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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 09-27-11, 05:25 PM   #1
Allen55
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Major scare today...

Had a scare on my bike today...I am diabetic type 2 and have to keep my carb count low. I think, though, that I need to eat more carbs before my workout so my body doesnt use up all of the glucose that it has. I had NO carbs before I went out to ride today. About 2.5 miles into the ride, I had a body crash. I just shut down, totally. I thought I was going to pass out. Shaky, numbness in my hands, wasn't thinking straight. Once I stopped, I called my wife. She came and loaded the bike in the car and we went straight to get orange juice. Once I drank about half the bottle, I started feeling much better.

That scared me. Never really felt that bad before. That won't happen again. Im gonna eat some carbs next time!
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Old 09-27-11, 05:55 PM   #2
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Allen, I'm also Type 2. Never EVER leave home for a ride without carrying something to eat to keep the glucose from diving. I've had one Diabetic Event while riding and it scared the hell out of me. I had no warning. Was fine one second and in a bad situation the next. I carry Peanut M&M's with me (not necessarily the recommended food) and got some in my belly and was able to finish out and get back to the house. You'll learn, in time, the distances that are more likely to cause a problem but, in any case, always be prepared. Glad you made it back safe.
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Old 09-27-11, 06:02 PM   #3
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Same here. Fine one second and then BAM. It really scared me.
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Old 09-27-11, 06:55 PM   #4
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Get one of those little bags for your toptube and store some long and short acting sugars in there. My spouse is type 1 and he has sugar stashes all over the place.

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Old 09-27-11, 07:35 PM   #5
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Allen, I'm also Type 2. Never EVER leave home for a ride without carrying something to eat to keep the glucose from diving. I've had one Diabetic Event while riding and it scared the hell out of me. I had no warning.
There are almost always warning signs, you just have to learn to recognize them! I'm a Type 1 diabetic and have been for the last 30 years. Sweating and feeling shaky are usually the earliest ones for me followed quickly by fatigue and a sort of slowness to my thinking. Needless to say, riding a bike over bumpy roads can make some of these a bit difficult to recognize! Still, if you know the possible symptoms and periodically think about how you're feeling (Am I more tired than I should be? Am I sweating more than normal? Do I feel shaky or wobbly on the bike?) low blood sugar shouldn't come as a complete surprise.

When in doubt, I always stop and test my blood sugar just to be sure everything is OK. I have a OneTouch UltraMini glucose meter and a few test strips stuffed in my seat wedge. The meter is really tiny, so there's still room for a spare tire, multi-tool, tire levers, etc.

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I carry Peanut M&M's with me (not necessarily the recommended food)
Agree: not the recommended food! I'm a big fan of Walgreen's store-branded Dex4 glucose tablets. They come in tubes of 10 or jars of 50 tablets. Lots of good flavors to choose from; not all are listed on the website. The 10-tablet tube fits just about anywhere: jersey pocket, under-seat wedge pack, etc.
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Old 09-27-11, 08:25 PM   #6
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Allen; it is a learning curve thing; I still remember early in my type 2 journey being at work and rocking back and forth. I was a 79 BGL when I got home. I have learned to know the signs. I would also suggest a glucomitor to keep track of you BGL (Fasting; before and after meals; and anytime you wonder). After about 4 years of dealing with it I do my fasting and simply know the feeling of bonking. I had the early signs on a 40 mile ride about 20-25 out that is when I turned back for a quickstop to get peanut butter crackers; a buck vs the glucose tabs. I was an EMT and knew fellow techs who instead of carrying a tube of glucose; carried a tube of cake icing in their kit for a low sugar diabetic; their comment was that most people would rather eat the icing than the glucose and that the icing had the same effectiveness as the glucose. I should also say I am not that "bad" of diabetic my fasting BGL was never over 150-165 and was usually under 130; so unlike some who's BGL is 200-500 when discovered mine was VRY BORDERLINE!
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Old 09-27-11, 08:32 PM   #7
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I'm a Type 2 diet-control diabetic and only been riding for about 6 weeks now. Since I've never had a diabetic crash, I never thought about carrying something with me just in case... Because of your story, I will start carrying a few pieces of peppermint with me... Thx for sharing!!!
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Old 09-27-11, 08:47 PM   #8
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I am a type 1 diabetic (for over 10+ years), and am on the pump. Whenever I start to feel low, I can really feel it coming, especially on the bike.. I always stash a Clif bar in my bibshorts (I dont have a jersey yet) in case I feel low. It takes about 5-10 minutes before I am as good as new.
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Old 09-28-11, 01:17 AM   #9
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Type 2, and on long rides I have my handlebar bag with all I need including glucose tabs. Short rides I don't have anything. I'll stash some glucose tablets in my underseat toolbar. Thanks for the reminder.
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Old 09-28-11, 03:46 AM   #10
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I turned back for a quickstop to get peanut butter crackers; a buck vs the glucose tabs. I was an EMT and knew fellow techs who instead of carrying a tube of glucose; carried a tube of cake icing in their kit for a low sugar diabetic; their comment was that most people would rather eat the icing than the glucose and that the icing had the same effectiveness as the glucose.
McCallum, exactly. I realize M&M's aren't the recommended food of choice (which is why I said as much in my first reply) but they get the glucose back up and I don't have such a concern over "Spiking" because I'm still working and still burning through it. And, while Glucose Tabs/ Gels are great, I do get at least a LITTLE Protein in the mix from the Peanuts. My Docs actually thought that, given the circumstances, it wasn't actually the worst idea that they'd ever heard. But I'm not anybody's doctor so don't anyone take this as a prescription.

