From June 24th to June 30th Phil and many others rode the inaugural Mavic Haute Route Rockies for the Team Type 1 Foundation. Founded in 2005 by Phil Southerland and Joe Eldridge, TT1 operated as a grassroots initiative to inspire those with diabetes to better manage their disease. TT1 is transforming the way the world looks at diabetes, and the brand has become a global movement to demonstrate to the world that with proper education, care, and empowerment – anything is possible. For three consecutive years Team Type 1 has been the official charity of the Haute Route. The partnership has truly made an impact on Team Type 1 ‘s mission by bringing awareness to all the Haute Route riders that they can make a difference in the lives of people with type 1 diabetes in third world countries while they train for and ride the Haute Route. In 2016 Team Type 1 had 32 cyclists use the Haute Route as a platform to save lives, provide hope, and inspire. The Team Type 1 Haute Route team raised over $284,000 which is $138,000 more than last year or a 160% increase. Within the group, 14 friends from all over the world that came together and formed Team Type 1 Pyrenees, raising $191,000!
Phil Southerland is a man of great determination and is a role model for myself and everyone living with diabetes. Although this interview was done via email I can see the passion and determination in his answers. With the help of his amazing wife Dr. Biljana Southerland and all of those helping the Team Type 1 Foundation, TT1 will instill hope and inspiration for people around the world affected by diabetes.
I think the cool factor around the Haute Route is that anyone can do it, and it truly allows people to know what it feels like to be a pro for a week.
One thing that I can’t stress enough is that the ride is hard, very hard. It is a bit ironic that I would even consider doing the Haute Route because I don’t enjoy climbing and the Haute Route is all about climbing. But one big thing that I got to remember throughout this week of agony is that as hard as the climbs were, the descents were 10 times as fun!
One of the main things that stood out for making the Haute Route so special was the ambiance around what we called the race circus. It embodied passion and vigor. Everyone there signed up for this pain and what really touched me was how many chose to support the Team Type 1 Foundation. All of these people were willing to spend a week suffering so that others wouldn’t have to. I can’t express the pride I felt seeing our jersey all over the course with so many great people supporting the foundation.
Being able to ride in the inaugural haute route Colorado and having TT1 as the official charity must be a dream come true, can you put into words what this means to you personally and for everyone that works for TT1
It was a great experience, but I must admit that I was heavily underprepared for it. It has been an absolutely crazy year for me from a business standpoint, which meant much more travel and much less time on the bike. My form was far from ideal when I showed up in Colorado. Yet once I crossed the start line on the first day, I knew it was exactly where I was supposed to be, regardless of fitness, training or anything else going on in my life; I needed to be riding the Mavic Haute Route Rockies.
It was more than simply riding from point A to point B. We received some tremendous visibility for the Team Type 1 Foundation and were able to bring a lot of awareness to Team Novo Nordisk. I felt like so many pieces were put into place that will end up playing a significant role in the future of these organizations.
One of my most memorable experiences at the Haute Route was riding with Rémi Duchemin, the CEO of OC Sport/CEO of the Haute Routes. Spending time with him was an absolute treat, and we were able to strengthen the relationships between our two organizations. Over the past four years, the Team Type 1 Foundation has served as Haute Route’s official charity, and I can’t express my gratitude for Haute Route’s support. Yet, I developed an exponentially deeper understanding and appreciation of what exactly makes the Haute Routes so special over the past week.
The TT1 Foundation has done amazing work in Rwanda, how has that work helped you while riding haute route?
As I said before, I made the choice to suffer during the Haute Route. Each day, each pedal stroke, I had the option to stop or to continue. I had the benefit of being able to use a CGM and was fortunate enough to have access to insulin at all times. The kids in Rwanda do not have this choice. Without Team Type 1, they die. So throughout what I was my brief taste of suffering, I thought about them. Their struggles and challenges in life are what pushed me through the tough times and trust me---there were about 50,000 feet of tough times (total elevation gain) throughout the week.
What's next for TT1?
One of the most exciting things on the horizon for Team Type 1 is announcing this year’s scholarship recipients. We have 130 amazing applications, and we are working hard to raise the money so we can support all of them.
What is really driving me and everyone at Team Type 1 is the constant fact that there are kids who need us. And the parents of those kids need us even more. We are determined to raise the money to support those families and to do this we need to grow our donor and fan base further than ever before.
To help achieve these goals, we recently launched the Hall of Fame club for the Foundation, where people can sign up for $83/month, or $1,000/year over a 5-year period. My hope is that 25 donors will sign up now.
From a personal level, it felt good to give back by riding the Haute Route. When I crossed the finish line after such a challenging week, it strengthened my motivation to dream big and help even more people in need. The sense of pride that came over me when I hugged my wife and my two kids after crossing the finish line will stay with me for years to come.