I started writing this series to give everyone a little bit of insight into the life of a professional cyclist on Team Type 1, including the training that goes into preparing for the races and the challenges of managing blood glucose with intense exercise and travel. I hope that you have enjoyed it so far, and I appreciate the comments and support. This will be my last entry for a while. I will also be taking a short break from racing to recover from a tough early season before I get ramped back up later in the year.
In my previous blog post, I talked about getting ready for the Tour of Korea. I went to the tour with high expectations of myself to do well.
The first day of the race was aggressive, with many small climbs and one big climb. The race finished with several small groups of riders and no main field (large group). Team Type 1 had a great day of working well together, and in the end it paid off! We had a rider finish in second place in the General Classification — this is the cumulative time of each day that determines the overall winner.
Stage two was a long and hilly one. One hundred thirty four miles and 10,000 feet of vertical elevation gain! This day of racing was, again, aggressive: After sixty miles, a breakaway of riders had formed. The leader’s team and Team Type 1 had to go to the front of the race to try to chase this group down, since it was a threat to our riders’ General Classification places. We worked very hard that day to bring the gap down, and the main group did eventually catch them.
I, however, was not part of that main group. I overworked myself before one of the many climbs and could not keep pace with the group over the top, so I rode to the finish on my own. Each day there are time limits to go on to the next day, and I missed the time cut by six minutes. This was very upsetting because I could not continue on in the race and help my teammate who was in second place. However, the other guys kept racing, and Team Type 1 cyclist Will Dugan finished the race in third place. Overall this was a great result.
The diabetes management side of the Tour of Korea proved to be the toughest so far this year. I had to increase my basal insulin by 10% to 15%, and my mealtime insulin never seemed to be enough. I was taking much higher boluses than I would normally take for the food I was eating. This was very tricky for me. The food was great, but I never could tell how much sugar was added to the sauce, and most things were fried as well (something I try to avoid if I can). The key, I found, was using a pump. This made it easy for me to take a bolus, since I did not feel like taking three injections for one meal or snack. By the third day in Korea I had it nailed…right when my journey was coming to an end.
As I began my trip back home, I started to contemplate what might have gone wrong to prevent me from keeping my pace. What I realized was that this was my fifth trip halfway around the world in just the first four months of the year. On top of that, I have been racing in some of the hardest races in the world. My conclusion is that I am a bit tired and it’s time for a rest.
One last note: A great book for people with diabetes or anyone needing inspiration is coming out in May. Not Dead Yet is the autobiography of my colleague, Phil Southerland, and it tells a great story of growing up with diabetes and overcoming the challenges. The book also gives an account of how Phil and I started our friendship and how Team Type 1 developed. You can check out Team Type 1’s Web site for more details on the book and to read the first two chapters.