Winter Miles

Iv been pretty spoilt for weather and riding this past few weeks, with some really mild winter days making for some fabulous base mileage, pootling about before the intensity work begins in Feb! I had the pleasure of riding with Portland’s finest, mister Jeremy Dunn himself, as well as joining some cool people to rack up those important conversational paced rides…. long may the mildness continue, if I ever thought to myself id be riding in mitts in January id have thought that was barmy! Hope everyone is enjoying their January…

Nothing nicer than riding with a cycling newbie, biggup Jezza!
 Loving Prendas white oversocks, so PRO
 Suited, booted and not a cloud in the sky. Glorious!
 Portlands daddio of cool, J-Dunn himself. Was a pleasure to chase the tarmac with you man!
Putting in the base miles, couldn’t be happier right now!

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 Ladies Cross Skills Evening

The very awesome and very fast lady of cross Claire ‘boom’ Beaumont is dishing out two skills classes for ladies looking to improve upon their skills or simply dip their toe into the knobbly-tyred racing scene. Rapha are holding two evenings in London where Claire will guide groups on techniques such as mounting/dismounting, running with the bike and cornering, with attendees getting to test out their skills on a mini cross course.

Each session will end in the pub for a drink and a chance to chat all things cross. For more information and to register for a place on the mini clinics, visit the event sites for 15 September and 22 September. The classes are free and informal, and guaranteed fun. A perfect cross appetizer in anticipation of the upcoming Rapha Supercross events.

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.