was about to race the biggest race of my life after forgetting my insulin made that very difficult.

I decided I had to figure out my game plan if I was going to make this day a success. I’d had days in which I’d forgotten my long-acting insulin in the past, but never a race day. I decided I would do small injections every one to two hours and inject or eat based on the CGM.

My plan might have been sufficient without a race; however, adding a race to this scenario was a disaster. My blood sugars ranged from 90 to 305. As you know, you’re not going to feel your best if your blood glucose levels are fluctuating like this. I definitely could not perform my best and this was a race that required nothing less. Unfortunately I had to make the decision to retire from the race with a very hard lesson learned. The mistake took me almost two days to fully recover from and get my blood sugar off the rollercoaster it had been on.

I am currently back home and preparing for my next races. I’m not sure where they will be yet, but there is a possibility I’ll be headed to the Tour of Mexico. Don’t get too jealous… we won’t be racing near any beaches.



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