Meet Helen, age 29

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Helen HAS RAISED $6613

Final Update from Helen!

I can’t believe I made it to San Francisco. Arriving to Crissy Field once we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge was amazing! It was so so good to see Keith again and meeting @amerikiwikid at the end made me feel so happy and proud of what the team and Beyond Type 1 has achieved.

Type 1 should not stop you doing things 

Nick Jonas Meets the Team in Napa

Napa, CA

Today I have eaten a chocolate Omnipod and met Nick Jonas ( a T1D and one of the founders on Beyond Type 1). Last night was the Napa party that was hosted by the lovely Honig family at their vineyard. It was incredible. We found out that the wonderful Steve Hanley, CEO of Know Foods (one of our amazing sponsors) is going to buy the whole team their Specialized bike that we have all used to get from NYC to SF. This kindness is so incredible!


During the day we were police escorted as the whole team through the last 5 (ish) miles into Napa. Everything that had happened seems unreal.

On day 69 of 70 with Team Bike Beyond. It’s so crazy and I can’t wait to dip those tyres in and see Keith 

Heavenly Mountain

Happy Helen! 

And happy feet!

 

Baker, NV

Update from Helen!

I had a rest day in Nevada yesterday. We went to an amazing cafe in Baker with lovely owners who let us sit there for hours. They had two cats which was fun. Then the campsite we stayed at was ace with a little river and it actually cooled down at night which meant I slept woo

Antimony, Utah

Percy, a fellow diabadass, wishes he had a specialized bike for this!
Slow and steady wins though, right??


Van day again today but it was a great day. Apart from the thunder and lightening at the top of a pass. That was a little scary

Update from Helen!

So beautiful  If only the bike path kept going forever!!!

Update from Helen

Just woke up and my sugars are 2.2. Type 1 you are . Thanks for making me eat like a bazillion carbs just so I can contemplate the idea of going back to sleep.

Update from Helen!

Leaving the beautiful State of Colorado made me a little sad. It was where my top three days on the trip so far were. I know what to come is beautiful but I’m really not looking forward to the heat. Today we entered Utah, with a pretty individual sign at the border


We all rode 47 miles and then we had to shuttle a section of the route as it went through a mountain bike track ( not suitable for our beautiful road bikes). The shuttle took a while and once we got to the spot we could ride from and ate lunch the temperature was at about 39 Celsius. I called it, my body just doesn’t work with those temperatures. So sad to not ride the remaining miles as the route was amazing. But hey, that’s life


Please temperature master, cool it down a bit???

Moab, Utah

Here’s a video captured by Neil Greathouse of the brushfire that started right after lightning struck a field across from the house the team was staying in!

Update from Helen!

Today, the team starts to climb the Rockies in Colorado!

The highest point on today’s ride, we’re at the bottom of the trail map…. We will be climbing a lot in not very many miles. So so so so EXCITED to be biking today, yesterday was incredible and today is too. I LOVE COLORADO.

BEST DAY EVER! An incredible ride with a great team, thanks Perri and Matt. We reached Loveland Pass, 11990ft, and it feels so good! Cresting the Rockies was what I was looking for and by Jove it didn’t disappoint!

Boulder, CO

Update from Helen!

At a scenic point between Denver and Boulder. Enjoying the view of the mountains and admiring the amazing looking bike path that runs alongside the interstate. Me and Perri (and Jerry) are in the lunch van today , it’s only 32 miles for the riders though so it’s a very short day. Trying to mentally prepare for the mountains coming up, slow is my approach, and to take each climb as if it will never end.

Denver, CO.

Update from Helen!

Jerry the bear is feeling tired and wanting to sleep, only he ate a big chocolate ice cream (which was delish) and has to change his pump site because he’ll run out of insulin over night if not. Ooh no wait, that’s me (Jerry does have his own pump site though to use with the app 🙂)

I may be 30 but I’m very very excited to have Jerry join me for the last part of Bike Beyond. His leg may be broken but he will be fixed and he will be managing his diabetes whilst doing awesome things.

Also Denver is Ace! The mountains are so close 😀😀

Colorado!

Update from Helen!

We had a tailwind today..wooo. So satisfying to know you’re going uphill but to be flying at a great pace. Mostly. A few times not so much. A great 98 mile day though.

We’re staying at Woodlin School tonight, it’s so nice and very much in the middle of nowhere.
We arrive in Denver tomorrow. Yay

#bikebeyond #diabetesnz #type1diabetes 

Hoxie, Kansas!

Update from Helen!

