When Great Ideas End Up In Utter Failure!

It’s going to be a very memorable birthday (and yes it was a big one) is probably the best way to describe it. The plan, midnight to midnight, Big Ben to Eiffel Tower in under 24hours. 313.3km in total, 1 diabetic, 1 bike, 1 day (I like the use of one’s you might of noticed last time). It all started well enough, rode to the station, train down no real problems. Thinking back though it was probably my first error as lunch was my last proper meal and only snaked for dinner and before the ride. Got to Euston and got utterly lost trying to get to Big Ben. Was having a few issue with the GPS trying to “help” by using alternative routes not the one it was meant to use. In the end I did get there with half an hour spare. Ended up getting bothered by Romanian beggars though which is difficult to cope with.

Once going in central London with even at that time of night a lot of traffic the GPS continued to be a pain until good ol’ turn it off and on again and all sorted. Then made good time escaping the city. It was quiet surprising seeing so many foxes. Counted 9 of them which is so odd when up here I’ve only seen 1 in the last couple of years. The first 50km or so was foggy out of the city, and it proved a very sticky kind of damp and was also quiet hard to cope with the reduced visibility down to under 5m or so.

By the time I reached Lowes I was feeling quiet sickly and ended up vomiting beside the road. I blamed the very rich mix I had chosen to use on my drinks to try and cover the lack of having anywhere to get food stops really and also the strange salted and herb flapjack I had been nibbling. Possibly more the early stages of dehydration as I had only drunk about a litre. I make it into Newhaven just after 5am which wasn’t bad going, at just under 20km/h which is the kind of speed I would need come France so that was good and I was keeping it pretty gentle also.

Stopped at the McDonald’s near the ferry port and got plenty of protein in for breakfast and a couple of water bottles and a nice warm cuppa. Raised a few eyebrows this loony cyclist wondering in at that kind of time. Sat there till about 7am after having a couple more bottles of water before venturing down to the ferry port to see it all closed up and having nothing but two huts for passport checking and not even a waiting room. So utterly pointless that was I went back up to McDonald’s and got another couple bottles of water. Think my dehydration levels were starting to come back I hope although the lack of salt was probably still a problem but salt on the food helped I hope. Eventually left and bought a couple more bottles of water (yes that was 8 bottles!) and pootled down to the ferry port. And waited 2nd in line for them to open. In the process met a nice couple, Andrew and Jill on a tandem going to Paris also but doing it over 4 days. We had a good chat and discussed all kinds of things, D, bikes, and tours.

The ferry seemed to travel faster than I was expecting of it, yet also took a long time to get across the Channel. It was nice though and I got a decent lunch on board, although again in hide sight could of probably done with a lot more food really. I think I managed about an hours sleep and got the GPS and phone recharged which both were very nearly out of juice.

Once in Dieppe it was sunny as I got off the ferry but just as I reached the leaving gates it started to drizzle it down. Left my legs out but put my waterproof jacket back on and continued to try and get out of Dieppe. The roads were heavy at coming up to rush hour and it was hard with tailbacks everywhere but cutting through most of it well at a reasonable pace. Once on the quieter roads managed to turn things up a bit and got some distance it. It was nice seeing the signs for Paris though 170, 150, 130, 110km to go nicely coming down and also beginning to recognise the names of places from the mHealth Tour. I’m sure we didn’t go through many of them but I think we we’re in the same region again which was a nice feeling. The weather was getting much worse and I was getting pretty soaked and miserable at this stage so ended up hiding in a telephone box to get changed into more waterproof kit and also make up more energy drink using my two two of the bottles of water I had brought from McDonald’s that morning. Pressing on the distance was coming down nicely and I was still on schedule just about to make the tower in under 24 hours. Even setting off the slow down signs in towns which always gives me a nice grin when they flash “50 Rappel” at me.

I had just left the town of Gisors and was pressing on to Paris. In the middle of nowhere, pitch black, the full moon covered in clouds as the rain hammered it down my rear tyre goes. I get into a side road, which was nothing but a muddle track to avoid the main road and trucks on it which were the majority of transport at this time of night (9pm ish). I can barely see anything and eventually get my helmet light from my rucksack to help see. Couldn’t find anything in the tyre but with so much mud it wasn’t made easy. This was the first time I had changed these tyres which I got from the Tour and were originally fitted by the mechanics on that tour. Wired tyres argh a total fight, changed the tube, inflate it and BOOM, something must be in there still arrrgh!. Had to do it again and then couldn’t get the tyre back on at all! Spent 90mins getting more and more frustrated with it, getting more and more soaked. Getting more and more utterly ticked off at the time this was costing me. Eventually thought sod it and walked me and myself back to Gisors about 2km back now.

