Yesterday, Ryan and I joined the 300km club on our bikes. Hang in for the length of this post, as per usual there are plenty of pics to enjoy and a good story.
There's no need to ask who's idea this was because I would never come up with something like this. Ryan, it was his idea. Blame him. I just went along for the ride. OH! pun intended. Yes a part of me wanted to accomplish this but the logical side said "ARE YOU FUCKING CRAZY?"
Ryan and I are in there towards the right. WEBSITE
Earlier this summer we embarked on a 200km bike journey for a good cause with some friends. We rode a few 100kms as well as a 100 miler the weeks leading up to it. After the 200 we determined that perhaps a 300 wouldn't be THAT much harder. HA!
We left at 6am yesterday morning and returned at 1am (technically this morning). We had about 14.5 hours of saddle time and 18 hours out all together. I'm never doing that again. We had something to prove to ourselves. "what's the point in a challenge if you're not sure you can do it?" isn't that the point of a challenge? Pushing ourselves to the brink.... otherwise it would just be a long bike ride.
There's no way around it. This was bloody well fucking difficult. I lost count at the number of times I said "I can't do this." or "how are we going to get home?". I know I didn't do myself any favours by going into this with preconceived anxiety about the whole thing. It just seemed so unattainable! Aaaand, I am cynically pessimistic. Sure we did a 200km with friends but it was on an entirely flat route and having the ability to draft was monumental. No, this wasn't just going to be 100km longer than that time. Especially since neither of us has hardly ridden since that ride two months ago. My work life has consumed every bit of me.
I thought I was being resourceful by taping the things to my top tube I wouldn't need right away. Ryan laughed at me and disagreed. He mumbled something about "fashion over function.". Well when all you have is 3 pockets for a 20 hour adventure, they get filled quickly! Come on, most people don't have to carry fucking glucose, a tester and insulin on them. That stuff usually takes up a whole precious pocket to itself!
Sunrise from the escarpment view
I do want to share my diabetes with you because it was bonkers.
NOTE: do not try this at home.
I thought it was weird that I ended up testing almost every hour on the hour. It just worked out like that, totally unplanned. You'll see why I felt the need to test so fucking much as you read through the numbers. Normally I wouldn't have destroyed my fingers like that.
- right before departure. Consumed about 1/2 my oatmeal, bolused 2u
- ate 1 date and bolused my routine Lantus (8u instead of 10)
Our first stop for coffee.
8:30am 8.0mmol/l (144mg/dl)
- coffee break and I was starving. bolused 1.5u and ate 1/2 my bonk breaker bar (37g carbs). I didn't want to eat the whole thing and risk going high. I knew I had to wait a little bit before eating the other half.
Somewhere along the way I ate the other half.
9:45am 3.7mmol/l (67mg/dl)
- Well, I guess I didn't need any insulin for that bar. Glucose tablets and a date down the hatch
11:00am 4.1 mmol/l (74mg/dl)
- Was feeling a bit off. ate some more glucose tabs and another date
Stopped for a lunch break about an hour later. Ate a few handfuls of tortilla chips with guac. took no insulin.
1:00pm 7.2mmol/l (130mg/dl)
- didn't eat much at lunch so I took 1 unit of insulin and ate half a banana
Ate the other half not long after that.
2:30pm 3.8mmol/l (67mg/dl)
- Oops again! didn't need that measly unit. Glucose tablets and a date
3:00pm 7.4mmol/l (133mg/dl)
- Tested again because we were stopping for another food break. I felt really nausous at this point but took 1 unit and had a handful or two of potato chips and nothing else.
4:00pm 3.8mmol/l (68mg/dl)
- Didn't need that unit either. More glucose tablets, 1/2 a banana
5:00pm 3.7mmol/l (67mg/dl)
- Another date, more glucose tablets and the other 1/2 banana
6:00pm 3.8mmol/l (68mg/dl)
- FUCK THIS SHIT
7:00pm 3.6mmol/l (65mg/dl)
- SERIOUSLY GO TO HELL
8:00pm 4.4mmol/l (79md/dl)
- I had a panic attack here as the realization of how much further we had to go yet hit me. ate the last of my glucose tablets (ALL 20 of them that I had on me!)
9:00pm 4.7mmol/l (85mg/dl)
- still gotta get this shit up. 1/2 banana and cracked open the newly purchased package of fruit chews I had to buy. Realized I missed my Lantus dose. Took 7u (instead of the usual 10)
10:00pm 3.0mmol/l (54mg/dl)
- Pretty massive panic attack on the side of the road. This one was bad. I was feeling SO BAD. Another handful of fruit chews
11:00pm 3.7mmol/l (67mg/dl)
- WOULD YOU JUST FUCK OFF!!
