John Stevens

Riding 1000km's to change lives

My Activity Tracking

1,580
kms

My target 1000 kms

I'm fundraising for a great cause!

I’m doing the JDRF One Ride to raise funds for type 1 diabetes (T1D) research! This means I will be riding from 1st to 30th September 2021 to achieve my KM target while competing against other cyclists across Australia.

This year is particularly significant for myself and the T1D community as it marks 100 years since the discovery of insulin. I personally have been living with T1D for 47 years. Despite many advances in the past century, insulin remains the only treatment option for people living with type 1 diabetes. It is not a cure, it is life support.  This means the needles, injections, finger pricks, bulky devices and constant monitoring remain a part of everyday life for anyone living with this condition. 

JDRF is the largest funder of T1D research in the world and believes we shouldn't have to wait another 100 years for the next major breakthrough.

DONATE NOW to support me so we can help change the lives of more than 125,000 Australians living with T1D.

Let’s make type 1 diabetes a memory, not a milestone. Thank you!

My Updates

Day 30 - Goal Acheived!

Thursday 30th Sep
Well, the last day of this event has come, and I have acheived my km goal.  The fundraising goal is a little over 50% of the way there as well, which is not bad in this environment.
And it is not done yet.  There is still a team Zwift ride/catchup at 19:00 AEST tonight, so more km to come.
And, finally, I have joined the Smart Trainer crew.  Arrived this afternoon and set it all up ready to go in time for tonight's ride.
Will miss having this goal.  Perhaps it is time I set some new ones for myself.

BGL is still running high mostly, though my adjustments have worked to a degree.

Day 29, oh so close to 100km, and persistent High BGL is bad

Wednesday 29th Sep
So, yesterday I told you all about how all of a sudden my Blood Glucose levels (BGL) are tracking high.  Well, nothing has changed today.
Overnight high BGL caused me to wake up very dehydrated and feeling less than fantastic.  Still, out on the trainer to tick off some more km.  Didn't bolus for the high thinking that the exercise would bring it down like it normally does.

Well, that didn't happen, and halfway through the ride I was still dehydrated and even though I was chugging water, I ended up with a very dizzy head as my blood pressure dropped.  Almost had to stop.  But, I was on a trainer, the bike was being held up by it, and I was safe.  So I pressed on.

I won't complete the goal until tomorrow due to some socialising tonight.  Can you beleive it?  We can go have dinner with friends at a restaurant (as long as we fit in the time window).  So tomorrow morning I hope my BGL is behaving itself again and I can enjoy it.

What could be causing this persistent high BGL?  Here are some options.
1) I am coming down with something.  Unlikely as I have been isolating at home for weeks, and just gotten over a cold I picked up from the grandkids.
2) I changed insulin vials (I use one short acting insulin for when I eat, and a long actine one twice a day) and perhaps the new ones are not as potent as normal.  No way of telling until I get to another packet, and you don't waste this expensive stuff.  I'll just have to modify my dosing regime.
3) I have some bacterial infection somewhere.  Remember that leg ulcer?  Unlikely as the swabs of that ulcer came back with only normal skin bacteria.

There are many other things it could be, like wind direction, phases of the moon, anything really.  These are just the most likely. 
Type 1s must inject themselves with a poison that can kill them as easy as it can keep them alive.  And they must determine the dose based on a bunch of variables, and modify what they do based on the results, which is where I am at now.

Like I said once before, the definition of Type 1 idiocy is to do the same things, the same way, and expect the same result.

Day 28 - Back in the real world. While I can.

Tuesday 28th Sep
Summer is coming, but we are in for some rain over the next week.  Predictions are that I will be kept indoors for the next few days at least, so it will be km on Zwift.
So, I had to take the chance and get out this morning, and I am so glad I did.  Aside from the sunrise, I rode beside two kites (birds of prey) for a while in the rail trail, say lots of parrots, finches, and other bird life, and left the Drysdale Station Magpie in peace.
Strangely, after suffering hypos all month, last night was a night of high blood glucose, and even a couple of units of Insulin before my ride did not bring it down that much.  Pretty usual for me to spike high after a morning ride, but I rarely start out that way.  Anyway, as uncomfortable as it was in my muscles, the ride was spectacular, and I really did not want to come home.  Hopefully the good weather will return soon, as will DST.  Mornings will be dark again, but evenings will be light and I will be able to de stress from work in the Real World.