Cold, soaked, the only good thing going was my bloods! Walking into town I see a police car so wonder over to have a chat in very broken French. Was there anywhere to find a hotel still open now, no. Is there any 24hr restaurant or anything, no. Would you mind if I come hide and dry out at the station please? No chance! Bloody wonderful! I eventually find a bus shelter with a small plastic canopy roof and a bench in it from where I was able to change my rear tyre again. Seemed to be keeping inflated. I pondered for ages do I press on, don’t I, what do I do! Do I phone a taxi to take me to my hotel in Paris, how much would that cost after midnight?! Would they still be open considering how nowhere in France seems to do 24hr opening. In the end I pulled my legs up next to my chest and wrapped my arms around them and made a small ball of myself to attempt to keep warm as the rain pounded down. I did get a couple hours sleep but woke up frozen. I don’t think I’ve ever been that cold. Shaking violently, teeth chattering, bloods good though! I check the back tyre and it was still inflated. The rain was still pouring down though! Feeling ill again I ran to the local bushed and threw up yet again. Not sure if it was dehydration still or a chill or something with the cold effecting me. Hid back under the shelter for a while but I wasn’t heating that much up and when the rain relented a little thought to hell with it and got back on the bike and pressed onwards!

It started to dry out which helped a little and I was back to setting off speed warnings on the road signs which always made me feel like I was progressing again. The 24hours was well gone now. But I can still get to my train on time though to get home! And then thud thud thud the back tyre again ARGGHHHH!!! Not again. My feeling of let’s get this over with and getting on with things soon becoming utter frustration and annoyance. Luckily it wasn’t a full flat and more a slow puncture so managed to get me to this roadside 24hr pizzeria place (only place I had seen open 24hrs in France!). It was actually a room with a pizza vending machine in it. But it had lights, and it was a dry room if a little chilly. I had half a pizza for breakfast, half as the other half was frozen cold by the time I got to it, and it’s actually pretty difficult to eat a pizza not cut into slices as one giant disc. Sulking and wringing out my clothes weren’t helping. Next door a patisserie was opening up and an hour later I was in a lovely warm place with a mountain of fresh warm bread and croissants (creme croissants mmm NOM) and a good warm brew.

I received a message off Caroline from the mHealth Tour after posting a picture from the muddle side road with bike in bits. She offered to come pick me up and get me a nice warm shower. Once picked up we drove over the hill from where I was hiding and could see the Eiffel Tower in the distance. I was less than 2 hours from the finish. Dejected, defeated, utterly annoyed at wrong choices and mistakes. It was a hard lesson but learned lots. I never made it to the Tower but did see it. The Tower as a completion I knew that would have to be next time when I do this correctly with the correct equipment. So close :frowning:

Getting home also proved to be “fun” though. I wasn’t going to meet my train home so tried the website to change the ticket time and it was timing out. So ended up calling them, but the office wasn’t open for another hours arrgh. Eventually get through and ticket changed. Good! I get a nice warm drink, showered and cleaned up at Caroline’s before she gave me a lift to the station before she went to work. I owe her so much for helping me out, a total star! Unfortunately the bike wouldn’t of been able to make the train so I had to get the ticket changed again (thankfully they’ve didn’t charge a fortune for it like last time). The bike nicely get’s scheduled in to be back in London on the same train as me, great!

Back in London and no bike. They had decided to move to the following train! Which then became the train after that one. Now, I had originally planned that I had space for things like this between getting into London and my train home. Unfortunately with the bike delays my tickets home were now also useless. Eventually getting the bike and me to Euston I had this feeling of disaster waiting to happen as it takes usually a days notice to book a bike onto a train. Thankfully though the girl at the station was able to get me and a bike on a train home (ish), but couldn’t refund the ticket. Thus another massive charge! The ish in this being the train only went to either Preston or Glasgow. So Preston it was! My feet were cut to shreds by this time, blisters from the walking in wet cycling shoes I’m sure wasn’t good. I had picked up some blister plasters in the station to try and patch things together as best I can which gave something to do while waiting for the train home. These train fixes ended up costing over twice as much as the original ride was to of cost. Not good at all but getting home was more important really now.

