Type 1 Cycling

Type 1 Cycling

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Some morning its hard to get out of bed

Today I woke up at my usual 5:30am.  It really took a huge effort to get out of bed.  My blood sugar was fine, my legs felt fine.  I was a bit short of sleep but three early mornings with 5 hours of sleep will do that to you.  I slowly got dressed, I dragged myself to the car and drove to training.  I hurriedly got my stuff together, bike out of car, front wheel on, Garmin on mount and switch on. Phone in pocket, check blood, glucose meter in pocket, stuff pockets with gels and bars.  Pump up tyres, bottles on bike. Gloves, shades helmet, shoes.

My trainer comes over while I am getting ready and mocks for being late.

Ready now.

Lock the car, jump on the bike and start my warm up.  I'm tired, but I am on my bike and you know what.  I just love riding my bike.  Suddenly I have energy I am awake and raring to go.

Can't wait to start the tour.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Interview with a Sponsor - Wix.com

The company that I work for has sponsored me for the Diabetes Grand Tour.  Wix.com is an internet platform for building your own websites.  You don't need to know any HTML or javascript.  Just drag and drop what you want to where you want and concentrate on the content and design we do the rest.  Wix is the biggest platform of its type and a market leader in technology.  Not only that they are a great company to work for.  Here is a short interview that I did with community responsibility team.

Wix: What are you doing again?

Rob Woolfson (aka Type1Cycling): Riding my bike from Barcelona to Vienna!

W: Are you insane? How far is that? 

RW: Maybe, isn't everyone here? Its 2300Km by the way, but that's not the worst of it, there is 33,000m of altitude - that's a lot of uphill riding.

W: Yeah I guess everyone here is a little nuts bit but I think you take the cake.  Why on earth would you do this, is this fun for you?

RW: I am doing this as part of Team Blood Glucose's (TeamBG) Event - The Diabetes Grand Tour.  We are raising awareness about diabetes, and more importantly the benefits of exercise on diabetes.  We are doing research into the effects of endurance sport on diabetes and raising money for The charity TeamBG so that they can continue to put on events that encourage more people with diabetes to get out there and get active. At big events like this over achievers like my brother and me get to show people that our Diabetes doesn't hold us back, that there really is no challenge that we cannot accomplish despite the condition.
W: That sounds great, does this mean you have diabetes? cos you dont look fat.

RW: I do have diabetes, but not THAT type of diabetes.  There are two types, Type 1 (some people call it Juvenile Diabetes) which is an autoimmune disease that ends up with the body no longer producing insulin, and Type 2 usually diagnosed in older patients that often have lead unhealthy lives, they still produce insulin but have become resistant to it.  My brother also has Diabetes he was diagnosed at 13 and myself at 27.

W: That's interesting, so what does exercise have to do with anything?

R: The key to a healthy diabetic life is balance.  It is important that I keep my blood sugar with in a range most of the time.  If I do not I could have some serious medical complications later in life.  Exercise and staying healthy are key components in the balance equation.  It also raises insulin sensitivity which is especially important for Type 2 diabetics as it could meant that along with a sensible diet they need no other treatment.

W: Wow this is a great thing you are doing, but how is Wix involved?

RW: As part of the Wix for the community project Wix is sponsoring me to ride the tour.  It is incredibly generous and has allowed me to make a large charitable donation to the TeamBG cause as well as raise money from other people with out having to worry about funding the trip as well.  It is really inspiring and heartwarming that the company I work for could feel so passionate about something I am involved in outside of work.  I am forever grateful.
I got a special kit with all my sponsors

W: So glad we could help.  How can other people get involved?

RW: I am currently finishing my training, and writing about it and more detail about the tour on my blog, during the tour I hope to update the blog and at least my twitter whenever I have access to the internet.  I will be uploading my rides to Strava and Garmin Connect in case anyone wants to follow my exact progress.  You can also visit the TeamBG site and read about what we are trying to do (sadly I haven't persuaded them to move over to Wix just yet).  If there are any keen cyclists who like to track their rides I recommend using Strava, I have created a Wix group that you can enjoy so we can keep track of each others' rides.
You can also donate to TeamBG, there is a yellow donate button near the top right.  When you fill in details please add that is either on my behalf or from a Wix employee.

Evolution of Kits

Replica Pro Team Kit - COOL (or at least I thought so)

Team Sky kit 2012

 My Own Team's Kit - COOLER

X-Team kit, main sponsor Trek

Kit With Personal Sponsors - COOLEST

Diabetes Grand Tour 2014 kit, produced by Funkier

Sponsorship from Wix.com, Dario, Kitchenbug and Trek
With thanks to my sponsors: Wix, Dario, KitchenBug and Trek.  The shirts were produced by Funkier

Friday, August 22, 2014

Support networks - or, The amazingness of the DOC

A few months ago we were invited to a Friday night dinner at some friends.  They always have a bunch of people in together and the conversation is lively and entertaining.  I get in and sit down on the couch while my host fetches me a large glass of whisky.  While I am waiting I start preparing all my diabetes paraphernalia, Changing needles, testing blood sugar, injecting my long acting insulin.  As I am doing this one of the other guests notices what I am doing and says that she also has type 1 diabetes.  My wife jokingly says that she knows what we will be talking about for the rest of the evening.

