I am by no means an exercise guru. But three years ago, my husband and I decided to do the Ride to Cure Diabetes in Death Valley, CA. At that point, I'd had diabetes almost 30 years and had not done much in organized or regular exercise since high school.
We bought bikes (and helmets, shoes, pedals (who knew bikes don't COME with pedals?), shorts, ) and started riding in May 2006. The ride was in October and the goal was 105 miles. I recall being very proud of myself for riding five miles on my first outing. (nice, huh?)
Over that summer, I realized how tough long distance riding with type 1 diabetes was going to be. I was used to 30 minute workouts, not six and eight hour. I could not figure out basal rates on my pump and carb consumption. I was low while riding and then would sky rocket after. It was really tough. I worked with my CDE and she helped me make adjustments. I ended up figuring out I need a 30% basal rate started 20 minutes before I begin a ride that is longer than two hours. I also need to consume 60 grams of carbs per intense hour (lots of hills, high heat, etc.) of riding. Those numbers are adjusted for less intense rides.
About three weeks before the Ride in 2006, I got a CGM. That was WONDERFUL. It made riding so much easier knowing where I was and where I had been in the recent past with a pretty good idea of where my blood glucose was trending. I wear my CGM on the front of my jersey and can just look down and see where I'm at. I also ensure that I am on day two, three of a sensor on "big" ride days so I can trust the numbers I'm seeing. I cannot say enough positive things about endurance exercise and CGMs.
I've done Death Valley Ride to Cure Diabetes three times now. Sorry to say, I have not yet done the entire 105 miles. Lack of mental & physical prep got me on 1st attempt and a small amount of head winds (25 mph). Strong wind was my nemesis (45 mph head winds) on year 2 (and a small incident at mile 86 where I reset my cycling mileage meter and started crying hysterically). This year... it just wasn't my day and it was hot (100+ degrees). Will I conquer it next year? We shall see.
Are interested in the Ride? Check out my team's blog: http://www.jdrfwestmichigan.com/rideblog Looks like the team will be headed to Killington, VT in 2009 (don't worry, my husband & I are doing Killington AND Death Valley next year!)