This was my first year on the Dallas Fort Worth Tour De Cure and it was an exceptionally well run ride! The Tour De Cure ride raises money for research to combat both Type I and Type II diabetes. Being a Type II diabetic this is an issue that really hits home for me. At the start of the ride they announced we had over 1000 riders who had at that point, raised over $400,000 dollars to fight diabetes. This money goes to help all of the diabetics out there, from the kids just diagnosed with Type I, the expectant mothers diagnosed with gestational diabetes, the folks caught between the two with Type 1.5 diabetes, to the Type II’s like me.
First off, a big thank you to my sponsors! Thank you so much for your commitment to helping fight diabetes, you have helped make a difference.
This event offered a chance to meet some of the athletes from Team Type I and Team Type II. These people have “been there, done that” as far as endurance riding with diabetes and I was more than happy to get the chance to pick their brains as to how they handle their diabetes while on longer. Two of the big things I took away from my conversations with them were the importance of testing, especially during a ride, and the idea of moving toward a more natural diet. Both of these things were already on my radar but it was nice to have the ideas confirmed by the resident experts.
Unfortunately, my day had to start with a bit of road construction and getting shunted off onto the wrong road as I was driving to the start of the ride. This ended up costing me my normal 30 minute “opps” window I try to build into events like this. I had just enough time to put my bike together, grab my registration stuff and make it to the start. What I didn’t have time to do was to stop by the bathrooms, something the morning’s coffee and my hamster bladder were making me very aware of.
Being a “Red Rider”, (diabetic cyclist) they started the group of us at the front. Normally, since I ride a recumbent, I tend to start toward the back to avoid the crowds. Starting at the front worked out extremely well for me as it put me immediately with the fast group once we left Texas Motor Speedway. I managed to ride with the fast bunch up until SAG #1, (food, water and port a johns), were my cunning plan came together. By getting started at the front and riding with the big dogs at a fast pace meant I was first into the Port A Johns, something that my hamster bladder was more than grateful for. A quick pee, a check of the SAG food for pickles, (crap, no pickles!) and it was back on the bike.
Eight miles down the road and SAG #2 and it was another stop to pee, at least I was staying hydrated! Back on the road and I found the main hills for the ride. While a recumbent rider may be a bit slow up a hill, we more than make up for it on the downhill.
Around mile 25 or so I was busy talking with another rider and failed to pay attention to the road. I hit a nasty pot hole and immediately pinch flatted my rear tire. I found a bit of shade and started changing out the tube. Everyone that went by checked to see if I had everything I needed and was more than helpful. Fortunately the tube change went quickly and smoothly. Back up and on the road and I wanted to make some time and catch back up to the group I’d been riding with.
By that point in the ride I was feeling exceptionally well and the legs were more than happy turning big gears at 90+ RPM. The couple of times I paid attention to my bike computer I was surprised to see I was cruising along at 27-30 mph. The legs seemed more than happy at that pace so I just kept everything set in super cruise mode and hammered on into the turnaround point at Sag #4 with a 19.3 mph average. I grabbed some more water, a piece of a peanut butter sandwich, a Clifbar Mini, and of course another trip to the port a john and it was time to fight the breeze going back.
I had kind of figured that given my average speed at the turn around that I’d had a bit of a tailwind pushing me down the road and I was correct, it had now become a headwind, fairly light but still there. A ways down the road I came across another cyclist with a flat. It was her third flat and she was running out of tubes and patches. Having learned that lesson the hard way last March I stopped to help. By folding her tire back on itself and running my thumb along the inside of the tire till I went “OUCH!” I was able to find the tiny staple that she had picked up. Pulled the staple, patched her tube, and got her back on the road. She was happy, I was glad to have helped and the break seemed to put more energy back into my legs as my pace started picking right back up and I was making good time.
I stopped at Sag #6 for, you guessed it! Another bathroom break, boy was I ever staying hydrated! As I was looking over the menu choices for food, I noticed my personal food nirvana of choice for long hot rides. Some folks dream of cake and ice cream, some of a big plate of spaghetti, some of cold beers.. Me, nope, none of that for me! When it’s a long hot ride, the one thing in the world I want to eat are pickles! For me, it keeps my legs and body from cramping up, (google it, it’s how Philly beat the Cowboy’s in an early season game one year). What the angles at the sag stop were opening up were the big five gallon pickle jars loaded with big dill pickles. A glass of cold refreshing pickle juice, a nice juicy dill pickle and I was ready to ride!
Back on the road and feeling reinvigorated the legs went right back into super cruise mode. I shifted up into the big ring and my legs spun out a nice solid cadence between 90-100 rpms. I bypassed SAG #7, (the last Sag) as I was feeling outstanding and still had two full bottles of water with me, and for once, I didn’t have to pee!
By now, the roads were reasonably familiar from having ridden them that morning and I was spotting my turns before the GPS was giving me the heads up. I was still running around a 19-23 mph pace as the wind had slacked off and I was close to done. I was also close to running out of water. The pace I was riding had me sucking through my water bottles at a relatively high rate of speed. I hit the finish with about a swallow of water left in one bottle and a 17.5 mile per hour average speed. Not too bad for a former fat guy if I do say so myself.
Here is a link to my ride.
Things I took away from this ride.
Eat small amounts every 15-30 minutes. This worked to keep energy flowing into my system and helped me keep the speed up. Clif mini bars worked great for this. A bite size bar with 100 calories and a reasonable mix of protein and carbohydrates.
Stay hydrated! I stopped at most of the Sag stops and filled my bottles, this kept me drinking lots of water between Sags.