I Did It! Tour de Cure!

Picture of Scott, Mari, Heather
Scott, Mari, Heather

Have you ever gotten yourself into something you weren’t quite sure you could do?  I got myself very familiar with that feeling this Spring.

When we finished the 25-mile Tour de Cure route last year I wasn’t ready to be finished.  I wanted more.  So for the 2011 ride we signed up for the 45-mile course.

The weather here this “Spring” (note the quotation marks…) was terrible.  Cold, wet, rainy, overcast.  If you had to paint a picture of depression, any weekend of Minnesota leading up to the ride would have been perfect.

Last year, for the 25-mile ride, I went on a lot of training rides with the team before the big day.  This year?  I was on my bike twice.  Completing a 14-mile ride the first time, and a 20-mile ride the second.  That’s not a lot of training in preparation for the longest ride of my life (so far).

My fundraising beard was more than ready, thanks to so many of you.  I was also able to leverage it to help Chris meet his fundraising goal!   I’m sure he would have met his goal without my help, but it was a fun day on twitter with the #savethebeard campaign.  Very proud to rock the scragle for a while to represent for a good cause and good people.

The VIP Dinner on Friday night was great, with Mari Ruddy delivering a very moving speech on why the Red Rider movement exists.  I wrote a little about the movement last year, but no words do the woman justice.  If you ever have a chance to hear her talk (about anything!), do it.

Scott and Heather before the ride
Scott and Heather before the ride

The weather for our ride was perfect.  We had a few different groups riding for our team, with the 62-mile riders leaving bright and early at 7:00 AM, the 45-mile riders leaving at 8:00 AM, etc.

This year, all of the Red Riders lined up at the head of the pack to start each ride.  It was pretty cool seeing all of us decked out in our Red Rider jerseys grouped together at the starting line.  Most of us peeled off after a short distance to regroup with the rest of our teams.

There were rest stops at about every hour, which was perfect for us.  Perfect timing to check our blood sugars, refill our water bottles, and grab a bite to eat.

We covered a LOT of ground on this ride.  I was familiar with most of the route in Minneapolis, but we also did a lot of riding in St. Paul.  I hadn’t done any riding on that side of the cities before, so it was pretty fun to see.

Picture of Scott and Heather riding
Scott and Heather – Action shot!

I felt really good for most of the ride.  My blood sugars were amazing, ranging from 61 mg/dl (that was a low I had to stop and treat) up to 137 mg/dl.  I reduced my background/basal insulin for most of the day, tested often, drank a lot of water, and made sure to eat something at each of the rest stops. I’m not sure I could pull off better blood sugars ever again!

Exercise really does amazing things to your blood sugar.  The trick is figuring out how to take advantage of that!

I got really tired a few miles from the finish line, but that was also when I had to stop and treat the low blood sugar.  Who knows if it was tired from being low, or tired from riding 40+ miles, or a combination of both.  Maybe if I would have eaten just a little bit more at the last rest stop I would have felt good to the end.  Even a non-diabetic person has to fuel their body – as PWD’s we are not really much different.  We just have a few extra variables to manage, which makes the food and fuel much more complicated.

At the Finish Line with Leah!
The Finish Line! Leah & Family rooting us on!

After recovering from the low, I pushed on to reunite with Heather so we could cross the finish line together.  The finish line experience is something special.  They announce your name as you approach the finish line, and there is a CROWD of people cheering you through.

All of the Pancremaniac crew was there cheering for Heather and I as we rode through, and there were also a couple of surprise supporters!  Leah and her family were there, as well as Corey, a buddy I used to work with at Cozmo.

It was so cool.  I rode 45 miles (rumor is that it was actually 47 miles)!  That’s a new personal distance record for me, and I’m pretty proud of myself.  Next year we are going to ride the 62-mile course!

We even had a Pancremaniac come all the way from Michigan just to ride!  Dan rode the 62-mile course, and says he had a great time doing it.  We’re all hoping he comes back to ride with us again next year.   I think the look on his face is an affirmation that he’ll be back.

Dan relaxing after his 62-mile bike ride!
Dan relaxing after 62 miles on the bike!
2011 Tour de Cure Finisher Medal
2011 Tour de Cure Finisher Medal


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Scott K. Johnson

Patient voice, speaker, writer, advocate, and Senior Community Manager at Blue Circle Health. Living life with diabetes and telling my story. All opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent my employer’s position. Read more…

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