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Himalayan Stage Race Postponed Till Next Year

22Oct

Good Afternoon. Well after a bit of a stressful week I have a bit of sad news. Due to a mix up with the Indian Embassy I am having to postpone my trip to Asia till next year. Its with great sadness that I had to do this but I had no chose. Its such a shame as I have been working very hard towards this event but for now I have to crack on with my training for my next event on focus on the stage race in April when I will start my training for it again.

The good news is that I have been up in the mountains biking and I am loving it. The weather, even though its cold has been nice and sunny and I have been exploring a lot of the tracks in the mountains. Today I did a lovely 22km ride and it was one of the 1st times I had been back on a bike since the tour 5 weeks ago. I was feeling strong and have 3 months till I am biking though the Andes so each day I will doing a new route. I am so excited about this challenge and cant wait to get out their.

The start of the trail. Such an amazing place to ride and being in the mountains, its hard work....

The start of the trail. Such an amazing place to ride and being in the mountains, its hard work….

Setting off on my 1st route of the day

Setting off on my 1st route of the day

Heading off into the hills

Heading off into the hills

Again I am sorry about the next challenge but like diabetes, when something goes wrong its all about finding a solution to make it right. With diabetes when it goes wrong that can be in the form of a hypo and then the solution is finding some sugar to steady your levels. In this case it was trouble with the Indian Embassy and so the solution was booking into the event for next year and getting my head down and training for the Trans Andes Mountain Bike Challenge which I am so excited to be part of. Will be giving you all more updates though out the week. Lets hope the weather stays nice….

count down to the Himalayan 100 mile stage race

07Oct

Sorry for the lack of blogs since finishing my bike ride. Had a strange 2 weeks since I have been back as last week I got a really bad bug so had to lay low for 4 days but that was swept away on Friday when I put my running shoes back on and started to trek the hills in Klosters.

Running is not really my strongest sport. At prep school I use to love cross country but then hockey, cricket, football and snowboarding kind of dragged me away and I use to love chasing a ball around a big open field. So with my body repaired since my crash on the mHealth grand tour and my sickness kicked into touch it was time to tame the mountains.

As a diabetic you have to really look after your self when your ill and even more so when you are being sick as that can play havoc with your sugars. Lucky enough my sugars where well behaved 90% of the time when I was ill. Its always pay to test yourself at least 30/40 min after you have been sick just so you can see how your sugars react and don’t do any physical activity as this can delay your recovery.

So back to the running. On friday I went for a short run around the low grounds in klosters to start to build up my legs and to test my body and on Saturday I was ready to take on the more hilly mountains. My girlfriend Kate set off for a riding lesson and I strode off full of confidence to take on a 8km mountain trail.

The start of the trail though the woods..

The start of the trail though the woods..

So after starting off on the trail it was very wet and slippery underfoot and it times like this when I am glad no one is around as after slipping on a wet leaf and finding my self tumbling down what I can only describe as a muddy, wet, puddle ending slope I stood myself up, brushed my self down and carried on. Running is hard enough but running and laughing at your self always adds some excitement and I was a lot more careful to not repeat my last mistake.

The slope that lead to the tumble....

The slope that lead to the tumble….

As I was running in an area that I was unsure about I did come across 1 last mishap as I got a wee bit lost and added an extra 4km to my original run which is not such a bad mishap. So in total I ran 12.4km in 1hour 24min.

time check in the woods...

time check in the woods…

So after a few days out of action I was very happy with my return to the running world event though my 1st trail run did have a few ups and downs. On the plus side my sugars where perfect and when I started the run I was 7.4 and when I finished I was 6.6 so I was very happy with my control. Times like this I love my Bayer contour USB tester…

A wee bit tired after my 1st trail run

A wee bit tired after my 1st trail run

So that was saturdays run and sundays run/trail walk was amazing. I set off with my girlfriend and we went on the Alp route in Klosters. This route took us high above the town and though some amazing hamlets hidden deep in the mountain. We found some amazing running paths as well as some great areas for a beautiful walk

Running though the mountain meadows.