Making it to the home station and getting the bike off I go to lock the bike up and I’ve gone and left my rucksack with helmet attached to it on the train. I get worse! I have a good chat to the folk in the station and they call around and retrieve it in Lockerbie. So a nice warm station and a good chat with the station staff as we watched the delays roll up on the schedules (seems someone was threatening to jump off a bridge so they had to turn the power lines and stop trains in Crewe) which was delaying trains up to 3 hours, or cancelling them out right (guess some people were coming off worse than me). 90mins later though I was reunited with my bag and kit and on my way home to a nice warm comfy bed. I’ve learned loads, and I will complete this next time!

mHealth Grant Tour – Brussels to Paris to Geneva

On Thursday 20th August, I received a telephone call from the JDRF enquiring if I would like to do a ride for them. Answering yes without thinking about it, they went on to explain they needed a Type 1 who rode a bicycle for a research project….to ride from Brussels, to Paris and then on to Geneva. A 1500km journey taking in over 22,000m of ascent. Oh and by the way it would be starting in two weeks to the day!

The Tour started at the Triumphal Arch of the Cinquantenaire in Brussels with the riders being escorted by police through the busy city before heading south to Cambrai in France. There was something of military theme to the day as it passed through the 1815 Waterloo battle field before heading to the ‘Western Front’ at Mons, the location of the last fighting on the Western front on 11th November 1918. The day finished with three sections of the famous Paris-Roubaix pavé of Northern France which made it all the more “fun” as it had started lashing down rain which made it feel very much like home! Riding the pavé in the wet bit though, giving me blisters on my hands, and also getting a couple of punctures, rattling off a CO2 can, and braking my drinks holders, and also rattling off my rear light (a very expensive experience), Not an ideal start to a tour really!

Come the following morning my rear tyre was flat again, and after a lot of poking around a small bit of flint was found. In far too much a hurry which resulted in me pinching the tube which promptly exploded waking up a load of the other riders, it didn’t make for a good following morning. After the mornings medical tests and questionnaires (research project remember!) It was off to Reims, the heart of the champagne region of France. Continuing the military theme as the route roughly followed the line of the Western Front past St Quentin and the River Aisne and pausing at the American Somme Graveyard. It is actually one of those places which is hard to put into words due to the sheer scale and numbers (over 50,000 graves), and this was just one of such graveyards in the area. The numbers of graves can’t really be put into words without seeing such memorials. The tour moved on along mainly quite rural roads and open ‘rolling’ countryside. Wind turbines blowing in the wind highlighted the windy conditions as the tour headed into the champagne vineyards! Sadly though no free samples much to the disappointment of all the riders.

From Reims it was on to Paris. Or would have been if not for waking to yet another puncture. This time on the front though! Riding once more through the region’s vineyards roughly following La Marne River which meets La Seine in Paris. There wasn’t any really significant climbs but the day was far from flat as it made it’s way to Paris following more quiet country roads and then into the city using a combination of quiet country roads and cycle paths along the canal which had a rather pungent aroma to it although is very beautiful to look at (definitely not to smell though). The hotel in Paris was nice, although just to add a bit more fun they had forgotten to book me a room. Lots of room shuffling later I was sharing with the Dexcom representative who was a really nice guy.

The next day was the only rest day of the Tour. A nice day in Paris to see the sights. Visiting the Eiffel Tower, ride around the Arc d’Triumph and down the Champs-Élysées. To watch it on the television doesn’t do just how cobbled and bumpy the road is! But it was one of those places which has to be ridden when in Paris. The Arc d’Triumph was total craziness with cars everywhere. and once on the centre it is best described as some weird velodrome crossed with a spinning top. Round and round you ride trapped in by the layers of cars around you until you find a gap and off you go flying off down one of the side roads.

Heading east from Paris along the Marne River using quiet roads and cycle paths again, and once past the Bastille, these allowed us to avoid the worst of the traffic from the Monday morning rush hour. Clear of Paris it was on to Coulommiers the home of Brie cheese, before going onto Provins which is a beautiful fortified medieval town and a world heritage site. Then heading onto Troyes which is described in the Lonely Planet guide as “one of the finest ensembles of half-timbered houses and Gothic churches in France”, or very much like parts of Cheshire in my book :stuck_out_tongue: The amazing old forts and Roman fortifications where quite staggering.

