A photo of the youth involved during the Novo Nordisk cycling camp in Italy last week. (Team Novo Nordisk/ Facebook)

Red Deer’s Wyatt Grainger vying for a spot on pro cycling team

The 19-year-old just got back from camp in Italy

Red Deer’s Wyatt Grainger for the last five years has managed his Type 1 diabetes while actively taking part in the sport he loves.

The 19-year-old was diagnosed when he was 14 but didn’t let the circumstances prevent him from continuing to compete.

Grainger just returned from a four-day Team Novo Nordisk cycling camp in Italy, which gives youth a chance from across the globe to compete for spots on their team.

Team Novo Nordisk is an all-diabetes professional cycling team and at the camp, the youth learn new skills but also how to manage their diabetes. The focus of the camp for the kids is they can be an athlete despite having diabetes and inspire them.

Grainger said the camp was quite an experience for him.

“In previous years I was a bit too young for it to be a possibility but I learned that it really is a possibility for me to get on the team. And I sort of learned from where I am now what it will take and what I need to do to get there,” he said.

On the first day, you’re put through a fitness test to see where you’re at but the next three days were made up of mostly cycling with a minimum of three hours on the road and the most being five hours. In the evening there would be some in-class learning where they go over what it takes to make the team and the media attention that comes with it. They also go over some medical topics to help them manage your diabetes.

Grainger said it will be a few months before he finds out if he made the team but said he is in the right age group for it to be a reality. However, it all depends on how many if any spots are available. They take into account local race results, as well as their performance at the camp.

Every year he has attended the camp he is spending time with people who go through the same trials and tribulations as himself, which he said is a refreshing experience.

“Here in Red Deer there isn’t a lot of junior road cyclists and there are no diabetics that I know of so I’m not really used to having that many like-minded people around,” he added.

Managing diabetes can be challenging when you’re also an athlete but he explained cycling itself is one of the best ways to manage his diabetes. It’s also why he does the sport so often instead of always injecting himself with insulin. Exercise is a really good way to manage and level out your blood sugars.

For young athletes who may also have similar challenges, Grainger said whatever you want to achieve it’s possible.

“Don’t be afraid of the hard work and the time it takes. It’ll take time, it’ll take hard work but you’ll get there because it’s possible,” he said.

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