Days 25, 26 & 27 (rest day)

Monday 27th Sep
Wow.  We are having quite the mixed bag of weather down here.  Saturday was all over the place, wind, rain, sunshine, so did a Zwift session with some others in the middle of the day.  Then into the veggie garden to get it in shape.  That sure kept the blood glucose low, and required some significant topping up through the day.  And then spent the night watching the UCI World Road Championships Women road race (better than the AFL Grand Final) with a thrilling finish.

Sunday was a much nicer day and went out for a ride with my daughter.  Edged my remaining target kms down to <100km, so looking good for this week.  But, I have found the last week has started to bite.  All the hypos and the muscle soreness came together on the ride to convince me I needed a rest day, so today is it.  Pity as when I got up this morining it was a beautiful one, though quite chilly.  Still, we need to ensure we can recover to hit these goals.  

Tomorrow we whittle that target down some more.  3 days of riding to go, with 92km needed.

Day 24 - the weather could be better

Saturday 25th Sep
Friday before AFL Grand final day is a holiday where I am. Was nice to not have to get up at 5 to get a ride in before work. However, the weather was not playing along with my plans. After having the grand sons over for the day and catching a nap, it wasn't until the evening that I finally got into the garage for a ride.
This Zwift thing had been great over this month. Weather crap? Zwift. Weather good? Ride IRL. Want to meet up with other HypoActive members or the JDRF? Zwift.
At least I am rocking of the km to my new target of 1000. Wouldn't have made it this far without the ability to ride in the garage during poor conditions.

Day 23 - It's the little things about Type 1

Thursday 23rd Sep
Well, getting closer to the end of the One Ride event.  My km target has now doubled, and I am looking good to make it.  Today was another Zwift meetup with the JDRF One Ride participants and organisers, including Zoom session so everyone can see everyone sweat it out.

A late start for me.  I am usually out at 05:30 ish for a ride in the real world or on Zwift (which is a new thing for me).  Big day of meetings and sitting around, and a medical appointment to get to.  After 47 years of living with this chronic disease, it is the small things that get to you.

Over 3 months ago, I had a bike carrier fall on my right leg and do some damage to my shin.  It has been a battle I waged on my own for most of that time, until I gave up and sought professional help.  Still ongoing.  And not helped by my assisting a friend remove a WW2 fighter from lake Corrangamite, and getting my leg wet in the water that is 5x more saline than the ocean.

And that really is the crux of living with Type 1.  You have to make the choices between good management (keeping my leg dry and away from the lake), taking medical advice (or in my leg's case seeking it early), and living (having a blast with my mate doing "guy" stuff, driving tractors and boats and getting wet).  It is always a balance, and sometimes all three work out.  Like in cycling, I need to heed the medical advice, manage things well, and have a blast.

At least the ulcer is not getting bigger.  I has oscillated between OK and sub optimal the last few weeks, and will go on.  Doubt it will cause the removal of my leg, but that is always a concern.  Until it is resolved, I am gonna keep riding and doing, because living is far more important while you can.

Days 20, 21, & 22 Work is busy, weather is bad, but improving

Wednesday 22nd Sep
I have a love/hate relationship with this time of year.
Love the weather warming up, especially after the last few days of wind and cold, and the elements of spring that come with it.  Blooms of canola in the farms down here (see photo from about 07:00), etc.
Hate the hayfever, and the agressive Magpies.  But mornings are fantastic for riding out in the open rather than on Zwift, and I can put up with the Maggies.  They are only defending their young, and in the case of today's Maggie, they don't know me.

We have had many generations of Maggies raised around our house, and never had an issue with swooping.  They know us, they know we will not hurt them or their young, and we leave water out for them when they get sun drunk.  Not the case elsewhere though, so have to put up with a few hits to the helmet when riding by.  Some days motivation for a sprint finds you. ;)

While I got out for a ride today, my riding plan for this event took a bit of a detour on Monday.  Weather was so bad even getting into the garage to Zwift was problematic.  So, Monday became my rest day.  Tuesday was a double session, and the afternoon one in particular was a reminder to always keep hypo treatments on hand, usually just ensure I DON'T need to use them.  Two sessions in one day, I should have realised the second would drop my blood glucose quickly.  At least it was on Zwift, so all good.