Running though the mountain meadows.

you can never escape the cows in the mountains and  the bell around their necks must drive them crazy

you can never escape the cows in the mountains and the bell around their necks must drive them crazy

A lovely trail path at about 2100 meters above sea level

A lovely trail path at about 2100 meters above sea level

So after 2 days great days of exercise in the mountains I returned to Zurich today to work on my endurance and did a great 12km run today. I feel my endurance is getting better every day and tomorrow I will be bumping it up to 15km…….

I shall keep you posted though out the week with whats going on and if your diabetic I can recommend exercising at least 3 times a week, even if its a 30 min walk as you will find your sugar control with improve drastically. Have a great week.

The last 2 days of the mHealth Grand tour….

22Sep

Sorry for the lateness of my last 2 blogs. The last few days have been a wave of tiredness and catching up on sleep. Here is a wee update of the final 2 days of the mHealth Grand Tour 2013, Brussels to Barcelona….

DAY 12, 17th Sept – Ax-les-Thermes to Berga

Well in the evening briefing their where a few worried faces about day 12. The riders only had 182km to ride with 3974 meters of climb. This was a very daunting day and was going to be a very long affair. My aim was to ride as much of the day as I could and finish with a smile on my face with a feeling of accomplishing as much as my body could take. I was still very sore after my crash on the 1st day and with only 2 days left I was willing to push myself as hard as possible till the end as I could rest when I got home. I will lead you though the day with photos….

Simon and Veronica all smiles at the start of the day. Their smiles stayed all day....

Simon and Veronica all smiles at the start of the day. Their smiles stayed all day….

Eric powering up the Col de Pailhers in the fog, rain and wind, he never stopped and was a true inspiration during the tour.

Eric powering up the Col de Pailhers in the fog, rain and wind, he never stopped and was a true inspiration during the tour.

Veronica and Simon at the top of the Col de Pailhers. It was cold, wet and windy and such an amazing achievement for everyone to get up in such adverse conditions.

Veronica and Simon at the top of the Col de Pailhers. It was cold, wet and windy and such an amazing achievement for everyone to get up in such adverse conditions.

Richard and Suzan riding down from Col de Pailhers.

Richard and Suzan riding down from Col de Pailhers.

After the 1st Col the conditions flattened out a bit and for the 1st time on the tour I got to ride with Mary which was such fun. She is a beaming ray of sunshine and it was a pleasure and honour to ride with her.

Mary, never met a happier lady and always had a smile on her face. Was such fun riding with her

Mary, never met a happier lady and always had a smile on her face. Was such fun riding with her

Seems to be all smiles today while riding with Mary

Seems to be all smiles today while riding with Mary

Team Nov showing us how its done powering down the Col. I never got bored of watching these guys and they where such a great bunch and was great to share diabetic tips with them.

Team Nov showing us how its done powering down the Col. I never got bored of watching these guys and they where such a great bunch and was great to share diabetic tips with them.

One thing you really notice when riding high in the mountains is the change in the weather and on some climbs it seemed like the 4 seasons. This is impossible to dress for as when the cold hits you it makes you suffer and that is always at the top of the climb. Navigating down a 25km decent when your fingers are too cold to hold on to the brakes is never much fun….

The long way up the Coll de la Creueta

The long way up the Coll de la Creueta

At the top of Coll de la Creueta. Started in the sun and finished in the cloud

At the top of Coll de la Creueta. Started in the sun and finished in the cloud

The road down the Coll de la Creueta was breathtaking...

The road down the Coll de la Creueta was breathtaking…

On the road down, the view never gets boring

On the road down, the view never gets boring

After what seemed like a day with no ending in sight me and Kate entered the final stage of the day and celebrated with a well deserved ice cream before the final stretch

Always have time for a ice ream stop with Anna, Kate and Mary

Always have time for a ice ream stop with Anna, Kate and Mary

The 1st sign to Barcelona...

