Friday, August 28, 2009


Saturday morning, August 22nd, Michele, Adele and I as well as our friends Rachel and Nadia packed our gear in our truck and headed out to Halifax. That afternoon was spent shopping as per the girls request and in the pool at the hotel. The Accu-Check Cyclebetes national relay Maritimes team had a meeting at 5 pm followed by supper. Because of the forcasted hurricane (Bill), we would make a decision at 5:30 am the next morning to see if it was safe to begin the ride to Moncton or if we needed to postpone.

Day 1 on Sunday, August 23rd, after about 3 hours sleep (much noise from a wedding at the hotel kept me up most of the night), we woke up to cloudy skies but no rain. We ate and made our way to Point Pleasant park for the departure of our journey. Alex Bates and I were the first ones to ride the tandem. After 2 flat tires, we managed to cover about 50 kms before handing over the tandem to Andrew and Jonathan. The heavy rain and gale force winds started just about then and followed us all the way through Wentworth. It was a very long and difficult day given the conditions. 14 hours after we left from Halifax, we arrived in Moncton at around 9 pm. I was exhausted.

Day 2 on Monday, August 24th began with a breakfast and gathering at Mike's Bike Shop in Dieppe. We left Dieppe in the light rain at about 9:30 am accompanied by 3 local riders who would help us get to Fredericton. After many kilometers and flat tires, the sun finally came out after Jemseg just in time for my shift riding the tandem. Chris Jarvis went ahead and pushed the pace to around 37 - 40 km/h. After about an hour of this, my right knee was telling me it had enough of the uncomfortable position on the tandem and I went back to riding my own bike. We made it to the campground at around 6:30 - 7 pm. It was another long day. That evening, we had a team meeting and decided that we would leave early the next day (6 am) and that riding shifts on the tandem would be 1 hour instead of 2 or more like past days.

Day 3 on Tuesday, August 25th began with a very early wake up call at 5:15 am. I was very tired and quite happy to not have the first shift on the tandem. Megan and I were the last pair to get on the tandem just before Perth Andover and even hit the fastest speed of the day on one of the downhills (65 km/h). After getting off the tandem, I got on my own bike and rode the rest of the way to Edmundston. The sun was shinning and the views on the back roads travelled were breathtaking. We arrived at the campground earlier this time, around 4:30 pm. We stayed up a bit later around the campfire and met the Quebec team including 8 year old Liam who has been practicing riding a tandem with his mom all summer in preparation for this ride.

Day 4 on Wednesday, August 26th also began quite early (around 5:30 am). We rode our bikes to the Quebec - New Brunswick border for the official Accu-Check blood glucose meter baton handoff. I was both sad and happy to drive home after that.

The trip summary for me was about 18 hours on my bike (or the tandem) riding about 500 kms out of 800 kms in 3 days. I was sore and tired, but very inspired. Being surrounded by so many "do something" people was very good for my morale and gave me hope for Adele's future. Every single pedal stroke in the ride was bringing us closer to a Type 1 cure. Chris Jarvis rode about 10 hours on Sunday through the hurricane for a total distance of 220 kms. He woke up with a high blood sugar that morning which stayed high almost until noon. You could see that he was suffering and not 100% on the bike. He later told me that his sugar was up to 19 at that point. It came down in time for lunch, but then went low in the afternoon. His pump started beeping while he was riding the tandem with Barb. I rode up beside him after he asked me to check what the problem was because he didn't want to stop. His continuous glucose monitor indicated that he was low (3.9). We wanted to get someone else on the tandem so that he could rest and eat, but he insisted on continuing after juice and a snack. Kidney and pancreas recipient Alex Bates also did his share of riding on the tandem not even 1 year after his transplant. His 24 years of Type 1 game struggles have given him a maturity way beyond his years. I was very inspired by him being out there on the bike during a hurricane with a smile on his face. This was nothing compared to everything else that he'd been through. The Type 1 players were riding through high and low blood sugars. Their Type 1 destiny has taught them the true meaning of courage. Not once did I hear any of them complain.

I came home very inspired and happy to see my family. You can follow the relay here

Next up is our local Mike's Bike Shop Cyclebetes 200 km ride on Saturday, September 12th. I can't wait...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The biggest bike relay in the world !!

We're still surviving in this game called Type 1. I'm still not sure how the heat affects Adele's blood sugars. It seems to cause her sugars to go high. We've been telling her to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. How does the heat affect blood sugars for other Type 1 gamers out there?

