Mansfield Crit and Mt Buller Road Race

Regular readers of The Climbing Cyclist will know how far I have come in my short cycling career. Thanks to a lot of great mentors and supporters, some awesome opportunities, a great Team in Total Rush and… a lot of hard work, too.
The hard work seems to be paying off. I’ve been training consistently for about 12 month now with my Super Coach and feeling great because of it. With two new signings in Kate Perry and Emma Scott, our Total Rush team is looking as strong as ever.

Verita does a turn of pace on the front of the breakaway.

This year is going to be a big one, with the Mt Buller Road Race the second on the VRS Calendar. My lead up to the Mt Buller Road Race was looking good. That was up until about two weeks ago, I was feeling super strong on the bike. I had some success during the last race of the Femme Vitesse crit series, where I picked up the most aggressive rider, laps leader and 3rd overall in GC (you can read about it here )… And although I has not trained specifically for it, I completed Three Peaks, in a time just under 11 hours (you can read about it here ) where my legs were feeling fantastic throughout. So I was looking forward to a strong performance in the looming Mt Buller Road Race.

My good feeling were short lived. Two weeks ago, I somehow acquired a nasty virus, that put me in bed for a solid three days and suffered what some called “post viral” fatigue for another week. I was a disappointed to say the least. I was itching to get on the bike, but my body would just not let me. Everyone told me, “I had to listen to my body”, and I did, I got back in bed. Cadel’s secret, sleep, was going to be my friend.

One week out, I mustered up the courage and got on the bike, and my legs felt like led. I felt like I was riding on 60 psi tyres. I went from feeling as strong as ever, to struggling to put out 100 watts along Beach Road.

I always place a lot of expectation on myself when racing, and this time was no different. Last year I came 4th in the Mansfield Crit and I won the Mt Buller Road Race, albeit in C grade, but wanted to prove myself and do well again. So my lead up to the race was not as I imagined it to be. My mind was saying yes, and my body was saying no. I had a goal of finishing top 5 before getting sick, now I doubted my ability to achieve top 10.

It was race day. After a pedal with the girls in the morning, I was feeling okay. I nervously lined up with my team mates Kelly and Kate, ready to go for the Mansfield Crit. There weren’t the starters that I had hoped for. I’m not sure why? There were plenty of A grade spectators on the sidelines, cheering us on! We lined up with 11 others all the same and got on with it. Our plan was to be aggressive. With three of us from Total Rush represented, there was a good opportunity to test our team tactics.

The course is quite fast considering how technical it is, with a left, right, right, left, right, right, roundabout, left, left… essentially a three sided short hotdog circuit, I was in the hurt box from the gun. I’d say that the race itself was fairly un eventful. With a break away of four establishing almost straight away, with Lizzie Williams (Specialized Securitor), Lauretta Hanson (Building Champions Squad) and Shannon Malseed (Holden) all pushing the pace from the gun. There were a couple attacks on our group of four, but we pretty much stayed together until the final corner, where the sprint started and I was left behind. There was no way that I could take on Lauretta, Lizzie and Shannon, who finished in that order. Not a bad result, my legs were definately awake now! (see the strava file here )


Finish line photo from the crit

That evening whilst we ate dinner we all sat down together and discussed the looming race . It was Kate’s first road race since taking three years off to study and it was Emma’s first A grade race after a dominating performance in B grade at the Tour of East Gippsland. This was going to be a short race, about 2 hours and 47km. The final 16km would suit the climbers of the bunch, with the gradient at about 6%. We were all feeling good, excited to be racing together for the first time.

It was a cold start on Sunday morning for the Road Race. Kelly, Emma, Kate and Myself lined up with 30 other ladies, all wishing we had worn our long finger gloves.  I had a pretty ordinary sleep the night before, and was feeling a bit fatigued after yesterdays efforts, and my legs were not feeling as fresh as I’d hoped.


Sucking up to Scotty McGrory

After a few attempts by various riders, including myself, Bike Bug-Next Gen, Holden and Hampton Cycles, it was apparent that no one would be allowed to get away. We rode almost two by two for the first 35km, Bicycle Superstore had a rider sitting on the front controlling the pace, and I sat towards the front (where I probably shouldn’t have been). Meanwhile Kate, Kelly and Emma sat in, ensuring they were a good position to start the climb.

