Some stats, some juice and lots of pink

So. I’m almost over beetroots. I’ve been eating them, drinking them and peeing them. Everything except for bathing in them, but If I had a bath at home – well, who knows. I’m back on the ‘beet’, all in the name of science. I say that loosely. I’m not collecting qualitative data, and definitely not running a T-Test.

Why? Well, as mentioned in a previous post, I am curious to find out if beetroot dosing would actually increase my performance. There is lots of research to support the benefits of beetroot and the nitrates that they harbour on your muscle efficiency. I’m a bit sceptical. Increased performance could be so many other factors. I’ve dosed before and was not convinced. The opportunity to test if BRJ is all it’s talked up to be came up again… So it was worth a try, again.

How? This time I was able to conduct a better test… by racing the same Lancefield course I could replicate and measure (again, loosely) the before and after BRJ dosing. So. Last weekend I raced the Northern Combine Women’s Series/SKCC Trophy race whilst ‘on’ the BRJ. Two weeks earlier, I raced Stage 1 of the Northern Combine 3DT ‘off’ the BRJ.

I’ve written a report on stage 1 of 3DT look that up here if you want, or don’t. So, here’s how Saturday’s race panned out – in very fast forward so that you can get to the stats.

Photo credit Jo Upton Photography.

Last Saturday, was almost like déjà vu. Everything was the same. I ate the same food, again there was a thick layer of frost, again my feet were numb, again we waited for ever on the start line, again there were the usual suspects in B grade….Again, we rolled out in a relatively orderly manner.

Again, we started to roll fast turns straight away. We needed to get warm, the air was cold, and so was I, the fact that we spent about a thousand years on the start line was not helpful to my legs. They were feeling heavy. But, I was feeling good. “Race, not ride” was today’s mantra. After an epic fail at the first major corner (half the peloton went straight instead of turning), we hit Dons Rd fast. I hate Dons Rd, just hang on. But, the bunch started to break up. Again, by the time we got to the pinchy sections on Rochford Rd, we were down to eight or so, trying not to be caught. Interesting in that these pinchy sections, the sections that I hate the most usually, felt okay. Again, in no time we were descending, I looked up, and the first lap was almost over.

Not again! Lap two, we continued to rolled turns, well, most of us did. Some were more fatigued than others, and they had a nice ride on the back. Again, we saw some strength with one bridging the gap to get back on. We were still rolling fast. The worst section for me, Dons Rd came and went. Again, the same usual suspects were on the front on Rochford Rd, Oh no…Again, I was starting to fail, just hanging on for dear life and nearly not making my turns. Just before the last climb, I thought it was race over, my mind started to melt and so did my legs. Again, everyone started to dart up the hill and I thought to myself “race, not ride – you’ve got to break your 6th curse”… I pulled something from nothing. We were on the false flat before the finish (on the top of the climb), again Tessa off the front, Simone chasing and 3 of us side by side across the road. Wow, Tessa had already crossed the line by the time we thought about sprinting! That girl is amazing. Simone was close behind. We clicked up a few gears and bang. Harriet 3rd and me, 4th. wow… That was not the same as last time.

So, let’ analyse the results…

Data comparison

3DT SKCC Trophy Race
Beetroot No Yes
Distance 60.8 60.2km
Time 1:46:20 1:45:29
Ave speed 33.9 34.2
Max speed 69.8 67.0
Cadence ave 90 rpm 89 rpm
Heart rate 185bpm N/A
Place 8th 4th

It is pretty much exactly the same. Same distance, same time, same average speed, same cadence…except different end results. I moved up four places. That is an achievement. I’m very happy with the result! I am finally seeing some results and my training looks to be paying off.

But…I’m going to say that I don’t think that the results are entirely because of the BRJ dosing, environmental perhaps? Could it have been that I was more familiar with the course after racing it twice before? Maybe it helped me know where to use my energy and where to conserve it. Maybe I just raced better? Maybe I raced, instead of rode? Maybe I ate and drank more? Maybe I had a better sleep the night before?

Or was it the BRJ? Maybe it was the nitrates in the BRJ made my oxygen transport more efficient, made my muscles fire more efficiently, so that at the end, I still had the power and energy in the legs to do better in the important, final stages…Maybe?

All in all, the race felt good, apart from a minor mind melt down before the final climb. I ended up in a good position. Do I think that it was the BRJ? The answer is maybe? I’m racing the Preston Mountain Classic on Sunday… we’ll see because, I’ve bought a new juice to try:


Get on your bike and ride it. In the cold, with your friends and have a bloody awesome time doing it.

You can follow me on Instagram and Twitter @lowercasev

One Reply to “Some stats, some juice and lots of pink”

  1. Interesting post and congratulations on the improved result.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t think you can really draw any conclusions one way or the other about the beetroot juice from the data you’ve collected here, though.

    Good luck for the PMC.

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