Whats Your Poison?

Im officially declaring the humble ‘Cortado’ as my drink of choice for this coming summer during those long lazy cafe stops. Cortado (from the Spanish cortar) is an espresso “cut” with a small amount of warm milk to reduce the acidity. The ratio of milk to coffee is between 1:1 – 1:2, and the milk is added after the espresso.

In Cuba, it is known as a cortadito. It’s usually served in a special glass, often with a metal ring base and a metal wire handle. There are several variations, including cortado condensada (espresso with condensed milk) and leche y leche (with condensed milk and cream on top). These drinks look amazing with their intricate layering!

Multipower Nutrition

I reviewed some products from sports nutrition company multipower before (here), and have recently taken delivery of some new products aimed at cyclists, ideal for the sportive rider and those looking to fuel long rides and training sessions. Up this time were a selection of pre, during and post workout bars, in addition to a refuel powder to aid training session recovery. 

Hi-energy Bar
First up is the ‘does what it says on the tin’ Multicarbo Hi-Energy Bar, tested in both lemon and chocolate varieties. Im often shocked at how I stuff various energy bars into my mouth during long efforts, only to take a cursory glance at the ingredients tab after. So many times these bars are laden with fat, whereas these bars contain only a mere 1.9g of fat, making them ideal for cyclists looking to curtail their fat intake. Second on the shock factor what not only the bars had a nice low fat content, but that they managed to pack in 30 grams of carbohydrates and 6.8 grams of protein (perfect for the start of the muscle repair process). The bars are quite thin in composition, and a regular size, comparable to say a small mars bar, so for them to be able to pack this nutritional content in seems pretty impressive. 

The lemon flavor tasted zingy, but not in an unpleasant way. It was palatable and chewy, but I suspect might be a little tougher to the bite on freezing days. The lemon bar also boasted a dose of caffeine, enough to provide a little emergency zip when the tank is running dry. The chocolate bar is also about an 8 out of t10 on the chewiness scale, and boasts the rather exotic guarana in place of the caffeine kick. I plan to carry a lemon bar for the start of a half marathon.
The bars are fairly economic at 25 bars for £30, and considering the ratio of carbs/fat and added kick factors I think this is a pretty decent price that I would be inclined to pay. I teamed one of these bars with an energy gel on rides of around 100km.

Energy+Fruit Bar
Next up is a similar looking bar to the above in packaging, but placing itself as a fruit bar alternative. The flavors I tested were apple and banana. I must confess to hating the banana bar, but then I hate bananas in general, so I wouldn’t read much into that. Needless to say the banana bars were swiftly dispatched to the Rowland brothers, where they were consumed happily. The Apple bar was a sticky and chewy type fructose laden treat, tasting quite sweet and sugary, perfect when I needed a quick energy spike. With slightly more carbs per bar than above at 34 grams, the only tradeoff is a slightly higher fat content (still relatively low at 2.1grams). 

The consistency was chewy to the extent that I wouldn’t want a frozen bar of this on a cold december ride, but I suppose stashing a jersey pocket might keep it edible due to the bodyheat factor.

Recovery Bar
Im not so keen on recovery bars as a general rule. I guess because I found what works for me, that being a particular brand of whey protein mixed with skimmed milk. I usually only consume this after 2 or more hard hours in the saddle, if I happen to be riding or running the next day. 

However I tested these bars on three occasions, after a long run and twice after some hard turbo sessions prior to leaving for New Zealand. With only 13 grams of protein available per bar to aid in muscle recovery and body recuperation, I presume that the addition of 18 grams of carbohydrates is a conscious decision by multipower, believing this provides an optimum ratio of nutrition for recovery. Now I am no expert in this field (far, far from it dear readers), but I have to admit they did stave off a significant amount of soreness when training the next day. I took the bar around 15 minutes after finishing a session, along with a large glass of 0.1% milk.
The bar is coated in chocolate, but inside the chocolate flavor filling is quite malty tasting, and upon chewing for a long time doesn’t exactly break down in the most pleasant way. Thats not unique though, as Im yet to find a protein bar that didn’t break down in the manner, hence why I consumed mine along with the milk, in order to aid actually getting it eaten!

