Teme Leisure saddles up for epic cycle ride in aid of Diabetes UK

A 16-strong team of Teme Leisure staff and Teme Tri Club members are saddling up for an iconic Sportive in Wales.

Lee Hassan, David Morris, Andrew Stewardson, Steve Adams will be taking part in the cycle ride
Lee Hassan, David Morris, Andrew Stewardson, Steve Adams will be taking part in the cycle ride

They are taking on Wales in a day on Saturday 22nd July – a whole country from top to bottom in one day – to raise Type 1 diabetes awareness.

Commented Teme Leisure General Manager Lee Hassan: “Two of the group have type 1 diabetes so choosing Diabetes UK as the charity for our annual challenge this year means we can raise funds for a worthy cause and raise awareness about how type 1 diabetes and how it differs from type 2 diabetes.”

From the picturesque town of Caernarfon to Chepstow, taking in the Llanberis and Gospel Pass, each pedal push during the 190 gruelling miles will be dedicated to type 1 diabetes sufferers, especially young people.

Andrew ‘Stewy’ Stewardson’s diagnosis at the age of 18 came as a massive shock, and meant major changes in his lifestyle.

Stewy, 35, a maintenance engineer at Teme ludlow, said:

“My doctor literally said you can’t go out and drink like a teenager.

“I was massively into football at the time and I was determined that being diabetic wouldn’t stop me enjoying sport.

“Exercising is particularly beneficial for diabetics but adjusting food and insulin around exercise was a learning curve, as different types of exercise can have a different effect on you.

“I had to find the right plan that worked for me before, during and after exercise.

“Living with diabetes is a constant balancing act, but I learned to live with it.

“For long duration and/or high intensity exercise sessions, I need to plan extra carbohydrate snacks during the activity. Additional carbohydrates are suggested each 30 to 60 minutes of exercise (e.g. Football match, biking, etc.)”

After years of daily insulin injections Stewy started insulin pump therapy in January 2016, which opened up a whole new world of training.

“An insulin pump is worn on the body, and supplies the body continuously with its basic insulin requirements. The additional insulin required at mealtimes is administered by pressing a button.

“The greater flexibility gave me the confidence to enter endurance events and I have since competed in multi-sport events such as the Storm The Castle duathlon.”

“Blood glucose levels still need to be measured, but the use of individually adjusted doses of short-acting insulin gives a higher level of flexibility during athletic activity and managing training schedules.”

Wales in a Day will be keen cyclist David Morris’ first major endurance event.

David, 37, a Teme Tri Club member, was just seven years old when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

He said: “A lot of people think that you must have diabetes because you have eaten too much sugary food. But in a lot of cases there is nothing that can be done to prevent it. It’s not even that it’s genetic, it’s just a completely unfortunate event where my pancreas stopped working like it used to.”

Because of the training levels needed to embark on an exhausting 190-mile ride, David consulted his GP and a specialist diabetic dietitian before beginning training.

Endurance athletes tend to carry fast-acting carbohydrate food such as gels to boost their performance, but for diabetics it’s vital to take them in the event blood sugar drops too low and hypoglycemia symptoms develop during exercise.

The money raised will be donated to Diabetes UK. To donate visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/TemeLeisure