Friday, November 21, 2008

Team Type 1's Joe Eldridge - Quite Diabetesalicious if I do Say so Myself!

Top Photo: Joe speaks - I know it's dark, but some parts turned OK~
2nd Photo: Me and Joe, just hanging out - What I won't do for my readers!

Wednesday night was quite Diabetesalicious in “The Big Book of Kelly”. I (and about 40 others) had the pleasure of attending a Thomas Jefferson University’s division of Endocrinology Department Seminar/ Q & A with Joe Eldridge, C0-Founder and Professional Cyclist for Team Type 1.
Joe’s story was both inspiring and interesting. Diagnosed with Type 1 at the age of 10, Joe never let it stop him from doing the things he loved.
He competed as a Striker on Jr. Soccer teams that traveled across the U.S and was the Place Kicker for his High School Football team and also competed in Triathlons.

Joe went of to College and attended Auburn University. Like most of us who attended college, Joe struggled with maintaining a good A1c his first year on his own.
But Joe fell in love his sophomore year…. with a light blue Trek Bike and became hooked on the sport.

One day he met fellow student and Cyclist Phil Southerland - that meeting and a bet invloving a Burrito, changed both his life and the way he managed his diabetes forever.
In a nut shell, Joe realized that not only was Phil a great cyclist, but he was T1 diabetic who controlled his diabetes and won his races because of his tight control.

They began practicing together and started placing bets (this is where the burrito comes in) on who would have the best Blood Sugar after practice. The loser had to buy lunch. Joe bought a lot of lunches at first, but finally, Joe became a micro-manger of his glucose, and Phil was forced to pay up.

After college, and against a wall of skepticism larger than the famed Manayunk Wall
(which the team would also conquer) Joe co-founded Team Type 1 with Phil Southerland and they entered their first race, “ The Race Across America.”

Because they were a team of diabetics, no one thought they could win, let alone place. But Team t1 proved them all wrong, with a team that consisted of 8 racers and a 30 person crew, TT1 cycled over 3,053 miles and placed 2nd overall...only 5 minutes behind first place. They’d come pretty damn close to overtaking a team that had never been beaten.

What I really liked about Joe’s talk was that wasn’t preachy at all, he understood diabetes burnout, and the frustration of having a high blood sugar for no apparent reason.

Joe stressed that having D- buddies helped to elevate both issues (this statement in particular made me think of dblogville, and how we all support one another daily.)
Instead of reacting to the high blood glucose, Joe acted by taking the steps to both acknowledge the BS high and then correct it. So many of us have stressed out about the unexplained highs and have let it ruin or day.

Joe’s attitude was “ A high blood sugar is just a number, so let’s fix it and make it right.” I think every diabetic out there needs to remember that fact, myself included.

Joe also talked about maintaining a BS of around 160 for workouts and race days. How many of us have had to defend our workout numbers to John Q. Public? It was wonderful to hear a professional athlete say what all of us in dBlogville have written about in the past.
Knowing what glucose numbers work for us during a workout, without having to defend it to the t3’s in our life.

Joe answered questions and was quite approachable to any all who attended the event afterwards. A down to earth man with an extraordinary athletic ability and a positive attitude towards the Big D as well!

If Joe (or any member of Team Type 1) makes an appearance in your area, do yourself a favor and go listen to what he has to say. His outlook on life and diabetes is inspiring and positive. So much so in fact , that yours truly has signed up for a spin class that starts next week! More on that to follow! ;)

The evening was sponsored by The Kostic Foundation, Omnipod, and Sanofi Aventis and all 3 sponsors provided those who attended with an evening filled with an awesome speaker, great info on their company, and a fabulous dinner spread!

Because lets face it people, if your going to have a group of diabetics at your event, the food better be fantastic! ;)


chris bishop said...

Sounds like it was a great night. Thanks for posting about it. I hope he comes my way. Would love to hear his story and ask a plethora of questions.

Paige said...

We met Phil at a JDRF ride in Asheville. He was so sweet to Olivia and took the time to talk with me about his mom's experiences when he was little (he was diagnosed when he was 7 months old!).

k2 said...

Chris -
It was interesting and validating. Any of the folks from Team Type 1 are worth going to see!

Paige -
I met Phil and Monique a few years ago - Great people!
I have not doubt Olivia loved Phil!