It’s been a while since my last Diabetes Ireland blog update. In that time, so much has happened and as always it has absolutely flown by! I’ve finished off the 2013 season, trained hard over the winter, and got the 2014 campaign well under way, along with plenty of travelling as usual and many other things.
The last race of 2013 was the Tour of Hainan in China at the end of October and then I got a well-earned end of season break. It was a 9-day stage race, which covered a total of 1,500 km; the longest race I had ever done! It was a fantastic experience and a great achievement for me to complete in my first year racing as a professional with diabetes. Along with my teammates, we battled hard throughout the entire race. Inevitably, I’ve never felt so tired in my life by the finish. Needless to say I slept on the long travel home, and for most of the following week!
After training and racing for 8 months, I treated myself to around 2 weeks completely off the bike. This was a much-needed period of rest, both physically and mentally, and I certainly benefited from it. However, it didn’t take long before I was itching to kit up and click into the pedals again, especially with all the benefits exercise has on my blood glucose control. In the first few spins back on home roads, I appreciated the small things and enjoyed experiencing all the sensations that make me love doing this as a job.
I travelled to the UK in November to attend a number of various activities for World Diabetes day before making the trip to Melbourne for the IDF World Diabetes Congress where I represented Team Novo Nordisk. It was my first time in Australia and it was a great trip. We got to speak to a huge number of people from throughout the diabetes world. We told our stories, discussed what we do on the team and how it can be used to educate, empower and inspire others. It was a great success and I find it such an important part of this job.
Then it was back to serious business with team training camps in California and Spain, in December and January, respectively. It was great to get back together with all the team, who still continue to inspire me. Between camps, I enjoyed spending time at home with family and friends, while trying to be careful of all the lovely food on offer over the festive period!
It wasn’t long before I was back in action again, with the season kicking off this time in Mallorca in early February. It got busy pretty fast, with the five-day Tour de Taiwan stage race, followed by some one-day races in France. I had a two-week injury setback in April, before I was on the road again to the Tour of Azerbaijan, another five-day stage race. This was one of the hardest but most phenomenal races I’ve been lucky enough to compete in. The race was held around the city of Baku, and it became clear to me why it’s called, “The City of Winds” after racing though desert sandstorms and up to 80km/h winds! And I thought Irish weather was crazy! Next stop was the USA, where I did three races and formed a training base in Boulder, Colorado, an absolutely amazing place.
I’ve just completed the 2014 edition of the Tour of Korea, which involved 1,350km of racing over 8 days, which was both challenging and successful. I felt good and the race went really well for us, but it’s great to be back home in Ireland now for a short period, which is going to be action packed. The first weekend involves one of the most important events of the year for me, The Changing Diabetes Cycle, where I’ll be proud to be a Diabetes Ireland ambassador. This will be a special day in Dublin on the 22nd of June and I hope it’s a great success. This will be followed up by one of the other most important events of the year: the Irish National Cycling Championships in Mullingar on the 29th. It will be my final year racing in the U23 age group and last chance to earn a medal in that category, so I’m really hoping to do well. As always, it will be great to be back racing on Irish roads against familiar faces.
To join Stephen Clancy on the 22nd of June in Dublin, click here to register