Scott – On His Bike a LOT This Spring!

I am riding 100  miles (!!) in the 2012 Tour de Cure ride for the ADA in June (June 2, 2012).  I must be crazy.

More than a few things have come together to make this happen, and I’m excited about all of it!  This will be the third year for me to ride with The Pancremaniacs, our Tour de Cure team that is more than 30 strong so far (and still recruiting – want to ride with us?).

If you care to donate to my fundraising goal, or help spread the word, every little bit is appreciated.

Two years ago we rode 25 miles, last year we rode 45 miles, and this year we’re making the jump to the century ride.  Not everyone on the team is doing such a long ride – we have people doing just about every route option the tour has to offer.

This winter, Heather, my team captain and inspiration, and I toyed around with the idea of doing 100 miles – she said she’d help me train for it and would be training right along with me.  I still wasn’t sure though – until I got the phone call.

The Phone Call

Two months ago I got a phone call from Mari Ruddy.  She said she had some exciting news and asked if I was sitting down.  She said she had a scholarship to offer me for one of Team WILD’s training programs, and wanted to know if I was interested.

The decision to commit to 100 miles in the upcoming Tour de Cure happened right there, right in that split-second between her asking and me answering.  “Yep, I want to ride 100 miles in the Tour de Cure this summer” I blurted out.

And as soon as it was out of my mouth I was simultaneously incredibly excited and absolutely terrified.  What on earth had I just signed up for?

Cycling In Winter (In Minnesota?)

1984(?) Schwinn Spin Bike
My New Best Friend / Worst Enemy

The training program for a ride this long is 18 weeks long.  Working backwards from the date of the ride, that meant my training was to start the last week of January.  I live in the Minneapolis, MN area.  There’s not much biking to be had here in January.

With CraigsList and less than $100, I was able to find a solution that would get me through the first month of training.  Say hello to my new best friend / worst enemy.

The winter has been unbelievably mild, so believe it or not, I’ve actually been able to do a couple of outside rides so far.  One for two hours, and another for three hours.  But for all the rest of it, I’m in my basement pedaling away the hours on my ancient spin bike.  I spent eight hours on that damn thing last week.  I know it may not sound like much, but think about it…

The Riding

I just finished the fourth week of training, and while it is very hard work, both mentally and physically, I’m already noticing many benefits.

It only took three rides for my rear end to stop hurting, which at first felt like the worst part of training.

I’m also running around like a maniac on the basketball court, and it’s only been a few weeks of riding.  To know that the hours I spend on the saddle in my basement will help my basketball game is a huge bonus in my book.  My legs already feel strong, and my cardiovascular capacity is improving steadily.

The Training and Education

Team WILD has the most incredible coaches and educators around.  Each week I get a series of video messages and content to read.  It is amazing to me how these people can take such complicated science and deliver it in ways that make sense.

But knowing the science behind exercise and diabetes isn’t enough on its own.  The Team WILD coaches feed me bite size pieces that get me through the week of training and leave me hungry for the next pieces of information.

You might think the training is just to get on a bike and pedal, do it often, and ramp up your effort each time.  There’s so much more strategy involved!  “Strategy” – A plan of action designed to achieve a major or overall aim.

My training so far has been to ride a certain number of days per week, for a total number of hours per week, with one ride in that week being a “breakout” ride, or one that is longer than the others.  All of that has to be done while keeping my heart rate in a certain zone.

It’s hard work, but I’m good at following directions.

Not Medical Advice

Water, Gatorade, Glucose Meter, CGM, Towels, Chapstick
Water, Gatorade, Glucose Meter, CGM, Towels, Chapstick

Team WILD is staffed with amazing coaches, as I mentioned above.  Their purpose is to teach you to learn your diabetes in your body during your exercise.  They are not there to tell you specifically about how much insulin to take.  It’s about understanding what happens during exercise, how the body burns fuel, and how you can use that knowledge and experience to do whatever it is you want to do.

I feel that I started with a slight advantage here because of my basketball.  I have played basketball at least a few times each week for the last 5-6 years.  Through that I have learned a lot about how my body reacts to exercise, and I’m using that experience, along with the additional information I’m learning from the coaches, to figure out how to do cycling with diabetes.

Is it going perfectly?  No.  Diabetes can’t be done perfectly. But by being prepared, testing often, and keeping good records, I feel confident that I can be successful.  It’s an added bonus that all of this knowledge can transfer to many different types of exercise.

Picture of my Dexcom at 54 mg/dl with double down arrows, bike in the background
Diabetes is never perfect…

So Impressed (and disclosure)!

I know I’m just beginning my journey with Team WILD Training, but I am very impressed so far.  In fact, I’m impressed enough that I’ve signed on to be an affiliate partner for them.  That means that if you click on the badge (link no longer active) on the right side of my page, and end up buying one of the programs, I’ll get a small commission from that.

Team WILD Logo
Affiliate Link

There are programs for anyone at any level of fitness, and there are a ton of payment options (payment plans, etc).  Everything is on sale until Thursday, March 15, 2012, so if you’re thinking about it now would be the time to act.

I love what TeamWILD is doing, and am a big fan of Mari and her vision.  I hope you’re as excited as I am!

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Scott K. Johnson

Patient voice, speaker, writer, advocate. Living life with diabetes and telling my story. Patient Success Manager, USA for mySugr (All opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent the position of my employer).

Diagnosed in April of 1980, I recognize the incredible mental struggle of living with diabetes. Read more…