Figuring Out How to Cycle

May Cycling Misadventure
May Cycling Misadventure starring low blood sugar and cutting the trip short!

Ok, it’s not like I suddenly forgot how to ride a bike. However, I’m quickly discovering that endurance activities are a completely different beast when you’re on insulin therapy.

First Cycle Since Starting Insulin

This past Wednesday I had to go over to the hospital to get my blood drawn for an upcoming doctor’s appointment. Since it was really nice weather and I hadn’t been to the gym in a few days I decided to hop on my bike. However, I haven’t been out on my bike since I started insulin so I had no idea how it would end up affecting me.

The ride itself is only about 15km round trip, not a long distance by any means. I’ve been riding 35km or more in one ride pretty regularly up until my surgery last October. So I made sure to eat enough carbs to get my blood glucose to about 8 mmol/L (145) and took off after lunch so I could get to the hospital during the lull at the blood draw place (this really is the Dutch version of the DMV…).

It took me about 30 minutes to do the 7.5km ride and my blood glucose went down to about 5.5 mmol/L (100). So I ate some smarties while I was waiting my turn and when I went to get back on my bike I was back up to 6 (108). I ended up around 3.5 about 2km from home so I stopped, ate some more glucose and waited 20 minutes for my blood sugar to get up high enough and limped my way home.

Have to Figure Out How to Cycle While on Insulin

On June 7th I’m doing a 32km bike ride up in Noord-Holland that will drag out over 6 hours. Apparently there’s stops along the way to watch plays and have cake. I realized after my ride on Wednesday that in order to survive without bottoming out before the first stop on the route, I’d have to figure out what to do with my insulin and food.

So I told my husband we’re going for a 37km ride over the weekend which brings me to the present…

37 Kilometers Becomes 15 Again

This morning I prepared for the ride by dropping my basal from my normal 10 units to 8. I ate 2 slices of spelt bread with peanut butter, coffee, a mini snickers and mini kitkat bar before setting out. This would bring me up over 9 (162) which I hoped would get me to the half way point. Then I could drink some apple juice, get my bg back up again and finish the second half.

Nope! Xdrip (the app I use to collect the data from my Free Style Libre) started sounding the bugles (quite literally, that’s my alarm) to indicate that I’d be going low shortly. I was only about 7ish kilometers into the ride yet again.

150ml of regular coke, 2 dextrose tabs and 20 minutes later I was on my bike again headed home. Before I could eat lunch I was down to 4 (72) and starting to get a migraine.

Tomorrow is Another Day

Tomorrow I’m going to go ahead and try again. Here’s what I’m planning on changing:

  1. Up my night time basal dose from 24 to 26. In theory this should give me a bigger boost in the morning.
  2. Drop my morning dose from 8 to 4.
  3. Eat my spelt toast and peanut butter again.
  4. Drink apple juice about 15 minutes after the toast.
  5. Hit the road before my blood glucose starts to rise.

I’m thinking that maybe my pitfall today was waiting until my bg peaked before setting out so the cycling used up all the glucose too rapidly.

Man I can tell you one thing. I really, really want a pump!

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