Re-Charge Drink
Lastly is the thrifty-ly priced re-charge drink, coming in at £12.50 per tub (around 14 servings). The re-charge drink is a post workout recovery drink shying away from the traditional chocolate-type milkshake whey based drinks of other brands. The drink comes in orange flavor, and tasted a bit like a malty robinsons orange when mixed with a pint of water. Although slightly chalky and malty, the drink goes down easy enough, and isn’t the most unpleasant taste around. 

Again Multipower impressed me with the inclusion of a plethora of BCAA as they do in their energy drink I tested last time around. Branch Chain Amino Acids help aid body tissue growth and cell regeneration, in lamens terms, promoting growth and repair of the body. Pepto-pro protein is included to aid muscle recovery after strenuous strength sessions, with 8.3 grams of protein yielded per serve. I have incorporated this into my recovery regime after gym sessions midweek, and was impressed at a calorie value of just 169kcal per drink (my milk based protein drink is around 3 times this!). This makes an ideal drink for those looking to aid recovery whilst watching their calorie intake (hey its the off-season and we all need a little help in that area come christmas indulgence time!)


All products tested (and more) are available to purchase at Multipower 

Rapha Etape Evening

For those readers who are investing their blood, sweat and tears and taking part in this years installment of the Etape, Rapha are once again running their annual presentation to help prepare riders for a brutal but beautiful cycling experience.
On the 22nd June, Rapha will make available 80 places for each seminar, 2 are available for the two differing routes. After a full reconnaissance of Alpe d’Huez and the Massif Centrale, detailed advice on appropriate tactics, gearing and fuelling for the race will be given by both Rapha staff and also staff from Cyclefit.
Held at the stylish Charlotte Street hotel, the two sessions will be available together for a bargain price of £20, or each route briefing can be purchased separately for a meager £15. Drinks will be served during the interval and I should imagine it would be a great session to meet other folk to form some useful alliances. Here’s the deets >

  • The venue is the Charlotte Street Hotel, 15 – 17 Charlotte Street, London, W1T 1RJ [ map ]
  • Pre-presentation drinks and canapes will be served at 6.30pm.
  • The presentation for Etape I begins at 7.00pm.
  • The presentation for Etape II begins at 8.30pm and finishes at 9.30pm.
  • There will be an interval with drinks at 8pm.
  • Price per session is £15 or £20 for both.
Im advised that this event sells out pretty quick so be sure to head on over to Rapha to purchase aticket post haste should you be interested.

Multipower Sports Nutrition

Iv lost track of how many wonderfully coloured and diverse flavoured energy products I have tried over the years. Various industrial looking tubs full of wonderfully multicoloured potions and labelled with claims basically promising to turn me into a lean, mean pedalling machine.
Now, I will have to confess to being an incredibly fussy eater, and even more so when it comes to sports nutrition products. I could probably count on once hand the amount of products I have tried and can get on with on a regular basis. I think the problem is a lot of them are made so synthetically that they often end up with the consistency akin to chalk sweepings off the factory floor, coupled with a nice injection of E-number 007 to enhance the subtle undertones of Cillit Bang on your palette. So its fair to say im quite a tough crowd when it comes to the world of drinks and gels and such.
MultipowerUK were a brand I had not really heard of before. The two brands I usually run with are High-5 (mainly due to flavour preference) and also ZipVit, although I stopped buying Zipvit recently as I found they hiked their prices up around the time their marketing push because more prevalent, strangely around the same time they got into bed with that infamous pro tour team RadioShack. Where I once found their products good value (often BOGOF on tubs of drink), take the example their 15 protein recovery bars for around £16 (I refer to this incident as Protein-gate)…. now the exact same box of bars sells for £24.75. I kind of take objection for a price hike of around £8 considering I’m certainly not getting £8 worth more product or research, rather I feel I’m subsidising their marketing push…..and that troubles me. 
Anyway reader, I digress….. as for MultipowerUK, a cursory glance at their website reveals prices are very easy on the pocket. I tested some products from their new ‘Active’ range, aimed at endurance athletes and those looking to boost energy levels and recovery from efforts ready to do the same thing the next day in training. Below are my thoughts on each of the three product I tried, over the space of a few weeks, using them on training rides from 1hour-4 hour efforts.

