If you’ve been watching this blog, you’ll know I’ve been having a pretty hard time cycling more than about 7km from home without a hypo. Before I knew about this problem (when I thought I could still cycle 35+ kilometers in a day no problem), I agreed to go on Expeditie Egmond with my husband and his parents.
What is Expeditie Egmond?
Expeditie Egmond is an interesting event put on by the Karavaan Festival. You cycle from Alkmaar’s Victoriepark to Egmond Aan Zee and back through nature areas such as forest and dunes. Then at 3 locations along the route you see theater productions.
A pretty cool concept, but by the point of the event I wasn’t sure I’d survive.
Preparation for Cycling 32 Kilometers
Thursday night I cut my long acting insulin down to 18u. The internist suggested 6u but I know for a fact at 10u my blood glucose rose and rose to around 15 or 16 mmol/L with steady state cardio due to the lack of insulin. Then it took days to get it under control again. In hindsight I probably should have dropped it down more. I also wish I’d had more time to experiment.
The morning of the event, I had my husband stop at McDonalds where I had a double Egg McMuffin (2 eggs, bacon and cheese on english muffins), a cappuccino and before we left a white chocolate raspberry cappuccino for the road. I was trying to get my numbers into the 12s or 13s before we cycled off but I never got higher than about 8.8.
After meeting my husband’s parents at the starting point, I ate a couple fizzers and shoved my face full of jelly beans.
First Three Stops of the Ride
We stopped at a farm that was on the route where we were able to get a liter of fresh mild out of a machine in the farmer’s barn. I had probably 200ml of fresh whole milk and 2 mint oreos (my father in law was NOT impressed with mint oreos).
The next stop was at a monastery where I had an apple juice box. Both stops my blood glucose was in the 6’s and I was trying to get it much higher.
Then shortly after the monastery we arrived at the first official stop where we got dutch apple pie (with whipped cream), coffee, and a story about the sacred grounds next to the little cafe somewhere between Alkmaar and the beach.
After about 10 minutes, we were once again on our way and I had a mouth stuffed full of jelly beans.
Second Stop at the Egmond Dunes
The second stop was at the dunes in Egmond Aan Zee. We had a little plump greeter and we tromped about a half kilometer to where the group was performing only to find out we’d have to go back to where we parked our bikes to wait for the next performance in about 30 minutes.
Normally this isn’t a bad thing, but now we’re playing with glucose conservation. I was down to about 5 and dropping. So while we waited I had 150ml of chocolate milk, a bunch of dried fruit, a few oreo mint cookies, and a handful of sugared peanuts.
I got almost to 6.1 when it was time to start the performance and we ended up walking almost a kilometer loop. I had more dried fruit and a date cashew bar during the walk and a juice box after. I managed to stay at 6 which amazed me. Even trudging through the deep sand.
The Rain and Wind Comes in and We Cut Our Losses
We started towards the last performance but the sky that greeted us was NOT friendly by any means. The wind had really kicked up and we decided to skip the last performance and make our way back to the start point, which was about 8-10km away.
Unfortunately, going back meant I used some of that much needed glucose already and I started dropping. Especially since we were now cycling into the wind.
I don’t know how it is for other diabetics, but when I’m fighting lows induced by exercise, my muscles start getting tired. It’s like I’m asking them to do loads of work with absolutely no fuel what so ever. They’re screaming for rest, burning from exertion and I just want to stop. Unfortunately, there was really nowhere to stop out of the now pouring rain to fuel up and wait a good 30 minutes for the sugar to work.
I was eating skittles as we cycled, but it wasn’t working. Pretty soon my watch was vibrating and my phone was yelling at me. I had gotten down into the 3’s for the first time that day.
Knowing When to Call it a Day
We were about 2km from McDonalds and I told my husband I needed to just cut my losses. I wan’t going to make it the full 6km back to the park. My head was pounding, I really wanted to push my mother in law over who’s offering encouragement (when I’m low, this is just irritating) and I could tell that it wasn’t going to end well soon.
I did make it to the McDonald’s, my husband got me a coke (I had sugar with me but this way I could wait inside out of the rain) and I almost killed the kid who wasn’t going fast enough to get the soda to me.
I really can’t wait until I get this whole situation sorted. My appointment with the new diabetic nurse can’t come fast enough.