Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Better Diabetes at Friday Night Racing

The blood sugars faired better this time around. I did what the legend Bill Carlson told me; dosed insulin prior to racing. This time I also had the handy-dandy continuous glucose monitor on as well. The blood sugars were reading a downward trend prior to the start of the first race. The game was on. 

I won the first race easily, thanks mainly to my friend Mike pulling out on the first lap because his seat post came loose. It was a six lap points race, having won the first three laps I pulled up knowing I had enough. I believe this was my first overall victory on the track. 



My blood sugars flatlined now we raced again fifteen minutes later. This was a fifteen lap points race, with a twist. Points awarded on the fifth lap, the twist being we had to regroup after the sprint. Slamming on the brakes isn't fun. I got second overall in this race to Mike who had fixed his bike issue. 

My blood sugars were heading up at this point. The cotton mouth started. The last race of the night was a twenty lap keirin (a race to the finish). The race was pretty mellow until three laps to go. I got third in this one, out sprinted at the end, no juice left. 


I feel better about how my blood sugars were. Diabetes didn't wreck the rest of the weekend either. I gave myself insulin after the last race then rolled around for a fifteen minute cool down. That got my blood sugars to settle, just as Bill said they would. 

I have more to figure out both with diabetes and with racing. It's a challenge but it feels good to have figured it out a little more.  

Can't beat this picture of San Diego.
Coronado Bridge in the back of the Velodrome.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

First Track Race & Blood Sugar Demons

Coming around corner two in the third lap of my first track race I looked down at the competitor to my right. In that brief moment it was as if time stood still. "This is incredible," I thought to myself. 

The first race of Friday night was an "unknown distance", a purely sick and twisted way to start. The race turned out to be eight laps, none of us knew how long it would be until the bell lap. I ended up getting second in my first race.

Every Friday at the San Diego Velodrome there are C and D level races. I'll let the reader guess if you start in C or D. 

I loved the adrenaline. The adrenaline did not like my diabetes. My blood sugar spiked after the first first race to 280. I gave myself a unit of insulin knowing it wouldn't do much. 

The second race was an eight lap points race. I won a lap for a point and got second on the fine lap for two more points, three total for the race. Ended second in that race as well. Confused yet? 

My legs shot like I haven't felt since college, when coach was really [really] mad at the baseball team. Slow triathlons are about cramping, this was about full pounding lactic acid. I checked my blood sugar again. Well over 300. I could feel the cotton mouth. I gave myself two more units while letting my legs rest. 


Triathlon is so different than this. This isn't participation, no feel good pats on the back, it's actual racing. Once the race starts there is no more time to think about how your legs feel. Time passes like a chess match, each player pounding the clock after a move. 

The last race was an eighteen lap points race. Points every six laps. This was more fun than points every lap. I won the first points lap. Sat down on the second points lap without juice in my legs. On the final lap I ended second, eight total points on the race. 

The tired feeling felt wonderful. My cotton mouth from a high blood did not. 

My blood sugar ended near the same place it started in the final race. I learned a lot and sure won't let high blood sugar slow me down. 

The resulting blood sugars reeked havoc on my weekend and sleep. I spoke with the legend himself the following day, Bill Carlson. He gave me wise sage advice on how to keep the blood sugars down this Friday. 




Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Team Cassidy Prone Paddle Board & Track Racing

Jamie opened the freezer to find my running shoes in plastic bags. Taking a step back and giving me a dirty look, “what are these?”

Her eyes looking through me, I knew exactly what she was referencing from across the room. My head down I gave a quick rebuttal, “I heard it gets the smell out, we’re the weird family, we all just have to accept that.” 

Keeping her eyes glazed through me, “yeah, I realize that already.” 

I found out this week that only 1 in 5,000 people in America have completed an Ironman. I’ve heard marathons are around 2% of the population. Every Monday my boss asks “what did you do this weekend”, each Monday the reply, “rode my bike.” Once he asked how long, I told him seven hours on Saturday. The look on his face said it all. I’ve haven't been asked how long since.

Jamie has talked about trying paddle boarding since we moved to San Diego. She recently started to go to group workouts with a club that does prone paddle board, basically laying on your stomach (or knees) paddling like swimming. If stand up paddle boarding (SUP) is niche, this is uber niche. Everyone in the group is a former high caliber athlete. 


That’s why I give her credit for showing up in the first place. It’s not easy being the new person in a group of athletes, even when you’ve been an athlete your entire life. 

