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The Iceman Cometh Challenge 2022

 – Mary Mantei, (IDS Patient)

I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, Northwest Lower Michigan in Traverse City. The bays of Lake Michigan lie on either side of us, along with a multitude of inland lakes. Thousands of acres of public protected lands, as well as state forests, and national park lands make this area an outdoor athlete’s dream come true.

There are many organized events for pro athletes, and more importantly, recreational athletes to raise their physical, mental, and fun-factor endurance meter! One of these events, The Iceman Cometh Challenge, takes place the first weekend in November each year. It is a 30-mile, point-to-point mountain bike race. Over 5000 riders from across the country and the globe gather to ride a course of single-track, two-track, and dirt roads from Kalkaska to Traverse City MI.

In 2015, training for the Iceman, I had a significant crash a week before the race that kept me from participating. I healed, continued my active lifestyle and didn’t think about doing the Iceman again, until this past summer. I would be out on my mountain bike and find myself thinking about the Iceman on almost every ride. I was pretty sure registration would be closed, however, I knew there would be a waiting list. So one day I got on that waiting list, and 3 weeks later, I had an invitation that gave me 48 hours to say yes or no. I said yes! Let the fun begin!

Living with T1, I knew managing it as optimally as I could would be a huge part of not only successfully meeting this challenge, but to do so staying healthy, feeling good, and having fun! As my husband and ace training partner Peter said, “If you don’t get that right, nothing will go right.”

Enter Integrated Diabetes and Gary Scheiner. I reached out to Gary via email, introducing myself, stating what I wanted to do and what my goals were, and asking if there might be value in working together. He was very responsive and immediately supportive. I began to learn new information and strategies from our first conversation. One of the most valuable assists I learned from Gary was basal rate and food consumption management pre, post, and during training. I can honestly say, implementing those strategies resulted in being able to stay in range 90% plus during training. And I can honestly say, I did not experience a single low, below 70 mg/dl, during my training or the race. That was a huge win for me. And I continue to use those strategies in an adjusted fashion.

Full disclosure: come race day, the jitters set me up! I was in Wave 35 out of 50 plus waves. Blood glucose was around 200. Off we go! 30 minutes in, BG was still at 200. I checked again 40 minutes down the course, still high. Isn’t this the life of living with T1? The best-laid plans aren’t working, so we monitor and adjust! I made a decision to try something totally different. I upped my basal and ate 12 carbs or so every 30-40 minutes. I finished the race with a BG of 93 mg/dl, and experienced no lows later in the day or that night. Post-training insulin and food management was key here.

At age 69, living with T1 and knowing I would be stopping to monitor BG and food intake, I set a humble goal of 4 hours. I finished in 3:44, feeling this deep emotion welling up within me. I was feeling such deep appreciation for this opportunity, for such a supportive community, for all the other riders and fans. And of course, for all the supportive people who helped me accomplish this.

When I saw my husband, Pete, in the finish area, the smile on his face and his long, strong hug, confirmed what I was feeling. This was a celebration for both of us! When one person in a family lives with T1 diabetes, every gain, every improvement, every success, is a win for everyone in the family. Peter and I would both agree that reaching out to Integrated Diabetes and working with Gary was a great strategy for accomplishing this win!

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