The 1st sign to Barcelona…

Kate nearing the end of a long day, at least the sun stayed out

Kate nearing the end of a long day, at least the sun stayed out

The bridge before home, great to see me and Kate where all smiles still...

The bridge before home, great to see me and Kate where all smiles still…

Day 13, unlucky for some but not for me – Berga to Barcelona

With only 148km to the finish line and quite all down hill but overall more than 2200m of descending with just under 2000m of ascending it was going to be an amazing day riding through rural Catalonia before coming into Barcelona and the finish.

I left early at around 7.30 with Joel, Anna and Kate and we made some amazing time to start with. Due to me being a bit over excited I did not really do a great job on working out my sugars for the morning ride and pretty soon I was riding quite high. With Joel having a few problems with his chain and with me having to stop for wee bath room breaks every 15min the girls pulled away from us. After a few tweaks with my insulin I managed to balance my sugars and was soon powering along. Even though today was a shorter day we had a very strict time table to work too. We had to be at the Tibidado at 3.30 for a team photo then at 4.00 we had to be at the closing party where the Mayor of Barcelona was giving a closing speech. This would mean I would only have a 10 min window for lunch as my pace was not quite as fast as some of the other riders.. Here is the day in photos but saying that, most are when I reached the finish line in Barcelona.

Nice early morning ride for me and Joel. I am sorry about my biking position, at this point I had lost feeling in my bum and back and my only goal was getting to Barcelona and I did not mind too much what i looked like on camera.

Nice early morning ride for me and Joel. I am sorry about my biking position, at this point I had lost feeling in my bum and back and my only goal was getting to Barcelona and I did not mind too much what i looked like on camera.

Water stop at top of one of the Col's

Water stop at top of one of the Col’s

So tired coming up the last Col.. Was getting so over excited about reaching the top even though it did not look like it at this point

So tired coming up the last Col.. Was getting so over excited about reaching the top even though it did not look like it at this point

After reaching the top of the Tibidado which I am not ashamed of saying nearly killed me as it was a 9km, 550meters climb straight after lunch I was sad to hear I had missed the team finishing photo as due to my head injury my pace up the Col was slightly slower than the teams but reaching the top and the finishing line was the best feeling and with out the support of the riders, medical staff, back up team, family, friends and of course my girlfriend Kate I would never of made it.

The finishing photo at the top of Tibidado. Its sad to say but I missed the photo by 5 minutes as I was still pedalling up the hill due to a huge head ache...

The finishing photo at the top of Tibidado. Its sad to say but I missed the photo by 5 minutes as I was still pedalling up the hill due to a huge head ache…

At the top with my heros, Joel and Anna. Thank you so much for everything guys. Would never of made it with out you and looking forward to seeing you soon...

At the top with my heros, Joel and Anna. Thank you so much for everything guys. Would never of made it with out you and looking forward to seeing you soon…

All smile for the last wee stretch. Great to see Simon smiling after having to share a room with me...

All smile for the last wee stretch. Great to see Simon smiling after having to share a room with me…

2 new life long friends in Simon and Veronica

2 new life long friends in Simon and Veronica

It was carnage riding though the streets of Barcelona with all the riders dashing to the finish

It was carnage riding though the streets of Barcelona with all the riders dashing to the finish

The party and the bubbles tasted so good

The party and the bubbles tasted so good

Doctor Dennis, the doctor who put me back together. Thank you for everything and was a pleasure meeting you.

Doctor Dennis, the doctor who put me back together. Thank you for everything and was a pleasure meeting you.