Last week I finished my six week track cycling class. If road cycling is niche, track cycling is uber niche. There aren't that many velodromes in the country in the first place. I guess that’s the way Jamie and I like it. Thanks to a friend helping me get a track bike I’m going to give racing a try. I love the track; the speed, the contained area, how the community has been so welcoming. 


San Diego, the whole area is full of people like Jamie and me. If you want to get outside and make friends doing it, this is the place to be. It’s nice to know you can be part of the niche and not simply be the only weird ones. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Simple Life: Track Cycling

One of the beauties of baseball is it is fairly simple. A glove, a bat, a ball and one can't forget the hat. When I put my hand in a glove as a child it felt as though the two of us were one. The glove is so simple, a piece of raw leather cut a certain way and stitched up. The issue with cycling is that it is the anti-simple in the modern era. 

The bike most people know has two wheels, a frame and from there it gets more complicated. Two derailleurs (the part that shifts the bike), all the brake parts, the four cables and the list continues. When one learns to maintain all of these together to create a working bike it is very fulfilling. It's all like using an insulin pump for diabetes, when it works, it's great. When the parts don't work together, it is less than great.

I've started to take a track cycling class every Wednesday evening at the San Diego Velodrome. What's different about the velodrome; the bike is a fixed single gear with no brakes. All go, no show. The first time I stepped on a track bike it felt like putting on that baseball glove. Simple. Peddle the bike, it moves forward; stop peddling, the bike stops (quickly). The track bike is like multiple daily injections compared to the insulin pump. The user knows what they get, not all these other parts that are going to break.

This is something different but still the bike, simplified. The track class is a good learning experience, learning how to ride the bike better and differently. 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

200 miles in Hemet, CA

On April 12 I rode 205 miles as part of the California Triple Crown series of 200 mile rides. This event took place in Hemet, a small town in the Moreno Valley about 75 miles from our home in Solana Beach. The area is in a valley, hot and dry in the California desert. 

The day was long, about 14 hours in total. I found it is one of those things that I can check off my list. As long as a rider is fit enough, they can go longer. 

Post event my Mom asked, "how can you go that far?". The answer I gave sums of the event, "it's harder to go fast for a short period of time than bike all day slow." Outside perception is longer is harder but that isn't always the case. 

My blood sugars at the start of the day were high, having spiked after waking up. After a correction in the first 20 miles, in the pitch black of 5am everything settled. The rest of the day was simple, ride...ride...ride. 

Near the end of the ride I went to the mental place that each race seems to give. While this wasn't a race, I was out there for so long it was still a day of pushing oneself. The clarity of mind is a beautiful thing. I thought of Jamie, where my life is going professionally right now and life in general. 

How far is far? Each person's definition is different. Whatever it is, get out there and push your limits. 


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Palomar Mountain Ride with CCSD

Once in a great while all everyone needs is a mini-vacation. A little get awhile from the world. A time when things are different, even for a brief moment. 

Climbing from sea level to Palomar Observatory is that small, brief, relief from the world. Where we live is sunshine and palm trees (be jealous), once the cross above 2,000 feet happens there is no more of that. The fog is dense, the tree's filled with pine. It almost feels like being back home in Wisconsin. 

At the start of Saturday's climb up Palomar my blood sugars were high. I've yet to learn that I either need to wake up early to eat or avoid eating until near the start of events. 

No matter, blood sugars were back to normal within sixty minutes of riding. 

The climb felt great, taking it easy the way up because I didn't know what to expect, even stopping to take a few pictures.





Signs at the top. 


Monday, March 17, 2014

Do something that scares you

A wise man once said; do something everyday that scares you. Today I registered for the St. Paddy's Palomar Punishment ride this coming Saturday. 11,000 feet of vertical climbing over 100 miles. The route goes up Mt. Palomar, I've never ridden to the top before. I'll know very quick on Saturday if I'm ready for the coming 200 mile ride in April. That much climbing over 100 miles for a rider my size scares me but that's why I'm doing it. Nothing worth doing is easy. 


The riding has been going well as of late. I went through a burst three weeks ago that left me feeling flat but the last two weeks have been spectacular. The last two weekends Jamie has come out with me as well. I know riding outside is slightly out of her comfort zone but she's been doing great. She's done a ton of indoor trainer intervals and you can see how much power she has gained, she's stronger on the bike than I've ever seen her.

Jamie inspired me to ride the Palomar route. Do something that scares you too.