Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Serious sports science

So I have been asked by some riders what they should eat or drink on a ride to ensure they maximise the session, performance and recovery for the next ride. With this in mind and with me rebuilding my legs and ability post accident I decided it was time to compare 2 approaches in a back to back double blind study using a control group.

While that was a good idea I couldn't be ass'd so I did the testing on me with no blinds..

So product 1 - GU energy    I used this product x 1 on a 50 mile ride which largely was a rolling route with some stiff climbs in the last qtr. I used the Vanilla flavour as i have vanilla in my coffee, mmm.. at about 2 hours into the ride. No other energy supplements were used in the ride.  I noted that watts and perceived excretion were positively effected  within the last quarter of the ride and that despite the sweet taste, that the GU energy gave a sustained burn aiding on the climbs and last 12 miles. Easy to carry and use, fits in the pocket easily

Product 2 - Fish and Chips

 Yes fish and chips... So long before science based gels and special phrases of  "isotonic' -  Riding a chipper' was a classic phrase for going racing having an easy win and then having fish and chips on the way home. In fact Graham in my last team, who could ride 16k in 19 mins also took money for the kebab van on the ride home, but for this study we will stick to fish and chips as this is serious science...

So what are the pro's and con's well... The packaging was a bit bulky and fitting it into your race jersey can be a squeeze. Also the fat that seeps through the paper and into your shirt is hard to get out and the smell of vinegar while great when your hungry kind of looses it appeal after you have eaten.

the upsides are, when it's cold the fish and chips keep you warm for at least 30 mins< i would recommend that you view this as post ride recovery food as trying to use a chip fork when ridding to save your nice white handle bar tape can be tricky if you ride over cobbles. This is why in Belgium they have mayo on the chips so they stick to the fork better.

So 2 different approaches to fuelling for performance. When you are actually riding and during training I can recommend GU energy, easy to carry, easy to digest and performs well.

And while your thinking - Fish and chips, I can't take that seriously - 2 nights before I won the maidenhead hilly 30 mile Open Time Trial by 1 second - yes nice big bag of chips from the maidenhead chippy, and my front mech' broke in the race, 28 seconds off the course record... Vinegar anyone.. ;o)