Supplements: Science or Snake Oil?

As with anything in life, there are some things that are effective and some that are not so effective. And with supplements, there are some that work and some that are just ineffective and nothing more than what amounts to a ‘placebo’.

I already take a Creatine powder supplement along with my protein shake for recovery, something I began doing years ago with positive results. But now I want to try some other well known supplements as well.

For the last 18 months or so, I have experienced a marked drop-off in energy levels. I am more fatigued and have less endurance overall. Like most amateur/weekend athletes, I have addressed the standard diet, nutrition and sleep factors to death. I eat fairly clean, I don’t smoke, rarely drink alcohol, workout, ride and sleep an average of 7.5 hours a night. I have also had a full blood workup done, with no red flags. Nothing has changed in the last 18 or so months, other than I am 18 months older and at nearly 50, perhaps it is just age. Though I’m not so convinced of that.

The resulting decline in my physical state leaves me puzzled, frustrated and outright fucking pissed. So to that end, I have decided I will experiment with a variety of substances. Yes, I am completely aware of any and all side-effects or dangers that may be associated with any of the substances I will try. I will be using low to moderate (LLT) doses of anything I ingest and it will only be for short (4-6 week) periods, with accompanying 4-6 week ‘off-cycles’

My first experiment will be with diet supplements, essentially a ephedrine/caffeine stack, accompanied by 81mg’s of aspirin. Typically this is a ‘fat burning’ combination/supplement, though for my purposes I will be seeking a boost in energy levels, not weight loss. I’m slated to start next week.

I also will be trying some or all the following substances at different points in the year:

NO-Xplod
Cellucor – C4
Varying combinations of Taurine/Guarana/Arginine/Sulbutiamine
( I have not decided on the stack yet)

Other possibilities depending on availability, will be:
Adderall or similar stimulants

I am also contemplating anti-aging medicines as well, though that will take more of an effort through medical consultation and spending of discretionary money (of which I don’t really have)

Through each phase of my experimentation, I will keep track of all the positive and negative effects I might incur and report back in the coming months.

Roads, Hedges, Camera…Action! (Last lap of the Ulster GP)

A week and a half into January and I am suffering from cabin fever already…

With temps here in the northeast ranging from the single digits to the 20’s and some snow and ice on the ground, I have not been on the bike since the 2nd. Oh restless, I am growing! Hoping to get out on the weekend as it is supposed to warm up to the 30’s! (amazing the perception of ‘cold’ after the mercury plunges to zero in the overnight!)

So for now, I sit my lazy ass in a chair and watch some of my favorite videos. From the Grand Tours to MotoGP, to keep me amused and somewhat upbeat during the abhorrent cold-n-gray season! Today, I’m sharing a vid of one of my all-time favorite races, the Ulster Grand Prix. A quick last lap highlight from the 2010 supersport race. It is an incredible circuit (worlds fastest actually) and this was an incredible race….

If this doesn’t get the pulse ‘racing‘, you just might be DOA… 😀

Bicycle Product Reviews-Testing

As the riding season gets fully underway now, I will be making
a few small purchases of gear and accessories for my bikes.
I am very frugal (read: cheap!) when it comes to bike parts.
Typically I buy from online retailers, due to financial constraints.

Road Bike Parts:

Like most and many riders, tires and brakes are the most common
parts used/replaced. I have just bought a pair of Hutchinson
Quartz 700×23 wire bead tires that I will be mounting in the next month
or two. I purchased the pair from nashbar, from a ’10 hour’ sale last week.
Total price w/shipping was $27.15.

Currently, I am using CST Czar 700×23 wire bead tires. To date,
there is 1,091 miles on these tires. I had bought them from an
ebay bike seller/shop for $30 inc., S/H. The dual compound rubber
offers good cornering grip and durability, with no issues so far.

Though a bit on the heavy side with a moderate amount of rolling
resistance. For me, these qualities are not a concern, but rather
durability and puncture resistance is what matters for my riding.
I would buy these CST Czar’s again without question. Solid tires.

The other product I am reviewing is my Selle Royal Lookin Gel
saddle. Purchased in September of 2011, I have sat in it for about
3,500 miles now. Compared to the specialized alias saddle I had
prior, it is a bit more compliant and forgiving on my boney ass.

Prior to the Alias saddle, I rode on a WTB Speed V, which is
better suited for my mtb. A bit too soft for high mileage rides.
(the padding proved to be insufficient to support constant sitting
for the longer journeys
)

I find the Selle Royal to be firm enough, yet compliant enough to
be tolerable for riding anywhere between 1 and 4 hours. I have
ridden a few 5, 6 hour tours and by that time the butt and the
middle region is a bit sore…but to be fair, I have not sat on any
seat in 8 years that has been 100% comfortable. It always seems
to be a compromise. I purchased this from the same ebay retailer
my tire came from. Cost- $17.54 inc., S/H.

Conclusion: For the money both the saddle and the tires were
good buys and I would purchase them again if I needed to replace
those parts. I am giving the Hutchy’s a try, since the price was
extremely low and the reviews were mostly positive. I have read
reviews that stated the tires are a solid training/club rider choice
with good puncture resistance. Hopefully they prove to be a
reliable tire.

Mountain Bike Parts

The Ironhorse HT Warrior I ride came with mediocre stock disc
brakes and pads, which for recreational use are probably just fine.
But for an avid rider or terrain that is hilly (descents) more stopping
power is required. so to that end, I upgraded the front caliper, disc
and pads in 2011. I installed an Avid BB5 caliper and a Galfer
‘Wave’ rotor with Galfer green pads.

The performance was instantly noticeable and much better.
Inspiring confidence on the downhills. The front lever lost its
spongy feel and braking was more sure-footed. The initial bite
of the pads is very good and gradually gets better without any
sudden grab. The Wave rotor dissipates heat well and there is
very little fade from the pads. So far, pad wear has been minimal.
My grade for the set up is a A-. If I were strictly a downhill
rider/racer, then upgrading both front and rear would be in
order without question.

First Quarter Stats

With the first quarter of 2013 down, I’m off to my typical slow start.
6 rides in total, 139 miles with approximately 12,700′ of climbing.
Having psoriatic arthritis and a degrading disc issue with my back, I’m not one for riding in the cold/damp weather. Usually I start to ramp up my seat time in April. So I am now looking forward to better, warmer weather and hitting the road at least 3 times a week.

Date Distance Time Ele. Gain
March 2013 103.0 mi 07:51:5 +9,295 ft
February 2013


January 2013 36.4 mi 02:40:11 +3,537 ft

My goals for this year include; a minimum of 3100 miles (2950 in ’12), with at least 225,000′ of ascent (218,600 in ’12) and compete in 2 or 3 events. Conquer a few of the bigger climbs such as Fiddlers Elbow, Iron Bridge and Breakneck roads. I have ridden most all of the big climbs in Morris,
Somerset and Hunterdon Counties, but have yet to ascend any of the major climbs in Sussex…