Tuesday started out good, but then Adele's sugars started to creep up late afternoon into the evening and night. Here are the highlights:

Tuesday, August 18th
7:30 am - > 5.0
8:45 am -> 5.5
11:15 am -> 5.9
2:30 pm -> 12.8 (too high, gave 0.3 units insulin)
3:30 pm -> 12.0 (still too high before afternoon snack)
5:20 pm -> 15.5 (way too high before supper)
8:45 pm -> 17.5 (still way too high)
9:25 pm -> 18.1 (still going up, corrected with 0.5 units insulin)
11:00 pm -> 13.2 (still high, gave another 0.6 units insulin)

Thinking that this upward trend was going to continue, I decided to give Adele a bit more insulin to cover her supper the next day. This caused her to go low (3.3) before her bedtime. I guess my gameplan wasn't so good :-(

The biggest bike relay in the world is set to begin on Sunday, August 23rd in Halifax. The Accu-Check Cyclebetes relay to Cure Type 1 Diabetes will have teams of cyclists biking from Halifax to Vancouver over a 3 week period. On Saturday morning, we're leaving for Halifax (by car). I will be riding as part of the Maritimes team. Our journey will be from Halifax to the Quebec border.

August 23rd - from Halifax to Moncton (300 kms - hopefully hurricane Bill won't blow us off the road!!!)
August 24th - from Moncton to Fredericton (200 kms - we'll be at Mike's Bike Shop in Dieppe from 8am to 9am, come meet the team including Type 1 Canadian Olympic rower Chris Jarvis and bring your bike for our short ride before our departure)
August 25th - from Fredericton to Edmundston (310 kms)
August 26th - handoff to the Quebec team before driving back home

I will try to post pics and details daily on this blog. Can't wait to get started !!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I was just thinking how Adele's blood sugars affect my mood. A good day playing the Type 1 game makes for a good day for me in general. I'm just in a better mood. Little things like slow traffic, spilled milk, a flat tire on a bike ride will never ruin a good day playing the Type 1 game for me. And the best is when we're on a winning streak. It feels like playing on an undefeated hockey team during the playoffs. You're on a high and can even get a bit cocky. "The Type 1 game isn't so bad after all" is what I sometimes tell myself. I'll even sometimes think that this time we've got it beaten, that the basal insulin rates and carb ratio scales that we're using will keep working like this from now on. Then, suddenly, without warning, the winning streak abruptly comes to an end. This is inevitable. It always happens eventually. This is what ruins my day and puts me in a bad mood. It reminds me of what it's really like to play the Type 1 game. It's Diabetes way of communicating to us that it's still there and that we can never ever forget about it. But, we still often get caught off guard.

Last week we spent 3 days vacationing in PEI. It was a real fun vacation with real nice weather. We had inserted a new Continuous Glucose Monitor sensor before leaving. I find that the first 3 - 4 days are when the sensor works best. After that it sometimes gets messed up and starts giving false readings. The CGM is a pain to insert and calibrate, but a real Type 1 luxury especially when your activities are out of the ordinary like vacationing in PEI. The first day, Adele suddenly became very sensitive to insulin. Her pump kept giving us low blood sugar alarms. We have the low alarm set to 4.5 mmol/L to give us a warning before she is low (below 4.0), but there is always a delay in the sensor reading, so even if the sensor says 4.5, she may be lower than that. Adele needed many extra snacks on the first day to avoid these lows. We also had 3 or 4 low blood sugar alarms during the first night. At least we're on vacation right? I backed off her insulin for day 2, but we still needed extra snacks to avoid lows. I backed off her insulin even more for day 3 and she had alot less lows. But we only stayed for 3 days, so guess what happened when we got home after the vacation? It took another 2 days to slowly bring her insulin intake back up again because at home she was now tending to run high. Fun game...

This week, with the daycare routine, I made a few small changes and her sugars have been quite good which means that I'm in a good mood.

Another thing that keeps me in a good mood is my upcoming participation in the Accu-Check Cyclebetes National bike relay to Cure Diabetes. It is the biggest bike relay in the world. I am riding the New Brunswick and Nova Scotia legs (from Halifax to Edmunston in 3 days).

Sunday, Aug 23rd - Halifax to Moncton (approx. 300 kms)
Monday, Aug 24th - Moncton to Fredericton (approx. 180 kms)
Tuesday, Aug 25th - Fredericton to Edmundston (approx. 300 kms)

It's a relay so the total distance is shared amongst the team of 10 riders. They also have a tandem bike that we're supposed to ride. I'm also bringing my own bike and would like to ride as much as possible even if it's not my "turn". Canadian Type 1 Olympic rower Chris Jarvis will be riding with us also. We will be at Mike's Bike Shop on Monday, Aug 24th from 8am to 9am. You can drop in to meet Chris. Bring your bike, Chris and the rest of the team will be going for a short bike ride with all guests (including the kids) before we leave at 9am. I will try to post regular updates during the ride (daily). If I don't have access to an internet connection, I will post some pics and comments upon my return. The Cyclebetes website is

Now, let's see how long this Type 1 game winning streak (and good mood) will last...