Seems I may have to increase my km goal again.

Days 17, 18, & 19 - Busy times and Musings

Monday 20th Sep
Well, work got rather busy over the last few days (yes, even over the weekend) so playing catch up with this post.
Weather was very bad for outdoor riding, so Zwift it was.  And that gave me some time for more musing.

I have had quite a but of exposure to people living with Chronic Illnesses, not just Type 1, but various.  And we all have one thing in common. 

There is no cure (currently available) for any chronic illness.  The best we have are treatments to help us stay alive.  For us Type 1's it is Insulin, diet, carb counting, dosage ajustments.  Insulin is both a life sustainer and a poison.  Too much and we die.  Too little and we die slower.  For chronic illness, such as kidney/lung/liver/heart disease, the ultimate treatment is transplantation.  But that also comes with many drugs with other side effects, and those very drugs that benefit can also attack the transplanted organ.  So, it is not a cure.

Yet we who suffer chronic illness of one sort or another often get the impression that those that do not suffer such illness think we are "cured" by our treatments, which is not the case.  We are alive, yes, but not cured.  The load on us in staying alive can be somewhat overwhelming at times.  The longer you live with it, the easer the load becomes, but it still gets to you.

This is the reason I ride bikes.  Although my chronic illness is never far away, even on a ride, the fact that I am out doing something that brings me joy and lets me truly live my life is all important.  And if I can do that and raise some funds to help someone else, then all the better.  Which is why I signed up for this event.

If nothing more comes out of this fund raising than better treatments for Type 1, then OK.  But I would dearly love a cure.  Just as I would love for all chronic illness to be cured.  Until we can reprogram our immune systems to fight the right battles and not our own bodies, there will be no real cure.  Treatments are great.  Cures are better.

Day 16

Thursday 16th Sep
Well, the headcold is getting better, and the brain probe came back NEGATIVE.  Woohoo!
In other news, I signed up with the Zwift TT1D beginners group ride.  Run by people in the US, so a bit inconvenient on the time zone.  But, it was only me and two others and they were NOT beginners.  So, basically, I got smashed.
Then to back it up the JDRF had a lunchtime meetup on Zwift to keep us all motivated.  And although it was a non-drop meetup again, there were a few of us pulling everyone along.
Smashed again.
At least the cold is getting better.

Day 15 - The headcold, and musings of T1D

Wednesday 15th Sep
Note:  km target increased to 750km and may increase again.
Yep, have a head cold.  Went and cont tested on the busiest day of testing in the region.  So be it.
For T1D people, colds are one of the MANY things that impact your blood glucose levels.  Remember, I have posted about Hypos (low to dangerously low) and Hyper (high to extremly uncomfortable and does long term damage to your organs)?  Well, colds and the many viruses like them really play havoc and raise blood glucose in us.  Type Nones like most people are, don't need to think about it.  Tuck up in bed, with warm drinks and Netflix and wait it out.
Not us T1Ds.  More monitoring, more adjustment of basal insulin levels (what you type nones produce when you are not eating anything and just living), and insulin bolusing (what you produce when you eat) ratios, more testing, etc.

It is easier to list all the things that do not impact a Type 1 person's blood glucose.
1. Bricks, unless you are hit by one.
2. Steel, unless you are impaled by a peice, or using it to inject insulin.
3 Contrete unless it falls on you.

The definition of stupidity is supposedly doing the same thing, the same way, over and over again, expecting a different result.

The definition of Type 1 Diabetes is doing the same thing, the same way, over and over again, and expecting the same result.
Eat the same amount of carbohydrate, bolus the same amount of insulin, with the same basal dose, and your blood glucose responds differently based on the time of day, the way the wind is blowing, how strong it is blowing, the phase of the moon, the alignment of the planets, if Cthulu is stirring in his domain, etc.  

For gods sake, let's find a way to stop people getting this disease, or at least find technologies that make dealing and living with it easier.  It has been 100 years since the breakthrough that is insulin was discovered.  Small things have changed in that time.  Life with this disease is better now than when I started this "journey" 47 years ago, but nothing has had the impact on lives that insulin does.  We need another breakthrough.

