May 28, 2010

2010 24 Hours of Burn - Result: 27th

Although I am painstakingly thinking of a 1,001 ways to avoid it, I cannot honestly report on this 24 event without acknowledging the passing of our dear friend Travis Goodman. Travis, known affectionately to those of us who loved him as TPG, was lost to cancer <72 hours before this race. TPG was 32 years old.

After the initial shock of receiving the news, I forced myself to suppress my sorrow until after the race was over. I wanted to race with as clear of a head as possible, and have the ability to focus on hitting my blood glucose targets, staying on top of my nutrition, and having a solid finish. Just needed to avoid thinking and talking about it. Regular race prep week. Finish the workouts strong.
Wait and “unpack” those emotions post race. It almost worked too.

The crew from Trek Raleigh headed up to Dark Mountain in North Wilkesboro, NC on Friday morning to setup a sweet pit area. It was perfect, and the 20+ of us racers who were there were all members of the Trek and Fisher family, and we had the mindset of a celebration of the memory of Travis. A lot of family members came as well, including my 2 young boys. It was the first time they had been to an overnight race of mine.

I drove up race morning, and the BG was pretty much good to go. Around 08:00 I set my target BG for my pump calculation to 150. Took in a nice pasta breakfast while traveling at 09:00.

Once there I got to our pit site, got my bib and timing chip (thank you SO MUCH Jason and Cricket), set up my families tent, and finished all my pre-race prep. I lowered my basal rate to a 60% reduction at about 10:30 for a 12:00 noon start time as I was feeling a little more nervous then normal.

About 20 minutes before the race started my good friend walked up, and said I have something for you. Marcee handed me a yellow sticker with the letters TPG on it. I gave her a long hug (lots of those between everyone at this race), and said thank you. I needed to cut her off because I could feel the lump in my throat and the tears beginning to swell.

I fought to hold it all back as I applied the sticker to my Superfly. I could feel the emotional response causing my BG to dive, and sure enough 15 minutes before race start I was a 60. I was able to quickly gather myself back up, ate an apple, and discontinued insulin delivery via my pump for 90 minutes. Figured this would give me time to start the race, finish a strong lap, and test when I got back.

During the beginning of the first lap I did let a few tears roll as I found my thoughts drifting. The slick course forced me to snap back to be focused on the work at hand, and before long I got into my race rhythm.

The next 6 laps were completed near perfectly. Was a little behind on my hydration as it was nearly 90 degrees, but I was on schedule, and my nutrition and BG was right were they needed to be.

During lap 7 another racer and I found ourselves pacing each other up the switchbacks of the last climb. She was on a team from a shop that was a Trek/Fisher dealer, and she knew about Travis. She offered her condolences, and then noticed my bibs with the words 'DIABETIC' on the side. She asked if my name was Tony, and if I was the Type 1 diabetic that road on the 29er Crew. After confirming that I was that person, she informed me that someone in the shop was also Type 1. She went on to explain that TPG used to mention my cause each time he was in the store. He would tell about races I was doing, and how stoked he was that I was using the 29er Crew as a vehicle to promote diabetes awareness and encouragement. I forced out a thank you and pulled over to the side of the trail.

Everything I had been trying to hold in all week rushed out at once. I sat for a while in the dark on the side of the trail sobbing with thoughts about what a great guy Trav was. How cool CK and TPG were together. How much he showed that he truly believed in me and the mission of Type1Rider. How he had offered me the opportunity of a lifetime to ride for The Crew. How all of us benefited from knowing him, and how much we all missed him.

And I laughed out loud when I thought of how many dang times I had interrupted their dinner when I just “stopped” by their house back in Chapel Hill.

I took a couple of very deep breaths, turned my light back on, and finished the rest of the lap feeling less laden then when I started this loop 7 miles earlier.

When I got to my pit, I could sense that the emotional breakdown had definitely affected my BG level. Sure enough, down in the 40s. For the next 10 hours I would patiently wait for it elevate enough for me to resume taking laps. I didn't want to make the BG too high, as that would be an accelerator of possible dehydration, and my thinking was to keep a basal rate active so I could prevent the typical ride stoppage BG increase. I just slowly kept taking in simple carbs to get back above 125, so I could go back out. It just took FOREVER!!
I stayed dressed in my kit, and just kept testing every 30-45 minutes. Boy, a CGMS would have been the ticket here! BG was between 26 and 60, before spiking suddenly around 07:30 at 269. Time to go.

I was 8 laps short of my very realistic pre-race goal of 15 laps which would land me around the top ten. So I figured if I clipped off 1 lap an hour until 13:00 I would only be 2 laps short of that goal.

I set my temp basal to a 70% reduction, and about 20 minutes later was back on the bike doing a lap. I was pushing pretty hard as I was now annoyed at my bg for taking SO long to resolve itself. Definitely on my fastest lap of the event, and, of course, I could see it coming, the BG dropped through the floor about ¾ way through. Not enough pre-ride temp basal time, and no glycogen stores to speak of. I knew at that point there would be no recovery, and my event was pretty much over.

As I was coasting it back down the mountain for the final time, I was feeling pretty bad that I didn't do as well as I wanted to. I had felt like I had failed. Thanks to my coaching I felt I was most assuredly physically prepared, and my race nutrition was 100% spot on. I just couldn't put it all together this weekend. Too much stuff to deal with.

Heading towards the finish line, while making my way around the infield for the last time, I saw my good friend Cricket Butler from TeamUp4Type1 ( I stopped to chat with her. She talked to me for a long time about the race, the importance of what we are trying to do, and how just being out here really makes a difference. She also informed me there was an 8 year old young man from Ohio who was diagnosed with Type 1 not too long ago who, along with his siblings and his parents, wanted to talk with me.

Cricket was so right... sometimes just being out racing can make a world of difference.

As I was riding back to my pit, a pair of other racers approached individually to tell me that they had relatives with diabetes, and thought it was great that I was out there racing a 24 hour solo with Type 1. I spoke to each of them for a few minutes, and thanked them for caring about their family members enough to stop and ask some questions.

Arriving back at the tent I found my BG to be in the low 50s. The icing on the cake was the text msg waiting from a close friend of mine that I have an infinite amount of respect for not just as an athlete, but also for her immense knowledge of diabetes. It simply read “You're as tough as nails”.

Soon after getting packed up, the family from Ohio came by with Cricket, and we spent a great deal of time talking....

The 2010 24 Hours of Burn was a success after all. A much larger one then I could have hoped in the wee hours of the morning.

The spirit of Travis Goodman lives on in all of us who know him. He has enabled me to try to lend some encouragement to other diabetics like the one I met today, by his generous actions and unwaivering support.

Thank you TPG.