First up is the ‘ISO Drink Mix’. An ample sized tub containing 875g of energy drink in the inoffensive taste of lemonMultipower claim the tub will make 25 servings, so at its offer price of £9 that works out to approximately 36p per bidon. Now, I know not all cycling purchases are wallet driven, but you have to admit that’s quite amazing value. Consider that a box of 12 sachets of High-5 costs around £9… that’s double the amount! So full marks to MultipowerUK for the numbers. So whats the product like!? well, upon opening the lid, greeting you will be a handy serving spoon, a good idea. The powder looked quite crystal like, initially worrying me it might be hard to dissolve.

However, my fears were alleviated, this actually dissolves incredibly easy. The colour wasn’t too nuclear, which was also a good sign. for every serving this drink will give you a serving of around 31g carbs… not bad. The thing that I really liked about this drink though was the inclusion of BCAA’s and the supplement L-Carnitine. BCAA’s are Branched Chain Amino Acids, that in layman’s terms help make the most out of post-workout period and are the building blocks of muscle protein. L-Carnitine is a nutrient that helps turn body fat into fuel. Iv been taking L-Carnitine for a while in pill form, so its great the drink has it already contained, saving some cash on additional supplementation. So that’s the tech bit covered. What the heck did it taste like I hear you say? Well… it tasted… lemony. Not overly strong, no citrus kick as such, but it was quite pleasant. Id imagine its taste might not be great when boiling hot, but with cold water it was certainly refreshing. 

It went down easily on some medium length (around 80k) solo rides I did recently, and certainly felt like it was doing the trick. Recently i tried doing some early morning training runs with water only, and maybe its all in my head but the legs certainly felt dead when compared to ‘fuelling up’. I like the ISO drink and I think i’l definitely put in an order for another pot when this one runs out….. Overall its inoffensive in taste, and I really like the added benefits of the ingredients, as opposed to just a straight carb drink. The formula is both wheat-free and nut-free so ideal for anyone worrying about intolerance’s.


Next up I tried the ‘Re-Charge’ drink. Again coming in an 800g tub, the price is also a very thrifty £9. Billing itself as a product that can be used both during and after training, Its similar in High-5’s 4:1 I guess, utilising a ratio of almost 30g of carbs to 10g of protein with each serving. Its also contains 6g of the curiously named ‘PeptoPro’ protein, which upon googling I found is basically a super fast acting protein, getting straight to the muscles after exertion. I tried to use this in my second bidon, usually to see me home on the last hour from Box Hill. That way one can think about starting your ‘recovery’ process whilst actually heading back from a ride.

The drink was ‘Orange‘ flavour… and sure enough it did taste orangeycarb drink like the ISO drink for the main part of fuelling. BCAA’s are again present making this an ideal beginning to ride recovery. The recharge drink is fully nut-fee.



The last product I tested out was the Recovery protein bars. Weighing in at £25 for a box of 24 bars, they seem to represent decent value.

In the guise of a chocolate coated bar, each portion offers up 14g of protein for recovery after a hard ride (tradition dictates that products of this type are best ingested within a 20 minute post training window for maximum benefit). The bars are also packing 17g of carbs to replenish glycogen levels depleted on long rides. Id kind of liked to have seen slightly more protein content within the recovery bar, but I guess the trade off would be taste. The bar was OK, Iv tasted better, but iv also tasted much, much worse. The bar didn’t do that awful thing where after endless chewing it disintegrates into a tasteless dust that’s hard to swallow, in fact the choc coating made it quite like eating a mars bar (maybe a little harder) sans the caramel (the fun part!). The idea of the bars is to get one down your neck after a ride, and the protein heads to repair those tired and stressed muscles, ergo sum staving off that painful stiffness the next day, enabling training to be sustained. The price is certainly right on these, and a palatable starter for anyone wishing to aid recovery. Don’t expect it to taste like a bar of cadbury’s finest, sadly… its a little bland, but then the things that taste the best have a propensity to not be so great for mind and body.


All products from the active range over at > MultipowerUK.com