Troyes to Langres was possibly the quietest days riding in France! The area was very pretty with a mix of lakes, forests, open countryside and sleepy villages. Charles de Galle came from the area and the Viaduct at Chaumont is an impressive three story railway bridge with over 50 arches and spanning 600 metres. And then yet again it happened, another puncture! This time right in the middle of Chaumont and right after avoiding an anti-mayor protest by the localsn (protests in France? who would of thought it!). There wasn’t many of them but they had a good group of instruments playing as they protested the town hall. The locals were very interested in what was going on with the ride and in my very broken French was able to get across most of what they were doing with the ride to Geneva before getting underway again. Most though just loved the chance to get close to NF (all my bikes have named btw) and asked lots of questions about her. Langres is an old fortified hill top town which made for a grinding 650m at 15% into the castle at the top of the hill an epic finish for the day. And a great place for the town inside the walls on the top of the hill. Amazing place and very beautiful!

With the Tour occupied every hotel and guest house inside the town, the following morning ate the town dry. A thing to note about cycling like this is that we are burning over 6000 calories a day, and we eat like crazy things. A bare minimum of 150g+ for breakfast with most on around 200g with a mix of cereal, breads, eggs, meats, cheeses, and fruits. The first sitting cleaned out the lunch room so much so the chef almost had a stroke and went off on a rant about how much we were eating. Was a scene right out of fawlty towers it was so funny as he sent the staff off around town to raid the bakers as fast as possible to get more supplies. As Langres is a hill fort the day started with a lovely downhill. But this was going into also the longest day of the tour at over 190km and also had the first big climbs involved. Starting with the Col De Croix and then onto the Col du Ballon d’Alsace which was also first official climb of the Tour de France in 1905 and has been included in the Tour de France no less than 20 times. To climb something this large after you’ve already ridden over 100 miles was something which reminded your legs of what you were doing in the Tour. A amazing climb and one where I paired up with my climbing partner for the majority of the rides to come meeting up with Annemarie from Team Novo Nordisk. It was an incredible experience to ride something so relentless and unforgiving, or so I thought until the next day! The 30km long descent into Belfort made a great end to the very long day and also made for some frozen solid knees and feet. Any footage from that speed camera of someone in JDRF colours on a black and white bike is just coincidental though even if they were 18km over the speed limit whistles innocently.

Heading south from Belfort, and crossing the Jura mountains and into Switzerland for the first time. This had quite a fair amount of climbing for the day, although the highest peak was only just over 1100m or ascent. The town of La Chaux-de-Fonds is another World Heritage site and also a center of the Swiss watch making industry. The town is referred to by Karl Marx in Das Kapital and was birthplace of the architect Le Corbusier, who is to blame for dreaming up the tower block which is probably why the town is one of the ugliest Swiss towns ridden through on the Tour (yes, it is full of nothing but concrete blocks). From here the Tour headed down into the spa town of Yverdon-Les-Bains. or so was the plan. With less than 30km to go and arriving at the final food stop of the day my blood sugars were getting high (cooked my insulin off). Taking plenty of water and having a discussion about it I pressed on up the final climb before the long descent to the hotel. 6km in I started vomiting due to my high levels which continued to raise out of control so decided the best action would be to ride back to the food stop for a change of insulin. Unfortunately the insulin had already been moved on to the hotel which resulted in my retirement from that days ride much to my utter annoyance and immense frustration (even the jokers of the group the physio’s saw how big a mood I was in at losing to D and kept out of my way). Once back at the hotel with insulin changed things were soon back to normal I was not a happy bunny all night. I almost went out and rode the final climb again but got a telling off for even contemplating it from the organisers. While it did feel like losing I was going to get revenge on something!

The following day we rode on through Montreaux and into the Alps. There was two options for the day, an ‘easy’ option to ride directly to the hotel in Morzine, or for the climbers there was the opportunity to add the Avoriaz climb (big ski slope) onto the route when we arrived in Morzine. This added a further 30 km (14km long climb) to the day. This climb had also been a stage finish of the Tour de France with a record set by Bernard Hinault of 33 minutes to the top! After the disaster at the end of the previous day, Avoriaz was something which was like a huge flashing beacon that had to be done if only to make sure the annoyance of diabetes could be put firmly back into it’s box for the problems it had caused the day before! It was something which had to be defeated and after getting back to the hotel in pretty good time with Annemarie again it was one of those things they both had plans to do, and with just enough time to spare to get back to the hotel for the evenings medical tests before dinner!