As the toll booth loomed, the mood in the bunch changed and the pace picked up. It was on. The tempo was kept high as we climbed, which prevented early attacks. I kept turning around to see where the rest of the team were positioned, I could see Kate’s helmet bobbing around, tucked in behind Tessa. At the half way point of the climb, there were still about 16 riders together, Building Champions Squad, Bicycle Superstore, Holden, Hampton Cycles, Lizzy Williams and Tessa Fabry were all there, in the bunch… until about 4km to go.

It was getting late in the game, we were hardly going to have a sprint finish at the top… so I was nervously listening for the tell tale change of gears and the jump of the bunch. As soon as a lul in tempo came, the almost predicable happened, someone attacked. The attack went, it was Tessa Fabry, with our new rider Kate, on her wheel. I was too slow to respond, but others including Lizzie, Flick (Bicycle Superstore), Georgina Beech (BikeBug NextGen) and Shannon were quick to follow.

From then on the bunch of 16 was no longer, with a group of 6 or so up the road, myself and everyone else chasing. In the end, it was Lizzy Williams 1st, Tessa Fabry 2nd, and Kate Perry on the podium for Total Rush in 3rd! I managed to hold on to a top 10 finish in 7th place, with Kelly and Emma not far behind. Great team work saw Kate on the podium, can’t wait for more of that to come! (see the strava file here )

So despite not having the lead up I would have liked, I’m happy with how both the crit race and the road race turned out. I finished top 10. I was certainly not expecting that result, at all. Seeing Kate on the podium was awesome result for the team! That girl can climb! In hindsight, I probably spent too much time on the front as usual. The usual fears of getting dropped the main driver for me, especially considering how my legs were feeling. I think I need to get my top tube sticker back to remind me “get off the front grasshopper”. I’m working on it.

It is time for a rest week, after which I’m looking forward to feeling 100% again and to having a better lead up to the next race on the calendar, Mt Baw Baw Road Race.

Until next time, get on your bike and ride it!

"Get off the front, grasshopper!"

 

 

Welcome to B grade. There are no mountains, but we’re going to blow you away, then bury you in a riverside grave.

I have had the fantastic opportunity to write some guest post for The Climbing Cyclist ‘s blog. Click here to read the post. It is the same as the one below, just so that you know….

I’m new to cycling so most of my cycling goals are small. But one of my big goals for 2013 was to be promoted from C to B grade by the end of the season. The end of the season. I was promoted on Wednesday. I think it will be one of those moments that I’ll remember forever.

I was sitting at my desk, at about 8:30am, and bing bing, a text message. Someone was congratulating me on my promotion. Huh?! I had read the final start list the night before but that had obviously been changed. I hadn’t been informed, until the text message came through, which was fine, because I was stoked! I had reached my end-of-year goal, only four months into the year. But, I also felt as if I had all eyes watching me this weekend, questioning my elevation to B grade.

I have been riding well, feeling strong, and I’ve got some good results under my belt. I can understand why I was promoted, but I’m a stress-head so with news of the promotion came a heap of worry. For two reasons:

  1. My past two road races (my only road races) finished at the top of mountains. I like mountains. The Tour of South West is flat. Do I like the flat?
  2. My race prep was stalled. In the lead-up to the tour I had a week off the bike after injuring my knee. So I had not ridden my bike for the whole week.

Was I really ready for B grade? Fast forward to Friday.

I sat in the car on the way to Warrnambool with my super coach’s voice ringing in my ears: “You’ve nothing to lose, so stop stressing and just go and ride your bike.” My fellow Hawthorn Cycling Club (HCC) B Graders had been offering me reassurance and advice. They were just what I needed; a reality check. It was true, I had nothing to lose. I was just going to get on my bike and ride it, with my friends.

Stage one. The road race.

I’ve done a road race before, twice. Up a mountain. Not on the flat, so a 65km road race on the flat was a daunting prospect. The race started at Wangoom, 15 minutes from Warrnambool where we were to do four laps of a 17km course. The profile showed a few pinchy “little” climbs, one of which had QOM points on offer. A tiny hill, phew; something familiar!

The warm up was fast, because we arrived later than planned. Before I knew it, we were leaping off the trainers and I was on the start line with 15 other riders. We were racing.

We hit the road and hit a wall, of wind. My lord, the wind. I don’t like it. Who does? It pushes lightweights like me around like a schoolyard bully. I tried to find shelter in the bunch, but it was hard; everyone else had the same idea. I kept HCC ladies in sight — they were my “great wall” windbreakers.

It was my first B grade race and I could see that the dynamics were very different to C grade. I knew the HCC ladies were going to try and shake things up a bit throughout the race. I had to be alert to what was going on. Bam. They went for a break early. But the bunch responded and chased.

