By Tara Vreeland, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- Hundreds of bicyclists will descend on downtown Tulsa on Friday. It will be the 4th Annual Tulsa Tough Ride and Race. Tulsa Tough features everything from professional-level races to recreational rides for adults and kids. The goal is to promote fun and fitness.
"You know, the racing is great and it gets a lot of attention and that's great because it's very flashy. It's very exciting. It's just quite a spectacle, but really the thing that's probably more important to us than anything is building upon the foundation of developing healthy lifestyles and using cycling as a way to do that," said Tulsa Tough's Malcolm McCollam.
Racing in the Tulsa Tough Ride is a challenge by itself. One athlete intends to race while managing a debilitating disease.
"It's been a lot of trial and error. Believe it or not when you race, your blood sugar tends to spike up then go really low and it's when it goes low that it's the most dangerous," said Morgan Patton.
Megan Patton, 20, has lived with Type 1 Diabetes for 13 years. She didn't manage it well early in her teens. That's when she learned about Team Type 1, a professional team of cyclists, all with diabetes, who inspired Patton.
"The competitive side kicked in and I was like I can be a bike racer. I can be faster than those guys," said Morgan Patton.
She joined the women's professional team in January.
Patton is one of two riders with type 1 diabetes, in a team of six, racing in the Tulsa Tough Ride. She counts on her sponsors who provide her with valuable racing tools like a continuous glucose monitor.
"It's really handy. I can just carry it in my pocket of my jersey and it tells me what my blood sugar is and what it's doing so then I can make necessary adjustments whether I need to eat less and drink more water or eat a bunch of sugar," said Morgan Patton.
Balancing the training on top of managing the diabetes has had its frustrating moments.
"There are definitely times when you can't get the blood sugar right. You can't eat the right thing and you're just like augh and just want to hit your head up against the wall. Everybody has those moments. It's just if you can push through those moments," said Morgan Patton. "Anytime somebody doubts me that really gets me going."
And, it's pushing through the tough moments and ignoring the naysayers that give her the boost Patton needs to pedal to the finish line.
Team Type 1 will be competing on Friday at 7 and on Saturday and Sunday.