November 1, 2010

I founded Type1Rider back in May of 2005 after I attended the 2005 annual DESA conference in West Chester, PA.  After listening to the Athletic Achievement Award winners speak about their personal experiences,  I was motivated to try and figure out a way to contribute to the diabetic community myself. 

For the past 5 1/2 years I have lived all aspects of my life as a diabetic with the covers removed, completely exposed, and out in the open.  I have transparently used endurance mountain bike racing and training to further my personal mission of raising awareness, promoting education, providing support, and fostering encouragement for all people affected by diabetes.  During this time I have shared with posts and during speaking engagements all the highs and lows (literally), the victories and the tragedies,  and everything I do, feel, and have learned about living with this wretched disease since being diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes 33 years ago.  

Over the past 18 months or so, however, I have been working on a diabetes related "project" that I have not shared with anyone but a handful of friends and family.  It is something I feel I have been, in one way or another, preparing for my whole life.  All of my training, racing, and events for 2010, including this past weekends field study, have been in support of this ultimate goal.  I have hidden my daily obsession with this race from the community for a host of reasons, but primarily out of trepidation due to the exceedingly enormous challenge it presents for a Type 1 diabetic.  A late dinner discussion Saturday night with a friend about how quickly life passes removed any final hesitations I had about discussing this subject.

I want to take this first day of National Diabetes Month to openly state that I will be competing in the

This race, which boasts 2,745 miles of completely unsupported mountain bike racing from Banff, AB CA to Antelope Wells, NM is recognized as the longest and most difficult mountain bike race in the world.  It is 96% off road, covers over 200,000 ft. of elevation change, and must be done completely unassisted.  It's route covers some of the roughest and most remote areas of North America, crossing mountains, snow fields, and desserts.

Race route shown in red
While I know the challenges will be great, there is no denying the rewards would be insurmountable.  Participating in the Tour Divide would completely shatter all doubt surrounding any person living with diabetes.  I also recognize that this is a profound opportunity to raise awareness for juvenile diabetes via the high visibility the Tour Divide can offer.

Of course an undertaking of this stature cannot be attempted without personal passion and conviction. While many may view endurance races about trying to beat out a field of other riders, it has always been to me more about testing oneself.  Anyone living with diabetes knows that “control” can sometime seem unattainable.  I have witnessed first hand the terrible effects this disease has on individuals and families.

My dream and focus is to foster an understanding of what it takes to successfully live with this disease, and to help people with diabetes conquer the fear and issues that it brings.  To have them truly believe that diabetes is indeed manageable, and, with that, comes a world without personal limits.

In my mind, completing the Tour Divide would indeed make diabetic history, and prove to each and every diabetic out there that they do, indeed, have control. 

There are many aspects involved with this undertaking including a fund raising effort, more nutrition research, training, equipment development, etc.  I will further document those details over the coming days and months.

Although there is no simply no way to guarantee the outcome to an adventure such as this,  I am dedicating the next 8 months of my life to be as prepared as possible.  Along that route I inevitably will learn invaluable lessons about both diabetes and myself.  

A heartfelt thank you to the group people who have quietly supported me with this for the past 18 months.  I could not be more blessed.  Everyone of you have helped to mold a foundation which gives me the confidence to pursue this.  We still have LOTS of work ahead, but I am eternally grateful for all you have contributed. 

For my fellow diabetics and other newcomers on this journey, welcome to the ride!