I got the feeling early on that these B grade ladies knew exactly what was going on. They were tuned in, something that I wasn’t. I just needed to keep up. I was feeling a little out of my depth. Was the wind getting stronger?

20130501-221848.jpg
Photo Credit: Jo Upton Photography

Before I knew it we were 7km into the loop. The QOM – a 700m climb at 3.8%. My HCC ladies rode with me, one alongside and one at the front, protecting me from the fierce headwind. We had a loose plan to get me up and it was coming together, or so we thought.

We were powering along with the bunch. I stood up out of the saddle to sprint and … I was a kite caught in the wind. I think my bike actually lifted off the ground for a second. I felt like my lycra was catching the wind like a sail, but I was not on a boat. The wind was ferocious and coming straight at us, up the road and over the crest of the hill – right into us.

I sat back down, shocked. I could not pedal like this, being blown backwards. I felt defeated while the others powered up grabbing QOM points. The race rolled on and we continued to battle the wind. I tried to move around, to get out of the wind, but I always seemed to end up near the front, or in the wind. Before I knew it, we were going for sprint points — lap one was over.

The following three laps played out much the same: crosswind, headwind, QOM, crosswind, headwind, crosswind, sort-of tailwind, sprint. The HCC ladies continued to shake things up, trying to make breaks, and trying to get me up that QOM without me being blown sky high. No matter what we tried, it did not work. The bunch always responded and always stayed together.

Road Race

I don’t know whether it was that my legs just didn’t have the power to get up, whether the wind was throwing me around too much, or whether I just going too early. Perhaps the first of those — I was definitely outclassed on the power stakes. But it was fun trying to have an impact.

The last lap was fast, we all stayed together and I rolled over the line 7th, behind Grace Phang (SKCC), Nicole Schneller (SKCC) and Maartje Munsterman (SKCC).

Click here to see my Strava file from stage 1.

Stage 2. The Individual Time Trial.

ITT 1

Fast forward 3 hours and it was time for the individual time trial. My first ITT. The wind had picked up, if that was even possible. Riders were taking deep ‘section’ wheels off their TT bikes. The organisers had done away with the start ramp because of the wind. I was worried.

There was going to be a crosswind, tailwind, short headwind up a climb and then a crosswind home. I was looking around for bricks; I needed something to weigh me down. Collectively, my bike and I were way too light for 65km/h gusts. How was I going to stay upright?

While other riders were taking TT bars and deep-dish wheels off their bikes I was putting them on (well, the Total Rush mechanic was). Was this a good idea in the wind? Coupled with the fact I’d never ridden with TT bars before, and the fact the semi-deep-dish back wheel was bound to catch the wind. I was probably mad. Was I going to stay upright, or end up with the cows in the paddock? Oh well, at least my Amira looked fast, even if I wasn’t.

I was pumped. I sat on the trainer. My legs felt good. The TT position, which I had never ridden in, felt good. My goal: focus on riding a constant tempo, even up the slight climb.

So, there I was, on my pimped-out bike, being held up on the start line. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 … I was off. Once I passed the shelter of the start line the crosswind hit. I gripped those TT bars tighter than before. Stay upright. Focus. Pedal.

ITT 2

I had broken the 12.7km into three chunks, so I could manage my energy levels. I kept glancing down at my Garmin to check the distance, speed and cadence. Things were going well. I was hitting my targets. The next time I looked down, my cadence had dropped out! I could not believe it. What was I going to do now?

Ignore it. I didn’t need cadence anyway. Just keep peddling. Don’t grind. Pedal. Then I heard a noise, a loud noise. I glanced right and I was being overtaken by … a harvester! Only in the country could I be doing a TT and a harvester overtakes, blowing hay and what-not into my face. I stopped laughing and closed my mouth — it was too dry already to be filled with hay.

I turned the corner and the tailwind came, finally. I knew this was where I needed to make up some time. I picked up a heap of speed … and managed to overtake the rider who was let off before me. About 1km later the pinchy little 7% climb rudely appeared and there I was climbing and grinding in the saddle, into the headwind. I heard a familiar Garmin beep; I was being overtaken by Grace Phang (SKCC), riding faster than ever! She rolled over the crest of that hill, and faded into the distance.

Before too long there was only 1km to go. I rode hard and then I was done. Spent. Finito. The taste of lung was in my mouth and my chest hurt. Job done.