So happy to see clouds today as it helped keep the heat down a bit in Kansas. It still makes me laugh when I think that today was a short day, it was still 64 miles! We set our early again (5am wake up eek) to beat the heat and today it worked perfectly. We arrived in Hoxie at 1pm just as it was getting insanely hot. So good to walk into air conditioned place ☺️ .
Tomorrow we leave Kansas and enter Colorado. I’m equal parts scared and excited to bike the mountains. On finding out about this trip the Rocky Mountains is what I’ve been looking forward to the most. Bit scared will not actually manage the hills but cannot wait to try!
#bikebeyond #livebeyond #kansas #clouds #heat

Stockton, Kansas

Update from Helen!

Kansas life! Holy moly it’s so crazy hot here. We started rolling out on bikes at just gone 6am this morning to get the most done before it gets so hot, today’s high was forecast for 40c. I got to mile 66 out of 78 and called it quits, my body was starting to feel that it had reached it’s limit with the heat. Cold shower was good after today
.
Also if your wondered Kansas is NOT flat .
#bikebeyond #hot #melting #livebeyond #kansas#diabetesnz #beyondtype1
 

Beloit, Kansas

Update from Helen!

Everyone in this photo had T1D ( apart from Cheryl who is a Mum of a T1) . T1D is a 24/7 job, no breaks, ever. Everyone in this photo has to always consider and act on their blood glucose.

Yesterday started as a great day, I had a lovely ride with Siddarth, Walt, and even a special guest, Kent Schnakenberg, who is doing the most amazing job spreading awareness about T1D. What a guy!

It was great.. Until we went out for a later lunch in Manhattan, Kansas. As I arrived I felt low, I was about 3.5 ish. I ate skittles and ordered my food thinking, ooh great I will eat these then top up with carbs with my lunch, that will bring me out of this low. Some minutes later ( can’t remember how long) I felt instantly very very low, I scanned my Libre. It said “LO” which means lower than 2.2mmol/L. As soon as I saw that I had a horrible feeling in my whole body, my body started feeling like it was convulsing and my brain just felt like it was going to stop. I shoved loads of skittles in my mouth, but, having had seizures before due to low blood glucose I felt it was too late. I turned to Mel and then I was on the floor. It scared me so much feeling myself losing control of my body and my mind. But there was a silver lining…I was around about 18 Type 1’s, yay for Team Bike Beyond. The ambulance was called and lovely Cheryl gave me a glucogon injection. Everyone supported me and that meant so much. All of us know what to do in these situations and what it feels like. I’m so thankful they were all there. Massive thanks to Cheryl who scanned my Libre throughout the night too to check up on me. I had to eat 60g more of carbs even after the glucogon!

Scary things like that are one of the reasons I wanted to do this trip. Because of the risk of these kind of things happening it’s easy to stop yourself doing something because of the what ifs. But don’t worry (too much!), a type 1 can do it! It’s definitely harder but we’re definitely tougher!!!
#bikebeyond #beyondtype1 #diabeteslife #hypo #diabetesnz#teambikebeyond

Behind the Scenes Update

Take a look at the journey so far!

Team Bike Beyond is HALF WAY through their 70-day cross country ride. Here’s a documentary sneak peek from Neil Greathouse + the riders!

Update from Helen!

Half way (day wise, not mile wise worryingly) to getting to San Francisco. Biggest thing learnt so far is that no part of America is flat. Hills hide everywhere. Also rolling hills are mentally and physically evil. I like hills where you’re rewarded with a view at the top ( I think… I might change my mind in the Rockies)

Also biking in intense heat and humidity is CRAZY hard.

I took a van day yesterday as my sugars were mean the night before and sleep was minimal. I slept a lot of the day. Whilst this makes me dislike type 1 it also makes me happy that of all the days I’ve ridden it’s only stopped me once!

Not too good at taking pictures, but imagine me bright red with lovely people, with rolling hills and cycling clothes that are getting too tight and you have it!

Update from Helen!

 

Type 1 is such a pain. About 20 minutes ago (about 3.15AM)I woke up with my pump wrapped and me feeling a bit funny. One of the first things I do is feel for my sight to make sure it’s still on my body and my pump is doing is thing. I discovered it had come off, so I went to scan my Libre.. But it had “sensor error-check again in 10 minutes” boo. So I went off to the bathroom to change my site and so a blood test. Not what I expected I was low.. Strange. New site on, eating jam and feeling shaky and wide awake. This is not the best way to be before a 90ish mile day tomorrow in the bike with 4000ft+ of climbing. Ooh type 1 you are annoying.


