MyProtein – fuel for big rides

“Sports nutrition” or even “race nutrition” is a bit of a tricky subject for some. There are hundreds of products out there, each with varying degrees of weird-tastiness, sweetness and artificial-ness. I’m quite lucky in that I can pretty much chuck anything down my neck and my stomach will happily process it without a hint of rebellion. Obviously some products seem to work better than others once they’ve made the journey from my stomach into my muscles (how this happens I have no idea really) and as such I have my favourites, but in general my race pit helpers don’t have an intricate and complex feeding strategy on 3 sides of A4 to follow and can simply shovel tons of sweets, tinned ravioli, chocolate, coffee, protein bars and gels into my mud-splattered face, safe in the knowledge that they’re not going to be wearing it a couple of seconds later.

So for me really, it pretty much comes down to taste and nothing else. If there’s a brand of gel or carbohydrate drink that tastes horrible I just won’t use it and I’ll go for the ones that taste like a bag of sweeties or a can of Fanta.

Recently I received a small batch of MyProtein ENER:GEL gels and a large pouch of Tri Carb carb drink from ProBikeKit. I’ve used it all up now as I’m right in the middle of a few weeks of hard training for a 24 hour race so I think I’ve had plenty of time to form an opinion.

First of all, the Tri Carb drink states that you should use “3 scoops” per bottle. That’s fine, but it’s quite sweet so you might want to use two and a half scoops instead. You might like it with 3 scoops, but I preferred it a little bit less sweet (I don’t have sugar in tea either). It’s not weird or synthetic-tasting at all though. It just tastes like a regular soft drink (summer fruits, if you’re wondering). I’ve ridden for hours using only Tri Carb and I’ve felt adequately fuelled, even at my “2.5 scoops” lower dose. It mixes well too (especially with the MyProtein Shaker Bottle) – there was no powdery reside in the bottle and I didn’t detect any powder while I was drinking it.

The ENER:GEL gels are (dare I say it about an energy gel) lovely. Yep, they actually taste very nice indeed. Of oranges. And they’re a nice, easy-to-get-down consistency.

Gone are the days when we needed to put up with energy gels that tasted like plastic and had the consistency and texture of snot. There’s clearly a lot of effort by the boffins going into making your training and racing fuel nice to eat, sometimes even desirable, as well as very effective. The days of retching when they go in one end and then high drama when they come out of the other end are long gone, if you’re wise with your purchases.

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ENER:GELs are 60g and contain 21g of carbs, so about right for the recommended 2 or 3 an hour (depending on what you’re doing and how big you are, obviously).

There’s electroytes in there too, which is handy if you’re a sweaty bugger and/or you suffer from cramp. I even gave one of these to Dave who unlike me, has to be very picky with his food in case his guts explode and he got on fine with it, so they’re benign as well as tasty.

The price isn’t too bad either. Yep, I’d recommend MyProtein products – in fact, I’m going to buy some with my own money.

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Loco Tuning

My poor, neglected Rock Shox SID fork. I got this fork for the World Champs way back at the start of 2012. Since then I’ve ridden rather a lot of very long races on them and apart from the occasional wash, I’ve shown them no love and attention whatsoever.

I think it’s all those years of riding with rigid forks. All I had to do with those was clean them, check for any signs of them snapping (!) and moan and grumble about the tingling in my hands caused by nerve damage for a couple of weeks after a 24 hour race. Suspension forks, it would seem, need some looking after.

I’d noticed that they weren’t as controlled or smooth as they used to be. I also noticed that they looked a bit shorter. “Maybe I should give them a service” I thought. Then I remembered the last time I serviced a suspension fork back in 2002. That particular fork now lies at the back of the cellar, in bits. A constant reminder of my ineptitude and ham-fistedness. “I know, I’ll send the fork to someone who knows what the bloody hell they’re doing” I then thought. It’s an expensive item, a modern high-end suspension fork. If you’re going to take it to bits you really should make sure you know what you’re doing….or just send it to a professional.

I’ve a few racing friends who’ve recommended Loco Tuning in the past so I called them. Shortly after filling in the booking form on the website I got a reply from Simon at Loco telling me to box them up and send them over. “You’ll have them back by Friday” was the bold claim (it was Tuesday already). I also booked in a second SID fork which needed the travel increasing but this didn’t make a difference to Simon’s optimism. He reckoned I’d still have both of them back by Friday.

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Sure enough, they arrived back on Friday. New seals, new oil, the older fork had been leaking air into the negative chamber so that was sorted and both forks feel as good as new. In fact, better than new.

Now that winter’s over and the summer is just beginning, do your fork a favour and get it serviced by someone that knows how to do it properly. For the price of a night out you can get your old suspension working as well as it did when you first got it and you’ll have it back faster than you’d have thought possible.

Get in touch with Simon at Loco Tuning via their website – www.locotuning.co.uk

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