2 Your Health: Touring with Type 1 Diabetes

 Annalisa Van Den Bergh on the cover of April's issue of Adventure Cyclist Magazine.
Annalisa Van Den Bergh on the cover of April's issue of Adventure Cyclist Magazine. (KTUU)
Published: Mar. 19, 2019 at 10:28 AM AKDT
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Defying the odds, and showing others what's possible, two cyclists teamed up to pedal their way across Alaska.

Their goal: to show those that suffer from any type of disease, sickness or disability, that they can go anywhere and do anything they put their minds to.

Fresh off a train ride, Erik Douds took in the sighs of Denali National Park. He said it was hands down the most gorgeous train ride he had ever been on in his life. He and his friend Annalisa van den Bergh made the long trip to Alaska, not to tour it, but to bike it.

The trip was inspired by Annalisa. She and Erik are both type 1 diabetics meaning they're insulin dependent. It can happen to anyone at any time. In their case, they both were diagnosed in their teens.

"We like to say that basically our pancreas is broken and your pancreas is supposed to produce insulin that turns your food into energy and so because our pancreas is broken like we have to do all the work for them," said Annalisa.

"When you're touring, most people are only concerned about how many calories they're eating or how much water they're drinking, and like an added level of complexity is that we're looking at our blood sugar graphs," added Erik.

The 1,000 mile journey required a lot of energy. The two ate 4,000 calories a day. It also served as a platform to educate and meet others who were just like them.

"I think it's motivating us to do a lot of these dreams while we're young and healthy, but its definitely like an added challenge and we love sharing that message that people can go out there no matter what," said Erik.

"It''s been really liberating to travel like this and just use your own energy to take you to such far away places," said Annalisa.

Annalisa is featured on the cover of Adventure Cyclist Magazine. It features their 1,000 mile journey across Alaska. She and Erik are already on their next adventure biking from San Diego to Santa Fe, New Mexico. They plan to stop at different REI locations along the way to share their story and screen their Alaska film.

You can follow their journey on social media under the name Miles of Portraits.