Pro cycling’s biggest race is near it’s end and the excitement is growing, although the win is nearly assured. A lot of drama is off the French roads or not exactly racing. But let’s eat, first.
I love food. It’s a blessing and a curse. As a result of this love, I’m on a personal quest to find on-bike snacks that taste like they are made in a kitchen rather than a lab. I have a little bit of both, this week.
The Honey Stinger nutrition company makes its home here in Colorado, Steamboat Springs, specifically. They tout a “Pure Natural Energy” motto. Their product is so tasty and effective, a certain cyclist/businessman/7-time Tour winner bought into the company, putting both influence and endorsement into the company.
A few years back, Lance Armstrong went to the kitchen folks at Honey Stinger and told them of the waffles sold in northern Europe. The thin waffles were soaked on honey for flavor and made for a great pre or post-ride snack. Honey Stinger took the idea and made a slightly less sticky version that I just love. The Organic Stinger Waffles are certified organic and sold in single-serving packets for convenience. I have enjoyed the honey flavor and vanilla for a while. This week, I found their new chocolate flavor. Like their own web site says, “who doesn’t like chocolate and waffles?
The chocolate flavor was yummy without being over-powering. It killed the cravings and took the edge off my hunger. I didn’t do this test on a bike, so I can not say for sure how it would work during a ride. I have had the other stinger waffles on a ride and had not upset stomach that some carb-heavy foods can cause. I plan to grab some of these for my Courage Classic ride this weekend so I can give a more complete opinion.
The other product I found was Dr. Allen Lim’s Scratch Labs energy drink. If you don’t already know, Dr. Allen Lim is a sports physiologist who has worked as team nutritionist for Garmin and RadioShack pro cycling teams. Lim has gotten tired of the likes of Gatorade and such and has created his own energy/hydration drink; Scratch Labs Secret Drink Mix. Reportedly, Tour riders would dump their sponsors drinks and refill with Lim’s. Hence, the name.
The mix boasts “No Artificial Anything,” real fruit for flavors, optimal sodium for exercise and less sugar and more electrolytes than most drinks. What I can attest to is that the flavor is not overly sweet. It mixes quickly and completely. I did not get tired of it going from Leadville to Granby, a 93-mile ride. I never bogged down or had any stomach issues. I was given free samples, but I plan on buying some on my way to Copper this weekend.
Now, the Tour. Bradley Wiggins of the British Team Sky took the yellow jersey a week ago Monday on a 25.8-mile individual time trial in which he took first and his teammate Chris Froome, runner-up in last season’s Vuelta a’Espana, took second place. Since then, Wiggins has been flawless, putting together a lead that only his own teammate is within three minutes. The problem seems to be that his teammate may not be content in second place.
Froome has publicly stated that he will attach if his captain falters, giving other teams both hope and a plan for attack. Froome, a near-skeletal rider, is a better climber than his boss. If the Italian Vincenzo Nibali of Liquigas-Cannondale or defending champ Cadel Evans can draw Froome out in the Pyrenees, there is a chance Wiggins can be dropped from his top spot. By the time this article hits the street, we will know. The other drama has been tacks on the road on the last climb on Monday, and the ejection of RadioShack-Nissan’s Frank Schleck.
Someone tossed carpet tacks on the crest of the Mur de Peguere on Monday’s stage 15. Both defending champ Evans and Tour leader Wiggins suffered flats over the top of the climb The tack caused a reported $20,000 damage to bicycle, motorcycle and car tires, as well as a broken collarbone for Astana’s Robert Kiserlovski and roadrash for Levi Leipheimer of Omega Pharma-Lotto. Tour organizers have filed an official complaint with local police.
Finally, fan favorite Frank Schleck has returned a positive test for the banned diuretic Xipamide. The International Cycling Union, or UCI, announced that they have informed Schleck of the finding and RadioShack has pulled the Luxembourger and released a statement that they do not administer the drug.
The problem is not that Schleck might be taking a diuretic, as that has no real performance enhancing qualities. It is, however, a masking agent for other performance enhancing drugs. If Schleck can prove he did not use the drug to mask anything or improve his performance, he could get off with a reprimand or a one-year suspension. If not, he will face a two-year ban from the sport.
As long as I don’t get tested for espresso or Nutella, I should be okay for the weekend.
Have fun, be safe. I’m going riding.