The next day started off with the famous Col De Jeux Plane. Moving on to the Col De La Ramaz (quiet a famous TdF mountain involving he who can’t be named) with some incredible views looking onto Mount Blanc with it’s fantastic glacier. Next after that was the Col de la Croisette and finally Le Saleve. And just to add a bit more fun it was against the clock as the riders had to meet the Swiss police for the escort which was waiting for them at the border outpost. The final descent which had 48, 28% corner ramps on it which was made even more treacherous thanks to a thunderstorm which started. The nature of the descent and the weather resulted in four minor falls with grazes, another resulting in a dislocated shoulder blade, and one where they ran into the back of the peloton and caused massive damage to one of the bikes. Quiet a messy final descent really!

Eventually making it to the escort and riding through the storm to meet the Mayor beside the Lake. It was a shame the weather decided to become as nasty as it did but even the storm couldn’t damped the spirits of the riders after the Tour. The support provided by all the sponsors and staff along the Tour was truly a fantastic experience, and hopefully the research done over the Tour will prove beneficial in years to come. Lead sponsor Orange Healthcare who along with the other sponsors Dexcom, Samsung, GSMA, Intel, and TapCheck where brilliant throughout and thanks for their support.

First time I’ve had DKA – Don’t want it again!

Well, first time for everything and all that. But DKA finally paid me a visit in all 34 years of dealing with this. And frankly still annoyed over it.

The day started pretty well. Early rise, all kitted up and prepped for the event today (62 mile cyclocross with 8824ft of climbs). Bloods were pretty perfect for it, 6.2 (111 in US money) had breakfast on a 60% bolus as usually and off rode to the start of the event. Was a little slow getting away so by about 8 miles into the event bloods where up to 16.2 (291) and I corrected partially and by the first food stop at 22 miles in bloods where down to 5.6 (101). For the remainder of the event everything was fine blood wise with little deviation (5.2-5.8 throughout) and completed it at 5.6. Was a hard slog, shaved a good chuck off my previous best time, met a load of folks who I got chatting to, and over all really had a good time.

Rode home, bloods where 5.2 (94), washed bike and back tyre went flat grr. I’ll sort that later so kind of ignored it and finished up cleaning and got myself cleaned up for the coating of mud I was covered in.

A few hours later checked for dinner and eep BG was up to 16.1 (290), corrected, had a little feed and waited and had a splitting head ache which was odd and BG was 20.4 (367). Massive correction and an couple hours later 17.1 (308). I started vomiting which was odd and couldn’t work out why. Didn’t seem to be dinner related but made me think anyhow but blamed being so high for it. Really fed up with it all now changed vile, infusion set and usual things and started again. Did a correction and waited an hour and now 17.8 (320). Utterly fed up even tried using pens, BG now 17.2 grr. Ok this has lasted long enough lets check for ketones..ACK 5.0. That’s it, something not working, I feel awful and I need help so got a lift to hospital.

By time I got to hospital BG was still 17.8 (320) but ketones where now up to 5.8. Blood pH had now dropped to 7.33. BG kept around 17 for the next 4 hours or so and ketones raised to 7.8 before everything started to come down. Took 23 attempts though to get cannula’s into me for insulin, food, and hydration mix (massively low potassium in blood it seemed, blamed on possibly lack of hydration in ride but thought I had drunk enough *shrug* with over a couple a bottles) due to veins collapsing though.

ECG and Xray wasn’t showing a possible cause and blood work up seemed to only indicate white blood cells high attacking something. So some dodgy infection caused it.

Anyhow, long story short. They fixed me up, got me switched back to my pump. And back home. Ketones have been fluctuating for today between 0.2 and 1.8 with the bloods being kept pretty steady in the 6’s. But eating little and often and drinking loads and should be flushed out of me by tomorrow or so’s the plan. Arms are a mess now due to the attempts to get stuff into me, and blood out of me.

Utterly annoyed though about needing help! Theory is currently the ride weakened me enough for the infection to cause some mayhem but not over sure which is a concern. Still haven’t had the usual recharge moment off the ride which is very odd also. But it’s another day being T1. Always finds something “fun” to throw at you and learn from 😛

Lakeland Monster

Just done the Lakeland Monster Miles bike sportive with a difference. The difference being its “only” 68 miles long. Not bad really (or so I told my mind). The issue being 54 miles of those are off road. Thankfully my trusty steed LM is a cyclocross bike, so on went the knobbly tyres and off I went.

