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The SoCal Experience

By March 29, 2018Fresh Air Blog

CIM Note: We wanted to bring you a different perspective on our Slipstreams. This week, we’re featuring a post by Cassidy Robinson, who joined us at SoCal Slipstream  in October 2017. Read on to experience the weekend on Catalina Island through her eyes!

In an unfortunate turn of events, Connected in Motion started offering a SoCal Slipstream the year I uprooted my life from Southern California to New York City. A few years earlier I’d stumbled upon their website and was ignited by the idea of spending a weekend outdoors with a group of other T1Ds. Slipstream was exactly what I needed: T1D friends, fresh air and new activities to try. I was somewhere along I-80 moving cross-country the first year and wrapped up in my Big Apple life the second. When I saw the dates for the third SoCal Slipstream, I was beyond excited. I would be back in Southern California after ten-weeks on a bicycle riding cross-country and 40-days living in a tent and hiking in the Eastern Sierras. Even better than that, I would be joined at Slipstream by four of my Bike Beyond teammates.

Slipstream was exactly what I needed: T1D friends, fresh air and new activities to try.

As we boarded the ferry that would take us to Catalina Island I was overcome by a strange feeling – I was full of nerves. I’m not nervous meeting new people, ever. My teammates made fun of me all summer for making besties everywhere we went. I made besties at community events, gas stations, and I even met a nice lady named Cathy that was at a stop sign and let us use her house to pee and meet her bunny. Sitting on the upper deck of the ferry I realized I was nervous to be around people with diabetes who I didn’t know. I didn’t want to feel judged for my management style, my opinions or my high alert set at 120. I knew my teammates wouldn’t judge me, but I didn’t know what to expect from this boat full of strangers.

I should have expected friendship, laughter, shared struggles, knowledge and community. In the water on stand-up paddleboards I spent time with two of my closest friends and partners in T1D endurance sports; Abbey a marathon swimmer, Erik a tri-athlete, both of them now cross-country cyclists. I snorkeled with three new friends: Alicia a member of the CIM Adventure Team, Miranda who made the perfect mermaid partner to my playing fish and Jessica who I bonded with over having more than one autoimmune disease. Chris showed us all how to dominate archery as he got bulls eye after bulls eye. Sunday morning a group of us “Polar Bear” plunged off the dock. There’s nothing like an early morning, cold water and smiling friends to end a great weekend.

We all had the opportunity to learn from Adam Brown and each other. Adam gave us tips on automating our T1D choices from his new book Bright Spots & Landmines and focused our weekend on celebrating successes and analyzing road bumps in our management. He spoke at length on Sunday morning about diabetes technology including updates on insulin pumps, CGM sensors and new insulin. During our Hot Topics session all 60 of us were able to share tips, tricks and questions with one another about a plethora of topics from mental health to finances and pregnancy.

My Bike Beyond teammates and I were excited to speak to the group about our experiences cycling 4,200 miles this summer from Brooklyn to San Francisco. We grabbed some beers, picked a couple rules for our drinking game and answered questions about insulin dosing, water consumption and rebounding after the ride. Jerry Nairn, an absolute beast of a T1D and a man who has run 75 marathons, joined us for our panel and I felt lucky to be in the seat next to him. The CIM Adventure Team spoke about their rugged trek on the North Coast Trail and I left the conversation with a number of tips about basal insulin decreases and low-snack supplies that I’ll use while I plan my thru-hike of the John Muir Trail.

I met a number of my partners on the Diabetes Abroad Explorer Team. Jerry not only joined our panel discussion, but he and I shared the excitement of a rattlesnake encounter with our partners on the long hike Saturday to Parsons Landing. Troy taught a group of us how to tie knots around the bonfire Saturday night while some of our new friends were singing and playing guitar. It was moving to hear Geneva recount struggles on the North Coast Trail and her fears about insulin going bad while out in the wild. I could completely relate to that fear while cycling this summer and on backpacking trips through the years. Gamble and Silvi made us all laugh with their hilarious comments throughout the weekend and I found myself taking note of their additions to group conversations about current T1D research and book recommendations.

But in the past few years, ever since I had that first inkling to attend a CIM Slipstream, I’ve found the Diabetes Community to be a gift that keeps on giving.

It’s no surprise to anyone that living with T1D is hard. It’s so hard I feel like I could burst some days. But in the past few years, ever since I had that first inkling to attend a CIM Slipstream, I’ve found the diabetes community to be a gift that keeps on giving. Online, in-person, over e-mails and Instagram messages I’m reminded over and over again that there are people out there that understand me. People that know what it is to make hundreds of micro-decisions every day, people that relate when things are hard and who cheer at success. I feel so lucky that for these three days on Catalina Island I got to spend time with people who are extraordinary at the work it takes to be ordinary with T1D.

Want to experience the Slipstream yourself? Check out our events page to find out when they’re happening!

About Cassidy Robinson

Cassidy Robinson is an outdoor enthusiast from Southern California who has lived with Type 1 Diabetes for 25 years. She was a rider and Logistics Coordinator on Beyond Type 1’s Team Bike Beyond and she cries a lot in the upcoming documentary chronicling the team’s epic ten-week ride. If she ever decides to grow up she wants to be a professional friend. You can find her on Instagram @cassidyjaye_