Blog: Barney Storey

After a successful day 1 at the Ride Across Britain, here is Barney’s first blog about how he found it.

The first day has been completed for the Deloitte Ride Across Britain. The scenery can only be described as fantastic! The weather was reasonably kind to us and it was great to finally get the ride underway after some more specific training over the last few weeks. The ride is for a great cause where we are trying to raise money for Paralympics GB in preparation for the London 2012 Paralympic Games and beyond. Myself and my wife Sarah are riding the whole event over 9 days, plus we will have a few of our GB team mates joining us in Glasgow for a few stages. If you wish to donate please visit our just giving page:

As part of the specific training for the event I had to consider two areas to make the ride as fast and efficient as possible. Firstly consideration of the terrain I would be riding over. This meant there were a few key sessions I completed over some fairly hilly terrain, working at certain levels and practising the technical aspects, such as descending, rhythmical breathing for the climbs and bike position as it would be important to stay as aerodynamic as possible in any sections wuith a headwind. The other area being feeding and working my diabetes around the high energy demand levels of the gruelling 9 day event. With stages averaging approximately 110 miles, its always tricky to balance the blood sugar levels, but I like a challenge!

For the statiticians out there I completed the first stage of 168km (104miles) in 5 Hours 30 mins, with an average HR of 143 and an average speed of 30.7kph.
As with any insulin dependent diabetic, insulin levels are a constant consideration throughout every day. For a ride of this nature with 5 hours 30 minutes or more equating to “time in the saddle” working out the balance of fuel to insulin is a huge consideration. From previous lengthy training camps and knowledge of how my body uses fuel, I knew that I would need to reduce my insulin intake slightly to cater for the additional hours of training compared to my normal levels. I take two types of insulin, Novorapid(fast acting) and Levemir (steady state) insulin. The levemir generally stays the same as normal training days, but the novorapid needs reducing to take into account the additional demand for sugar.

As a direct result of the insulin consideration, my feeding regime for the ride took some planning. I needed to know I would be able to consume sufficient calories to fuel the additional riding I would be doing compared to normal. On today’s first stage, I went through 3 CNP energy gels which contain caffeine, 4 CNP energy bars which contain 230kcal per bar, 2 x Brioches, 4 bottles of energy drink, 1 bottle of Vimto, 2 bottles of coke and a rather tasty jam sandwich! Despite the quantity of both food and fluid, I know that I could still do with taking in more! During any endurance ride it’s important to be quite strict about the frequency of consumption for both fluid and fuel. The balance of blood sugar levels is crucial, even on a ride of this length it is possible to get a high reading. I took my blood sugar reading about half way through the ride, just to double check I was on the right track. Given the readings post ride today and also the amount of food I have eaten since finishing, I know I will need to take into account how the terrain of the route alters the intensity of the rides, especially as we get further down the country and into Devon and Cornwall. The short sharp climbs which require additional power are also likely to increase energy demands!

This isn’t an exact science unfortunately. Everyone’s body is different and everyone’s body will also differ from day to day, even doing the same ride. Sleep, hydration and stress levels all have an effect on blood sugar levels, so the most important piece of advice I have been given is to keep an open mind about how you will be feeding from day to day. As a result of all the years I have been training, the differences from day to day tend to be something I can feel happening now, but if in doubt I always check my sugar levels. From experience I also know that the cummulative effects of the ride will have an impact the further we get into the event. However I will report back on this further down the country and fill you in on any changes I have made to stay healthy.

Cheers, Barney