Warriors on Wheels Part 1: Tour de Cure’s Kevin Wells
Last June I blogged about Twin Cities Tour de Cure, a cycling fundraiser for the American Diabetes Association that I participated in for the first time in 2011. I was blown away by the route, the organization and the amazing people I met. Also by the party at the end of the ride, which was the best ever finish line I’ve crossed (great food, live music, a beer garden and NO speeches!) Janeece, one of my new best friends at the TC Tour de Cure headquarters, asked if I would write a few words about some of the people involved in this year’s ride and see if we can’t get a few more of you as excited as we are about the upcoming event (Saturday, June 2, 2012! Save the date!)
A lot of people I have talked to who have gotten either the Type 1 or 2 diagnosis have talked about the changes they have had to make as a result of their diabetes. Some of the changes are to improve health, like healthy eating and weight management, and other changes, like blood sugar maintenance, are to prevent health problems. When I spoke with Officer Kevin Wells at the 5th Precinct in Minneapolis, I was struck by the fact that when he was diagnosed in 1993, he was already a long-time nutrition and fitness enthusiast. His approach to diabetes seems to be to not let it change the way he likes to live.
Kevin’s passion for cycling began in 2005, when he took an indoor spin class to add something new to his workout regime. “Everyone there talked about riding outside,” he says, so he tried it. “I fell in love. That was the first year I did the Tour de Cure.” He commutes to work on bike whenever he can and pushes himself with distance and/or intensity on training rides outside as often as possible, or inside on a trainer when the weather is bad. In addition to the fun and challenging workout he found in cycling, Kevin discovered another obsession: the gear. He now owns several bikes and a plethora of garb, cycling computers, GPS systems, and other things that take his ride to the next level.
I asked Kevin if his intensity with cycling complicates his blood sugar management. “Long steady rides will continuously burn carbs,” he explains, “so you just have to be sure not to let your blood sugar fall too low. The way I ride pushes my anaerobic threshold, which is where the blood sugar actually spikes. When I don’t feel good on a ride I have to test [my blood sugar] because I can’t always tell if I feel off because I am low or high. I don’t let it stop me, though.”
Kevin enjoys other cycling events, such as the Tour de Tonka, and local duathlons, but Tour de Cure has a special place in his heart. “The Tour is a great, fun event. I’ve met a lot of nice people, and the food’s good. Last year, I rode the 62 mile route, and commuted to the event and back home on my bike, so I got in 100 miles. I calculated that I burned 6,800 calories that ride. I felt great.”
The folks at TC Tour de Cure would like to thank Kevin Wells for supporting the Tour with his participation and story. Please join Kevin, myself and the other riders at the event either by riding or joining the ranks of volunteers, or consider donating to support the ADA drive for research, education and advocacy for people with diabetes. You can get started by clicking on this link: TC Tour de Cure.
Related Post: Tour de Cure: The Finish Line