Giving it your 110%
AARON Perry has been riding ever since he can remember. “My dad bought me my first mountain bike when I was six and since then, I have lived to ride,” he enthused.
He started road racing at the age of 13, and was well on his way to professional racing. But his dreams were dashed when he was diagnosed with diabetes as the age of 16.
“I thought I would have to give it all up,” he said.
Then, three years ago, things took a turn for the better when he discovered Team Novo Nordisk. The team CEO Phil Sutherland emailed him.
“They found me through my mountain biking background and I thought it was a good opportunity as I’ve never let my diabetes get in the way in the past,” he explained. “It gave me hope that if other diabetics were competing to such a high level, then maybe I could do the same, and I started riding again.”
Perry was offered a place on the team and took the opportunity to sign up with them.
“It was the best thing I could ever have done. My diabetes is under control. I’m feeling healthy again, and I love riding and racing again,” said the 28- year- old.
When asked about the obstacles he faces as a cyclist with diabetes, he said: “As a Type 1 diabetic, I try to be very aware of my body. In every sport, athletes know their body inside out. I see it as an advan- tage because I know my body well and use that knowledge to enhance my performance on the bike.”
“Team Novo Nordisk’s slogan ‘ to inspire, educate and empower people affected by diabetes’ helps diabetic cyclists to embrace their condition and not see it as something that holds them back,” he added.
Perry, who was in Malaysia for the first time, to attend a medical congress on endocrinology recently, said that he likes “anything outdoors”.
“I grew up as a mountain biker and it involved a lot of cross- training, which included road cycling and endurance training. It was really a dream come true for me to be able to pursue a professional contract in cycling,” he said.
The New Zealander grew up in Rotorua. “Some of the best mountain bike trails are just a few minutes from my doorstep and they are spectacular.”
Although he had to retire from professional cycling after a major accident a year ago, he is getting into cycling again, but just for fun and not competitively yet at the moment.
“My goal in life is to be successful at whatever I put my hand to, and to give everything my 110%,” he said enthusiastically.
His encouragement to people with diabetes is: “Don’t let it stop you doing whatever you were doing before, and be sure to keep as active as you can.”
Even diabetics can do cycling at the highest levels.
Aaron Perry overcame the challenges of diabetes to become a professional cyclist.