Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Moonshining Energy Supplements I

As you all know, I swear by GU Energy Gel. It works very well on my body. So well, in fact, I sometimes abuse it to undertake rides I'm not fit enough for  :-P

The spirit of inquiry Curiosity Boredom and a masochistic streak spurred me to undertake an experiment with a homemade energy supplement.

Ride 1 (non-stop)
12:30 AM, 10 January, 2008
Elevation climbed:  1310 ft (399 m)
4 hours 13 minutes 0 seconds
Average speed:  15.6 mph (24.96 km/h)
Maximum speed:  28 mph (44.8 km/h)
Distance:  65.6 miles (104.96 km)
Supplement:  None. 40 fl. oz. (1.18 liter) of plain water.

Ride 2 (non-stop)
1:00 AM, 14 January, 2008
Elevation climbed:  1260 ft (384 m)
3 hours 59 minutes 10 seconds
Average speed:  16.3 mph (26.08 km/h))
Maximum speed:  28 mph (44.8 km/h)
Distance:  65.1 miles (104.16 km)
Supplement:  176 grams of Dextrose Monohydrate + 1/10 teaspoon of Sodium Chloride dissolved in 40 fl. oz. (1.18 liter) of water.

Cost of Dextrose Monohydrate:  SG$1.80 (USD$1.26)
Cost of table salt:  negligible
Energy value:  660 calories

Compared to Ride 1, I didn't feel as tired in Ride 2 after the 2.5 hour mark. I was also consistently faster at my various checkpoints.

Checkpoint A (Upper Serangoon Road & Tampines Road)
Ride 1:  1 hour 1 minute
Ride 2:  1 hour

Checkpoint B (Loyang Avenue & Changi Village Road)
Ride 1:  2 hours
Ride 2:  1 hour 57 minutes 34 seconds

Of course, this homemade concoction lacks potassium, amino acids, and glutamine. I suspect the muscle aches (which were significant) after climbing South Buena Vista Road, Holland Road, and Clementi Road, were due to that. Of course, caffeine can't hurt  :-P

Effort-wise, apart from the climbs, the pace of both rides was at 60-70% of maximum heart rate as I wanted to burn fat. Tip:  a rough but useful gauge is, if you feel too out of breath to carry on a conversation, you are probably pushing too hard.

There were no other rides between the 2 rides. The faster timing of Ride 2 cannot be attributed to training (there was none) or weather (weather conditions were largely identical).

While the time difference (between Ride 1 and Ride 2) is very significant in a race, or even a group ride, it is of too small a value to bother when touring. I sometimes take 45 minutes to compose a picture (e.g. waiting for a car, motorbike, or hiker to disappear over a ridge), so saving 13 to 14 minutes mean very little to me. The main point for supplements here would be comfort.

'Missed the target I set with Char Siew Pao Mei (i.e. average speed of 27 km/h), but, all in all, still a rather fun experiment.


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