Pedaling in my Sleep: 102-Mile Ride

One week ago today I rode my bicycle for 102 miles.

102 Mile Route

I still can’t believe I did it.

Riding!

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.

Concentrating

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.

Grilled Cheese x's 2!

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…

DOC 100 Mile Club

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!

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

 

Help Scott Ride the 2011 ADA Tour de Cure!

Summer of 2009. Allison came to town and we had a DOC meet-up out at the Mall of America. That was the first time I met Heather (a.k.a “Auntly H“) who blogs at “Beyond Your Peripheral Vision“.  Heather talked about her recent ADA Tour de Cure, and it sounded like a blast.  So I told her I’d ride with her team in 2010.

With her help, I got back on my bike after a decade of it sitting in the garage.  We trained, we trained some more, and we kept training.  Day of the ride?  We kicked ass.  As we approached the finish line, after riding 27 miles, I opened my big mouth again and announced that in 2011 we would tackle the 45 mile course!

As the snow finally melts away here in the Twin Cities, it’s time to get the bikes out.  I have eight weeks to get ready, and I’m looking forward to each and every ride. Well, Ok, maybe not the first couple of rides…

I Need Help

There is a minimum fund-raising goal of $150 to participate in the ride.  Last year I wrote that check myself.  It was for a diabetes related cause, and I was so proud of myself for getting back on my bike after so long.  And I was able to cover that cost last year.

This has been a tough year for the Johnson family, and I just don’t have it.

Please donate to Scott's 2011 Tour de Cure ride!

If you are willing and able, I could sure use your help this year.

$150 by June 4th will get me into the ride.

My First “Red Rider” Experience: Part 1

A couple weeks back I mentioned that I signed up for the 2010 Tour de Cure, and just this week posted a very quick blurb about the Red Rider dinner that I attended the night before the ride.

The ride and the dinner have come and gone, and they were both incredible for me.  I’m trying really hard to come up with a post that does it all justice, but I’ll tell you right now it is going to be really hard.

There were some really special guests at the dinner that made it well worth the drive during rush-hour traffic.

We heard from Angela Past, a Team Type 1 triathlete, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in the early 70’s.  She talked about not exercising until she was 35, mostly because she worried about experiencing low blood sugars.  Not much exercise before age 35, and now she is a competitive
triathlete.  That point alone was very inspiring to me.   It is never too late to find your exercise joy.

Please forgive the crappy camera-phone, low light, photo.  Do you recognize any of these people?  That’s right!  Contestants from The Biggest Loser! What a cool surprise!  We had Pete, Hollie, O’Neal, & Sunshine!  While I can’t say I’m a regular viewer of the TV show, it was pretty damn neat for them to come and speak to us.  Pete brought “old Pete” with him, in the form of a life sized picture of what he used to look like.  It really made an impression!  O’Neal describing that he used to live with a “quiet desperation” also really hit me.

After that little slice of inspiration, the new Red Rider jersey was unveiled to us.  Being my first ride, I didn’t know much about the whole “Red Rider” thing, but it is a really special story, and I want to share it with as many people as I can.  While at the dinner, I didn’t know just how special the company was.

After it all sunk in, I came home and did some frantic searching on the internet to piece the puzzle together.  A special “Thank You” to our friend, and fellow biking enthusiast, Courtney, for helping me find all the details!

Ginny Ruddy got up and told us how the Red Rider jersey’s came to be.  Her daughter, Mari, has lived with type 1 diabetes since the age of 16.  in 2005 she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  She went through chemo, radiation, and surgery, and says they knocked her down harder than she ever imagined possible.

As a cancer surviving athlete, she was recognized and celebrated in every athletic event she participated in.  As she says, “Being a cancer surviving athlete is to be admired. Lance Armstrong, the
incredible organizing power of the Livestrong campaign, and the dominate force
of the breast cancer community, have made it admirable to survive cancer and be
an athlete.

But in 25 years of living with diabetes, and having walked, run, and cycled for the cure for diabetes, she was never asked to declare herself as a diabetes-surviving person.  A stark contrast to what she experienced as a cancer survivor.

