Tag Archives: physical performance

Happy New Year

Dear Rouleurs,

This is my  last blog for 2015.  At the start of the year, I set myself a goal to ride 5000 km before 1st January 2016. Despite illness and a couple of really enjoyable holidays I was able to achieve this easily.  I’m actually pretty chuffed. The grand total was 5947.39 km from 432 individual rides.

So this my ride log care of my GPS ->2015-Bikelog

And this my monthly ride total -> November and December were great months.


As I have a fetish for charts here’s another 2.  This time its my weekly total below,


and ‘worm’ charts showing progress to target.


Woo hoo…I’m off to a barbeque.  Happy New Year, see you all in 2016.


What the heck does Isotonic mean anyway??


Dear Roulers,

On my recent Easter holiday I was laid low by a very nasty stomach bug. I’ll spare you the details, but it pretty much ruined my first trip to Kuala Lumpur. I didn’t eat any of the very nice chocolate my wife had bought until I came to Australia. I digress, back to the point of this blog, in the middle of a very average night I’m really dehydrated, I reach into the hotel minibar and find this weird drink called 100Plus.

I’m desperate, so I sip the drink slowly over the course of a few hours. It tastes bland and most importantly stays in my stomach. I look at the can and there’s some blurb about the drink being Isotonic. At the time I wondered what that meant and thought nothing of it.

About month later I’ve run out of Staminade. I’ve been buying the stuff for years as a means of having non-vile tasting liquid to drink whilst cycling.


At this point I’m putting in a shameless plug for Staminade being made here in Australia…how rare these days…and raise a 2 finger salute to another couple of US drinks ending ‘ade’.  I buy another container at local supermarket and I notice that word again ‘isotonic’….hmmm some little gears whirl around in my head….ah ha I’ve made a connection back to that awful night in KL. So what the heck is isotonic? And why is it important.

Enter the science of the sports drink as provided by Google….
The basic theory goes like this. Being hot and dehydrated is bad. I’ll dispense with the explanation. It should be self-explanatory.  Plain water will keep you hydrated not fuel your muscles. Research has shown that body will perform better if your drink contains some carbohydrate. But it mustn’t be too much, fruit juices and sugary fizzy drinks can dehydrate as the body uses available water to dilute them and enable the carbs to be absorbed.

So much to my surprise sports drink can belong to one of three categories: Isotonic, Hypotonic and Hypertonic. Essentially these words describe how rapidly the fluid and carbs are absorbed through the stomach.

Type of Drink Description
Isotonic Drink These drinks are said to be in balance with the body’s fluid levels and empty easily from the stomach into the bloodstream. They contain somewhere in between 5 to 8 grams of carbs per 100ml. Some have sodium to assist absorption. They can be consumed at anytime while cycling.
Hypotonic Drink These drinks are absorbed by the stomach faster than Isotonic ones, but this is achieved by having low levels of carbs. They are very useful for hot conditions, where you are working up a sweat. However as a long distance cyclist you must eat something as well to keep your energy levels up.
Hypertonic Drink These drinks are the slowest to be absorbed by the stomach. They have upwards of 10 grams of carbs per 100ml. They provide plenty of energy, but can hinder hydration, as discussed earlier. They are best consumed after cycling, possibly when you are too tied to eat food.

A word of caution…drinking strong hypertonic fluids can reverse the normal process of osmosis and cause diarrhoea. Think Greg LeMond, Tour de France circa 1986. Which brings me full circle to KL and the 100plus drink in the minibar. Ta da 🙂

Until next time


Eat, Sleep, Cycle, Repeat…Apologies to Fatboy Slim

Sleeping is essential for enjoyable cycling

The Lead Out

Sleep is an essential to the proper functioning of the body.  All the time you are awake you are using up energy, more so when you are active and riding a bike.  Your body needs time to repair itself and this is best done when the brain, muscles, and other vital organs are at rest.  Without sleep your body with fatigue and deteriorate both physically and mentally.

The Breakaway

Poor sleep or a lack of sleep is a recognised medical condition causing poor performance at work, memory difficulties, concentration problems and less resistance to illness, increased accident rates and drowsy driving as compared to good sleepers.  You can trick your body into thinking that sufficient sleep has been taken by having shorter sleep breaks consisting of full sleep cycles.

The Peloton

The stages of sleep combine for varying lengths of time.  Most complete cycles of sleep are about 90 minutes +/- 30 minutes according to the individual and the circumstances.  To maximise the benefits of your sleep in the shortest possible time you one or more complete sleep cycles, so should wake either when REM begins, or in the stage immediately following REM. If you wake in the middle of a cycle, especially during stages 3 or 4, your metabolic rate is at its lowest and it will take time to recover from this.  Its better to stay asleep, actively recuperating through the complete cycle rather than trying to take a shorter sleep break.

Stages of Sleep

Sleep stage Body Activity Depth of sleep Thought process Miscellaneous
0 –  awake Slows down, relaxes, decreased muscle tension Drowsy Relaxtion, mind wanders, vague awareness Decreasing heart rate. Decreasing blood pressure, Decreasing temperature
1 Body movements slowed, eyes gradually move less Light sleep, easily awakened Drifting thoughts, feeling of weight loss or floating Decreasing heart rate. Decreasing temperature
2 Little movement, eyes quiet, snoring is common Light to moderate sleep Thought fragments but memory process diminishes, if woken, may recall parts of a dream Decreasing heart rate. Decreasing temperature Metabolic rates. Decreasing Regular breathing
3 Eyes quiet, occasional muscle movement Deep sleep, may be difficult to wake Vaguely formed dreams, rarely recollected Continued decrease in heart rate, temperature. Secretion of growth hormone.
4 Eyes quiet, occasional muscle movement Deepest sleep, difficult to wake Very poor recall of sleeping thoughts Continued decrease in heart rate, temperature. Increased secretion of growth hormone. Regeneration process
REM Snoring usually ceases large muscles paralysed, fingers, toes and facial muscles twitch. Variable, but can be difficult to awaken if sound is incorporated into dream 80% dreaming with good recall Increasing heart rate, Increasing metabolic rate, Increasing blood pressure, Increasing blood flow to the brain, Increasing temperature, Irregular breathing, Best time to wake.