Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Riding around Cayuga Lake

After the 100 mile Twin Cities Tour de Cure in June, Jeff and I were determined to cycle together again. There was just one little problem, the 830km/515miles between our two cities.

We found a weekend that we were both free. He mapped out a route and I booked a camp site. Friday night we arrived from our perspective homes of Boston and Hamilton with tents and bikes in tow. I told Jeff we need to find somewhere half way between the two of us but he picked a place that was a 6 hour drive for him and only a 2.5 hour drive for me. Not exactly mid-way but the location was incredible. We collaborated forces even more by contacting another T1D cycling freak - Andy who I know through Connected in Motion and lives in Ithaca. Our route was to simply ride AROUND Cayuga Lake in New York State and the town of Ithaca is at the bottom of the lake. It worked out really well.

It took me forever to get there Friday night as I got stuck in crazy traffic from all the rain and also detouring around to another border crossing that had a shorter wait time than the one I normally take. I then had an adventure in Target and Walmart just trying to find some basic groceries. Since I didn't want to get in trouble for bringing super dangerous broccoli over the border to where most of them probably came from *sigh border control*. I learned that "The People of Walmart" is no joke and in fact is a real existing phenomenon of weirdness that you just don't see in Canada. I spied a few for my own (aching) eyes. It was a frustrating visit because all I wanted was some fresh fruits and vegetables and I was in a land of unknown while running out of time. I had high beeges because of this stress.

We each made it though. Both of our Hondas and our sweet sexy colour co-ordinated black, red and white bikes! For the record, Jeff is still trying to figure out a name for his new Cervélo if anybody has any good ideas.

After giving Jeff a lesson on how to use his brand spankin' new camp stove, we quickly put it to good use as he made this thing called "dinner" and I made coffee. A delicious camp-made Americano with the awesome Kicking Horse Kick-Ass coffee I got from Jocelyn as a thanks for sending her like 10 years worth of pen needles. (she sure knows the way to my heart!) Not long after that the skies opened up and we got slammed with torrential downpour. We then retired to our tents to dream of blue skies while being serrenaded with rain drops on nylon.

Coffee brewing on the camp stove

The picnic table before the jersey stuffing began
To our surprise we woke up to a mostly clear sky and some wicked humidity. We did our respective diabetes preparations of reduced boluses, temp basals and jersey stocking. Andy warned us there were very few places to stop for supplies along the way so we had to go prepared. That meant pockets spilling with goodies. An hour and a half into the ride (of all headwind) I could feel my beeg tanking. We pulled off into a little ice cream shop (fitting?) where I could choke back some Clif shots and where Jeff discovered he was unfortunately very very high. Oh diabetes. I'm low and he's high. We were both going with plans that always worked for us. Somehow in the excitement of it all he forgot his small Clif bar bolus and I underestimated my energy output. At this point I turned my temp basal rate down a bit lower to -50%. Back on the road with refilled water bottles, insulin administered (him) and sugar ingested (me). Welcome to diabetes.

Testing the beeg outside the ice cream shop. Note the smile, this was before the meter screamed back with a terribly unruly number. Which prompted Jeff to test again with a disappointing yet similar number.

We were absolutely flying down this hill having a great time. Thankfully there was very little traffic early in the morning and I was able to get this picture. You can really tell the speed by the lack of spokes. 

We found Andy resting in the shade waiting for us as we came careening down a hill reaching wicked speeds. We were late due to the delayed start and the high/low visit to the ice cream shop. Not long after that we rolled through the town of Ithaca and Andy, knowing me quite well, took us to the door step of one of the best coffee shops EVER. We sat outside while I sucked back some awesome iced coffee and Jeff treated himself to a well-deserved chocolate croissant. We re-evaluated our beeges and off we went again.

Just outside of Ithaca

Incredible coffee shop

Leaving Ithaca, there were only two ways out and they were both UPHILL. Andy says, "short and steep or long and gradual?". Group decision took us to short and steep as I struggled to keep that just ingested iced coffee down. The road took us on some impressive rollers from there. One in particular nearly killed me and I felt like poop. My eyelids were sore and raw from trying to keep the sweat out of my eyes. It was here that I came to the conclusion that I need to get me one of those nerdy sweat gutter things. We made another pit stop at a lake front park. Sitting on the beach in the warm sun and gale force winds was pretty and relaxing. The rest of the ride up and around the top of the lake was a bit fuzzy for me. My shoulder was aching something fierce. I maybe tried to block the last bit out. Maybe, probably.

Thanks for the pic Jeff!

