[IPp] Race Across America
These guys have been driving me crazy!!! They are riding on the roads from
my little town to the "big" town I go to work in. But I didn't know that
Team Type 1 is competing with them. Anyhoo, if you see them on a road near
you, cheer team type 1 on!!
Rachel in AZ
Living strong: Diabetic cyclist participating in coast-to-coast race
Wednesday, June 11, 2008 3:00 AM
By Ken Gordon <email @ redacted>
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
[image: <p>Matt Brooks of Pickerington is competing as a member of Team Type
1, which consists of eight cyclists with diabetes.</p>]
Photo courtesy of Team Type 1
Matt Brooks of Pickerington is competing as a member of Team Type 1, which
consists of eight cyclists with diabetes.
Matt Brooks is entered in two races. One will push him to physical extremes.
The other is much more important.
The first is Race Across America, an ultra-marathon bicycle race that
crosses the country from California to Maryland. That race begins today.
The second is a race to see how many people Brooks can reach with his
message: Living with juvenile diabetes (Type 1) has not prevented him from
becoming a fit and active cyclist, and it doesn't have to limit anyone else
from reaching their dreams, either.
The 21-year-old Pickerington native has come a long way since doctors
diagnosed his diabetes on his eighth birthday. Only four years after buying
his first racing bike, Brooks is a member of Team Type 1, a team of eight
cyclists -- all with Type 1 diabetes -- who will participate in the Race
"I found Team Type 1 on the Internet and I started e-mailing (team
co-founder) Phil Southerland," Brooks said. "I thought it was a great
program -- so inspirational -- and I wanted to be a part of it. I wanted to
show other people with diabetes that they can be in control if they eat the
right foods and take their medications properly. It's all about education
Brooks' awareness began with his diagnosis in January 1995. His whole family
changed their diet in support of Matt's new restrictions.
He played baseball and soccer as a child, sticking with soccer through his
junior year at Pickerington North. When he stopped playing, he started
struggling to keep his blood sugar under control. Doctors advised him to get
active again, but bad knees limited his choice of sports to swimming or
"I don't swim too well," Brooks said, "so I saved up my money and bought a
His mother, Marianne, saw the sticker price (more than $1,000) and thought,
"Oh my gosh, I hope he's not wasting his money."
Hardly. After graduating from high school in 2005, Brooks headed to the
University of Akron, where he will be a junior this fall.
In dealing with his diabetes, Matt has worn an insulin pump for the past
eight years, which automatically regulates his insulin dosages. He also
wears an insulin monitor to better track his blood sugar level.
He raced locally and regionally before finding Team Type 1. He lobbied
Southerland for a year, sending along his race results, before gaining a
spot on the team in 2007.
One factor behind Brooks' acceptance was his cycling ability, obviously. But
Team Type 1 also is looking for people who are willing and able to share
their diabetes experience.
"I'm real lucky to have a guy like Matt," said Southerland, 26, whose family
was once told he would be dead by age 25. "He has been one of our best
teammates in terms of really wanting to get out and share his story. He has
been top-notch, and I'm just thrilled."
The Race Across America is a grueling event in which the eight team members
split into two smaller teams. Each will take shifts of riding at full speed
for 20 minutes, then resting for an hour. They will get maybe four hours of
sleep a day.
The race winds through 14 states, including southern Ohio, and will take
fewer than six days to complete. Last year, Team Type 1 won its division
(eight-man corporate) and set a record time of 5 days, 15 hours, 43 minutes.
But Brooks ultimately is more concerned with bigger issues than winning a
bike race. He and several teammates recently spoke to a group of children at
the Vanderbilt University diabetes clinic in Nashville, Tenn.
"We were giving them an idea of what technology is out there and how to use
it," he said. "We were talking to them about playing sports. That's why I
entered racing. If people with this disease doubt they can do it, I want to
show them they can."
Rachel - email @ redacted
If you haven't got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me.
- Alice Roosevelt Longworth, 1884 - 1980
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