The results were predictable, with Grace Phang (SKCC) first, Carolyn Phillips (Southern Masters) second, Elizabeth Douueal (Warrnambool) third … then me… 6th. What?! I was absolutely stoked with my time (23:03) considering I’ve never done a TT before.

Why did my cadence drop out? Because the magnet blew around the opposite way in the wind!

Click here to see my Strava file from stage 2.

Stage three. The crit.

Crit hill

The criterium course took us around a local cemetery which was rather spooky. It was also well played by the organisers because they didn’t have far to go to bury riders after the race! We rocked up to the course early, set up the Hawthorn Cycling Club tent and trainers and started our warm up.

I was feeling relatively calm about the crit. Unlike the road race and ITT, I had a few more C grade crit races under my belt and knew a little more about crit dynamics. In saying that, I was still worried I wouldn’t be able to keep up. One thing I learned from day one of the Tour was that these ladies were strong, and they knew what was going on.

The crit was going to be hard. From the start/finish line there was a short 70m straight, a sharp left, then a 7.5% climb for 300m that might have played to my advantage. With uphill comes down hill, and the crit course veered down into a sharp left, into a fast straight, a sharp left and then a slight incline back to the start/finish line.

The course was only 1.2km in length, but it was pretty technical and could get very fast. The nature of the course meant that the climbers could tackle that hill, and the sprinters could make up ground on the straights. And that is exactly what happened.

Crit 1 cemetary

The race started and we were immediately thrown into the climb. It was not that bad. Imagine the Hawthorn teardrop with a little more pinch and about 100m longer. It was manageable. My heart was jumping out my mouth as we whipped around the course, my legs were burning … but I thought to myself “I’m keeping up, just keep peddling. In fact, why am I on the front again?”

The race had a strange sense of rhythm to it: the climb, the descent, the straight, the corner, repeat. We followed this rhythm for the next 30 minutes.

Two laps to go and I was on the front again. Mistake number one. Bell lap. I turned the corner and I went to get out of my saddle and the gasket blew. Mistake number two. I was rolling backwards instead of bounding uphill with the rest of the field. I watched as the bunch rolled over the crest of the hill and I had to pull something from nowhere and pedal faster. Again, I laughed at myself; “this is what blowing a gasket feels like.”

I gained some speed on the downhill and managed to get over the line. I was probably last; I’m not sure. I was spent.

Click here to see my Strava file from stage 3.

The time on the trainer post crit gave me time to reflect on the weekend’s racing. I tried my hardest in the road race, managed to hold on with the bunch, but could have stayed out of the wind more. I rode the ITT well, considering how windy it was. But far out, that crit broke me, I have never had that feeling before. The blow-out feeling.
Trainers
Photo Credit: Cycling Victoria

I sat on that trainer battling embarrassment about going backwards up the hill and knowing that I should have managed myself a little better. But that is racing and I will take it as a lesson for next time.

I can’t describe how happy I am with my overall performance at the Tour of South West. I placed 6th in the general classification. I could not have asked for a better result. I am in the right grade. Why, was I so worried? I survived the flatter course, my knee held up and I kept up. I will take notes for next time: think position, oh, and manage myself better.

But this Tour was about far more than just me. This weekend represented something very special for women’s cycling. Participation. Eighty-five women entered to race the Tour, which is very impressive indeed. Regardless of results, we did the most we could for women’s cycling this weekend, we participated. We showed that we want to race; that we want to be treated as equal with the men. This weekend, we were.

I’m looking forward to the Northern Combine Women’s Series this season. The first race is a crit on National Boulevard on May 11. Come on ladies, get on to it.

I’m so lucky to have the people in my life that I do. The people that encouraged me to take up cycling in the first place, my mentors at Total Rush and at Hawthorn Cycling Club, my coach Bec Domange and my fabulous friends. They have all contributed in one way or another to get me to where I am now, reaching my personal goals and racing with women from around Victoria and Australia.

And what an introduction to B grade! I rode hard, into the wind, around a cemetery and then blew a gasket … and learnt a lot! Until next time, get a bike and ride it, into the wind, with a bunch of like-minded women. It will change your life.

PS: I must apologise to the rider who I snot-sprayed on during the road race. I’m really, really sorry.

***You can follow me on Strava, Twitter and on Instagram. Click here to see the full results from all grades in the 2013 Tour of the South West. All photos courtesy of JXP Photography, except where noted.***

A few words on Cykel Red Star Coffee Women’s Grand Prix

This post is going to be short. Or relatively short anyway.