The following is from her 2007 Invitation to Ride:

————————-
In one of the first resource guides I received when I was diagnosed with cancer,
I was told it was up to me to determine what to do with my membership into the
cancer sisterhood that I had not wanted to join. Within months, it was clear
that these women were serious, I had access to a network of amazing women and I
was recognized in every athletic event as courageous and brave. Being a cancer
surviving athlete is to be admired. Lance Armstrong, the incredible organizing
power of the Livestrong campaign, and the dominate force of the breast cancer
community, have made it admirable to survive cancer and be an
athlete.

This has not been the case with being a diabetic athlete. In my
25 years of living with diabetes, I have walked, run and cycled for the cure for
diabetes, but never once at any of these events was I asked to declare myself as
a diabetes-surviving person. I was never given a special t-shirt or water
bottle. There has never been a special finish line acknowledging the courage,
perseverance, and sheer determination it takes to live with diabetes and be out
on that course riding, running or walking. I want this to change. I want you to
help me change this. I want to work to find the cure AND to celebrate the people
who are courageously living with diabetes.

Being a diabetic athlete means
a dedication to trial and error. Every diabetic athlete I have ever met or read
about is a meticulous record-keeper and is in his or her own way a scientist,
continuously experimenting on his or her body to find the best combination of
insulin, food, stress, exercise. The crazy thing is that the combination keeps
changing and it is highly personalized, so there has to be a willingness to
continuously revamp, re-evaluate, re-organize. Having diabetes and being
committed to performance requires a degree of mental flexibility that deserves
recognition and celebration. It is symbolic of what all of us as humans have to
do to perform at high levels.

One could think I just want special
recognition, and maybe I do. Why? Because receiving the recognition on race day
gives me and my fellow diabetics the motivation to continue seeing the glass
half full on the days when our blood sugar soars to 400 for no explainable
reason, or when we have no desire to eat but we must or risk passing out if we
don’t. Cancer is dramatic. Diabetes is a grind. Both drop people at the door of
death, just in different styles.

————————-

What more can I say?  Amazing stuff, right?  I will be the first to acknowledge that as a person living with type 1 diabetes I have never been satisfied with the ADA’s display of support for those with type 1, but I pledge to ride the Tour de Cure every year my body is healthy enough tocooperate.  Thank you Mari, for inspiring me to keep riding!This post has already gotten much longer than I wanted, and I haven’t even started talking about my ride.  I’m going to break here and continue in another post.  Stay tuned for part 2!

Another Great Get Together!

Sometimes it seems like us locals here in Minnesota need a visitor from out of town to spark a get together.  Last time it was Sara, this time it was Allison — yes, the Allison!

A few months back Allison told me that she would be in town with her boyfriend Erik for a wedding.  Turns out that Erik has a lot of family around here, which worked out great to help get Allison here for some partying with us local bloggers.  While there were a few that couldn’t make the meeting, we still gathered a very respectable group!

I picked Allison up in my little VW Golf, which served us well. The parking spot we found at the Mall of America was a little short spot, almost custom made for my Golf.  If I were driving any other vehicle, we would not have been able to park there.

We met up with the group, made introductions, and fell into comfortable conversations right away.  We talked about Heather’s recent “Tour De Cure” (a.k.a. “Ride in the Rain”) ride , and I even let her convince me to ride with them next year (30 miles?).  Allison has a ride coming up too, so it was fun to talk biking for a while.

We talked about Amber’s upcoming schooling and how she’s coping with night shifts. We talked about carb counting versus exchanges, and how we were all trained. Bob, an old friend of Allison’s, talked about his “love” for NPH (he hates the stuff!).

As we were sitting in the food court, chatting and laughing away, this guy walks behind us blowing on some sort of kids flute – loudly!  As he walked by I turned to look.  A tall skinny guy with longish curly blonde hair.  His outfit?  Tight white spandex, long sleeves and long “leggings”, with a pair of running shorts on over the top of them.  And a shower cap.

Apparently stuff like this is “normal” in New York, because nobody said anything!  I just HAD to say something.  It was almost as weird as the lady who attacked G-Money in Disneyland. At least there was no blood involved here.

And as usual, the time went by way to quickly, and it was time for Allison and Erik to get to the airport. Erik couldn’t make the the meet-up, but we all got to meet him and talk
for a couple minutes at the end when he came to pick Allison up.  He seems like a really nice guy — it’s too bad he couldn’t hang out with us earlier.  It is always too bad that these things have to come to an end.  I had a lot of fun, and look forward to the next one!

Picture of a MN DOC Meetup

Allison, Scott, Sandy, Bob, Heather, Amber