The start was nice and dry, down an old railway line and up a few hills then came the first off road bit. A very nasty climb, lots of gravel, wheelspin nastiness really. Riding through a river was a first fit me, although not the last of the day, had to do four by the end of the day. But the first one threw me off, and the guy in front, and the two behind also, so kind of made me feel better. The downhill was nasty, and all us crossbikers suffered badly without suspension like the mountain bikes, but we got our own backs on the flat and road sections.

By the first feed stop, my bloods were keeping stable so picked up a few supplies. Must admit I was a bit curious about my levels due to the dancing lemur… turned out to be a kid in fancy dress since the feed station was in an animal park. But had me questioning my meter for a bit 😛

The path from the park was very nasty. Very muddy and it just kept getting worse. Some parts with over a foot deep of mud, how I never came off I have no idea. Heard a pile up behind me as it seems some weren’t as fortunate. But didn’t escape the nettle stings along the side the the path.

The ride was split up into named sections… Approaching the “stairway to heaven”, or hell as the riders renamed it, I put on my jacket (hate doing it as it covers my JDRF shirt), was a really evil slog. Halfway up I stopped to eat some supplies as I was well in hypo territory. Once righted I pressed on and eventually made it over the top of the 495m climb and down the another which was a nasty descent with this one being made from pot holes of varied potholiness, a lot filled with water hiding the depth.

Around the lake at the bottom was nice and fast, and stopped at feed station two. Bloods were now very low (in US money 39, or 2.2 for us Brits). My drinks were low, so had to switch to using the drinks at the station. Questioning them on does the drink have carbs or was it just electrolytes in it received a blank look. Took some pressing till I got a kind of answer of yes, but no idea how much. Got to love flying even blinder. The biscuits and flapjack was easier to manage and had me back up after 20-30mins or so.

And then came more hills, but home was only another 18 miles to go. The unknown energy drink had to keep me going along with my remaining did stores. Even small ascents became a slog now but the end was in sight.

Crossing the line a bit too fast I bypass the medal hand out (yes we all got medals) and got jumped on by family. Bloods were down to 75 (in US or 4.2 in British) but left it alone as I had that much in me from drinks and snacks it was going to bounce high soon… 30mins later it topped out at 184 (10.2) but that’s expected. Will have to keep a close eye on it tonight but a fun ride and a good ride.

Diabetic stats for the ride: no CGM (couldn’t wrangle one in time which is still annoying me), 18 test strips used on ride, 320 carbs + unknown energy drink consumed, pump on 33% basal throughout but had to suspend it for 90mins in middle of ride between the two bigger hypos, 1.2u insulin used throughout + a small correction of 0.3 for the 10.2 (40% normal corrective amount).

We maybe diabetic but we can do anything anyone else can. We just think I little bit me is all 🙂

My primary fuel is my drink which are a stronger mix of the SIS carbohydrate drinks, I tend to aim for 60-90g of carbs per 750ml bottle (have two attached to bike) depending on ride (was on 90g mixture on this one). Usually throw into that 1 and a half tabs of SIS hydration tablets, along with 2 tablets of the High 5 caffeine blocks. I also always have a packet of Lucozade tablets in my BG meter case as a extreme backup solution (when riding find they take 15-20mins to kick in sadly so mostly of use on normal days).

For munchies, tend to carry 3 or 4 of the Clif Shot Bloks as they are so much nicer than gels, and you can just eat a chunk as and when without having to down a full gel. And also a Clif Peanut Butter Bar for something a bit more solid if necessary.

Everything else food wise I tend to acquire off the feed stops which usually have fresh fruit, biscuits, gels, energy drinks of an unknown mixture which can sometimes just be hydration drinks. I tend to find picking up random drinks are a bit risky due to having now idea what’s in them, but sometimes needs must.

I got asked a bit about what my carb use when biking is, an interesting one really and a lot of it comes from practice more than anything and even then weather and things can really mess it up. But in a “person with a normal working pancreas” on a ride, scientific data shows they need roughly 1g carbs per hour for every 1Kg the person weighs (so if you weigh 60Kg, that’s 60g of carbs per hour) for the necessary energy output. We are a bit different from that as have to deal with fiddling our insulin levels depending on what’s floating around our bodies, but we can’t go without it at all as we need to keep some insulin in there to metabolise our fuel. So that’s always a lot of practice.

A little ride around Yorkshire! (Tour de France Stage 1)

Been a little quiet, but thought I would bring everyone up to date with the infamous Tour ride.

