One of the best jobs at Procycling is producing the Route Guide – the feature in which we preview an upcoming race by riding a section of the race with a current or retired pro. What could possibly be better than travelling to Europe, unpacking the bike and hitting the road to shoot the breeze with someone from the sport’s highest level? Not much, actually.
It’s not all a lark, though. It’s a pain to organise. A journalist, a photographer, and a rider all have to align perfectly to meet in some corner of Europe with all the gear needed to complete the mission. And don’t get me started on lugging a bike through London to catch a plane. I’ve just been in Luxembourg and had to empty my carry-on baggage (full of sweaty cycling gear) in front of a queue of irritated travellers. Their pursed lips said it all.
Sometimes, no, almost all the time bikes are for travelling, not racing. In the early part of the 20th Century, bicycles allowed people to go further and get there faster than ever. They played a role in the emancipation of women and allowed men to travel further for work. In short, they were literally and figuratively a tool for social mobility.
By Jamie Wilkins
In a bid to go up hills more rapidly and make the rest of the team look silly, our operations editor, Jamie, has been trying out a slimming potion called iShot this month. Here’s how he got on.
By Cam Winstanley
Rapha have only been around since 2004 but through shrewd marketing and an adoration of cycling’s past glories, it seems a lot longer. While the look and feel of the company is vintage, the look, cut and performance of their Pro Team kit is decidedly 21st century.
Northern French cobbles. Not just difficult, bumpy, or shaky – they’re tortuous. They’re snub-nosed, implacable little trolls. When you’re on a bike it’s almost as if the road comes alive under you; at Paris-Roubaix, today’s Monument, the road bites back.
Flashback ||| A stylish win for an ageing Mario Cipollini in Ghent-Wevelgem in 2002
It’s Ghent-Wevelgem this weekend. Here’s a flashback to 2002 when Mario Cipollini left the security of his sprint train and launch a dramatic attack.
Strength, tactical astuteness, durability: these are characteristics every good Classics rider has in abundance. We reckon the latest issue of Procycling has them too.
Now that we’re all sold on the idea of recovery products, the latest niche to be targeted by sports nutrition companies is that of pre-ride fuel. Apparently a hearty breakfast and a double espresso is no longer regarded as the ideal way to stoke yourself for a few hours in the saddle.
Orbana Healthy Energy is a new product developed specifically as a pre-sport endurance fuel. Unlike other brands looking to expand their range, this is Orbana’s only product and it’s the fruit of a two-year research and development process. It’s free from stimulants and is approved by the Informed-Choice programme that tests for banned substances to protect athletes. It comes in powder form – mix one sachet into 250ml of water and drink it slowly around half an hour before your ride. The taste is unique but not at all unpleasant and it mixes easily. Each serving delivers 185kcal, 44g carbs, 2g protein
Jonny Hylton from Orbana explained how the mix of ingredients works: “Initially the small amount of simple sugars (fructose) gives you an initial energy ‘kick’ which is then reinforced by the high quality complex carb (maltodextrin) which can provide up to two hours of sustained energy (depending on the intensity of your exercise). Couple this with the B vitamins (they enhance energy production), amino acids and electrolytes (help speed up recovery and reduce cramp/lactate accumulation) and you have a much more rounded energy drink that gives energy but also aids in recovery. We actually have a Premiership football side and a National Rugby Union team that use it solely as part of their recovery strategy.”
We’ve tried Orbana on several rides and found a range of results. One rider experienced a huge rush of energy for an hour-long after work training session with reduced lactate build-up at very high heart rates and also a stronger start to a long Sunday morning ride. Another rider, a very fit and experienced racer training with power output, felt no benefit and saw no improvement in measured power against heart rate.
While that seems inconclusive, it looks likely that the strength of the benefit varies between individuals and we certainly think it’s worth a go. If you’re in the UK, you can try Orbana yourself for free by following the link below. The first 200 readers to click through here will receive a free sample sachet.
Orbana can be purchased at a number of independent cycling stores across the country or online at www.orbana.com/blog. It costs £1.80 per 50g sachet / serving.
In Detail ||| La Primavera, Milan-San Remo, is the Classic every sprinter wants to win. It is the first Monument of the year and at nearly 300km, the longest too.
Here’s an intriguing summer cycling holiday that caught our eye – Velo Vercors’s Everest Challenge.