A wee TV interview at the end of a long tour

A wee TV interview at the end of a long tour

Joel, Eric and Anna all enjoying some bubbles. Well done team, such an amazing job

Joel, Eric and Anna all enjoying some bubbles. Well done team, such an amazing job

Like I mentioned before, I have learnt a lot about myself, diabetes and cycling over the past 14 days and given the chance and may be a year or 2 break I would do it all over again. The tour was a mixture of highs and lows with the lows being run of the road on the 1st day to the highs of making some life long friends, helping the advance of diabetic medical research by being part of a world’s 1st diabetic study and getting to the end of my 1st challenge… A few big thank you to Adam and Julian and all their teams for making the tour run so effectively and making such a challenge fun, Doctor Dennis, Craig, James and Chris for helping to put me back together again after breaking myself so early on. Always providing motivation and giving me the opportunity to carry on, thank you guys. Simon and the rest of the riders for making it such a fun and interesting trip and for sharing all your knowledge on diabetes which will be invaluable when I start my next challenge. Also sorry about my snoring Simon, like I mentioned, its a illness with out a cure….To my relay drivers, Dad and Mum, for pushing me, making me laugh and smile and putting up with my banter and finaly to the riders who spend most days with me in the saddle, Richard, Suzan, Anna, Joel and kate. With out you guys I would not of made it as far and when I felt I could not go one you guys motivated me and made me dig deep. Climbing my 1st Col and doing my 1st bike grand tour was made possible by your attitudes. I can never convey my thanks enough but I hope to ride with you again soon. Next stop the Himalaya stage race, a 100 mile, 5 day stage race starting at the end of october. Time to start running and I cant wait to be running around India.

The end of an amazing challenge and next is the Himalayan Stage race in 5 weeks. Time to start running....

The end of an amazing challenge and next is the Himalayan Stage race in 5 weeks. Time to start running….

Also a big thank you to all my sponsors, Thirdtime, Bayer, Graham Watches, Shyman, Putney Chiropractic, Farinet Hotel Verbier, mySugr, Ollie’s Shop and Silretta. Also thank you to Team Blood Glucose for putting me in touch with such a great event and I must say, you guys put together such an impressive international team. My challenges are all in aid of raising funds for JDRF. JDRF is the leading charitable funder of type 1 diabetes research, funding the most ground breaking research around the world. JDRF work with academia, industry and governments to make sure that the research that they fund has the greatest possible impact on the lives of people with type 1 now and in the future. Not only is JDRF is committed to funding the most promising and innovative research that will lead us to the cure for type 1 diabetes. They also develop better treatments to improve the lives of people with type 1, and even prevent it from developing in the first place. If you would like to donate then please click on the Charity link in the menu above.

Day 11, 16th September, Castres to Ax-les-Thermes

16Sep

Castres to Ax-Le-Thermes is Stage 8 of the 2013 Tour de France route. As I knew this before I started the tour I am proud to say that I did watch stage 8 of the Tour de France and was a great feeling riding along the same route as some true cycling greats. In the morning, Craig the physio had a look at my neck and to see if he could help me with my head ache. After a little playing around he managed to ease the pain a wee bit so I was able to get onto my bike which was a great relief. Thanks Craig..

I set off in the morning with Joel and we had a great ride, reaching some great pace and averaging around 35km and the French country side was passing quickly and in the back of my mind I knew we would be in Spain soon then on to Barcelona.

Nice early morning ride with Joel in the French country side

Nice early morning ride with Joel in the French country side

Joel powering up a Col

Joel powering up a Col

The road to no where..... At least the sun is trying to break though

The road to no where….. At least the sun is trying to break though

For me though its not all about the riding and I had a great in Carcassonne, a medieval city and I took great pride in walking around the castle in my lycra. Its amazing how many people though I was slightly crazy….

All about wearing lycra in the middle of a castle. Great suit of amour for a knight

All about wearing lycra in the middle of a castle. Great suit of amour for a knight

The castle in Carcassonne. Was stunning

The castle in Carcassonne. Was stunning

What has been amazing about this tour has been the views and some of the roads we have ridden along. It never gets boring and each day presents a different challenge. Everyone on the tour is riding so well and in my opinion everyone should be a pro rider.

