Interview with Reid McClure | Published 30 August 2018
Novo Nordisk was born out of a mission to truly put patients first, supporting the 382 million people around the world living with diabetes.* Since the beginning, we’ve continually looked for ways to create programs that not only help those living with diabetes manage their respective conditions – but to show them what’s possible when you do. Team Novo Nordisk – the first all-diabetes professional cycling team – came together through a partnership between Phil Southerland and Novo Nordisk to inspire, educate and empower those affected by diabetes.
Today, the larger team is comprised of nearly 100 athletes from over 20 countries – riding, running, and swimming in a race to change diabetes. One of Team Novo Nordisk’s pro cyclists is Canadian -- Reid McClure from Calgary, Alberta. Reid was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of three. We had a moment to catch up with Reid about cycling, life outside of racing, and what he’s learned from being part of the team.
What does a race day look like for you?
Reid McClure: Races are usually around mid-day, which is kind of nice! I usually wake up around 9 or 10 and make sure to get in a pre-race meal which is something simple and light on the stomach. Lately, it’s been plain white rice with soy sauce, eggs and avocado. Sometimes we’re lucky and the race is right outside of our hotel, but other times we need to jump on the team bus and drive there. Either way, my pre-race ritual always involves a little bit of music. It’s a great way to get me race-ready – but you don’t want to have too much nervous energy when you’re beginning what can be up to a five hour race!
Are there any special considerations you need to take on race day as a rider with diabetes?
RM: I need to pay attention to the same things every other person with diabetes does. I need to make sure my blood sugar is in my target range. If it’s not, it can be something that really holds me back in my performance.
What is it like being a part of a team of riders with diabetes?
RM: I’ve never been on a team of people without diabetes! What I will say, though, is it’s nice to be on a team where everyone understands the implications of being a rider with diabetes. We also have really awesome, incredible staff that are so knowledgeable and there to help us when we need it.
How often do you train and what does your training routine look like?
RM: I train pretty much every day. I really only take about a day off each month. My routine is always changing because I need to fit it into my racing and travelling schedule – but an average week includes about 20 to 25 hours of riding. Whatever I can do to get in as much time as I can on the bike. When I train, I always make sure I have some food with me just in case. You work hard so you get hungry! But I also have food with me because I’m always checking my glucose levels so I can make sure I’m within my range and performing at my best.
Do you have any passions outside of racing?
RM: It’s kind of funny because you’d think racing is a passion but it’s really more of my job at this point. When I’m not on the bike, I really enjoy baking. I’m really into bread right now – even though that may not be super diabetes-friendly.
What advice can you give those living with diabetes looking to get more involved in sports?
RM: Just get out there and do whatever you enjoy! That might be cycling but it also might not – but of course, I’m a little biased. I’d recommend you find a group of people you can connect with. There are a lot of support groups for all sorts of different passions within the diabetes community. Try googling to see if there’s one in your hometown that’s active. That’s what I did and I found a group online of Type 1 cyclists that host rides on weekends. Finding a group like that can be really motivating.
What have you learned through managing diabetes while being a professional athlete that anyone can apply to their daily lives?
RM: The most important thing I’ve learned is just to make sure you’re thinking primarily about your health. Whatever you choose when it comes to how you eat or how you exercise, just treat your body well!
To learn more about Team Novo Nordisk, visit teamnovonordisk.com.
* Global incidence statistics per the International Diabetes Federation as of 2013.
Diabetes is the common term for several metabolic disorders in which the body no longer produces insulin or uses the insulin it produces ineffectively.