Other than the one low during the first couple hours I maintained a perfect average BG that I was proud of. I didn't eat enough but I drank 6 bottles of water, the iced coffee, a muscle milk and a can of diet pop. All in all the ride was FANTASTIC! The views were incredible and the weather was perfect. The friends were pretty rad too. There was a good amount of climbing and subsequent descending. I felt far more tired than usual and lagged behind the boys quite a bit. My lady visitor arrived (unexpectedly) the next morning which hopefully explained the more than usual exhaustion and fatigue during the ride. Although we were going out for pleasure and fun and were not going to kill ourselves I still struggled more than I thought I should have.

Lenny the Lion from Medtronic rode the whole way with me

Thanks for the pic Andy!

We said goodbye to Andy as he continued on his way home and we got suited up for a dip in the lake to ease our tired muscles. Followed by a roaring campfire while we replenished some calories stuffing our faces with gluten free pasta and pesto. Not long after that Jeff pulled out the s'mores ingredients complete with gluten free graham crackers just for me! Ooey gooey deliciousness was consumed by the both of us. It was quite the treat after a long day of riding. I limited myself to two mostly guilt-free s'mores. Have you tried them with peanut butter? You must!

Uh, Jeff... you've got marshmallow in your scruff

PB makes the world a better place (Jeff's picture)

The next morning we compared CGM graphs and laughed a little as we BOTH went a little high during the night because we bolused a bit too conservatively for our s'mores. We also both set a slightly lowered temp basal to help prevent nypos after a 5000+ calorie burn day. Turns out we erred slightly on the side of caution. We then both concurred to the recommended correction bolus our pumps were suggesting. Turned out to be a poor decision.

Breaking down the campsite was, entertaining, to say the least. I had to clear the picnic table TWICE so I could flop and recover. I had a major low, then Jeff had a low. Then I had another one followed by him having another one. Or something like that.

thanks for the pic Jeff!

Okay, this is now the second picture someone has taken of me slumped over a table while low. I will write a post about it one day, I swear, but when I get low all my muscles turn to mush and I can't even hold my head up. I can speak and be conscious and stuff but you'll have to talk to me while I'm horizontal.

We joked and laughed about how we rode our bikes 140 some-odd km with only me going low once and could barely pack our cars without going low. It took us awhile. We said our goodbyes as we both got in our cars and shoved a bottle of glucose tablets next to us. I went low about 3 more times before I got home. A testament to the awesomeness that 6 hours of riding has on diabetes.

On the drive home after crossing back into Canada. Think it's raining up ahead?

I LOVE hanging out with other T1D's. I rode behind Jeff and Andy a lot because I really just like looking at dudes behinds (or I was having a hard time keeping up with them more like it). They both had pumps and CGMs in their jerseys. I could see the outline of the Dex and tubes snaking into the pockets. Every once in awhile Andy would check his Dex and put it back. Jeff would sometimes reach around to shut off pump alarms. It was just so... normal. It was nice to say, "how are the beeges?" and offer bits of advice on whether to bolus, lower temp basal rates or eat. It was empowering and calming to see matching CGM graphs. I loved that our CGMs were alternating every 10 or so minutes between a low alarm from me and then a low alarm from Jeff. We laughed, a lot.

IT.WAS.GREAT! I have amazing friends.

Now it's just a matter of where to meet next with our bikes...


  1. I am jealous. Sadly my cycling tolerance is only at about 30 miles, so I can't play with the big boys/girls yet. One day though. Awesome post.

  2. That sounded like such a great weekend! I could imagine how "normal" it felt to have other T1 riders along with you. I have to work up to being able to ride 100+ miles...then I could join in the fun! I plan on doing the 100 at the Tour due Cure on Long Island, NY (Riverhead) June 2013. Maybe you could make that one!!

  3. You don't have to ride 100miles before you ride 100miles. :) good for you though. I'd love to come!

  4. I love this.

    I love that you got to ride a bunch with Andy. I've never met him, but he sounds so flipping hardcore that I have major respect for him (hi Andy!).

    A sweat gutter?! I totally need on of those! Do you think they make one big enough to fit around my belly for when I'm playing basketball? Haha!!

    Love the nypo term! Hadn't heard that before! Brilliant, Bethany! We need to figure out where that came from...

    You're doing a total push-puppet in that last table pic. Major suckage, yo.

    Liz! You can totally do it! I trained and rode 100 miles at the TdC this spring. It was hard, but if I can do it, you can do it. :-)

    1. Looks like a super good time, despite the lows. Happy the coffee was enjoyed and I totally want to go to that Gimme Coffee place. Hopefully I can get a bike and make a seat sale flight out there one day :)


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