Tech, Tours and Tired Legs - Part 1
Diabetes is a tricky thing to deal with. It's 24 hours a day and there is no break from it. It is not about the injections or the finger pricks, you get used to that within days. It is about maintaining control. High blood sugar is very bad for you long term, leading to some pretty horrible complications later in life if not managed early. In the short term, I feel sluggish, if on a ride with very high blood sugar my legs will be screaming and I just wont be at top performance. To control it I take insulin. If I take too much I will have low blood sugar, I need to eat instantly otherwise I could pass out. When that starts to happen the power just goes, no pain I just grind to a dizzy stop.
On a normal day in the office I can easily keep track of my sugars with a finger tip blood test. But out on the bike it's so much more difficult. The intensity of the workout or race (which comes with extra stress) can wreak havoc on my sugar levels. They can go high from the adrenaline effect of pre-race nerves, or high intensity intervals. Or they could go low because I when I work out my insulin sensitivity increases to a point where I need very little insulin and one unit too much will wreck my day. Then there is eating, how much do I eat and what. Too much carbohydrate, especially short chain carbs will send me high, so I need more insulin, but by the time I start my race will the insulin still be in my system? If it is then I could go low very early. If not maybe I will be high.
So hear is my solution. I have a sensor that is inserted under my skin and changed every two weeks (freestyle Libre). This doesn't transmit, so I have to stick a scanner/transmitter on top of it (MiaoMiao). This transmits via bluetooth to an app on my phone (SpikeApp), this takes the raw data and calculates my blood sugar. It has alarms to tell me not just if I am high or low, but how fast I am heading in either direction. That app then transmits to my Garmin Vivoactive watch and more importantly to my Garmin 1030 (via Garmin IQ data fields). I never have to look anywhere else, its right there in front of me next to my Watts!
This gives me the ultimate power. I can comfortably eat more before a race and I will take more insulin to prevent me from being high, without risking a low. I can see it coming long before it happens and I will have plenty of gels with me to eat just in case.
THIS IS A GAME CHANGER
To see how I got on managing my condition in a multi stage race, read part 2