SStorkel, yes, there are almost always warning signs but I think we're arguing semantics. Most of the warning signs for Hypoglycemia are, FOR ME, the same as I get for an extraneous work out. And that's another point to consider, not everyone has the same warning signs.

The point is, and I think I made it, BE PREPARED. Learn your signs/ symptoms and have something readily available to handle them.
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Old 09-28-11, 09:18 AM   #11
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My son is a 13 yr old Type 1. He has started doing our "Taco Thursday" ride with us. Its a slow pace 10-15 miles around town and end at the local Taco Villa. I know from the start that he will go low in the ride. I give him 2-3 mini Cliff bars over the ride, 1 about every 15-20 min. Then he eats a cheese enchilada at the end and I do not give any correction bolus for any of it. At 2am he will either be normal or low.
I do not understand Type 2 nearly as much as I do Type 1. But, you should ALWAYS check your BGL before you ride. I don't like the glucose tablets by themselves for him because they don't last. We only use them if he needs a quick spike up. But that is just us. A half cup of OJ and he is above 400 in minutes but will be on a roller coaster ride for days with his BG levels.
Keep a couple of extra snacks that get your levels up and sustain you and a meter.

For the Type 1's, we have found that Slim Fast works great for night time lows. It has the sugars to get you up and proteins to sustain. I would like to know what pumps you use. He has the Omnipod and likes it but we have had some issues with bad pods. We had the Medtronics before this, it was fine but he wanted to go cordless.
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Old 09-28-11, 09:34 AM   #12
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McCallum, exactly. I realize M&M's aren't the recommended food of choice (which is why I said as much in my first reply) but they get the glucose back up and I don't have such a concern over "Spiking" because I'm still working and still burning through it. And, while Glucose Tabs/ Gels are great, I do get at least a LITTLE Protein in the mix from the Peanuts. My Docs actually thought that, given the circumstances, it wasn't actually the worst idea that they'd ever heard. But I'm not anybody's doctor so don't anyone take this as a prescription.
If you ever get in real trouble, I think you'll be far happier with glucose tablets than M&Ms. Fast-acting glucose can be the difference between feeling shaky and passing out. Trust me: I know this from experience. If you're a Clyde trying to lose weight, it's worth considering that M&Ms have a lot more calories than glucose tablets...

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The point is, and I think I made it, BE PREPARED. Learn your signs/ symptoms and have something readily available to handle them.
I'll agree with that! Your initial post seemed to suggest, to me at least, that people should be prepared... but not worry about warning signs. I'll suggest that your rides, and life in general, will be more pleasant if you learn to recognize the warning signs for low blood sugar as early as possible.
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Old 09-28-11, 09:50 AM   #13
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I don't like the glucose tablets by themselves for him because they don't last. We only use them if he needs a quick spike up. But that is just us. A half cup of OJ and he is above 400 in minutes but will be on a roller coaster ride for days with his BG levels
If his blood sugar is spiking to 400, you're giving him way too much orange juice! Glucose tablets are nice because they give you relatively precise doses of fast-acting carbohydrates. If your son has low blood sugar during exercise and wants to continue exercising, then he will definitely need more carbs to sustain him through the end of the activity. A bit of fat or protein, to help maintain your blood sugar, doesn't hurt either. For me, CarboRocket and Hammer Gel both work great for maintaining glucose levels during exercise. For me, the carbs in both products seem to get absorbed relatively slowly so my blood sugar doesn't drop or spike during a moderate- to fast-paced ride. In a pinch, I'll use peanut M&Ms for carb maintenance, though I wouldn't use them to treat low blood sugar. One 250/calorie package per hour is about the right about for a fast-paced ride.

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I would like to know what pumps you use. He has the Omnipod and likes it but we have had some issues with bad pods. We had the Medtronics before this, it was fine but he wanted to go cordless.
I use a Medtronic insulin pump and have for the last 15-20 years. Also use their continuous glucose monitoring system (CGMS). Very happy with both products! I don't mind the tubing that connects the pump to the infusion site. Almost everyone I meet assumes that my pump is a pager, so it's not like I stand out. If I was worried about that, I'd conceal the pump somewhere and use one of the remote-control devices to program it (though they're not quite as easy as using the pump's own keypad).
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Old 09-28-11, 11:07 AM   #14
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SStorkel, no, I would never suggest that anyone not pay attention to warning signs. Sorry if it came out that way. I've been dealing with this for about 10 years. During the normal course of the day, if I start going Hypo, I fully recognize the symptoms. But, under physical exertion, MY symptoms are pretty much identical to the symptoms brought on by the exertion, itself.