Funny bit…. After changing my site and probably going “urgh” a lot I discovered Ryan asleep in the bathroom. Haha Ryan, so funny and glad you’re a deep sleeper

updates from Helen’s day in the van!

Lunch van duties today in the van with lovely Perri. It’s definitely not a rest day as your have to stick with the team providing water, food, low snacks and any other help needed. It was great to watch the team be so great, pushing so hard in crazy hot weathers, on a long ride with a lot of hills!


Weirdly I had the most hypos in one day today. Maybe after yesterday’s big ride? I like to look for patterns/trends in my sugar levels but mainly I like to accept it does whatever and I just aim to deal with it at it comes!
#bikebeyond #livebeyond #diabetesnz #biking #type1diabetic

 

Nashville to Hopkinsville

Update from Helen!

Today’s century ride from Nashville to Hopkinsville. Great day on amazing roads😀. I fell off my bike again, collecting arm bruises it seems!

Bike Beyond Picnic!

Thanks to Neil Greathouse for capturing this fun video of the team picnic!

 

Yellow Springs, Ohio

Update from Helen!

Because when you cycle across the USA and you’re an “active” sleeper apparently you’re more likely to end up in urgent care from falling out of bed than off a bike.

Last night i had a nightmare (I have these a lot) and think I jumped up and out of bed (probably to escape a monster or something else entirely rational for a 30 year old to fear) and landed pretty badly on my arm. Laughed a lot (sorry Elliot) woke up, it hurt a bit, then got on my bike, it hurt a lot!! Made it about 20 miles to first water stop then went in the van. Made it to a lovely urgent care where I had an x-ray and was given the great news.. It’s not broken. So relieved! Will be in the van tomorrow for sure then suss out how it’s feels.

Finished off today with a lovely meal here in Yellow Springs, Ohio with The Pepper’s 😊

#nightmaressuck #beyondtype1 #bikebeyond #type1diabetic#injuredbysleep

Cleveland, OH

Today at the Bike Beyond event in Cleveland I got to meet my lovely BT1 PenPal from France 🇫🇷 . It was ace.
I love Beyond Type 1’s Snail Mail club and am super happy it’s available for any Type 1 of any age. Getting a hand written letter from someone who shares the same condition is amazing and it’s great to share stories about T1 and just life!!

Cleveland, OH

Update from Helen!

Cleveland rest day today. Crazy hot so spending time in air-conditioned places is high priority right now.

Feeling excited to meet my Beyond Type 1 PenPal at the picnic in a few hours 😀.

My intention was to be able to speak at least one sentence in French. There’s a high chance this had not happened!

Cleveland, OH

Update from Helen!

Yesterday was not a good day for me. I had a panic attack as we biked on a crazy highway. It’s been a while since I last had one. They’re not great!! I was only about 12 miles in. I called it quits and had a van day.

TODAY HOWEVER WAS AMMMMMMAZING. Great roads, great team, beautiful scenery, met lovely people on the way and an ace BBQ second lunch here in Cleveland. Also super comfy beds and lovely shower at our hotel yipee

Somerset County, PA

Update from Cheryl!

Pre-Lunch views and some much needed Know Foods, 35 miles to go to tonight’s campsite!

Eastern Continental Divide!

I’ve Got Soul Video

Thanks to Neil Greathouse and Go Pro for this video of the riders!

 

“IT’S COMPLICATED” – MY RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD AS A TYPE 1 COELIAC

Type 1 came into my life nearly 17 years ago when I was diagnosed at age 13. One of the things I can remember thinking was, “What can I eat now?” I’d always loved food, eating out, having treats and cooking too. As time went on living with Type 1, it became more and more clear to me how much impact food has on my Type 1 control and therefore my life. Food, I discovered, could save my life when my levels were low. It could also make me feel lethargic, sick and pretty useless if my levels were high.

Then, four years ago, as part of a routine blood test for my Type 1, I was diagnosed with Coeliac (or Celiac) disease. A biopsy confirmed this and further tests went on to show that I had reduced bone density due to malabsorption of nutrients caused by Coeliac. I was not feeling great about this diagnosis and once again wondered what I could eat, and what I should eat. I started to look into what was in the food that I was buying and was shocked to see how much unnecessary things were put in, and not just unnecessary gluten. I mean, gluten in packaged peanuts … but why?

