Brussels to Barcelona: Cycling for Diabetes

28 November 2013
Barcelona
Could you ride a bike for 13 days straight? Young Leader Mary from China took the challenge of participating in the mHealth Grand Tour although she had never sat on a saddle before. The mHealth Grand Tour is a 2,100km journey from Brussels to Barcelona with more than 22,000 meters of climbs. This tour is more than just a bike ride – it is also an opportunity to promote innovative solutions to the challenges of managing diabetes. As Mary felt responsible for raising diabetes awareness, she took this immense struggle on herself proving that diabetes can’t hold you back from great achievements. Not only did she have to take intense spinning training to become physically fit for the long cycling, but she also had to travel to Europe on her own and adapt her condition management to the European environment, food and lifestyle. The tour was divided into four stages and was unpleasant from the start. Being an inexperienced cyclist and not having fully recovered from her jet-lag, a moment of low concentration resulted in a slight injury of Mary’s left arm and leg. Stage 2 was even rougher when rising altitude was accompanied by sinking temperatures and rainy weather. Without any warning, Mary’s blood sugar would rise to 22 mmol/l making her feeling dizzy and unable to ride her bike. Luckily the situation was contained by the nurses present and Mary could continue the tour. “Somehow things just happen, but we have to remain hopeful and optimistic. That’s how we will always find a way out of the worst situations possible”, says Mary about this experience. With the support and help from the team, Mary finally conquered her fears and completed the journey. Barcelona’s sunshine smiled a welcome to the travelers as they were celebrating their triumph with champagne. Mary describes this as the most beautiful day in her entire life: “The feeling after achieving the goal is so intense that you can’t possibly use any words available to articulate it and I couldn't feel more proud of myself.” Cherishing the new friends she had made along the way, Mary is very grateful having received the invitation to this breathtaking trip from Paul, the founder of TeamBG. Concluding her adventure, Mary would like to encourage everybody to go to their limit: “This is about us being empowered to take control of our lives, to challenge our own and others’ perceived physical limitations, and to make a real contribution to the diabetic community. Sports and Exercise, let’s beat diabetes together!” Watch the mHealth Grand Tour video here
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