Team Type 1, The greatest Endo on the planet and a girl with a pump just like mine. (Ignore my slanty stance, clearly I haven't gotten lessons like the guys)
This past weekend I raced with Team Type 1 in Tennesse
We shall start at the beginning!
I missed my flight to Nashville but my bike made it. I waited at the wrong gate and by the time I realized what happened, the airplane was gone. Have no fear, I have recognized the seriously stupid move so feel free to laugh. I arranged the next available flight at 5:30am the following day. As I was sprinting through the airport I lost my phone. Lucky for me and thanks to a kind human, my phone was found and safely stored over the weekend. The border officials on both the Canadian and American side gave me a hard time. First I crossed with a bike to catch a plane. I returned to Canada without bike shortly after that only to turn around a few hours later to catch a plane. I learned a couple things, um, double check the gate and don't get wrapped up in a book while waiting at the wrong gate and lose track of time.
Now that I've gotten that seriously stupid move out in the open, I owe a HUGE thanks to my GOOD friend Erin for putting my stupid ass up for the night so I could sleep till 3am instead of 2.
Once in Nashville I was re-united with sexy bitch (that's my bike's name bee tee doubleyou). I met with Heidi, a fellow team mate and we were picked up by Morgan to head to our hotel. Heidi and I spent a good portion of the morning assembling our bikes, eating (the most disgusting Mexican food) and napping. We had both been up since 3/3:30am and were deleriously knackered. That afternoon we all piled into the TT1 van, hauling the bikes on the roof lookin' all "pro" to a park. We were met with the local JDRF and Sanofi reps. We spent some time chatting with the local folks who came out to "ride with the team". Lots of awesomeness was had all around. Morgan and the guys from the Men's Development team took off on the roads for a 14mile ride with some locals. Heidi and I just tootled around the 1mile loop in the park with the rest.
It was a gorgeous afternoon and I had the chance to meet so many awesome peeps!
Later that evening we all went out for dinner (WAY better Mexican food) with Dr. Russell. A pediatric endocrinologist that is the most amazing and supportive endo you will ever meet! He is TT1's biggest fan and spent two years with RAAM (Race Across America) with the team. I've never met anybody like Dr. Russell before.
In Dr. Russell's words:
"This doctor-patient thing is really about relationships and about helping one another. TT1 has taught me how success in diabetes self-management results when we watch out for one another and share encouragement and experiences. You guys (TT1) profoundly influence our kids with T1D."
Yeah, he's pretty amazing. I feel honoured.
3 of the Men's Devo team riders "Chuck", "Piro" and Matt.
Onto the other part of our Tennesse adventure. The race!
Now my plan was to take pictures with my iphone instead of carrying around my big heavy camera. However, since my iphone was hanging out at the airline desk back in Buffalo, I really have no pictures to share.
All the women did the same race and we were not split by category. We were doing 2 laps of the route totaling 54 miles (87km) while the men did 3 laps (78 miles/125km).
I will recount the race from my perspective. First of all, I did something I haven't done in a couple years. I fell over on my bike while standing in the group waiting for our turn to leave. Yup, just... tipped over like an idiot. What's more humorous about it, while Morgan was watching my stupidity she accidentally sliced her chin open with her fingernail. Oh yeah, it was that embarrassing. We were a hot mess.
Next thing we know, OFF we go!
I didn't panic this time. I was simply just really nervous wondering how long I could keep up with the group. I started with blood sugar that was decently high. I had my 50% TBR set for an hour ahead. I was happily staying with the group and it showed no sign of stopping. The girls were all really nice even when I brushed one girls leg and apologized. I tried to contain my newbie status but I'm sure I looked like the un-knowledgable amateur that I am. I wasn't putting out very much effort and felt really awesome. There was a smile plastered across my face the whole time I stayed with the girls. In my head my little girl was screaming, "I'm doing it!, I'm staying in the peleton!". The road was really rough and everything was going numb early on. I even lost one of my bottles right out of the cage. One of the girls said, "Just let it go". Yeah, like I was going to turn around in the middle of the group. What pissed me off is that was the bottle that had the Gatorade in it. That was integral to my diabetes management plan and now it was gone! Not to mention I only had ONE measly bottle of water now until I reached the feed zone near the start.
Did I mention it was hot as all hell out? It was gorgeous weather but certainly hotter than expected.
20 minutes in I glanced at my CGM. Going low. *FUCK*. I reached back and in one swoop tore open a gel with my teeth and sucked it back. If only I had my Gatorade..........
Things were going really well. It felt simply incredible to ride with the peleton for a change. It felt like I had always imagined it would be. The sound of so many wheels was delicious. Yeah, DELICIOUS! Then it all fell apart. We hit a hill. A rather long drawn out killer hill. That's where I lost the girls. One by one they flew by me on the uphill and then they were all gone and I didn't have a chance of catching up to them. I was on my own now for the rest of the race. 30 minutes. I got 30 minutes with them.
The route was very hilly. There was a 1 mile section of loose gravel road with a short steep hill that nearly killed me. That's the kind of stuff I do on my mountain bike, not roadie. So I carried on. Hill by hill I went until I passed the feed zone and filled up on water about to start my 2nd lap. Due to the loss of my Gatorade, I ate 2 z-bars and 1 gel that I had in my jersey. With only one gel to spare I was a bit concerned for a repeat of last weekend's race. It worked out though. I kept an eye on my CGM and I'm really proud to say that it stayed between 5 and 7mmol/l the entire race! I still would have preferred some Gatorade over trying to swallow those dry pasty z-bars. Not doing that again if I can help it. I struggled every 20 minutes or so to regain the feeling in my toes. Kind of felt like I was carrying around rocks in my shoes. Not rocks, dead toes! So I had to keep popping them out of the clips and shaking them out.
So I didn't finish DFL (dead fucking last) but I came pretty close. The scenery was phenomenal and everything was so beautifully green and lush. I concentrated less on getting to the finish and more on enjoying my surroundings. Once I was dropped I tried to think of it as just a really long training ride in the back country roads of Tennesse. It's not every day I get to experience THAT. There were definitely times I was digging really deep. It was not an easy route but I left some frustrations on the pavement.
No DFL, No BG crash, No injuries. Just a little sunburn, dehydration and tired legs. Perfect.
I have a lot to work on. I know I said that after my first bike race but this time it's more apparent. Some specific training is required.
Otherwise I had the most amazing time with all the awesome people. It's so much more inspiring to live life with this disease when you know that you are inspiring others. (even if I did suck at the race).