One week ago today I rode my bicycle for 102 miles.
I still can’t believe I did it.
I trained for 18 weeks with TeamWILD. Each week of training brought hours and hours on the bike. I pedaled inside, I pedaled outside. I pedaled in the cold, I pedaled in the heat. I pedaled in the rain, I pedaled in the sun.
Each week of training brought me closer to the big ride, and each week of training increased my physical ability. Along with the physical training, the TeamWILD coaches taught me about diabetes management, hydration, and nutrition.
I learned a lot of lessons (took a lot of lumps) through my training and put it all into practice on the big day. It worked perfectly!
I was able to hang with the group (Heather, her cousin, Gary, Jeff, and Scully) until we hit the rollers (little baby hills – about a million of them) west of the cities. Scully was riding slowly because she was sipping on a coffee that she ordered at the second rest stop, and the rest of the crew was visiting with each other. Once we hit those rollers, I just couldn’t keep up anymore.
Besides the rollers kicking my ass, I also had trouble with my back tire going flat a few times. I had to stop and pump it up, then ride a bit, then stop and pump it up, then ride a bit, etc. I was so discouraged. I lost my group, the hills were killing me, and riding on a mushy tire made it that much harder. I was alone, exhausted, unsure of myself, and ready to give up.
I leaned hard on my faith and a TeamWILD training technique. Little successes. I counted my pedal strokes (one, two, three, four, five … one, two, three, four, five …) and worked to get to the next mailbox, light post, or top of the next hill.
I got to the next rest stop and asked the volunteer mechanic to swap out my tire tube. He found and removed a small wire that had poked through my tire and caused the slow leak. That rest stop was at mile 52.
With a new tube, the road debris removed from my tire, a fresh Camelbak full of water, and some fresh fuel in my stomach, I was back on the road and feeling much better.
I found Gary, one of the other Pancremaniac Red Riders, at one of the last few rest stops. We pretty much carried each other through the last thirty miles. I couldn’t have done it without Gary, and he says the same for me.
I only thought I was going vomit four or five times through those last few miles.
My blood sugars were incredible. Almost unbelievable actually.
97 mg/dl – 6:03 AM – Start Line
136 mg/dl – 6:43 AM
113 mg/dl – 7:30 AM
166 mg/dl – 8:19 AM
159 mg/dl – 9:21 AM
137 mg/dl – 10:03 AM
143 mg/dl – 10:48 AM
153 mg/dl – 12:43 PM
142 mg/dl – 1:14 PM
150 mg/dl – 2:34 PM
136 mg/dl – 3:04 PM
177 mg/dl – 3:33 PM – Finish
I was running a 50% basal temp rate. I consumed nearly 600 grams of carbohydrates and didn’t take a single drop of bolus insulin. I drank about 300 ounces of water and didn’t need the bathroom until hours later.
Even though we were among the last to return, the Pancremaniac crew was at the finish line to bring us in with a bunch of cheering and celebration. We even made it back in time to get worked on by a volunteer massage therapist.
I was hurting from the ride, and this massage therapist made me want to cry. It was a lot like the dentist. Sometimes it hurts, but you know it’s good for you.
After a quick ride home for a shower, I headed to the team celebration dinner. I burned well over 5000 calories on that ride, so I didn’t feel at all guilty about ordering two grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner.
I cannot tell you how incredible it was to hang out with Jeff and Scully so much, and I wouldn’t trade the training time with Heather for anything. Would I do anything different? Yes. I’d remember to put sunscreen on my face…
The ride was so hard. But you know what? I worked pretty damn hard training for this.
If I can follow a plan and pedal myself 100 miles, so can you. This is a shining example of the everyman story. I am no superstar athlete. Wait… I WASN’T a superstar athlete.
I am now. I rode my bicycle 100 miles in one day and was back on the basketball court three days later.
If I can do this, you can do this.
A special note of thanks to everyone who supported me. Your generosity is unmatched and appreciated so much. I thought of each and every one of you as my mind started playing tricks on me, and as I crested the top of each of those damn rollers I thought of you.
For what it’s worth, my wife said that while I was sleeping that night, my legs were pumping imaginary pedals every few minutes. I think that is pretty funny, but it doesn’t surprise me one bit!