While most athletes watch what they eat, Southland cyclist Hamish Beadle takes it to the next level.
Beadle has had type 1 diabetes since he was three-years-old and must monitor his blood sugar levels during his races using a small device.
The 18-year-old has signed a contract with a professional development team with a difference.
The Team Novo Nordisk is a US-based cycling team in Georgia, featuring riders with type 1 diabetes, along with a dietitian and medical staff.
"It is an amazing opportunity and it means I will be living in America and I will be travelling pretty much all around the world," he said.
Having diabetes means that Beadle must watch what he eats in order to control his condition.
He consumed plenty on the recent Tour of Southland, when he completed the race as part of the Talbot Forest Cheese - Ultimo team.
"I don't eat anything different from your normal rider, I just eat a lot more to control my blood sugars, just sports gels, Raro in my drink bottle, electrolytes, muesli bars, just the volume of what I eat is a lot bigger," he said.
"I would be wanting to go through about seven or eight gels, on one of the bigger stages, probably three muesli bars and on a hot day at least four drink bottles."
Beadle knows the importance of keeping in tune with how his body is feeling, but is grateful for support vehicles like those on the recent Tour of Southland.
"If you don't do it right, things can go wrong pretty fast," he said.
"Yeah there has been a few sketchy times, the old low blood sugar, but you have a good support crew in the convoy or you go to your team car and they have a can of Coke and you guzzle that down and you are pretty much sweet to go within a few minutes."
"Everyone in the convoy pretty much knew I was a type one diabetic, so if they saw me they would give me a thumbs up or thumbs down and I would pretty much tell them if I'm cooked or if I am low."
He keeps on top of his condition by getting regular check ups at the doctor, insulin treatment and tests his blood sugar levels more than six times a day.
Beadle heard about Team Novo Nordisk through former Southland cyclist Steph McKenzie who also also has diabetes and rides for the women's team.
She contacted the team and told the teenager to email them.
"So I flicked them an email and asked if I could maybe get some kit or something, " he said.
"They said, here is pretty much a free trip to America for the talent ID camp, we are leaving these dates, come if you can come."
He joins the development team of 19 riders who will compete mainly in the United States, but also in Europe.
"It depends on our roster, pretty much the good guys go to the UCI races, but the roster varies," he said.
"I could be going to a few UCI races, the bigger ones and then we have local criterium races."
Beadle leaves Invercargill on Sunday for the Dominican Republic for a week of team building exercises before travelling to the US for some training.
Article and photo courtesy Stuff