Type 1 Cycling

Type 1 Cycling

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Return to the upper Galilee

We had friends visiting from Canada and they invited us to come away with them for the weekend.  I wasn't ecstatic about the idea of going away for the weekend a week before the national championships.  But I trained hard during the week and took my bike with the intention of getting up early and putting in some miles.  We left Tel Aviv late morning and headed up the coast.  We met up with our friends in Akko (Acre) and had lunch at one of my favourite restaurants, Uri Buri.  We continued up north to the boarder where we tried to get to the caves at Rosh Hanikra.  Unfortunately they were already closed for the day so we continued on to Maarat Keshset.
View from Rosh Hanikra border crossing south towards Akko

View east, the hills of Galilee in the distance

At the border crossing

From there we went to the small village where we were to be staying the night.  It was a beautiful drive the the Upper Galilee, past villages of all denominations: Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Druze.  Through wine country, past vineyard after vineyard, some wineries and many graves of Rabbis from the Talmudic period.  You could almost smell the history.  We past the famous Mt Meron site of the grave of the mystical Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai and the town of Sefad, home to the Kabbalists of the 16th century.  The village we were staying in was in the middle of a forest on the side of a hill looking north over the Galilee and the Golan heights.
View west standing on top of Maarat Keshet

As we arrived and were being shown around by the owner it came up that I was planning a bike ride.

"I know someone here that likes to ride too"

"OK" I responded

"But he gets up really early to do it"

"That's fine by me, its what I was going to do anyway"

10 minutes later he comes back with Barak and introduces us.  Barak and I chatted for a couple of minutes and just like that it was decided that I was going to ride with him, and he would pick me up in the morning at 6.  Later that evening he called to make sure I was still up for it and to confirm the time.  Avraham the owner of the B & B where we stayed directed us to a restaurant in the Maronite Christian town of Jish.  We had a simple dinner of salads, pita bread, humous and shishkebabs.  We also witnessed a Druze wedding party which was explained to us by our waiter.

Team members refueling before attempting the short climb
The following morning I woke up with plenty of time to get ready, have a coffee and a sandwich before leaving.  Barak picked me up on time and we drove up the hill to the town of Biriya.  From there we rode down to Rosh Pina where we met up with the rest of his team.  They are called Bishvil Haofaniam BeGalil - "for galilee cycles".  Its a play on words that does not translate well.  I was introduced to the trainer a double winner of the national elite championship, Ido Sirkin.  He was warm and welcoming and was happy to hear that I was from X-Team and introduced me to the group.  Ido discussed the route and we took off together set off climbing a long climb which was not too steep.  I was feeling ok, climbing well, heart rate not too high.  As the climb wore on and my hear rate started climbing I felt unable to keep the pace.  A few others had dropped back before me so I was confident that I wasn't going to be the last one up the climb.  A short while later and I was on my own.  I saw ahead two others who had dropped back and when the hill flattened out for a short while I was able to catch them.  The three of us pretty much stuck together for the next part which were some flat and shallow uphills punctuated by some short punchy climbs.
Har Meron
We followed the route back the way we had come in the car the previous day.  The weather was sunny and warm but not too hot and not wind.  Perfect cycling conditions.  The roads were quiet and mostly in good condition.  When we arrived at Sasa I stopped to check my blood sugar, 141mg/dl not too bad but time for a gel.  One of my companions, Vered, asked me if I was diabetic, and what to do if there was an emergency.  I told her to call an ambulance if I fainted, but it has never happened so not worry about it.  We continued on to Matat where we met the others who were doing circuits.  The circuit was 1KM climb up Har Adir.  Steep does not described this hill, brutal would be better, averaging 10% and in parts well over 20% there was nothing to do but put the bike in the lowest gear and grind your way up.  After the climb it was a 5KM time trial back to the previous junction, then return and do it all again.  I did this once.  Barak and the 8 or so other tough guys did it 3 times.

The bottom of the Har Adir climb

Coming back round for another go

While the stronger guys were on their last set a few of us started to make our way back.  The way back was much easier.  We formed a nice group and took it easy.  I was feeling good and my blood sugar was fine.  As I was heading back to the car with Barak I had to let the group go and wait for Barak who wasn't far behind.  He was ahead of the rest of his group with one other guy.  We then climbed back up to wear we left the car.  This was another short but very steep climb.  Not the easiest thing after almost 90KM of riding.  I finished strong and we headed back to where I was staying.

Barak catching up with me
I was back by about 11am, just in time to catch the end of breakfast.  My blood sugar was under control and I was feeling really good.  I had a great time riding with Bishvil Haofanaim BeGalil and they invited me back next time I am in the north.  I look forward to seeing them at the National Championships this weekend and hopefully I will ride with them again in the future.  Thank you Barak and Ido for and to the whole team who were wonderful to ride with and very welcoming.

Here are my  blood sugars (all readings in mg/dl)

2304 - 243
0548 - 190 2 units insulin and a sandwich (30g carbs)
0510 - 201 granola bar (15g carbs)
0630 - start riding to meet group, mainly downhill
0654 - 283 beginning of bike ride
0700 - granola bar while riding
0824 - 141 powerbar gel (27g carbs)
0857 - 186 1/3 of sandwich (10g)
0900 - short all out hill climb
0943 - 212 1/3 of sandwich
1010 - 250 waiting for Barak
1025 - final tough hill climb
1112 - 145 6 units insulin and breakfast
1202 - 137
1243 - 122
1417 - 127

On the whole I need to reduce the amount of times I spike above 200.  I think it affects my performance as well as the potential long term hazards.  I am currently on 24 units of long term at night.  I think reducing the long term insulin and increasing the short term insulin slightly might work.  I tend to keep myself too high for fear of having low blood sugar, but I would rather hold myself in the 150 - 190 range than spike up to 250.

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