We talked about diabetes, about management.  I told her about my cycling and about Team Blood Glucose and the Diabetes Grand Tour.  She was suitably impressed.  I have heard many stories of people just not knowing other people with diabetes, particularly other type 1s not knowing about each other.  I am lucky, my brother has had diabetes longer than I have, so I have always had someone to talk to about this stuff.  However since I have been involved with the Diabetes Online Community (the DOC), my world has been opened up to more people, more knowledge, more technology and more opportunities (often opportunities to help people).  I have consulted with app and technology makers (for free), I have ridden across the Pyrenees with some of the most inspiring people with diabetes that I have ever met.

Fast forward to this week.  A few days ago I was in the bike shop, apparently I hang out there a lot lately.  I got a phone call from a number I didn't recognize.  I answered it and it was the same girl who I had had dinner with a few months earlier.

"I have an emergency"

She told me that her pump was broken, she had no other insulin (her back up supply had expired), I was the only other diabetic she knew of close by, could I help.

Could I ever?

It worked out nicely that she was on Novorapid in her pump, which is the same as I use.  I told her that I had spare and she could come round and take what ever she needed.  I got home opened up my computer and went straight to my diabetes Facebook groups.  I posted a question to Sporty Diabetic Type 1s and GBDOC and by the time she over I had plenty of help and and advice.  It was that quick, and that easy.  A number of suggestions were posted and we worked out a plan.
The comments I received right away

Clearly this was partially an issue that my friend did not have a backup plan.  It is something she will make sure in the future she has for cases like this.  In the end she was fine, it was just one night and the supplier got back to her the following day and fixed her issues.

The whole experience for her was eye opening, she was amazed at the response from people I do not know personally (though I have had many online conversations with them).  It also reminded me of an app that is designed for exactly this sort of thing.  The HelpAround app allows you to be part of a community, for example the diabetes safety net.  Then you can contact other people around you if you have a question or problem, if they are close enough to your location they maybe able to help you out.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Quick post about training with a power meter.

Some power reading for the past couple of days.  Fitness is often measured by the amount of power you can put out over certain periods (10s, 1m, 5m, 20m)  The last one is key as it determines a lot about how you train.  Sprinters generally aim to improve their power for 10s and 1m over the longer periods.  Endurance riders favor training for the longer periods.  Here are my best power outputs for 1min and 10s.  Reasonably happy with the average, but would like a more consistent looking graph.

I will post more about this as I learn to train with my power meter.  I am yet to do the 5 min and 20 min tests properly, when I do I will post again.

Its probably best if I do them on a trainer it will give a more consistent looking graph as it is free from outside influences that are unavoidable outside.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Diabetes Grand Tour 2014 Sponsoship

Last year I took part in the mHealth Grand Tour, for my part riding 500km into Barcelona - day 11, day 12 day 13.  This had been my biggest cycling challenge to date.  Not only was I able to ride it with my brother, Andy - also a type 1 diabetic since the age of 13, but also many other people with diabetes.  We learned so much from each other and it was great to have the support of a ride organised for our benefit, catering to our every need, from food and energy supplies to CGM sensors.  Not only was I lucky enough to have a place on the tour, and be physically able to take part but my family and friends sponsored my ride to the tune of around 2500 pounds.  That was a big donation towards TeamBG, and has helped the team with events this year.

This years tour will run from Barcelona to Vienna starting on the 30th of August, and I am doing the whole thing.  Having asked family and friends last year to sponsor me I did not want to pressure people once again for money, even though this year I am taking on a bigger challenge.  So I went a different route.  I asked for company sponsorship in exchange for having logos printed on a custom shirt.  As a result I have had all my costs taken care of through the sponsorship of some great companies.  It has helped me pay for the tour, travel, the cost of training (energy gels and bike parts) and printing some custom kit.  As I have had my costs taken care of it has meant that I have been able to make a large personal donation to TeamBG.

It is with great appreciation that I would like to thank all the people that have pushed at the relevant companies for me to get sponsorship.  It means a lot to me that they regard me and our relationship so highly that you would do this for me.  So a big thank you to Shira, Brenda, Keren and Amir for helping me out.  You have made this very special for me and it will not be forgotten.

Of course here I will introduce the sponsors whose contributions who I am eternally thankful for:

Wix - Wix.com is my employer.  They have given me time off work to do the whole ride and made a substantial donation.  They are a great company to work for and though I have only been there a short time I feel like an established member of the team.  Wix is an online platform for building websites.  You can use it to build a website with zero programming ability.  There are many features and add-ons available to enable the users to create professional looking sites. With 50 million users it is the biggest platform of its kind.

Dario - Dario makes an app and a device that plugs into a smartphone audio port.  They have just released the device in the UK and from September the strips will be available on the NHS prescription.  The app itself does not just allow you to track blood sugars but also food intake, insulin dosages and exercise.

