Thought for the Day

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A pro cycling team named Team Type 1

The news this week from the Team Type 1 Weekly Update is that "Team Type 1" was successful in the Tour Maroc and "Team Type 1" is going to race in the Tour of California.
Why do I not care?
I have been a Team Type 1 fan for years. I am eager to hear good news about what Team Type 1 is doing.
However, the professional cycling team that is called "Team Type 1" is mostly non-diabetics. Whenever I see an article about "Team Type 1" I do a quick scan to see if it involves the mens professional cycling team. If it does, then I will probably skip it.
The exception is if it deals with one of the type 1 diabetic riders, Joe Eldridge, Javier Megias Leal, Martijn Verschoor, or Fabio Calabria. If there are no diabetic riders mentioned, I have no interest in it.
Maybe you have trouble determining whether you're reading about a diabetic when you see a story from Team Type 1. Here's what I find usually works:
If it doesn't say the rider has diabetes in the story, he doesn't.
A lot of diabetics are, as you would expect, unaware that "Team Type 1" does not mean a team of type 1 diabetics. After all, for years, Team Type 1 was all type 1 diabetic riders. There are still teams bearing the name Team Type 1 which are all diabetic. You have to read the small print to know what is going on with the professional cycling team.
Not that there's anything wrong with that.
If the people that have worked very hard to create the Team Type 1 brand want to use it for a professional cycling team, that's their choice.
I don't think they are intentionally trying to deceive. The professional cycling team does serve the diabetic community in a way. They have diabetic riders on the team, and more diabetic riders in development.
I don't know what it means to be on a development team, but that's because I don't know much about professional cycling.
I've tried to figure out what the professional team is about.
I didn't find a mission statement on the Team Type 1 web site, but this statement is prominently displayed:
We strive to instill hope and inspiration for people around the world affected by diabetes.
That is clearly what the all-diabetic teams, like those competing in RAAM, are about.
I think the diabetics who are most inspired by the professional cycling team are the ones who don't know that most of the riders aren't diabetic.
From my current perspective, the pro team seems to be more about selling to diabetics than inspiring diabetics.
The pro team is not inspiring to me as a diabetic.
I have some understanding of what this team does for diabetic riders. I like to associate with other diabetics involved in the kinds of athletic activities I like. We share experiences and feelings, we inspire and help each other.
I've never been close, in any sport, to the level at which the diabetic riders on the "Team Type 1" professional or development cycling teams compete. If I was a competitive cyclist, I'd want to be on the "Team Type 1" professional team.
However, I think that success in cycling, like success in other sports, depends on individual abilities. No one can be put at the pinnacle by someone else.
There are diabetic athletes at or near the highest levels of almost every sport. Almost all of them have gotten where they are without being given special consideration for being diabetic.
Having this mostly non-diabetic professional cycling team gathered specifically to elevate diabetic cyclists seems to imply that diabetics can't make it in the sport without special consideration.
I don't buy that. I see it as a marketing gimmick for the team sponsors.

I wish all of the athletes on all of the Team Type 1 teams continued success, whether or not they are diabetic. I am naturally more excited about the successes of the diabetics.

14 comments:

Mike said...

Very well put! :) As a marketing professional, I feel the sponsors are getting more value than the team may be getting out of the relationship. Just my 2 cents.

Janey M. said...

I think the diabetics on the team are afraid to win races because they would be criticized for cheating. Insulin is not allowed in cycling.

One of my friends is on the TT1 RAAM team and he said he'll never turn pro because of this. He said the diabetics on the pro team don't want to be associated with doping so they often sandbag at the big races.

Anonymous said...

Lol, that is the funniest thing I have ever heard. They apply with the anti doping agency to alloy them to use insulin and its not a advantage to be diabetic racing bikes.

JW

Janey M. said...

My friend-Bob Schrank-said it is an advantage and that he had to get special permission to do RAAM because of his insulin. Makes sense to me.

jpnairn said...

Anonymous,
This is the same thing:

"They apply with the anti doping agency..."
and
"...he had to get special permission..."

Insulin is an anabolic hormone and has been used by non-diabetics trying to gain an advantage, and it has been banned from a lot of sports.
The fact that some non-diabetics want to use insulin to cheat does not necessarily mean that having diabetes, lacking a functional metabolic system, is an advantage.
Maybe someone said it is. I know very competitive people who would say it isn't.
It's a matter of opinion.
I find it an absurd idea that the diabetic professional cyclists "are afraid to win...."
Yeah, I'm afraid to win, too, or I'd be in much better shape.

jpnairn said...

Ack, I replied to the wrong person.
Janey, the web site is triabetes.org, not triabetes.com.

Anonymous said...

I was at a race in Rock Hill last weekend where the announcer said all of the pros on TeamType1 have diabetes. But now I read that they don't. Who am I to believe? And if not, why don't all the pros have diabetes?

jpnairn said...

Believe the Team Type 1 web site. The announcer made the assumption most people do.
http://www.teamtype1.org/teams/team_type1_men
Four of the seventeen riders on the "Team Type 1" pro team have diabetes.

jpnairn said...

Oh, it was the development team that competed at Rock Hill last week. They do all have diabetes. Confusing, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Just read their newest weekly update. Their coach said they came close to winning at Rock Hill.

Gary said...

Jerry, I'm with you on this. At first glance, I was very excited about a Team "of" Type 1 diabetic riders, but after digging deeper, you'll see that it's not really the case.

They do in fact do some good things diabetes related (I think just recently they delivered testing supplies or something in Morocco), but right off the bat it's all a bit confusing.

st. lou jew said...

I used to follow the team when they won the RaceAcrossAmerica a few years ago. But when they started promoting the guys without diabetes, I quit following them. Don't say you're a team of diabetics when the ones winning the races don't have the disease.

slj

jpnairn said...

The "Team Type 1" Development Team is all type 1 diabetic riders, but reading the latest "Weekly Update" I see "Davide Frattini, from the pro men’s team was fresh from his King of the Mountain at the Redlands Bicycle Classic and joined the development team for the weekend of racing."
So apparently non-diabetic riders, like Frattini, may jump in and ride with the all-diabetic development team.
It's a great thing for Davide Frattini to get in some racing. I don't know why I should care about him, though. He's just another pro cyclist.
From now on, when I see any news concerning "Team Type 1," I won't assume it has anything to do with diabetics.

Anonymous said...

read their weekly report this week. it said one guy did "an excellent job of managing his glucose levels" during a race. i hope so. if he doesn't, he's likely to be in big trouble.