Monday, August 23, 2010

VT 30 (6 Hour) MTB Race

I competed in the VT30 6 hour mountain bike race in Pittsfield, VT near Killington Ski area on August 21st. This was going to be the longest race I have ever done as far as hours in the saddle, and was going to be one of my biggest challenges as far as managing my diabetes.

Here were the rules:
1. Finish 3 laps in order to finish (although I don't think they actually gave out any DNF's)
2. Do as many laps in 6 hours as you can
3. Your last lap must start before the 6 hour limit, this means you could go for a final lap if you crossed the line at 5:59:59.

We arrived at camp on Friday afternoon where we were to meet up with Rob & Renee, Dave & Jean, and Jamie all from the Racer-X team. Maggie and I set up camp, started a shish kabob dinner, made a fire, and had a few beers! Life was good!

Blood sugars were doing well also, got a little low while setting up camp so a few Cliff Mini bars did the trick until dinner. Got to bed around 10pm, and most was well overnight, although I needed about 25g of glucose tablets about 1:20am. Woke up around 6am with blood sugar around 160. I did the usual pre-ride breakfast of a slice Arnold Double Protein toast, and a couple Cliff Mini's. Race start was at 9am and my sugar was hovering around 180, which I was happy with. Temp basal was set at 50% 1.5 hours before race time.

The lap was 10 miles long as measured by my wheel magnet. Here is the profile of a lap, basically straight up, then straight down. Each lap consisted of about 1800ft climbing total. Mostly steady switch back climbing, with a couple sections that kick pretty steep! The promoters had an aid station set up at the top with some drinks, food, and fruit. I had to utilize this on every lap to check sugar, reload and refill. Racer-X also had a tent set up at the start/finish line and Maggie was there with filled water bottles, food, and had all my stuff ready when I came around each lap. I also would check sugar here, and after lap 1 it became apparent the the CGM (continuois glucose monitor) was not as accurate as I had hoped. It said I was 143 but when I checked it, I was at 208. This is not terrible, but I like around 150 during rides, especially since my heart rate was going to average in the 160's most of the day. The harder the effort, the faster the blood sugar will drop, even with a temp basal of 50%.

My goals for the day were to finish the race, ride at least 6 hours, and to have successful glucose management. A good result would have been welcome also! I continued to ride each lap stopping at the top and bottom of the climb to check blood sugar, and refuel. I had to lube my chain on lap 3, but there were plenty of tools and such in the Racer-X pit to fix that. I came down after lap 3 unofficially with 1.5 hours left until the 6 hour cutoff. I was putting in elapsed lap times of 1hr 30min, and this included my stops at both the top and bottom of the climb. I left for my forth lap and never stopped at the top! CGM said my sugar was 140 so I kept on going. I was headed for my fastest lap, but more impressive to me was that my lap times were all within 3 minutes of each other.

For some reason I was actually considering going out for a 5th lap if I crossed the start/finish line with under 6:00 on the clock. I descended as fast as I could and came around the start/finish line at 6:03 and some change. I was not aloud to go for a fifth lap by 3 minutes! This would actually be a good thing as my sugar was now at 80 (checked with the meter at finish), and could not have started that climb without getting some carb intake and a short rest. Maybe next year! I figured I could shave at least 10 minutes per lap off my time if I didn't need to stop, but this was not an option for me this year. I was actually planning my strategy for next year while I was still on the course. Next year I will have a some sort of wooden stake set up in a couple places on the coarse with water bottles of Edurox or Heed. I will also have more experience managing my sugar over a long race and maybe won't need to stop for sugar checks. I am also hoping I can use a new insulin pump and CGM that is a little more accurate. If I can accomplish that i think I can turn 1:10-1:15 lap times which should put me in line for 5 laps.

All in all I accomplished all my goals. I rode 4 laps, 40 miles, in 6:03:XX, climbed 8000+/- feet, had good blood sugars (here is my log for the day), and I finished 14th in Sport Men which was way better than I had anticipated! We were all back at camp enjoying a few beers by the camp fire, eating food and sharing stories about our rides..... that's what biking is all about! Can't wait for next year!!

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