Kitchenbug - The best way to describe this is Pintrest for recipes.  If that means nothing to you, then its a web app that allows you to collect recipes found on the web into different collections.  You can share the recipes and collect other peoples recipes, but the best part is that when a recipe is collected the information is read from the website or blog and converted into a formatted recipe. The recipe has the ingredients and directions along with the nutritional information.  This is especially useful for people with diabetes who are trying to manage their carbohydrate intake.

As a diabetic I need to make sure I have plenty of energy products when I am out training

Trek - One of the biggest names in cycling, their local franchise gave me a huge discount on essentials, some new kit and full service.  They sponsor my team here in Israel and have carried that over to sponsor me on the tour.  They give me great service every time I go in there, whether its to buy a couple of inner tubes or to fix a wheel.  I ride with many of the guys that work there regularly, they a great group of guys and fun to ride with.

Supplies from Trek - New front wheel, new tyres and spare tyres, inner tubes, gas, gloves, shoes, socks, dregreaser and oil

Funkier - Producers of both my team and my tour kit.  I gave my new shorts a test ride today and they are the most comfortable shorts I have worn.  They were extremely patient with me getting the design exactly right before printing up some long and short sleeve shirts with the above sponsors names on.  They look great and allow me to show off everyone that has helped me get to the tour.
Custom kit from Funkier, short and long sleeve shirts, bib shorts, gloves, socks and sleeves

Taking the sponsors out for a spin

If you would still like to make a donation to TeamBG then please feel free to do so.  Click near the top right of the page (the donate button) and when you have the option to give a reference just say its in my name.  The more money we raise the more events we will be able to put on next year, the more we can continue to help the wider diabetic community.

Thanks to all my sponsors and supporters I couldn't do it with out you.

Keep up to date with my progress by following my blog, and twitter.

You can also follow my rides on Strava.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Diabetes Grand Tour 2014 edition

Here we go again.  With just over a month to go I have really ramped up my endurance training.  Yes its back and I am am doing all of it.  The mHealth Grand Tour has returned.  2300Km and 33000m of altitude - Barcelona to Vienna crossing the Pyrenees, Alps and the Dolomites, including a visit to the legendary Mount Ventoux. This is going to be epic.  Last year I was only able to do 500K, just 3 days of riding.  This year I am doing the whole thing, 15 days of riding.
Andy at the top of Pahliers, an Hors Category climb
I have been lucky enough to receive some sponsorship for the Tour which has covered my expenses.  As such I will be making a donation to Team Blood Glucose who have worked hard with a small budget to put on the event.  TeamBG  have had a great year with many of its members participating in a range of events from 5K runs to Ironman events.  There was even a TeamBG organized bike ride in Surrey including the famous Box Hill climb, attended by new and old members.

Riding through the Spanish country sied

Much like last year the purpose and aims of the tour are will be to raise awareness about Diabetes, more specifically, as per TeamBG's mission, to demonstrate the positive effects of exercise on Diabetes management.  Given the scale of the bike ride, we will not just be showing that exercise is good for people with Diabetes (as it is with everyone) more that there is no challenge too great that cannot be conquered regardless of the condition. I know that if it wasn't for my Diabetes I wouldn't have been pushing myself to complete such a lofty goal.  We will be continuing with scientific research through Imperial College London monitoring the effects of prolonged endurance exercise on Diabetes, and as there will be riders with and without Diabetes there will be a suitable control group for comparison.  As mentioned the ride will be raising the profile of the work that TeamBG are doing.
At the ski staion

Last years ride had a focus on technology and how inter-operability between the interested parties can be leveraged to create applications and technology that can hugely improved the quality of life for people living with conditions like Diabetes.  This is a great article by Ian, one of the people involved in the mobile technology side who I met on the tour last year.  It was a perfect partnership so many of my diabetic friends are friends because of technology.  I entered this world through  the Diabetes Online Community (DOC) and I continue to engage with people through the various Facebook and Twitter communities.  I use apps to monitor my Diabetes management though logging my Insulin, blood sugars, food, and exercise.  I have blood glucose meters and continuous glucose meters, all supplying me with data.  Mobile technology is where its at and where it is going to be for Diabetes, it was no coincidence that we finished in Barcelona - the Mobile World Capital.  The ride was also successful for two of the amateur TeamBG riders, Pierre and Simon, who were picked up by professional Diabetic cycling team Team Novo Nordisk.

This year I look forward to meeting up with my brother, Andy, to ride together again.  We are both fitter and stronger and challenging ourselves with a bigger ride.  I also look forward to seeing many of the great people who I met last year and hopefully some new faces too.

Team Blood glucose is a  not for profit organization.  It relies on donations to survive.  As I have raised the money required to send me to the tour I will be donating some of my own money to TeamBG.  Additionally I would be very appreciative if you also donate a small  amount to help the cause.  If we raise enough then that will enable us to put on more events next year.  So please take the time to donate by clicking on the donate button in the top right of the homepage.
TeamBG group pic, above Barcelona

Keep up to date with my progress by following my blog, and twitter.

You can also follow my rides on Strava.