Cycling with T1D

I am going to be doing my first cycling race this summer for the JDRF Ride for a Cure. I plan to ride 100 miles and I need any advice I can get about how to manage blood sugars and the best way to train for this. I have not been able to bike very much due to have low blood sugar only a few miles in but I love biking and need some help with how to be the most effective while training so I can get the miles in asap!!

there are several ways to try

i normally reduce basal rates on my pump by 40% and try to target 140

also eat some carbs before the ride, i usally keep some carb gummies with me incase i start to get down arrows also… it is wild i have started as high as 200 and when i finish i will be in the 90’s even with the reduced basal rate… everyone is different and i would play around and see what works best for you, and dont be surprised after the fact when your sugar begins to spike lol

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Hi @mueller.briana96 welcome to TypeOneNation. Yes I agree it will depend very much on what your insulin requirements and delivery are. Can you tell us?

There’s really no one size fits all solution - I think people find out how to adjust through trial and error. As you are training for your 100 mile ride I imagine you’ll be increasing your distance over time, so keep track of how your body responds. Diabetes Forecast
is an excellent publication and sometimes they have articles about athletes with diabetes who compete in endurance events - you might find some good general guidance there that will help you tweak your regimen, but one type of exercise may cause a very different response than another, even if fine done at the same level and amount of time, so again use them only as a guide to get you started.
BTW, I don’t participate in endurance events, but discovered Cliff Blok chews
at a sporting good store. Some have caffeine, others do not. I like the consistency of the gel tabs and they’re one of my favorite go-to’s to bring up my blood sugar. They come wrapped in a pack so are easy to carry, and got can just tear off a few as you need them.
I’m not a medical professional - just sharing.

@mueller.briana96 Hi Briana, and welcome to the JDRF TypeOneNation Forum!

I’ll answer your question with a question - or three. First off, what has your body been telling you? Each of us is different, and, for instance, my body reacts differently to cycling than it does of other exercise - I no longer [my age] take the longer bike rides.
In your previous experience bike-riding, what happened? I developed a pretty effective strategy for my biking by keeping a notebook - type of trails or roads; adjustments to my insulin combined with food intake, etc.;
What is your “normal day” or basic insulin requirements - basal and bolus? Combined with that, what method do you use for insulin delivery - pump or injection? And, of course the types of insulin and timing, if by injection.

Both JDRF and ADA have bicycle teams and members of these teams like to share their experiences and knowledge. I suggest that you contact these teams which you can do through the “Events” tab at the top of this page. While you are on that page, put in your zip-code and find a JDRF Chapter near you - you may find another person with diabetes with whom you could train for your event.

Hello everyone, I use the 670g pump and I have a CGM. I usually try to keep my insulin levels at 150 or more before a bike ride but sometimes I have insulin on board from a meal or snack and then I am ready for my workout yet my blood sugar isn’t very stable which I think has been causing issues for me. I haven’t been able to be consistent yet with my training right now and a lot of it is due to fatigue from low blood sugar because I often do lifting or HIIT workouts so this is very different for my body. I am not sensitive to my insulin until I start biking otherwise I deal with a lot of up and down patterns of blood sugar from one week to the next. I am wondering if glucose tablets are the best trick to keep the blood sugar up if it’s Starts to crash due to the fact they are chalky and dry and it can take me anywhere from 15-20 minutes to get my BS back up. Just looking for advice and I’ll be sure to reach out to the JDRF chapter as well. My boyfriend and I will be training together too but he is very adapted to biking and has been biking for over 8 years where as this is much newer to me.

Hi @mueller.briana96. The secret when you have a pump is to make sure you have zero iob and to manually reduce your basal rate at least 40 minutes before you start an endurance workout.

Glucose raises blood sugar the fastest, chalky or not, and you can’t go by your CGM because it lags reality. That being said glucose will not keep your bs high if you have iob or if your basal is too high for your activity level. Mixed carbs may offer longer term absorption you may need during endurance sports and when your liver is depleted of glycogen.

It is very likely “auto mode” is not the answer if you are on a long bike ride.

Cheers good luck :four_leaf_clover:

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Hi. I’m a cyclist recently diagnosed as type 1 my rides have gone from 100+ miles to just commuting.Cycling has been a great outlet for me to really keep in shape and good cardio-health. To prevent lows I grab a quick snack 10-20 carbs before leaving. This has always kept me level to get me through the ride.
I would recommend gel packs as they are quick to metabolize when you’re out. They’re small and can fit in your saddlebag or your pockets. Also, make sure to have an ID of some kind. I write my info on my arm in permanent marker just so it can be seen in the event of an emergency.
Best of luck out there and keep fighting the good fight.

Hi, and congrats on the 100-mile goal! Century rides are super-fun, especially when they’re for a good cause. My daughter’s Type I, and she rode the Horrible Hundred (a famously hilly century) recently. Her favorite part? No boluses! She was on MDI at the time, so her basal was on board as usual, but for the entire 8 hours she was riding, she drank Gatorade and ate oranges and granola bars like everyone else, and she never needed a shot. Honest to goodness, her CGM showed 80-120 all day. It was awesome. Since she switched to a pump, she’s only done hour-long rides, but she learned fast she needed to suspend her basal completely during her rides to keep from going low. Like everyone else has said, it’s very much trial and error, and I’m sure it’s very individual, as well, but at least for her, cycling makes an absolutely monster difference. Keep with it, and you’ll figure out what works for you. Most of all, keep on riding!

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