May 23, 2008

Daily Total: 39.02 Ride Hours: 00:00

Time BG Carbs Units
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Took the day off from the gig today to get packed and organized for the weekend at the Burn 24 hour. Did a little work in the morning and evening, but pretty much took a leisurely pace at getting everything ready.

Made meals, last minute bike tuning, laying out my clothing, tools, parts, etc.

I have have received a bunch of emails this past week concerning my comments on my personal racing philosophy I mentioned in my May 14th post. Quite a few seemed to suggest, just as the person I was talking to on the 14th, that I didn't sound competitive enough, or able to race with the "big boys" and the elites.

I find those statements laughable and, truthfully, a little annoying. I don't believe that you have the right to question my drive or commitment. You can ask ANYONE who personally knows me or trains with me (Marcy, or POS) and they will tell you that I am a extremely competitive person who cannot stand to lose or fail. I have been accused of being competitive to a fault. I ride, train, and race as hard as I can to be as fast as I can be.

That being said, over the years I have learned to appreciate the finer aspects of racing more than flat out winning. There is certainly SO MUCH more to consider a "victory" that just taking 1st place.

Leaving the diabetes aspect aside, to me the definition of endurance racing is simply overcoming all forms of mental and physical challenges, and continuing on regardless of the obstacle faced. The events I tend to partake in will push a rider to (and past) their own personal limitations, and I thoroughly enjoy that type of test. When passed, it has a sweet reward like NO OTHER I have ever experienced in any other aspect of my life. When failed, it leaves a biting bitterness in my consciousness that haunts me for long time. Sometimes all the way until the next time I am participating in an event that will test me again.

Add the fact that I am indeed a Type 1 diabetic back in to the equation, and I can find many more "victories" as these races. I am forced to basically monitor the energy consumption and muscular fueling process manually. Just being able to say that I did that at an effective enough level that I was able to complete the event is HUGE to me. That is probably my highest level goal at all events. Everything else is just gravy. Finishing 1st or 51st overall is, honestly, of secondary value.

Does this mean I don't strive to win. Hell no! It just makes my greatest and primary competitor (combatant) at any event diabetes itself. In some ways I actually feel that this leads to MORE pressure and drive succeed. Knowing that diabetes can beat me sometimes (like what occurred at Cohutta this year) is just unbearable. I cannot let the disease think, even for just an instant, that it may have the upper hand. Ever.! I need to keep the throttle down, and need to continue t drive my cleated cycling shoe into its throat.

When diabetes sometimes wins and gains a tiny fingernail hold, a little bit of fear and doubt does start to creep in to my head. Diabetes is a tremendously complicated disease. An unbelievably complicated disease that effects so many aspects of your life and body. Can it even be controlled at such a level?

What if the nay sayers and doubters are right with their statements and predictions? "Type 1 diabetics cannot compete in 24 hour solo events"! "You cannot have successful control of your blood glucose levels under race conditions for that long"! "You will have a catastrophic low and fall in a coma! You will have a catastrophic high, and do permanent damage to your liver, your eyes, your heart"!

I have spent literally thousands of hours in the saddle developing techniques that allow me to effectively race as a "non-diabetic". Learning to use and adapt amazing technologies, tools like the Deltec Cozmo Insulin Pump, I am the only Type 1 I have ever heard of racing these distances and endurance events solo.

24 hour solo mountain bike races and the like are perfect little microcosms of living with diabetes: Learn and train as much as you can. Have a plan for maintaining steady forward progress, but, yet, be ready to deviate from that plan if necessary. Be flexible for an ever changing course in ever changing conditions.

Its exactly what life is like as a Type 1 or Type 2.

To those who emailed to say I "don't sound competitive enough" I say your are completely wrong and misguided. I compete to break the limitations and stereotypes of a deadly disease each and every single time I push down on a pedal whether inside on a spin bike, or during a rain storm during hour 21 at an all day mountain bike race. I compete against myself at least 10 times a day with every blood sugar check, and measure my results one A1C number at a time. A very large percentage of the time, I am completely victorious.

I CAN"T WAIT until noon tomorrow, and the start of the 24 Hours of Burn!!

Just one more......