I don't disagree that the gels or tablets are effective but I do agree with B_Young that they simply don't last long enough. At least not for me. In an emergency, I don't really feel that a pack of M&M's, although NOT perfect, is going to break the scale.

But, you're right (and I think we both agree on this), be prepared and pay attention.
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Old 09-28-11, 12:58 PM   #15
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I don't disagree that the gels or tablets are effective but I do agree with B_Young that they simply don't last long enough.
Glucose tablets are great for their intended job, which is to quickly boost your blood sugar back to a relatively normal level. They are not, however, designed to be a primary fuel during exercise.

If you're experiencing hypoglycemia during exercise, it's probably time to review the literature on "ExCarbs" or "exercise carbs". The idea is to calculate how much fuel you're likely to need for a given activity so you can: 1) eat appropriately, 2) lower your insulin levels prior to exercise, or 3) do both. According to the table I have handy, a 200lb person riding a bicycle at 14mph uses 105g of carbohydrates per hour. If you want to use glucose tablets as your primary source of fuel, you'll need to carry 26 of them, in addition to whatever you need to treat hypoglycemia. That's more food than I want to carry, or consume, so I use glucose tablets just to treat hypoglycemia. Fuel for exercise comes from other sources.

Hammer Gel, in contrast to many gels, is designed for endurance athletes so does last a long time. It won't boost your blood sugar quickly enough to help you recover from hypoglycemia but it will help to sustain you through the remainder of a ride. That's because it's mostly complex carbs, with only a small amount of sugar. As a diabetic athlete, I find Hammer Gel is one of the few products that works really well for me. If you've used sugar-laden gels in the past and been unhappy with them, Hammer Gel might be worth a look...
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Old 09-28-11, 01:54 PM   #16
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Short rides I don't have anything. I'll stash some glucose tablets in my underseat toolbar. Thanks for the reminder.
Don't hide them.

If your riding partners don't know your medical history, you risk being diagnosed with a problem you don't have.

I experienced a co-worker going down at work. Didn't know his history. A little OJ could have prevented his trip to the emergency room.
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Old 09-28-11, 02:34 PM   #17
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McCallum, exactly. I realize M&M's aren't the recommended food of choice (which is why I said as much in my first reply) but they get the glucose back up and I don't have such a concern over "Spiking" because I'm still working and still burning through it. And, while Glucose Tabs/ Gels are great, I do get at least a LITTLE Protein in the mix from the Peanuts. My Docs actually thought that, given the circumstances, it wasn't actually the worst idea that they'd ever heard. But I'm not anybody's doctor so don't anyone take this as a prescription.
Street Pedaler
Actually I think the M&M's (or PB/Cheese crackers, my choice) are better than glucose tabs/gels; if for no other reason those a slower to in and out. That is the whole idea behind my EMT friends choice of a tube of cake icing over glucose gel in his jump kit; not to mention better tasting.

Though I also agree with
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But I'm not anybody's doctor so don't anyone take this as a prescription.
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Old 09-28-11, 06:33 PM   #18
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Actually I think the M&M's (or PB/Cheese crackers, my choice) are better than glucose tabs/gels; if for no other reason those a slower to in and out.
Hope you're using those a fuel and not as a treatment for hypoglycemia! Slow absorption isn't what you want when your blood glucose is at 50 mg/dL and headed lower...
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Old 10-03-11, 06:37 PM   #19
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After reading through these... . Everyone's experience with BGL drops is a little different. The glucose tabs (I carry them in my briefcase and in the car) work for me for a quick recovery, but I need something else to not crash again in 1/2 hour. I'm a Type 2 and have started training; yesterday was my first ride. I didn't take any meds in the AM, didn't take my Byetta shot, had a couple of Cliff bars beforehand, drank lots of water, etc. At the end of the ride I was beat and I didn't realize what that was about - I needed fuel - until I had lunch.

M&M's are not comparable to glucose tabs, in that the sugar in them is either came or HFCS (high fructose corn syrup and solids) and that stuff is nasty. I prefer to get something like nut bars or granola bars, or peanut butter and crackers, preceded by a glucose tab. In one of McCallum's posts he says the doc liked the M&M's because of the protein - every diabetic should eat a little protein with every snack. It really helps to balance the highs and lows.

Gary Hall Jr. - Olympian swimmer with 10 Olympic medals - is a Type 1 diabetic. I remember reading about how difficult it was to train, but he really relied on his meter.
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Old 10-03-11, 10:48 PM   #20
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My wife is type 1 and I can say that the experiences we have had with her blood sugar bottoming out, juice or fruit snacks work well for the quick recovery. Again, watching signs and symptoms is really the key and finding what works well for your body is important. Of course, as said, the fruit snacks only help short term to fix the low sugar level, not maintain the sugar level, especially when exercising. And it is totally important as also said letting others that you are with know as we have used simple solutions such as honey when we've had problems working in a commercial kitchen.
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