Well, the night before I have no idea what was going on with me, sky high levels all night. I had acquired a CGM for the ride off my DSN (CDE) and the alarm was driving me up the wall every hour waking me up. Ran corrections all night long and even changed my infusion set. Took till 5am to get them down to 162 (in US money)…but for most the night was over 280, very annoyed but all I could guess was it was nerves. Just what I didn’t need!

Only went for a light small breakfast and did a full bolus for it, not the normal reduction due to the bus to the start taking an hour and a half. Didn’t help though, by the time I reached the start was over 300 in the bloods. Wonderful way to begin (and yes before anyone states I know doing any kind of exercise at this kind of level is dangerous, but there was no way in hell I was going to be delayed) and the doctor accompanying the team wasn’t happy at all about my levels, but she kind of just grinned and muttered and left me too it thankfully.

Start of the ride we kept a nice steady pace in the low 20’s mph and we kept nailing in the miles. We began losing a few from the group and were soon left with just four of us. Bloods kept on coming down over the first 65miles nicely and got to a bit more respectable 160 by the time we got to the first major hill. You have to wonder about our bodies at times like this, surely a lovely big hill would send me lower, but nope. Got to love our random diabetic bodies when the liver decides to kick in and sends be back up to 250 grr. Not a happy bunny about it at all.

Temperature was getting up now and we broke 30C (86f) in the sun and I decided it was best to let the two leading riders go and focus more on getting my levels to play better. I began riding with the doc again after a break at a feed station and she was still muttering her concerns about my bloods, and I did a half correction dose to see what that would do. We kept on riding together until the next climb where I and left her in the hopes of catching the lead two riders. But to no real avail and as such I pretty much carried on for the next 20 or so miles on my own with the only minor entertainment coming from me riding to close to the edge of the roadside and getting a nettle sting across my fingers.

Approaching what was said to be the big climb of the day ” Côte de Buttertubs” I came across other JDRF riders who I kept with until the foot of the climb. We had been warned the bottom part was meant to be the hardest up to the first cattle grid, then a steady climb to the second and a small dip and steep rise again to the third and the summit. Climbing rapidly the others dropped off and I saw others in front approaching the first cattle grid and some even walking. Think I must of seriously annoyed them how fast they got dispatched, one after another over the climb, mid way up slipping into the big ring and disappearing up to the summit and catching many other groups, and dispatching them equally as fast. Discovered at this point that I seemed oddly good at hill climbs, much to the surprise of everyone else on the road and they pushed their bikes up, or painfully ground on up collapsed over the handlebars as some lunatic diabetic took off past them like he had an engine attached (later GPS logs showed I passed the steepest part with the majority of the walkers at 11mph and took the summit at 22mph).

The descent had a few sharp corners, and high hedges so tried to be cagey on it as I didn’t know the road at all so only got to 42mph on the downhill. Chatting to one of the local riders he had seen people clock nearly 60 on the downhill. At the foot of the hill we got our lunch stop finally, and my bloods were finally playing ball as well (might also of explained why the climb went so well) reading in at 110. As I started my lunch the leaders were leaving, so got a little annoyed and it was a good 15-20mins till I was back on the road after them. And again on my own.

The next 15 or so miles was just beautiful rolling hills, the occasional waterfall, and beautiful little villages. Soon I was on the final hill of the day, the “Côte de Grinton Moor”. This was a much more challenging climb I found. Nothing really where I could build up a lot of speed but more one just to keep on piling in the power over the climb. It was a very open area over the moorland with only the sheep for company and seeing a rider in the distance to give a goal to chase down. Eventually I caught him at what appeared to be the summit. Looking down at the road it said 1km to summit. I guess there’s more. And sure enough, around enough corner more hill came into view. This hide and seek of where more hill is hiding became quite the constant with this climb.

Approaching the top I see a small group of JDRF riders. The leaders and a few from shorter distance groups. Finally! I pulled up just as they set off and waved hi. Grabbed a quick drink and dropped my visor on my helmet for the first time that day. Went flat on the bars and pointed downhill.

Soon catching the group and fly past the first half of them and am fast approaching the front of them when BANG. My front inner tube explodes and blows my front tyre off my wheel. Not a good thing to occur at any speed, let alone on a downhill section when some lunatic was really on one at the time.

