Monday, January 31, 2011

Best of 2010 - ZipVit Sport

Since Mel and I started racing, nutrition has always been at the top of our priorities – my past in other sports had shown the importance of this to me before and starting an endurance sport made it that much more relevant. I changed by diet a lot from my 'party' lifestyle I had between sports and it has benefited me in many ways even outside cycling. Anecdotally, I was on the borderline of needed glasses/lenses a few year years ago – I have since stepped away from that border – I put that down mostly to nutrition.

But I digress, back to ZipVit.

At the start of 2010, Mel and I had the opportunity to start working with ZipVit. I had used some of their products before and was very happy with the results so we went all in. I'm so happy we did.

ZipVit are a relatively new sports nutrition company but have quickly become part of the leading edge of sports nutrition – their products are constantly being adjusted and perfected (let's just say that I didn't like one of their Recovery Drink flavors at the start) with the aid of their testing team and athletes they support – teams like Cervelo Test Team, RadioShack and the Irish National Team.

Throughout the year, we used all their products during racing, training and even on our honeymoon, what impressed us most though was their gels, bars and recovery.

There are two major things I love about the gels. First, is their size – they are about 30% larger than standard gels and contain around 200 calories. When racing, when under pressure, the last thing I want to do is to have to take a gel every 15 minutes (my stomach can handle a lot of food) – these are a size that are still easy to swallow but yet give a lot of important carbs. The other major thing for me, is that these are not jammed full of electrolytes... One of the problems with lots of sports food is that everything is now full of various salt solutions – okay, if you are only taking one or two gels/drinks, but if racing and eating 5 gels and 4 bottles of energy drink, I get way more than I need and end up feeling bloated for a day or two. These gels are a lot more subtle and have helped me feel a lot better (and retain a lot less water) in the days following a race.

The Bars – well, they have the right amount of carbs/protein etc... but the major feature is their taste – yum. When a new batch arrives, Mel and I have to split the boxes, half with “Mel” written on the side, the other half with “Ryan”. We like them that much that it is hard not to live off them – especially the recovery bars. Being mostly pescatarian (we eat meat if out at a restaurant though – we just don't cook it in general) – getting enough protein can be tricky enough at times – that is where the recovery bars have come in (or as the snack between lunch and dinner). For hot conditions, I would stay with the uncoated chocolate energy bars as the others can get a little melty.

Water -> Chocolate Milk -> ZipVit Recovery... That has been my progression in post training/racing recovery. If there is one thing that I can say that can greatly benefit riders, it is to really sort out your post ride recovery. Whenever I train any longer than 1.5 hours, I always have my recovery drink prepared and waiting in the fridge for when I get in. Taking this straight away kick starts my bodies recovery process so that I can then get cleaned up and make a proper lunch knowing that I have done everything to ensure that I can gain the maximum out of that session and start the preparation for the next. Of the flavors, Chocolate and Vanilla are my favorites.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Doing the 'loop' in GC

The 'loop'
It is not that often I write just about a training ride, but this one was pretty cool. A lap of Gran Canaria. It is around 185km and pretty tough in places. A group of about 12 of us left from Maspalomas at 10am (8 of us finished up). A steady pace the whole day with some amazing views – we even picked up a few other riders during the spin.

Some dude called Fabien went to the front... :P

A sheer drop off - stunning

HR, Power, Altitude for the spin
8 of us finished up the ride in the end. One more training session on the island and my training block will be complete.