Day 13 and 14

Tuesday 14th Sep
With an early morning appointment to have a persistent leg ulcer looked at and dressed, no cycling in the morning of day 13. But for onto Zwift in the evening for an hour. Realised I've almost completed my km target only two weeks in.

Today is a rest day and it seems I'm coming down with a cold. Off to get the noise probed.

Day 11, 12, and not much on 13 yet

Monday 13th Sep
So, the weekend was quite busy, with little time for bikes in the real world, and very windy.  Still, got in a couple of Zwift sessions, both with my daughter Tam.  One was on Saturday, because we both needed it, and one on Sunday for her BIRTHDAY!!! during lockdown.
Those that have been following me would know I am very much a morning rider, but today (Monday) had other priorities, attending the memorial of a good friend via Zoom at 04:00.  That ate into my usual training time.  So it will be a ride this evening to make up for it.
Beginning to think I should have aimed higher for my km goal, but the fact is I may not be able to sustain this level of activity the whole month.  Still, we will wait and see.

Day 9(b) and Day 10

Friday 10th Sep
So, at the end of a day of work madness, I was feeling like some need to ride.  Wind was crazy, so Zwift was a good option.
Me:  "I rode an hour this morning, so I will just do an easy session to let off some steam"
Me when I start up Zwift: "Hmmm.  Workout.  Let's try this FTP Test (Short) ride.  Only 45 minutes.  How tough could it be?"
The picture shows it on the left.
Started the session at around 6mmol/l (pretty reasonable blood glucose for a Type 1), and by the time it was finished (I didn't look until then) the reading was LOW, meaning below 2mmol/l.  Danger territory.
And I am thinking "I wonder if my average FTP would have been higher if I wasn't doing it hypo?"
Then, this morning after getting down to the 3mmol/l level again overnight, struggled out of bed and decided the 7km/h NW wind with a 7km/h gust was good for a ride on the gravel bike with an extra 8kg for fun.  Throw down some jelly beans, wait until the blood glucose starts to rise, and off.  So glad I did.  It was an awesome morning for a ride, and I was legally able to breach the 5km radius rule, at least for now.
And now back sitting at the desk for work.  Hope today is better than yesterday, but there is always a ride indoors our outdoors to help with that.

Day 8(b) and 9

Thursday 9th Sep
Overnight hypos are becoming the norm.  I really need to do some thinking about that one.  They have been so for some time, but this challenge is making them even more prevalent.
Still, got up this morning to join the JDRF One Ride Zwift Meetup.  It started later than I would normally do, and I had a Zwift crash towards the end, so don't really know how I did, but it was fun chatting while we were riding.
Rachel Jones (in the lead in the photo), our HypoActive team captain and driving force to get us into this took the lead.

And last night, 4 of the team also had a meetup on Zwift/Zoom for fun.  Thanks for organising Gary Gaffel.
May have to do another work out tonight for fun.
Wish I looked as good as my avatar.  They really need to add a middle age spread body option.

Won't you take me to Hypo Town

Wednesday 8th Sep
The only issue with consistent exercise, is it increases your insulin sensitivity, which puts you in danger of hypoglycaemia. Night time is the riskiest time for us T1Ds. Need to keep an eye on this.

Day 8 - Type 1 problems

Wednesday 8th Sep
Spent time in Hypo (very low blood glucose) land again last night.  Woke up, downed 24 jelly beans (6 jbs = 10gm carbohydrate, so 40gm carb total, these are the things we calculate mutliple times a day) and got through the night safely.  Though, I did fall asleep before putting the jelly beans away, which meant I woke up to them falling on the floor and rattling later in the night.  Picked them up and went back to sleep.

Woke to a great morning to get out on the bike in the real world.  Nothing better than getting on two wheels while the Magpies (aka Australian Murder Crows in breeding season) are still waking up and less likely to swoop at this time of the year.
More km to my distance target.  Might have to push it out if I can maintain this pace.
And not done today.  There is a Zwift meetup of the HypoActive team tonight.  Looking forward to it.

