MV All athletes have to carefully manage their health and be in top physical condition. Our athletes are no different in that regard. What is different for our riders is their bodies cannot make any insulin, the hormone that controls blood sugar. For optimal performance, they have keep their blood sugar in a target range. So they closely monitor their blood sugar before, during and after the race, using a continuous glucose monitor and glucose meter.
The plan in Chez Ciclissimo! for the 2015 Aviva Tour of Britain was to put the feet up and enjoy the punchy racing on familiar roads with a selection of anti-pasti and a prosecco after a busy summer of journo-ing. But, of course, that went out of the window when race fever truly hit a couple of days beforehand! I contacted Team Novo Nordisk’s eternally ‘Can-Do’ Press Officer, Fitzalan Crowe, and before I knew it I had daily access to the squad from the heart of the race. The stage by stage inside-line is available over at the Always Riding site if you click here.
I am also pleased to be able to bring you the below conversation with Matt Vogel, VP of Marketing and Medical Affairs at Team Novo Nordisk. I freely admit I was no expert as far as how the all-diabetes squad approached racing whilst managing the condition; Matt happily provided some great insight into the finer detail. The team’s mission is to inspire, educate and empower people affected by diabetes- hopefully this article will contribute to that mission- so do feel free to drop the team a line if you would like more information; http://www.teamnovonordisk.com/team/
Ciclissimo! What are the key pointers that the riders look to manage in their diet?
Matt Vogel Like other endurance athletes, Team Novo Nordisk riders need a nutritious, well-balanced diet. What the riders eat varies for each individual, and also for the intensity, type and amount of exercise. Before a race, they typically eat a high carbohydrate breakfast made up of complex grains and a small portion of protein. During a race, riders will consume solid food, energy bars, fruit bars, gels, energy chews and electrolyte drinks. After the race, they will drink a high carbohydrate drink, followed by a meal with carbohydrates and extra protein to help replenish their muscles.
C! What are the key do’s and don’ts that the riders try to follow to ensure they can enjoy an active lifestyle while racing with diabetes.
If their blood sugar is above target, they make take medication. If their blood sugar is below target, they may eat or drink something. It’s a continual balancing act that requires constant attention. Since everyone is different, our riders work closely with the medical team to find the regimen that works for each individual.
C! Are there any signs that the riders need to be aware of in relation to training hard and negative impact on the body/diabetes related?
MV Changes of pace while on the bike, like sprints and hill climbs, can mean changes to the way the Team Novo Nordisk riders manage their diabetes. So our riders must pay close attention to their blood sugar levels in these scenarios and make the necessary adjustments, all while working with the medical team.