I love meeting people who are passionate about their health. I especially love those who love the bike as a way to be healthy. A few years ago, I met Jenifer Armstrong. She’s 35 years old, the mother of a very wonderful 6 year old, the wife of a passionate endurance runner, she’s a nurse by day and she loves her bike. Jen is also the team co-captain of the largest Team Red in the USA: Team Red Colorado. Jen lives with type 1 diabetes. She’s been doing the diabetes thing for 25 years. She wears a Medtronic insulin pump and a CGM that while she sometimes likes it, it sometimes is just too much data. I know I can relate to that.
This year, Jen decided it was time to take her cycling to the next level. So in addition to all the responsibility of co-captaining Team Red Colorado, a team of almost 200 riders who so far have raised $124,000 for the American Diabetes Association, (that’s $124k THIS YEAR ALONE!!!) she took on training for 18 weeks with TeamWILD for the 100 mile ride. This would be her FIRST ride of this distance!!! GO JEN!!!
This is what Jen had to say on her TeamWILD Intake Form, which she filled out in March, just before she started her 18 week training program:
JEN’S GOALS: My immediate goal is to successfully finish my first 100 mile ride. I also have a goal to not take 10 hours to do this. I want to get faster and more efficient on the bike this year and get better at climbing. My long term goals are to be able to do multiple day cycling tours. Be able to climb steep passes. Hike most of the 14ers. Hopefully be able to run someday…
WHAT SHE WANTED TO LEARN: I would like to learn how to put all the pieces together to become a better athlete and overcome my personal obstacles. ….I especially want to learn about heart rate training!
ABOUT HER MOTIVATION: I really just need a kick in the butt. I want to be an athlete year-round, not just for one event. I don’t like that I have been lacking the motivation it takes to do that. I know I will do better to have a goal in place with the support of TeamWILD behind me and team mates to keep me going.
Once the TeamWILD 100 mile cycling program started, Jen received a TeamWILD email each week that gave her a link to a private web page that had the athletic coaching, diabetes coaching, nutrition coaching and mental skills coaching that would get her ready on all levels to do her Tour de Cure ride on August 18th! Athletes with TeamWILD can ask questions as they go. Jen only asked a few. But each time she did, the coaches helped her out.
Here is a note I got from Jen the day after her ride! Jen, you are amazing. I am so proud of you, as are ALL of the coaches, staff and your fellow athletes at TeamWILD! GO WILD Jen!!!
Although I was pretty quiet during the training season, I lived and breathed TeamWILD training for 18 weeks. I wanted to take this time to express my sincerest thanks to you for acting on your visions that are the Red Riders and TeamWILD. I will never forget my first Red Rider experience in 2008 and I could not have done the century without the amazing TeamWILD training program and wonderful group of coaches you have picked to guide the way.
I am still in awe that I did 100 miles as a person with diabetes. One of the things I had written down last year was “Preparation = Confidence”. Usually I am a nervous person when it comes to these things and I was so surprised at myself that I never had any nerves over any of it. I was so confident because I knew I had prepared to do well and all I had to do was complete my goal: Finish 100 miles feeling strong and happy. ……..Done! I never had a doubt in my mind that I would finish.
I checked my BG 15x during the ride on Saturday. I was never over 200 and the lowest I got was 87. I knew I could handle anything that came my way because I was prepared. In hindsight, I probably could have pushed myself even more on Saturday. I guess the thing I concentrated on least was pacing. I still had gas in the tank for sure and I felt great at the end and still feel great. I’m a person that is way more cautious than risk-taking, especially when it comes to my diabetes. I took the day cautious and well-prepared and now I know what I am capable of for next time! One step at a time.
Thanks again Mari for what you started and what you’ve created. I am so blessed to be part of such an amazing community. Big hugs to you and to the staff of TeamWILD!
Jen, 100 mile Tour de Cure Finisher