Day 6 & 7

Tuesday 7th Sep
Sorry for not posing yesterady, my work is nuts right now, and Mondays are the worst.  Got in a early morning session on Zwift.  In hindsight, the weather was good enough to get out on the road, but time was a bit limited, so Zwift it was.
Today became a rest day, not by choice as much by circumstances.
Firstly, the fear of all Type 1s is an overnight hypo (VERY low blood glucose, and deadly if left untreated) and I got a doozy.  My CGM (a method of continuously measuring my blood glucose) indicated a mild 4.3mmol/l level at around midnight, but my body told me otherwise.  So, finger prick test in the dark and it came back as 1.9mmol/l, which is FingerPricking dangerous.  CGM is a fantastic technology to help me manage Type 1 and do what I love to do, but it can let you down every so often.
Anyway, midnight jelly bean binge, and I woke up fine at around 06:20, meaning I must have blindly cancelled my 05:30 alarm to go out and train.  Pity, it was a very nice morning.
And I have a morning medical for that damn persistent ulcer on my leg, so decided to have a rest day.  Back at it tomorrow.

Day 4 & 5

Sunday 5th Sep
Well, the weather here did not help the cause of reaching my 500,m target, so it is indoor training for now.  Going OK, although I had to cut the Day 4 short due to an early morning medical appointment for a stubborn ulcer on my right leg.  Saturday morning fun.
Sunday, being Father's Day here in Australia, was spent in a meetup with my daughter who is doing a similar virtual ride in support of Starlight Children's Foundation.  So may good causes, and awesome that we can support two together. 

Day 3

Friday 3rd Sep
Well, there were thunderbolts and lightning, and some rain this morning.  So I decided to get modern and set up Zwift.  Only let me go 25km with the free trial, so I have purchased a month in case I am stuck inside more.  Will see how this new fangled technology goes.  I must admit, it did make riding on the trainer a lot more fun, so there is a benefit.

25km + 70.6km = 95.6km

Day 2

Thursday 2nd Sep
Well, aside from a very low Blood Glucose overnight, treated with copious amounts of jelly beans, when 05:00 rolled around the BG was OK and up I got to get ready.  All was going fine until I could not find my rear light.  For safety sake, I will not ride without one.  This isn't the TDF and I am not in a pro team.
It turned out my daughter borrowed it for a ride yesterday (she left her's in Melbourne when she vacated before lock down) and left it sitting on my gravel bike.

The wind was up a bit, and only go worse.  Going North was "Ughhh!", but going South was "Wheeeeee!", and the other directions were various ranges of suck.  But did it anyway.
Extra 8 kg in the panniers on the gravel bike always adds to the challenge.

The next few days are likely to be indoor training rides.  But you have to keep the legs turning over.
36.55km + 34.05km = 70.6km

Day 1

Wednesday 1st Sep
Well, not an auspicous start to my challenge.
Woke up with a hypo (low blood glucose) so decided not to go out on the road.  Pity as the weather was awesome at 05:30.  Just one of the challenges of being Type 1 and trying to exercise.
And one of the reasons I am doing this ride/challenge/fundraising, to find a cure or at least better management for us Type 1s.  The photo is of my Open Source xDrip+ Continuous Glucose Monitor application on my phone, which is way better than the commercial version.  This keeps me active and out on my bike, and makes the task of managing my Type 1 much easier, but not as easy as not having to.

So, instead of getting out on my usual beat, down a protein bar (and some jellybeans) and head to the garage for a trainer session.
34.5km
Hopefully tomorrow I will be back out on the road.

Thank you to my Sponsors

$104

Mick Alsos

G’day Johnno! Ride on, cuz!

$52

Deborah Mclaren

$52

Alvin Guest

$52

Lmb

Great effort John!!! Well done!

$52

Sally Stonier

Well done doing this again in COVID conditions

$52

Tracey Hind

Ride Hard John!

$50

Paul Mauriks

$50

Matthew Edwards

Great effort John! Have you been staying inside your 5km? :D

$26

Lisa Stock

Good on you John, proud to support you

$26

Alison Slee

Sorry I am a bit late to the party, but well done John!

$26

Benjamin Lo

$26

Damien Whittaker

Well done John!

$26

Anonymous

$20.80

Ronnie And Leo

Good on you John! Great cause 👍