Steve is taking on the 24 hour challenge option in Revolve24, and will ride through an entire day and night to achieve his own cycling goals and raise funds for type 1 diabetes research. As husband to Lynn, who lives with type 1 diabetes, Steve is well versed in how it can impact the lives of Australians and their families. He hopes to bring about change for people with type 1 diabetes and also rid the couple of the dreaded “third person” in their relationship, so they can relax, be spontaneous and enjoy life more.
Why have you chosen to do Revolve24 in 2019? What attracted you to the event?
A series of events lead me to the Revolve24, not the least that my son, David Ellison rode solo in last year and my wife, Lynn, and I spent the weekend supporting all the people riding by cheering them on through the night. At that time I was laid up from cycling due to a hernia. Lynn, who has had type 1 diabetes since she was 12 years old, was at the time suffering from an undiagnosed condition so had not been riding her bike either. After my hernia repair at the beginning of March, I was looking for a goal to return to a level of fitness I had not been at for three or four years. Having only been riding for seven years in August 2018, I had become accustomed to a higher level of fitness and was looking for motivation!
Why have you elected to take on a 24 hour challenge?
I like cycling, but am not and never will be, a racer. I’ve always elected to ride long! Endurance seems to suit me, while I have never been a sportsman of any type I can keep turning the pedals. Having said that, the longest ride I have done to date is 320kms in a day. The Revolve24 is therefore a true challenge, something twice as long as my previous longest ride! To be truthful, I had no doubt I could train myself in the time available to ride for 24 hours, so to make it a true challenge I decided to have a goal to qualify for RAAM (Race Across AMerica). Don’t get me wrong, I have no aspirations to race across America, I just want to qualify for it!
What is life like as a partner to someone with type 1 diabetes. Has this been a motivational factor for you?
Lynn and I have been married 38 years, so her diabetes has become a normal part of our lives. Having said that, it becomes the number one concern in anything we do to make sure we don’t get caught in any dangerous situations. It was Lynn that pushed me into cycling even though she had never learned to ride herself. I had taken up running some 18 months before, on my 50th birthday. Unfortunately my body wasn’t at all prepared for that after leading a sedentary life and it was a rude shock to the system. After two half marathons and while training for a full marathon, my knees fell apart. Lynn’s workmates told her to get me into cycling as it would be much kinder on my body. I was having so much fun in my new hobby that Lynn wanted to learn to cycle too. She will never be a performance cyclist but she does enjoy the challenges at her own pace. In fact, in 2016 Lynn completed 160kms around Lake Taupo in New Zealand, then in 2017 she rode the Brisbane to Gold Coast 100km ride in torrential rain! She has in fact completed many challenges in her short time as a cyclist but one thing we have always been certain of is that we have everything to take care of a diabetic emergency including insulin pens, emergency hypo kit, glucose tablets, fluids and even a few basic medical supplies in case of injury.
The photo of Lynn and I is taken as we came to the top of the final climb in the Lake Taupo Challenge, Heartbreak Hill, where dozens of people had to get off and walk, but trooper Lynn made it all the way to the top without stopping.
What are you hoping Revolve24 can achieve for people with type 1 diabetes?
I admit, I first registered for Revolve24 purely for my own goals. Even though I could get a discount registration if I raised funds for JDRF to fight type 1, I chose not too and to raise funds separately. I wanted to raise awareness and to support JDRF without people thinking I was only doing it to reduce my entry cost. I have absolutely no problem with people who do, as I think raising money to help in any way you can is great. It was purely to satisfy my own feelings.
Lynn and I have been very mindful of the needs of diabetes almost as if its a third person in our relationship. A cure would free us from the constant burden of that child that will never leave us! It would make our lives more spontaneous giving us the chance to relax and enjoy life more!
It would make medical care simpler and not a mine field of problems. As I said earlier, Lynn had an undiagnosed condition. This turned out to be a spinal cord compression causing numbness from the chest down. The complications from this stopped Lynn riding, working and in fact being able to do much at all. When it was finally diagnosed it meant an urgent operation to remove one-and-a-half vertebrata from her neck. When Lynn reached theatre to have them removed and replaced with metal cages and plate, because things had sent her sugar levels out of control the operation was postponed for two weeks! That could have been catastrophic, but with careful care the operation was completed in July 2018. Lynn is now recovering in a neck brace but we are hopeful she will be able to ride again eventually. The fact she has type 1 diabetes could have destroyed that chance due to its complications. So, in short, all life care will be simpler and less of a burden on the medical system and us alike.
Revolve24 Australia – 16 – 17 March 2019
Revolve24 Australia is a traffic-free endurance team cycling challenge held on what will be an iconic motor circuit in South Australia. The event has 24, 12 or 6 hour distances to choose from, riding either as an individual or part of a team as well as other disciplines. Whether you’re going solo or in a team of up to eight, you can create your own strategy to suit your team size, ability and ambition.
Revolve24 is also an opportunity for the T1D community to come together, and a JDRF support team will be there to celebrate and welcome all riders to our dedicated JDRF areas. Families and non-riding supporters are also welcome.
Revolve24 registrations are open. Head to the website and register as Team JDRF to get involved.