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.

It’s gonna be cold, it’s gonna be grey…and it’s gonna last you the rest of your life

A little Dark Humor…to pass the days.

The snow has been falling rather steady and piling up here in the northeast.
Bleak, cold, grey days of winter have taken up residency in my aging bones and
my faltering mind…We have had 6 days over the last 3 weeks of sub-zero temps,
ranging from 0 to -6, without any windchill, which has been brutal in my lowly opinion.

And, it can feel at times as if the low winter Sun has left some us for dead…
Yet there is cause for a muted tribute…as Spring is only a mere 42 days away.

I take solace knowing that soon we will see the blossoms of trees and splendid greenery
that lines the roads and paths we long to ride, so take note old man winter…your time is fleeting, like life itself…

Moving Mountains…

Start Date: June 1, 2013/12:59 pm
Ride Time:  4 hours, 4 mins (total time 5:06)
Temperature: 90°
Prototype: 47 years, 8.44 month old rider
Distance/Ascent: 55 miles – 4600′

-It was the 3rd day in succession of riding this week, with plus 90° temps-
each of the 3 days. Thankfully, it hadn’t really bothered my riding so far…

Today, the Antagonists of hills lay ahead. I rolled out, making my way up the
slight, steady grade of Meeker then down to Harmony Falls and then
onward to the climb of St John on the Mountain.

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Hardscrabble, bumpy and broken throws her all at me, 3 miles,
long, 675′ up at about a 4.6% avg grade. I keep the pedals turning,
fighting for every second. Off along the edges of the road, lay
the remnants of the 7th Brigade, as Revolutionary rocks form
the hardscape, while the streams run their course.

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The top of Talmage- with the heights of Randolph in the distance

The miles are rolling by and the scenery has me smiling today.
I approach the 3.5 mile Cold Hill-Woodland Climb that takes me
past Potts Reservoir– The rays of sun dance and glean off the still water.
She rises up 547 feet, with a slight reprieve and dip in the middle.

I’m struggling to keep a steady pace. Shoulders rocking, labored
breathing, The sun is pounding my head like a 10lb hammer sledge.
The cars of passers by, look into my suffering eyes…I’d ask them-
tell me what do you see- someone real? yea this is for real, as real
as it gets… At the summit of Mt Freedom, I stop for a respite, water
and food to fuel the second half of the journey.

I roll down South Road- peeling off onto Ironia. This is the big, fast
descent of the day. I was thinking to just coast and roll down her wicked
esses- but just then, the ‘racer’ got the better of me…

Carbon wrapped in Flesh and Bone, plunging down steep Ironia-
Riding into sweeping Fury…
( I scorched the downhill- 1:37 and shattered the record of 1:49-
Now I covet the #1 spot…but for how long?)

The road bends right-left-right-left, with a decreasing radius in the
2nd right-hander. Here is where I nearly met my fate… I made a rare mistake of
turning in just a second or two early, I was in way too hot…and had to just feather the rear brake. The tire locked for a brief moment, my eyes-wide with fear…I immediately
released the lever and the rear tire hooked back up.

I stomp the pedals and the gears once more gathering  precious speed down
Snake Hill- as my heart rate slowly comes back down. Oh, I got lucky today, no doubt.
straining the limits of machine and man…laughing out loud with fear
and hope I had a desperate plan…”

Three more climbs were still in front of me before I made it back
home, Campbell, Clark and the finish up old familiar Liberty Corner.
The 90° heat was beginning to takes it toll…as I could feel my face radiating,
the sweat pouring off my arms and legs. Thankfully, there was
a little shade on the Clark and Liberty Corner climbs for a bit of cover.

I am taking on a steady flow of water and now at mile 50 I was empty.
So one last water stop at Dunham Park, just 4 miles from home…
It’s 5:37 pm now and the sun shine is unrelenting, but Sol is a welcome friend, always.

My hands, back and neck are all aching, as I head for the solace and
comfort of the house door. I’m thinking about the big post-ride meal,
as I look to bright, blue sky with thanks and remember the sights
and sounds on this first day of June…

Cogito – Ergo – Zoom…

http://ridewithgps.com/trips/1370222/elevation_profile

Harmony Falls into the Descent of Bliss…

48 miles, 3800 feet up

Today’s stage 20, in the “Tour of 2013” had me rolling through
some familiar roads and a couple of which I had never ridden.

Hitting an old favorite, the Mt Harmony Ascent at mile 7, I set a
PR again, now ranked 3rd on RwGPS. I continued meandering
through the low hills of Bernardsville on my way towards the
farm lands of Bedminster.

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Mile 24, I hit the dirt and gravel for about 2 miles on Old Dutch
and Lager Cross Rd’s. Passing historic Rheinland Farms.
The Sunday scenery was subdued and quiet, as I stayed near
the crown of the road.

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Back on a long stretch of rollers of “Loamatong” heading into
the outskirts of Bridgewater towards Rattlesnake Bridge. I kept
a steady pace pedaling into a stiff headwind. Then it was on to
the false flats of Burnt Mills, heading up Washington Valley Road.

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One of the last climbs of the day would be the short, but tough
hill, Hunter-Somerville and homeward bound up Liberty Corner.
Once more I would set a PR on Hunter, ranking 3rd as well.

In between all the climbs, there are of course, always descents.
Typically, I try to push hard on the familiar downhills…in an
effort to keep my cornering skills sharp. I bombed the very short
right-left esses of Bliss and the last left-right of Old Chester.
I love bending the bike in to corner, lean, counter-steer and
flow right through. It’s pure magic when you get it right!

So far, my climbing has improved nearly 20% from 2012. I
hope to keep this trend up through the rest of the year…

http://ridewithgps.com/trips/1314899/elevation_profile

The Edge of Valley Green

40 miles, climbing 3320′ up

Today’s Stage climbed up familiar Mt Harmony and then
Hardscrabble Pass. As I wound through the Small Valley
of Bernardsville along Roxiticus, my thoughts wandered
like the rolling wheels beneath me…

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From scenic Ravine Lake to the border of Mendham, it was
lush green fields and rolling farms full of foliage that paved
the way. My legs pumped like pistons, my lungs not-too-fade
carried me strong, to the 4th best time up Hardscrabble.

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http://ridewithgps.com/trips/1295699/elevation_profile

The ascent beckons, like a siren song, as I am lured by her
tempting curves, by her majestic heights. Though I know
of the suffering she will put me through, I labor upward, still-
Inspired by such landscapes of beauty, oh her seductive reward
of enchanting views…

Fore the climbs are romantic in their own epic way, with the
promise of love and absolute pain, all wrapped in a rapturous
dream of her rising allure…

Tour de Deux Resevoirs

50 miles, 4,200′ up

Continuing on my ‘Tour of 2013’
“Stage 15” would wind through the boroughs of Far Hills,
Peapack-Gladstone, Ralston, Mendham, Chester and Randolph.

Riding past the north branch Raritan and the scenic Clyde Potts
and Mendham Reservoirs. Then descend the wicked, fast and twisting ‘Snake Hill’ (Ranked 1st!) all while climbing over 4,200 feet.
http://ridewithgps.com/trips/1276376/elevation_profile

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It was good to be out this weekend, thoroughly enjoying still
early Spring days. Sat was 69 and windy, but sunshine all day
for my 40 mile jaunt. Sunday, was 72 and partly sunny with just
some light winds. Farewell April, hello May! The promise of more
beautiful weather and great riding no doubt awaits those of us
who ride, race, or just pedal for pleasure…

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