12:00am 3.4mmol/l (61mg/dl)
- there are no words.......
1:00am 4.2mmol/l (76mg/dl)
- we had just got home and I was feeling so sick with nausea that another panic attack settled in.
1:30am 4.1mmol/l (74mg/dl)
- checking to see if the sugar I had consumed made any dent at all. Clearly it didn't.
3:00am 5.9mmol/l (406mg/dl)
- ate 4 glucose tablets anyway
8:00am 3.1mmol/l (56mg/dl)
- ate another 4 glucose tablets
10:00am 6.2mmol/l (112mg/dl)
- FINALLY ate a bit of normal people food - oatmeal. a couple spoonfuls anyway.
Notes to this
I ate 3 bananas, 6 dates, 20 glucose tablets, 1 bonk breaker bar and who knows how many fruit chews (close to almost the entire package). I drank countless bottles of Nuun and had a few chips and some tortillas with guac. I burned over 3500 calories and probably ate a wee fraction of that. Not good at all.
A bit of a mess of what was left over in my pockets. Some nuun tablets that got destroyed from the rain. 2 sad dates and just a small handful of fruit chews. It was a sad state of affairs.
I understand that I would have been in a better place if I was able to get some real food in me. The problem is my nausea. Most of you know and have heard me complaining about my difficulties with sugar. My body doesn't tolerate it well. So consecutive lows will inevitably give me really bad upset stomach. In my normal life at home I try to eat something real once the nausea settles after I fix the low. The thing is, every time I recovered enough to eat something yesterday my blood sugar would just crash again. It was a never-ending shit storm.
Sunset on the road
The ride itself was hard. There were some very beautiful parts but physically, it was difficult. I remember around 120km was when we STARTED the sufferfest. 180 more km is mind boggling. It just seemed so out of reach and unattainable to me when I could hardly envision myself making it a mere 30 more km to the 1/2 way mark! At the half-way point I still had no idea how we were going to pull this off. between 100km-215km we battled with unrelenting head winds. After 200km we officially entered no mans land (for us). Watching the garmin tick up beyond 200 was something I'd never seen before. Subsequently the garmin battery died and I never did get to see it. When darkness fell on the last 85km it wasn't just darkness of the sky. We hit a whole new level of dark within ourselves. I've never come so close to falling asleep WHILE riding my bike before. The last 100 km was pretty rough. It's crazy to think I was counting down 100km.
watch out for endos!
The greatness that is Ryan cannot be understated either. With every anxiety and panic attack I had (and there were A LOT!) along the way about the insurmountable challenge - he never wavered. He was constantly telling me that we could do it. I doubted it the whole time. It really hurt. Every part of me wanted off that rolling machine. It was no longer fun. But really, the "fun" part ended 10 hours earlier. At the half way mark when he noticed the anxiety he said, "Sweets, from here on out it's all up here." and he pointed to his head.
He fell asleep and snored himself awake. "just give me 5 minutes."
And then it started raining (before it turned into pouring) so we pulled into a nasty abandoned gas station on the side of a rather big highway. Not to get away from the rain because at that point it didn't matter but we needed a little break. We were both swerving due to fatigue. Ryan snoozed for a few minutes while I watched bugs and insects skirting all over the place fearing one would go up his nose but not having the energy or wherewithal to do anything about it. Normally I'd choose side roads over this highway but at midnight I was willing to take my chances. It was the most direct route plus we had lights brighter than car headlights. How people do RAAM and other multi-day endurance events is just beyond my comprehension.
That's as far as I could open my eyes. 12:00am'ish in the rain
We got home. I fell apart. Anxiety so bad I could hardly keep myself together. We did it. The two of us. We achieved the challenge we set out to do and yes it was insanely rewarding. I will never do that again though, mark my words. I am glad we did it and for the most part we had decent beautiful weather. I didn't think I had it in me and Ryan helped to prove me wrong. I've been riding for many years and now I can say I belong to the 300 club.
Make no mistake, this is the kind of shit that breaks you down into less of a human being and more of a sack of bones. It forces you to go to the dark places in your mind that you've never been to before. It clarifies that your body and mind can be two separate things merging together somehow in a weird out of body experience. Forget acid and shrooms, Just spend a day riding way farther than you ever thought yourself capable of and see what shapes the darkness brings. I did grow as a being, I'm not sure how else to explain it. Being broken down and put back together again.
It's the end of the day and I have not yet recovered. My shoulders and neck are still aching. I've got chafe where the sun don't shine and a saddle sore. I've eaten very little, had more panic attacks and consumed more sugar due to post exercise lows. Not to mention the lack of sleep and complete brain sludge I was left with. Underneath it all, I'm proud of us. Now if he would just stop coming up with hair-brained challenges.....