As the group disappeared I sat there changing my inner tube and checking the bike over for damage. Luckily none, but still annoying though. I cruised down from the Moor wearing my destroyed inner tube as a trophy wrapped around me, and rode quiet gingerly trying to avoid anything which could burst my tyres now. I latched onto a couple of other riders and rode with them till the final food stop. My bloods where now down to 63 so time to hit the supplies at the stop. The group I arrived with hung on a bit at the stop so I followed out another rider for the final 25 miles to the end.

I met the fourth member of the starting breakaway from the beginning of the ride and rode in with him to Harrogate. It surprised me the way many of the cars waved us through on the roundabouts on the major roads as we came in. Really was great! Coming into the town centre and nearing the finish I stop at a red light and wait. Setting off again I don’t clip in, crank spins around and whack…a huge swollen lump on my leg, bruise and blood to match. A great ending! I ride over the finish line and feel oddly good. Bloods are now on 80 so overall not to bad a ride.

There was a large group of riders at the finish, as well as the JDRF reps and dignitaries, family and the likes. Really did enjoy meeting everyone. A little bit of a shame that our of all the riders only five where actually diabetics, and there was only one crazy one who did the entire Stage 1 course. But everyone had a connection though. Really enjoyed meeting everyone, all are total stars!

So stats for the ride: 131 miles ride, 2470m climbed, max heart 198bpm, max bg 18.4, min 3.5, 23 finger blood tests, 3470 calories burnt, 398g carbs consumed, on 4.03u Novorapid.

Lakeland Monster Miles

Just done the Lakeland Monster Miles bike sportive with a difference. The difference being its “only” 68 miles long. Not bad really (or so I told my mind). The issue being 54 miles of those are off road. Thankfully my trusty steed LM is a cyclocross bike, so on went the knobbly tyres and off I went.

The start was nice and dry, down an old railway line and up a few hills then came the first off road bit. A very nasty climb, lots of gravel, wheelspin nastiness really. Riding through a river was a first fit me, although not the last of the day, had to do four by the end of the day. But the first one threw me off, and the guy in front, and the two behind also, so kind of made me feel better. The downhill was nasty, and all us crossbikers suffered badly without suspension like the mountain bikes, but we got our own backs on the flat and road sections.

By the first feed stop, my bloods were keeping stable so picked up a few supplies. Must admit I was a bit curious about my levels due to the dancing lemur… turned out to be a kid in fancy dress since the feed station was in an animal park. But had me questioning my meter for a bit 😛

The path from the park was very nasty. Very muddy and it just kept getting worse. Some parts with over a foot deep of mud, how I never came off I have no idea. Heard a pile up behind me as it seems some weren’t as fortunate. But didn’t escape the nettle stings along the side the the path.

The ride was split up into named sections… Approaching the “stairway to heaven”, or hell as the riders renamed it, I put on my jacket (hate doing it as it covers my JDRF shirt), was a really evil slog. Halfway up I stopped to eat some supplies as I was well in hypo territory. Once righted I pressed on and eventually made it over the top of the 495m climb and down the another which was a nasty descent with this one being made from pot holes of varied potholiness, a lot filled with water hiding the depth.

Around the lake at the bottom was nice and fast, and stopped at feed station two. Bloods were now very low (in US money 39, or 2.2 for us Brits). My drinks were low, so had to switch to using the drinks at the station. Questioning them on does the drink have carbs or was it just electrolytes in it received a blank look. Took some pressing till I got a kind of answer of yes, but no idea how much. Got to love flying even blinder. The biscuits and flapjack was easier to manage and had me back up after 20-30mins or so.

And then came more hills, but home was only another 18 miles to go. The unknown energy drink had to keep me going along with my remaining did stores. Even small ascents became a slog now but the end was in sight.

Crossing the line a bit too fast I bypass the medal hand out (yes we all got medals) and got jumped on by family. Bloods were down to 75 (in US or 4.2 in British) but left it alone as I had that much in me from drinks and snacks it was going to bounce high soon… 30mins later it topped out at 184 (10.2) but that’s expected. Will have to keep a close eye on it tonight but a fun ride and a good ride.

Diabetic stats for the ride: no CGM (couldn’t wrangle one in time which is still annoying me), 18 test strips used on ride, 320 carbs + unknown energy drink consumed, pump on 33% basal throughout but had to suspend it for 90mins in middle of ride between the two bigger hypos, 1.2u insulin used throughout + a small correction of 0.3 for the 10.2 (40% normal corrective amount).

We maybe diabetic but we can do anything anyone else can. We just think I little bit me is all 🙂