Wow, I can’t believe that it was only three months ago that N and I were driving out to the first Cykel Red Star Coffee Women’s Grand Prix at windy windy Casey Fields. We were to join 100 or so Women, in the women only series designed to get women into racing and provide an equal playing field.

I was entered to race in the Novice Classification. And I was packing myself! I had only raced once or twice before Cykel. The Women@HCC offered wise words to calm our nerves, and I lined up on the start with the other 12 or so Novices. Fast forward a few hours and I found myself standing on the podium, 3rd. I could not believe it.

167480_4142336520015_863319458_n

Round two was held in Bendigo, at Mayfield Park Course. This course was much like SKCC’s Port Melbourne circuit, but with a slight rise in gradient on two corners. I had been training, I had squeezed in a few more races and felt stronger than in the first round. This time, I lined up with the other Novices wearing the leaders jersey (from countback). I was stressed, feeling a little bit of performance anxiety which is silly I know, but my brain over analyses everything and it would not shut up. I got over it, because fast forward a few hours and I found myself on the podium again, this time 1st. What the!?

521576_4432524574535_1743488277_n

Round three, darn it…we were back at windy ‘ol Casey Fields and I had been promoted. A great opportunity to get experience and improve…but I had podiumed twice and was out od Novice contention. anyway. This meant that I would prologue with the rest of the field and race as Hawthorn Black with Deb Richards. Stoaked with that! I was strangely calm, probably because I placed less expectation on myself this time. and…Somehow, well maybe not, I qualified for Division 2. I was proud and nervous. But missed many novice buddies. I wanted only to hang on with Div 2! This was my first B grade race. And I did manage to hang on. I did not come first or last. But I made it. I learned a lot about racing that day. Click here to watch the video taken from my handlebars and click here to see a video of Total Rush Team Mate Bridie O’Donnell offering post race advise.

11674_4587017756768_1480693218_n

Round four. A brutal hot-dog circuit at Richmond Boulevard tested me. I was not looking forward to it. a) because of the hot-dog style course, and b) because I was not feeling 100%. It was the last race in the series, my family and best friends came to watch me race. I pushed through, qualified for division 2, and lined up to endure the pain. I rode as best I could. I finished, that is all.

I’m so proud that my former fellow Novices, S and N podium. Nadia taking out the overall Novice Series and Sue coming in 2nd. They are such strong riders and definitely aren’t novices anymore!

544338_4702269157981_1894557212_n

The Cykel Red Star Coffee Women’s Grand Prix series and all the women involved has helped me improve so much as a rider, and has helped me change my attitude as well. I’m not scared of being dropped anymore. I’ve grown so much (not literally) over the series and definitely can’t wait to next year!

Kudos to Rob Carson for putting on such a great event for women’s cycling and to all the Women@HCC who participated. Hawthorn CC is such a great club, with the best women’s cycling program in Melbourne (i’m biased). To join click here. The go and buy a bike, and ride it.

It will change your life!

Photo Credits: Murray Payne

So, was it the juice?

Beetroot face

As I’ve mentioned earlier (here) BRJ is known to reduce the oxygen cost of excercise and improve high-intensity excercise tolerance – perfect for cyclists, particularly climbers or TT’s.

One body of research says that dietary supplementation with a single 0.5-L dose of nitrate-rich BRJ improved 4- and 16.1-km TT performance in trained cyclists. 2.8% improvement in 4km TT and 2.7% improvement in 16.1km TT, 7-11% improvement in power output with no increase in oxygen cost of excercise, which means an increase in oxygen economy. Plasma nitrite was significantly increased 2.5 h after BRJ supplementation, and blood pressure was reduced, consistent with an increased nitrate bioavailability within the blood.

Blah blah…The results indicate that acute dietary nitrate supplementation with beetroot juice may lead to a significant and practically meaningful enhancement of 4- and 16.1-km TT performance in subelite cyclists (Lansley et al 2011).

So…In the lead up to the Mansfield Crit and Mt Buller Road Race I was suffering from accute Beeturia. No, nothing was wrong with me! Beeturia is a symptom of eating a lot of beetroot, it turns your pee red or pink. Hence beet-uria.

Why… Because I had started some serous beetrootdoping. All in an attempt to get those 2% increases in my own cycling performance (what a wank) #beetrootbonanza. I was going to test it for myself, or try to.

I needed to be at my nitrate prime to fend off fatigue and get my body using oxygen the most efficiently. Remember I’m still frightfully anaemic, so my oxygen is not being transported efficiently to start off with (thats another story)… The weekends racing was going to be hard, energy efficiency key (not solar power) to sprint around a hot-dog-on-roids style crit course and back it up by racing up a mountain, Mt Buller.