Amazing views coming into the Pyrenees

Amazing views coming into the Pyrenees

Kept on riding though these amazing tree avenues. Joel is blasting out in front

Kept on riding though these amazing tree avenues. Joel is blasting out in front

Today I had my 1st semi bad hypo while riding. After going up a wee hill I was feeling a bit dizzy and for any diabetic its so important to know the signs of when you are going low. So for me when this light headed dizziness comes to me I know its time to stop. So I shouted to Joel and pulled over, after testing my sugar my reading was 2.5 which is really low as your normal levels should be between 4.5 and 7. When ever I am exercising I am always prepared for going low and depending on what sport I am doing I will always have a mixture of sugar drinks/bars to boost my levels up to a safe level which for me to do high aerobic activity is around 7.5-8. Today I had dextro tablets and also some energy drink. As I was very low I had 5 dextro tablets and about 25 grams of carb from my drink. For me i find its very important to let your body recover and to make sure that your sugars are at a safe level before you start exercising again so today I chilled for about 15 minutes before setting off again. Just being sensible can save you from a serious accident and as soon as we set off again I could feel the difference in my balance and I was back on track safe in the knowledge that my sugars would not crash again. The reason for this low was that I had too much insulin for breakfast which on my part was a bad mistake and one which came on from tiredness. It just goes to show that you always have to be alert and think ahead. I am learning every day and the mistakes that you make only make you stronger and I will coming away from my challenge so much better prepared for my second challenge which was one of my goals during the course of all 7 challenges to understand diabetes better when you push yourself outside your comfort zone.

Having my sugar drink when I was low. As I went quite low and had a lot of riding to go I made sure I took on a sensible amount of sugar so that I would not go low again.

Having my sugar drink when I was low. As I went quite low and had a lot of riding to go I made sure I took on a sensible amount of sugar so that I would not go low again.

With only 2 days left on the tour, I cant wait to get home to see my girlfriend in the mountains on thursday and then come monday, training starts for my Himalayas stage race at the end of October.

Day 10, 15th September – Florac to Castres

15Sep

Day 10 was another long day but we got to ride along the Gorge du Tarn and see the Millau bridge.

The Gorge du Tarn, limestone cliffs, castles and more. If only it was not raining and so cold...

The Gorge du Tarn, limestone cliffs, castles and more. If only it was not raining and so cold…

Millau bridge, bot quite sure how they built this but it was so impressive. Taller than the Shard in London

Millau bridge, bot quite sure how they built this but it was so impressive. Taller than the Shard in London

Last night was interesting as it felt like a storm really kicked in and I was woken but our shutters slamming at 2am and then when we woke it was raining but it cleared very quickly.

Early morning sun and all was looking good till the weather changed in the mountains

Early morning sun and all was looking good till the weather changed in the mountains

We where also having a bit of fun with all the tour Vans and poor Mum had to put up with this

Mum and her car. Nothing like a bit of car art...

Mum and her car. Nothing like a bit of car art…

When we got riding and up in the mountains the rain came and the sun hid behind some clouds which was not ideal for us as it was so cold and raining but being the brave soldiers we carried on going. Seems like we are riding in the 4 seasons at the minute and only missing snow as yesterday it was 28 degrees and today it dropped to 9 degrees.. But being a mountain man I was not having fun in this weather and my poor feet where getting quite cold but I still managed a smile.

still smiling in the wet and cold mountains...

still smiling in the wet and cold mountains…

The ride along the Gorge du Tarn was breath taking and again the scenery blew us all away with a little help from the wind……

amazing view riding along the valley with Kate and Suzan.

amazing view riding along the valley with Kate and Suzan.

the weather changes very fast up in the hills and it was so so so cold and a wee bit wet....

the weather changes very fast up in the hills and it was so so so cold and a wee bit wet….

