Gotta love the unpredictability of type 1 diabetes, especially when it comes to cycling. I tend to have morning highs--like 90% of the time--where my BG shoots up at about 7 AM, and from 7-9 I have a pretty good resistance to insulin. I normally get up and take 10 units of Novalog, and have no breakfast. If I'm going out for a morning ride I might eat something, but usually I can go ride for 1.5 to 2 hours without eating much and not go low--if I'm having a morning high, that is.
I had a Saturday group ride the other day with guys who were going to ride 17-19 MPH, a pace that I can normally hang with, for 40-50 miles. I got up, took a shot, packed a couple bottles of water and two PowerBar goo packs, and headed out. On the way, another cyclist called me to relay to the group that he would be a little late.
I rode hard to get to the meeting place, a local bike shop, on time, and felt good. Taking off on the ride across rural Oklahoma, however, I seemed to have no power. After 10 miles I started to wonder, and then knew that I needed to eat something because I could not stay on anyone's wheel. We stopped to regroup and I ate a goo and tested my blood: 58. Damn! The only explanation is that I had not had a morning high and the extra insulin was killing me. The other problem was that I had only one goo left and the group was heading further from town. There was a gas station about 10 miles on, and possibly one in a little village only 2 or 3 miles further. I had a credit card in my jersey pocket, so I could buy something at one of those places.
But I decided the risk was too high that the first place would be closed, and if I started to fade I didn't want to be asking people for their food. So I left the group and headed back to town. After about 8 miles I got to an intersection where I had to wait so I tested my BG again: friggin 56! This was crazy. I am treading water. And this should not be happening. I was also getting past the point where a morning high would affect insulin, so I would be dropping further. I ate my last goo and started the 5 miles or so back to town. I just had to make it to the gas station on the edge of town.
I spun down the road and made it easily. I rolled into the gas station and asked the attendant if I could fill my water bottle with soda and pay for a large drink. He said yes, and I filled it, grabbed a large Snickers, and reached for my credit card. It wasn't there! It must have fallen out on the road when I got the call earlier and pulled my cell out of my jersey pocket--I keep the two together and goo on the other side. The guy was nice and let me have the soda, and that was nice.
I drank the soda on the way home and though I didn't set any speed records, I did make it back with no problem at all. It is amazing how a simple ride, and expectations can result in a frustrating and somewhat tense ride. Other cyclists were also wondering why I wasn't riding the pace. I always have morning highs, and if I forget my morning shot I will be over 400 in 30 minutes, guaranteed. A week or so previously I forgot to take my morning shot and went out for a ride, and my BG soared such that I struggled to get home. It always happens except for that one time it decides not to happen. Preparation is very important. I had enough goo for the usual morning ride, and had my credit card, but these were not foolproof when things like this happen. Next time I'm going to put some cash in my bike tool bag, and eat something before heading out--and maybe three goo pouches just in case.