Archive for the ‘mhealthgt’ Tag

GSMA Grand Tour – An Awesomely Epic Adventure

Now that I am at home I have started to reflect on the amazing adventure that I have just had. During the Tour itself I didn’t seem to have a minute to reflect other than when out on the bike, enjoying a climb up a Coll for example:Coll de la CreuetaCol du GranierCol de Perjuretok i drove up this one !

or an amazing view from the top once I got there

Coll de la Creueta (1)Pano View

In the end i managed 1130km with an average overall pace of 2:45, burned almost 35,000 calories and climbed 23,500m (which is totally wrong as overall was 22, 500 but it felt like it some day !) and spent 52 hours in the saddle ! (all figure from Runkeeper so not 100% accurate)

I was worried about my fitness before I went as posted here but in the end these never really caused a problem other than getting down to the brakes on the bike for the long descents.

It would take me a long time to write up the whole event, I had planned to post each day but time was never there to do it as we were running the trial, the team and trying to rest. My overall feeling is one of immense pride to have managed to do half, of managing to do 3 whole stages, setting a distance record of 200km whilst in much pain but feeling so happy after (getting to the hotel and having to cycle up and down the main street of Castres to get over the magic 200 mark was fun !)

It was very inspiring for me to get to meet, and know many of the trial riders, to learn their stories, to begin to understand the impact of diabetes on a very personal level, in some cases to watch them have to give up on riding as the technology we provided warned them of a dangerous drop in glucose levels, in others to be amazed at the level of perseverance and dedication to complete the task. All of this while carrying and using several devices to help us complete the trial, always happy to hand over the modules and looking for them in the morning, the modules will be a fond memory from the tour ๐Ÿ˜‰

Equally it was fun to meet so many colleagues from Orange, we had over 60 riders for the event of all levels, I know they had fun even when riding full days, I got an insight to the life of a team manager, mechanic, kit man and I can see how tough it is to do this full time, getting a full team out with all the equipment was an achievement though ๐Ÿ™‚

On a personal level the tour means so much to me, I made it in one piece, sort of, I learned a huge amount about cycling, still too slow downhill but getting better, and had a lot of fun bonding with new people through the shared experience of joy and pain. It’s something I will never forget, there are many highlights, mostly to do with getting to the top of several Cols, often with the help of others through kind words of encouragement, motivation and in one case an actual hand (thanks Carl!) there were also some lowlights like the falling off a few times, 4 at a standstill due to cleats and headphones ! and one high speed that could have been worse but in the end we were all ok, but as I was reminded, pain is just weakness leaving the body, Man Up and cycle on which is what i did same as others that had cracked ribs, I even managed to lead the pack !

Cracked RibsPeloton

I got a medal this time which was such an unexpected pleasure and it will last far longer than the physical effects, my family is very proud of me, I am also and will be even more so if i get fit enough to do it all again,ย I hope it happens again next year as my new target would be to do the whole thing if i get the opportunity and to improve on the technology to aid Diabetes further.

You can see lots of Tweets using the official hashtag #mhealthgt and plenty of better pics ๐Ÿ™‚

Reposting this for the THIRD time as keeps disappearing !!!

GSMA Grand Tour – A Journey of a Lifetime

In just over a week from now I will take part in this amazing event that has been over 3 years in the making, amazing to think it is almost here and to reflect on what its taken to get to this point !

When looking on Twitter at the official hashtag – #mhealthgt there are several inspiring stories about why people are doing it, mainly around diabetes which is understandable given that this is the main focus of the event, rightly so given the size of the problem this disease creates, but the purpose of this post is to explain my reasons for taking part, there are two main ones.

The simpler one is that I have been working as technical liaison between Orange and the other partners involved in this amazing project in order to get the infrastructure in place to securely transmit data from devices on the riders and bikes to an Orange platform in a Continua compliant format, some of it brand new and game changing such as the Dexcom G5.

On a personal level I am doing this to prove that I can, let me explain, the more i learn about diabetes, the happier I am that I do not suffer from this disease, my lifestyle (sedentary/travel/hotels/poor diet) puts me at risk but so far I have managed to avoid it. What I have suffered from is chronic pain from multiple joint related issues, since the age of 21 i have had 15 operations on knee, spine and shoulder. I’ve been put on neuropathic ย pain killers, hot wax, acupuncture, you name it but in the end the bone, cartilage and tendons just don’t cut it anymore.

It’s quite a shock to find out in your early 20s that you broke your back some time before then, get it fused (agony beyond belief, the morphine drop was interesting, the rubbing skin off elbows not so much) and take 6 months to recover, then screw knee up (tear meniscus in two directions almost all the way through) and start a series of operations every 2-3 years to clean out cartilage and junk from the joint.

Then one day figure out that the back is hurting again so go see a new guy, discs have died from previous operation, spine is collapsing, so have another operation, this one puts metal in the back to hold everything in place, not as bad this one since i had an epidural, although waking up post op and not being able to feel, or move my legs was pretty scary, they kept spraying cold air on my legs which i couldn’t feel at all, then another nurse realised they had left the epidural on ….. thanks for the sheer panic ! – anyway operation kind of worked and on i went with several more knee operations, squeezed in an op on left shoulder when i popped it in gym and had to have a decompression.

So to cut it short(ish) then I have been having operations every 2-3 years since my 20s, I’m now 46 and have a knee that needs replacing and a spine that refuses to stay fixed since the fusion never took and a bolt has come loose and is poking in to my disc so will get it removed after the tourSpine Pic.

Oh forgot to mention that i managed to give myself an inguinal hernia while doing rehabilitation for the last knee operation in April this year where i had some Microfracture done to help me do the tour so will need to get that repaired at some point after the tour also.

I haven’t kept up any exercise in between all the rehabilitation, to be fair i haven’t been very good at following the exercises set, but with the Tour in mind I have had a goal, I have found some motivation, I have managed to do a 100km+ ride even, I am amazed when i do this stuff, I can’t believe i can do it, then I am so amazingly pleased when I do, the feeling is way more effective than sucking down 3200mg Ibuprofen a day !

I am really looking forward to taking part in the tour with cyclists of all levels, from Orange and all the other partners, both from the professional aspect of driving mhealth, or personal connected health, using global standards, through to just the plain feeling of achievement to have taken part – see you on the road or at the end in sunny (hopefully) Barcelona – follow us online through the tour website. Good luck to all the riders !!