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.
WINTER hates your bike, which is why it’s common to have a hack machine dedicated to sacrificing itself in the rain, the grit and the salt so that your best bike can be saved for the best days. But there’s another way. If you look after your bike carefully the effects of winter are minimal. After all, carbon doesn’t rust. We’d rather be riding, and enjoying, our best bikes more of the time.
We’ve been treated to a sneak peak of the new Boardman bike range for 2011-2012. And we liked what we saw.
Using power output as a parameter for testing and identifying potential athletes
BMC doctor Max Testa said power output could be added to the UCI’s biological passport system to weed out dopers. Here’s the science behind the concept.