There are few topics in cycling, at least professional, that are more perennial than doping, the use of performance-enhancing drugs. Especially in Austin. Need I say more? I think not. (If you’re confused, read this.) The good news is that there are plenty of legal and safe substances that non-professional riders have tried to make the rigors of long-distance bicycling more tolerable and less damaging to our bodies. Forthwith and posthaste, here are five of A Dude Abikes’ favorite over the counter sports aids. DISCLAIMER: While someone who used to know me called me Dr. Feelgood, I am not a physician, so please check with an actual medical doctor or nutritionist before taking anything new.
This stuff is great for your muscles. According to the page at Vitamin Shoppe, CoQ-10 Soft Chews “support heart health, promotes cellular energy, and are naturally flavored.” The cellular energy part refers to the mitochondria, the powerhouses of your cells. (Like midichlorians found in the blood of Jedi.) And it has a pretty good taste — pineapple mango. A Dude prefers this to CoQ10 pills because it is more readily absorbed and is very portable. I wouldn’t take more than four in a day, alhough the most I’ve done was three I think. I’ve used this with success on my century rides and other long training rides. I don’t need them on shorter rides.
Nitric Oxide Pre-Sport
A great cyclist who happened to be a rep for this company suggested this product. I’ve used it numerous times especially on longer rides, and boy does it work! You can feel it kick in about an hour after taking it. Mostly made from beets, the nitric oxide is great for providing more oxygen to the red blood cells. To quote from Irwin Naturals’ Nitric Oxide Pre-Sport website: “Nitric Oxide is produced in the inner lining of blood vessels and helps to relax and dilate vessels, allowing more blood to flow throughout the body. This unique formula features L-Citrulline, an amino acid that is readily converted to L-Arginine, which can then be converted into Nitric Oxide within the body.” Good stuff.
Everyone has their favorite flavor and brand of electrolytes, but for the money I think Nuun is among the best of the hydration tablets. Fairly mild-tasting, with a variety of flavors to choose from, it provides essential hydration for when you’re out on the road. A Dude likes to keep one water bottle full of water and the other full of Nuun-infused water. Another cool thing about Nuun is that the tube is very portable. There are also versions with caffeine if you’re into that. They make a line of other products as well. Don’t go out there on a hot day without something to keep your fluids topped off and your system all, well, juicy!
Speaking of juice, when we were kids, A Dude and his little brother liked to come home from being out in the hot Texas summer and drink directly out of the pickle jar. (Claussen was much preferred.) Our mother looked at us with incredulity. But now that it’s been studied and shown to help with sore muscles, pickle juice is sold as a brand by Pickle Juice. It comes in little bottles and by another maker even in frozen ice pop form. A little more tart and similar to a classic Vlasic vintage, it’s still a great product that will prevent or at least reduce cramps. Some of the charity bike rides I’ve done hand these out. Pro tip: Freeze them first and stick them in the back of your bike jersey. By the time you need one it may still be cool.
Sportlegs is based on a pretty simple concept: to get the lactic acid out of your bloodstream, which minimizes soreness, take lactate. The chemical reaction basically neutralizes the substance that makes your muscles sore. Paired with the traditional muscle minerals calcium and magnesium, it’s a winning combination. It can be taken before exertion, but it is best during and after a long ride, run, swim or what have you. One caution: too much could cause a scatological version of a Sherlock Holmes story. You do NOT want to unleash the Bowels of the Haskervilles while in the middle of a long work out. So take it with caution until you learn your body’s tolerance.
Well, those are my recommendations. Give them a try and let me know how you like them. Maybe one at a time so you can tell if there’s a difference. Please note these products are all trade-marked, I am not being compensated for promoting them (though I wouldn’t mind if I were), claims about supplements have their own disclaimers, read all warning labels, and your mileage may vary.
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