One of the problems of cycling longer distances is taking on sufficient levels of energy. You can’t eat too much at any one go because it will slow you down, so high-level cyclists graze quite a lot (not literally; stopping to chew grass would slow them down unacceptably). The most common snacks split into short-term, basically sugars, and long-term, mainly complex carbohydrates with some protein and fat. The idea is to eat the long-term snacks consistently, and when you’re flagging or in need of a boost you go with the sugary stuff. All sorts of formulations have ben developed to ensure that the athlete can absorb as much of the energy as they can, using different types of sugars for example (a mixture of glucose and fructose is taken up more quickly than the same amount of glucose, though fructose can cause, um, gastro-intestinal issues).

All that’s a little more trouble than I care for (on my few longer rides I’ve tended to favour cookies at the aide stations and m&ms in between), so you can imagine how pleased I was to discover a way of constantly micro-dosing with protein, a method that requires literally nothing from the rider. All that is required is to cycle past a nature reserve in the run-up to dusk with your mouth open, and you’ll find enough micro-packets of protein to keep you fully fueled until you throw up or fall off in revulsion.

Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged with


Here’s a great quote from someone trying to gather opinions about a contentious issue from around 300 potentially opinionated members of a voluntary organization:

“I’m grateful to the dozen or so of you who responded. For the silent majority, complacency is a special form of consent”

Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged with

Necessary Hell

The Tour de France* bike race is going through something of a bad run at the moment. The pre-race favourite, Alexandre Vinokourov (spelled from memory, so be gentle with me) has been removed from the race following a positive** drug test, along with his team; Cofidis, another well established team, is out following a failed drug test for one of its riders; T-Mobile lost a rider but so far are still in the race; and now Michael Rasmussen, climbing supremo and current leader of the race has been sacked by the team and won’t be starting today’s stage.

Clearly, then, cycling is so riddled with drug abuse it’s a wonder that, um, the riders don’t end up in an amusing situation linked to taking too many drugs, like when somebody eats so much garlic it’s a wonder they don’t speak French.**

Well, not so clearly. Cycling has perhaps the most stringent testing for athletes in the world – Rasmussen has been fired not for taking drugs, but for not making it sufficiently well known where he was so that he could be tested – and as a result it’s finding more cheats than other sports. Imagine if baseball were subject to compulsory drug tests for the winning team after every victory, or if you could visit a strongman during the off-season. Cycling undoubtedly has a problem, but it’s the fact that it is taking that problem so seriously that makes it so prominent.

The press at the moment is going nuts over the disaster that is this year’s Tour, with such prominent riders and teams being ejected. I think it’s a good thing; it’s hard to imagine a clearer way of saying “If you cheat, we’ll catch you, and you’ll be finished”. If the same thing happens in 2-3 years time that would be a disaster, but this cleaning house exercise is a good thing, not a bad one.

*Note for US readers – France is a small country in Yurp whose inhabitants are perhaps best known for being called ‘cheese-eating surrender-monkeys’ in The Simpsons. They also have a bike race.

**Oh, they eat garlic, too.

Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged with

Pass the barf bag

From the BBC:

Glamour model Jordan and pop star Peter Andre have named their baby daughter Princess Tiaamii.

Jordan, who was born Katie Price, said the first name was chosen was because the girl was “our princess”.

It’s nothing to do with me, but I can’t stand the name Princess, not least because it’s not a name, it’s a noun.

And Andre came up with the middle name by combining his mother’s name, Thea, with that of Jordan’s mother, Amy.

“We’ve put an accent over the first A to make it more exotic and two Is at the end just to make it look a bit different,” Jordan told OK! magazine.

Phew, I’m so glad they chucked the last ‘i’ in there, cus round our way you can hardly move for girls called Tiaami.

Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged with