Thursday, June 17, 2010

the ride of my life?!

Well, I survived the ada tour de cure last saturday but I did fall a little bit short of my goal. My distance goal, that is. I surpassed the fundraising goal I had set of $500. $550 and counting so far! I have a few more weeks to turn more money in. Thank you everyone for both your monetary support and your words of support. All were appreciated:) Oh, I did met my goal of not needing any gel (at least for myself)!

The morning started great with a fasting blood sugar of 93. Normal people run sugars between 80-120. My sugars can range from 0-infinite. Well, not really because some of those extremes could kill me but I do run from the 40s to 200s often and occasionally will get even higher. Mornings are usually the hardest time for me to control so to start with a good number is a bonus. Of course, my number jumped to 200 by race start, but I was ok with that since I prefer to exercise around 180 anyway and I can drop very quickly when biking. But the first couple hours my number kept climbing and hit about 300 before it finally started going down. I was hesitant to shoot up (take an insulin injection) because I have dropped from 300 to 63 on previous rides so I let it play out and finally it started going down. So I finally had a snack at the third rest stop and my numbers were great after that. A nice steady, slow drop until the lunch stop where I tested at 102, had a sandwich and finished the ride with a 187 at the last rest stop and a 112 at the finish line. Of course I figured my exercise would still be causing my sugars to drop so I again skipped my insulin, ate one third of a chicken burrito and a hand full of lemonheads (candy), drove an hour home and tested at 450! I guess I really do have diabetes:) That's just a little private joke. When I was diagnosed with diabetes I felt like how do they really know I have it? They just take a little bit of blood or urine and tell you within minutes you are diseased. Seems too simple especially compared with all the tests and waiting to find out you have cancer.

The day started out pouring in salt lake city, but not in brigham city where the race was so that was very fortunate! The first 25 miles or so were fun and uneventful. I started getting a little tired after that which is no surprise because I've only biked more than 25 miles once this year and maybe twice in my whole life! Why the hell did I sign up for 100 miles??? I thought it was a great idea for two reasons: what better way to celebrate 25 years of living with diabetes then going out and killing myself trying to prove that I can do anything you can do better?:)  The other reason being that I was mad at my body for what I've been going thru the last 11 months. I feel like it was trying to kill me so I thought I'd teach it a lesson and show it who was boss. I wanted to bike 100 miles and then stick up my two middle fingers and give my body the bird. But I rethunk that a couple days before the event. I think I need to give my body a big hug because after all, I CAN still do the things I enjoy and I haven't been kind to my body or given it much of a chance to recover from all my surgeries and procedures. So I'm not mad that my legs pooped out and I couldn't do the whole 100 miles. My heart was still going strong and there will always be a next time.

Above is a pic of me taken by zazoosh somewhere in the first 45 miles. I put my jacket on after that and left it on for the rest of my ride.

The middle of the course was the hardest. There was a long, gradual climb which then turned into a big hill which somehow I made it up. I was so happy because I thought the worst was over. For some reason I thought there was only one hill on the course. But it turns out I was just on a plateau and the bigger hill was still ahead. I was shocked and dismayed to see little yellow figures in the distance snaking up a mountain. I have to admit that once I reached that hill, I got off my bike and walked it to the top. I contemplated hitching a ride to the top but didn't want to cheat. The ride down this giant hill was not that much more fun for me because I really don't like going down hills very fast. Rode my brakes as much as possible and held on for dear life hoping that my front tire wouldn't pop off or get a flat. Finally made it to the bottom and then hit a nice, flat section that was my favorite part of the whole ride. Flew the next mile with a tailwind and truly enjoyed it. Wish the whole course was like that! The rest of the course was mostly flat but very windy and slow going. There was one more hill, which was really short and not much worse than an on-ramp, but I was disgusted with hills by then, and my legs were dead, so I walked up that one too! Made it to the lunch stop at mile 60 and had the best tasting sandwich of my life! Ever notice how food tastes so good when you are exhausted and hungry?

I am not one to make excuses so I'm not going to blame the weather as a reason that I did not complete the whole 100 miles. I did bike through the finish line, after taking a shortcut in the route and completed 85 miles, of which all were hard-earned and I am pleased with the effort that I made. Just 15 miles short of my goal? You may wonder why I couldn't go on for just 15 more miles, but I had to make that decision at mile 60 and I was pretty tired by then and didn't think I would even make it back under my own power. I decided to skip a 15 mile loop and head back to the finish line, 25 miles away. That last 25 miles was a bitch. Normally, I think this part of the ride would be nice because it was pretty flat but it was such a windy day and the wind was especially picking up here along with some rain and my butt was really starting to complain. I did pull over for a break on the side of the road several times and repeatedly had to tell the sag vehicles that no, I did not need a ride. At one point I stopped to wait out the wind because I feared I would be blown off the road. At that point, three young boys ran up to me from a nearby house and said they were about to hold their hands out to me as I passed by. Turns out they did that once and were handed a bunch of candy. I explained that I had no candy, just some gel which really wasn't that good. They questioned what it was and I explained that it was just sugar at which one boy smiled and said "I like sugar!" So I opened up a ginseng honey stinger for them, they tried it out and pronounced it great! Then a large group came by and the kids stuck out their hands and got high fives in return. As I trudged on they yelled out their thanks for the honey.

9 hours and 85 miles completed on a cold, windy day. I can't say that it was a fun ride. I did contemplate selling my bike a couple times during the ride. I wouldn't want to keep biking if all rides were like that one! I don't know what the official word on the weather was. It was forecast for 15mph but it seemed stronger. I do know that other towns nearby had 50+ winds that downed trees and powerlines. I don't think our wind was that bad but it wasn't good either:) I did have some good moments during the ride, seeing pretty flowers, fields of black-necked stilts, meeting other diabetic riders and people who were riding for family members. It was nice being able to pull out my testing meter and not feel like a freak at the rest stops.

The official numbers aren't in yet, but so far the utah ride has made over $406,000.00 for the american diabetes association. Last year, 17 million was made from all the tours across the states for this fight to cure diabetes.

Here are links to tour pictures.
I don't know how the bib numbers were assigned, but it is so cool that my number, 511, is a combo of my favorite number(5) and wt's(11) favorite number!

Well, I am not going to sell my bike and dw and I have signed up for another ride in september. It is a rolling 70 miler in moab to benefit livestrong and the moab cancer center. If you've ever been to moab, you know it is a beautiful place in the middle of nowhere. It is great that they have a place there for cancer patients to get treatment so that they don't have to drive hundreds of miles for radiation and chemo. We are looking forward to amazing views and riding for another great cause. Hoping for great weather and small hills!


  1. You are awesome! And that you weren't able to finish doesn't diminish what you did at all - at least in my eyes. You have a lot to be very proud of!

  2. Aww, thanks Teri:) I did my best so I am happy with that.

  3. Janine, it sounds very grueling. How will you ever win me over to road biking when you tell stories like that?!

    You're a rockstar. Love you. wt

  4. Ha ha, wt! I can't imagine biking where you live. It was hard enough trying to run up those hills you call streets. When you move here, I WILL recruit you!