amazing view over my right shoulder in the gorge du Tarn

amazing view over my right shoulder in the gorge du Tarn

But for me my day was cut a wee bit short as my little friend, aka Mr headache was proving to much so after a lovely morning ride I decided to save myself for the final 3 days as the cold and wet was doing nothing for me. I have learnt over the years to listen to my body and always now when I have pushed my self as far as I could go. Its always a shame when you cant make the distance but I gave it my all and pushed as far as I could though the pain but enough was enough. It was great to see my riding friend Kate really pushing it after such a long day yesterday and the best thing about our group is that we always have a smile on our face and are always looking out for each other and over these distance that makes all the difference. When you are pushing yourself so hard you always need people around you to help and support you and thats what we have on the mHealth Grand Tour. Every rider, helper, medic and photographer/filmer on this tour are amazing and I would not of made it this far with out them so I would like to say a big thank you to everyone. I was unlucky on having such a bad start (run off the road on the 1st day 80km into the ride) but I really have pushed myself further than I though was possible the last 10 days and with that i am feeling very proud of what i have done. Again, this would not of happened with out the support of everyone and it will be a emotional end to the tour come Wednesday but I am looking forward to my bed. We still have 3 amazing days ahead of us and I cant wait to bike over into Spain. Covering 5 countries in 13 days is a achievement and I will never forget this tour and I have learnt so much about myself and diabetes which is the reason why I started my challenge, 7C7A. I am now off for a wee bit of supper then bed as tomorrow is another early start. With the sun set to shine tomorrow it will be great to leave the rain behind for the final stage.. I just though I would leave you with this photo. I think from now on I will just wear lycra with floro socks and flip flops as its a killer look, do you agree???

Now this is a great look, lycra leggings, floro socks and flip flops

Now this is a great look, lycra leggings, floro socks and flip flops

Pierrelatte to Florac, 14th September

14Sep

So another day gone and only 4 to go… Spain is getting ever closer and I am so so so excited about getting their. With the sun shinning in the South of France it was always going to be an amazing day and some of the views along the Pont d’Arc where breath taking and I guess it kind of looked like the Grand Canyon but the French version.

1 thing I found today was that after lunch my sugar where always dropping at quite an alarming rate and today when riding along at 46km I went down to 3.1mmol/l. Well that is really low and not a great place to be and for some reason it took a lot of sugar to get back to a safe and steady level. Again I think this was due to my body being tired, legs working hard and not having enough carbs at lunch. So I will make sure that I learn from this slight blip and shall not be repeating it. But apart from that my sugars have been on top behaviour which is a great feeling and they are working well with the demand that I am putting on them including dealing with the stress of my head ache and pain in the ribs.

So back too today, after a great night sleep my room mate Simon informed me that I might snore sometimes. I mentioned that this was not true as my girlfriend never complains. After some convincing I started to believe him and explained that snoring is like Diabetes and that their is no cure. I don’t think he feel for that so tonight I have been banished to sleep on my tummy. I also tried to explain that when i am snoring at least 1 of us is having a great night sleep…

Back to riding. If you have never been to the Pont d’Arc, then you must go, its breath taking and the rolling roads are such fun to bike along. Tonight we are staying in Florac which is a lovely quite French village and the food at the hotel was amazing. Tomorrow is a very long day, 198.56km long to Castres with quite a few hills or Cols.. Will be a long day but another fun day in the saddle as at the end of the day we only have 3 more days left..

Anyway enough rambling, here are some cracking photos from today and just to brag, I did climb another Col today…. Happy reading.

Getting ready for the day...

Getting ready for the day…

The pink tape table in the morning....

The pink tape table in the morning….

bike cleats are looking a bit worse for wear

bike cleats are looking a bit worse for wear

a more healthier cleat

a more healthier cleat

And its time to go

And its time to go

What a view across the bridge

What a view across the bridge

The morning sun with Joel and Kate

The morning sun with Joel and Kate

The team, me, Anna, Joel and Kate at Pont d'Arc

The team, me, Anna, Joel and Kate at Pont d’Arc

Pont d'Arc, will let the photo do the talking

Pont d’Arc, will let the photo do the talking

Nice to have a shot of my back at Pont d'Arc

Nice to have a shot of my back at Pont d’Arc

Its all smiles today and I did not get sun burnt... Happy days in France...

Its all smiles today and I did not get sun burnt… Happy days in France…

Sorry to say that for some reason the rest of my photos wont load… Hope you enjoyed part 9 of my story and only 4 more chapters to go… What happens in the last chapters?? I guess no one knows….

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