I chose to focus on unprocessed food and that excluded most of the gluten-free aisle! I started to obsess about what I ate and the macro nutrients (carbohydrates, fat and protein) content became the most important aspect of every meal. Whilst it began as a healthy focus, it became an unhealthy obsession.

I’d also changed from someone who loved eating out, both the delicious food and the social aspect of it, to someone who would try to avoid eating anything I hadn’t prepared myself. My fear of getting “glutened” (for a Coeliac even the tiniest bit of gluten ingested can cause damage to the lining of the small intestine which can cause a host of unpleasant symptoms) meant I panicked over eating out and avoided social situations that involved food.

As a Type 1, I worry about accurately carb counting food and with Coeliac I worry about becoming sick. On one occasion I went out for a meal with work colleagues. Before we went I called the restaurant. “Yes, we can cater for a Coeliac,” they said. I pre-ordered to ensure it would be okay and then when they served I confirmed it was the coeliac-safe, GF meal. As people started looking into desserts, my stomach began to cramp. It didn’t stop and the pain was intense. I had to leave, my meal clearly had been contaminated in some way. I was so embarrassed as I got up to leave midway through someone talking. I hated this feeling. Eating out was no longer a fun experience, it was one that caused me anxiety and paranoia.

When I applied for Bike Beyond so many thoughts were running through my head, so many reasons that I thought would stop me from doing it. Food and my anxiety around it, especially with nineteen other people I didn’t really know, was at the top of my list. I like to be in control of everything I eat, I weigh everything to get accurate carb counts and I check and triple check that nothing contains even a trace of gluten. These 10-weeks are going to be hard, eating such a variety of food from a massive range of sources (thank you to all those people helping to fuel us as we ride!) is going to push me.

At the school where I work, we emphasize to the children that “Practice makes Progress,” and I’m taking this advice on Bike Beyond. Whilst I’m not expecting to be a social butterfly at the dinner table on day two, I’m hoping that by day 60, my anxiety will have reduced even just a little. I want to finish with a feeling that I can eat out, relax and enjoy the food and the company. Not only can I prove to myself that as a Type 1 diabetic and Coeliac I can bike 4,200 miles, but I will show others that they can do it, too. Type 1 and coeliac are hurdles, not barriers, and over we go.

05/29 Pre-Ride Questionnaire

Tell us about the first time you rode a bike. 
It didn’t go well! I have bad balance and my grandad was trying to get me to take my stabilizers off. I would only let him take one off, which didn’t go too well! But I got there in the end. I’m yet to master cycling with no hands though, maybe this year.

Tell us about a crazy moment or embarrassing experiencing with Type 1.
When I ski instructed I used to use Skittles as my hypo treatment. I had them in my pocket and a few parents asked if they were to bribe their children with. I hoped they were joking but I fear they weren’t. For the record no bribes were ever offered!

What would your spirit animal be?
A deer, for their gentleness. My boyfriend says it’s because I startle easily and am very sensitive, I don’t think this is a compliment!

What’s your go-to low snack?
Fruit Burst, a chewy fruit sweet that has about 5g carbs per piece. I have to have something individually wrapped otherwise I get in a sugary mess. I used to use skittles but most soft furnishings in our place ended up with the colours of the rainbow on them and I always ate too many.

Tell us something on your bucket list.
To hike the Te Araroa with my lovely boyfriend Keith. Te Araroa stretches 3000 km down the North and South Island of New Zealand.

If your friends could pick three adjectives to describe you, what would they be?
Kind, adventurous and quirky.

What’s the last thing you watched on TV and why?
Everybody Loves Raymond. It’s the summer holidays here in NZ (I work at a school), it’s rest day and I’m working on a poster for Bike Beyond with it on in the background.

Tell us something about yourself that most people wouldn’t know.
I’m a secret food hoarder. My cupboard has 20 cans of baked beans and 12 cans of tuna, and that’s just the start. I could pretend it was in case of an earthquake but I think it’s just a weird Helen thing!

What’s a super power you wish you had?
To know when people are telling the truth or lying. Think of all the crimes you could solve.

Tell us something you’re good at!
Cutting grass. I worked as a golf course greenskeeper in Canada for a summer and had some pretty good lines on the greens. That’s been one of my favourite jobs.

If you had a theme song for yourself, what would it be?
“Apeman” by The Kinks. Kind of a dream theme song, I’d love to live somewhere remote and swing in trees. As long as there was still a supply of insulin!

If you had a nick name/alter ego for yourself during the ride, what would it be?
I can’t think of one, maybe something English as I feel like I sound so English when I talk. I need to adopt the NZ accent.