So how did I beetrootdope?

Well I almost turned into a beetroot that’s how.

I drank huge amounts of beetroot juice, beetroot shots, cooked it, ate it raw, had it in sandwiches… The more beetroot the more nitrates – the better, the better high-intensity excercise tolerance! I knew I was on the right track when the beeturia set in!

So, the Question: Did beetroot actually improve my cycling performance?

Well judging my results on the weekend, and on face value, I did quite well… and maybe, yes, it did increase my performance?

The results…

The crit = 4th B Grade

Nutrition

Normal day, racing at 3pm. Drank beetroot juice throughout the day.
1 gel, 15 mins before race start

How I felt in the race?
Good 8/10. Was able to keep up with the pace, stick close to the front, bridge gaps when we strung out, sprinted well. My heart-felt good, kept breathing under control and was not panicked. Lost points for not going faster in the bell lap. Was it the legs, bad gearing?

The RR = 1st C Grade

Nutrition
Normal breakfast at 7:30am- banana, muesli and yoghurt, cup of tea, 1/2 cup of beetroot juice with 1/2 cup ginger, orange and apple juice
A couple of Gu Chews on start line (they’re gross, never again), 9:30 ish
1 hr into race, 1 gel guarana-caffinated
Mid Climb 1.5/2 hrs into climb, 1 gel guarana-caffinated

How I felt in the race?

Out 6/10, climb 9/10. Struggled on the way out to the base of buller. Legs were sore, knees were sore, was working really hard. Mind was playing games on me, telling me to give up. I could have been struggling because it was really windy and we as a peloton were really strung out? The climb was good. I kept a constant tempo, was able to accelerate on the false flats, get out of the saddle comfortably. There were a few instances of panic breathing wise, from lack of concentration I think. Was able to get out of the saddle for the last pinchy 500m and accelerate hard.

Now the question is, was it actually the beetroot juice that did it for me?

The realistic answer is probably no. Though I did feel good on the bike the whole weekend.

There were plenty of things wrong with my ad hoc test. This is where my science brain takes over.

So without using a proper method and measured results, who knows? My feeling good means nothing. It could have been environmental factors.

I know better. Did 4 years Batchelor of Science. I know all about proper scientific method for testing: remember BACI from High School science class? Before, After, Control, Impact…blah…snooze…

Did I measure the before? No because I have never done a hot-dog or weird shape crit before, never raced the Mt Buller RR. So I have nothing really to compare my performance too…
Did I measure the after?Yes, 4th and 1st. After is a given…
Did the impact change? It could have, yes, because I won, was top 4… But no comparison…
Did I have a control? No.

Yep well I did not follow any scientific method in my beetroot madness. Something something ANOVA, something something t-test, statistic…. Oh yeah, that old statistics chestnut.

Anyway… I sabotaged my own test from the start… because, I got on the gels as well. Gels work in a slightly different capacity than the idea of building up the bodies nitrates through beetroot doping. But fundamentally gels give the boost of energy required for a short period of time. For example popping a gel 15 mins before the climb would have given me energy for 45mins or so. Then I would pop another to get me through to the end.

Beetroot may have increased my oxygen efficiency, maybe there was a 2% increase in performance. My oxygen was probably transported around more efficiently, my muscles were firing well…

But, who knows. Not being anaemic might help me too. Yeah, better get on to that.

So, it was probably the gels that got me through the weekends racing to be honest. And there is plenty of research on gels to verify…normal ones, caffeinated ones and guarana ones, doubles, triples, sugar free, extra carb…look it up yourself.

Hmm, is there a relationship between nitrates and lactic build up…I better get researching.

So. In conclusion, there is none…

Cram beetroot wherever you can. Beetroot juice goes well mixed with apple, orange and ginger juice (from Safeway). It goes well in salads, roasts, eat like an apple. Have the shots, dilute the shots, put them in a smoothie/juice them, have it, or don’t.

Have some gels too and do some bike riding.

So, was it the juice? I’m undecided … MAYBE IT WAS THE PLACEBO EFFECT?!

Ref: Lansley et al (2011) Lansley KI, Winyard PG, Bailey SJ, Vanhatalo A, Wilkerson DP, Blackwell JR, Gilchrist M, Benjamin N, Jones AM. Acute dietary nitrate supplementation improves cycling time trial performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2011 43: 1125-1131.

Refer to my previous post about Beetroot Juice (BRJ) here.