Ponderings from the Velodrome

Newport Velodrome – ©Dave Gratton AKA SunflowerDave (on Flickr)

For someone who always has a lot to say for himself, thinking what to write about is more difficult than I thought! I should hasten to add, that’s not because I can’t think of anything, it’s because I’ve got so many ideas running around in my head it’s so difficult to chose.

So my decision has been made for me because for the first time in weeks I have an hour or so to spare to put pen to paper (yes, I am actually writing this on paper) as I’m sitting in the stands watching my daughter Ffion take part in a Welsh Cycling youth track session. So the subject: the importance of good cycling facilities, specifically Newport Velodrome.

The difference this sporting facility has made to Wales is difficult to quantify, but if you look at the numbers of riders both before and after this facility was built who are at or on their way to the top of the cycling tree, it’s obvious that its impact has been massive! The same can be said of Manchester Velodrome and I am sure it will be the case with the Olympic Velodrome; we should also consider Herne Hill and the riders that have benefitted from that facility. What it shows it that good facilities really do make a difference to the progression of riders coming through the ranks, whatever their cycling discipline. Of course we also need champions to inspire youngsters into the sport, but we’ve got such a conveyor belt going at the moment there is no worry about these facilities being under used.

So what memories have I taken from Newport Velodrome over the last 8 or 9 years that I’ve been making the 30-minute drive from Abergavenny to get here?

Well I might as well start with my number one memory and also because “why shouldn’t women’s cycling be given priority over men’s for a change?” If I can find the photo to accompany this when I next go hunting in the attic I’ll post it at a later date, as even now I find it quite hard to believe. Picture this: a women’s keirin with six riders on the start line. In amongst the six, the current senior World Champion wearing her stripes Clara Sanchez. Also on the start line I think it was Sandie Clair. Next up to them, a few star struck young girls from the UK including two from Wales, my 13-year-old daughter Becky and Katie Curtis. I can’t recall another current senior world champion ever racing in Newport, so that line-up is implanted very firmly in my head. By the way, it was France first and second with Becky coming in third to the disbelief of the French coach, especially when finding out Becky’s age.

As for other memories of female competition in Newport, between 2006 and 2007 the Youth and Junior Track National Championships had such strong fields the racing really was fantastic to watch. Seeing Becky, Lizzie Armistead, Joanna Rowsell, Jess Varnish, Laura Trott, Dani King…(I could go on) racing against each other with Hugh Porter getting very excited on the microphone really was brilliant. Looking back now I honestly think you could see then who was going to make it to the top and they weren’t all winners. The look of determination in a rider’s eyes is something I believe is what sets them apart and that is something you can spot at a young age. If someone happens to win a Youth National Championship on the way to the top that’s nice, but ultimately you need to look at the bigger picture and remember it’s not a sprint, it takes a lot of time and effort to win at elite level. And that’s what people will remember; senior champions not 11-year-old ‘superstars’!

On that last point, some really bad memories for me have been watching young girls of Under 12 and Under 14 level attempting to break a National Record as if it was the be all and end all. They have been all kitted out with the best equipment money can buy and their parents have been shouting so loudly at them as if they were doing it themselves, but why? Many of those I have watched are either no longer riding or just riding now and again. And why provide the best equipment at such a young age? Good equipment yes, but keep the very best as a reward and as an incentive when they are racing at international level. I really would like to see some sort of equipment specification cap on all youth riders to make it more of a level playing field and to give them something to aim for.

While I’m in the process of airing my concerns, the other thing that really worries me is that young riders seem to be specialising on one cycling discipline at ever-younger ages and training to the detriment of their education. Youth sport should not be like that. If I could single out one young rider who has got the balance right and sets an example for other to follow it is Elinor Barker and look where she is now! Elinor has given most forms of cycling a go, but over the time I’ve known her and the family her education has come first. She’s obviously had coaching, but it has been Elinor’s drive and determination to succeed that has won her the Junior World Time Trial and of course her supportive parents (I believe there could be another reason and the same applies to Becky as well; both Graham, Elinor’s dad and myself are ardent Newcastle United followers and maybe it’s because the girls have never seen us celebrate the winning of a trophy that they are doing their bit to cheer us up!).

On the male side of things, at the same time as that outstanding crop of girls I mentioned the boys’ fields were also amazingly strong and they provided fantastic racing to watch. Jason Kenny, Peter Kennaugh, Alex Dowsett, Luke Rowe, Adam Blythe, Andy Fenn…(once again, I could go on) are just a few of the names that cycling fans would recognise from the Olympics and pro-peloton this last year. Despite many outstanding races and individual performances the one that stands out still after these years is Andy Fenn’s Youth 500 metre time trial. Here was someone mixing it up with the best youth riders this country had to offer in all the circuit races around the country and he was winning the endurance and pursuit events on the track. In the 500 metre time trail he was up against all the best youth sprinters in the country including current BC Academy sprint member Peter Mitchell. I can still picture him going around the track now. I seem to recall I was sitting in the stands next to Iain Dyer, National Sprint Coach and Trevor King, father of Dani and a few others and the first thing that came to my mind was that here was the person to follow in Jason Kenny’s footsteps. Well I was wrong on that front, but I really think he has the potential to be the next big road sprinter from GB. I am not saying that Andy will be another ‘Cav’, because I am not sure there’ll be another in my lifetime, but I am sure that he’ll be winning many races and stages over the next few years. Another rider I’ve watched in Newport in a similar mold to Andy is Sam Harrison, although he’s got a few years to catch up yet.

As recent as last winter I was sitting in the stands of Newport Velodrome watching the annual ‘Winter Track League’, which mixes all abilities up into different races, both male and female. In Wales we are very lucky indeed to not only have Elinor Barker coming up into the senior ranks, but we also have Amy Roberts. To see both Elinor and Amy mixing it up with the men in the ‘A’ league really is a great sight and I am really excited about the prospect of those two girls representing Wales and GB around the world over the next few years. The girls often found themselves riding in amongst elite men, well not just elite, but professional riders. Last year watching Luke Rowe, Magnus Backstedt, Jonny Bellis and many more on a Tuesday night with the rain hammering down on the velodrome roof, whilst sipping a cup of tea, is fascinating, enjoyable and a relaxing time in amongst my hectic lifestyle.

I have never been in Newport Velodrome with a full stand of spectators, but with the success of this last season and the accessibility of cycling stars to the general public I think I might get to see that over the next couple of years. What Newport needs is the right event to fill the stands, something that has got my mind running wildfire again! Now, if that event gives equal precedence to the women riders or better still star billing, wouldn’t that be amazing?

…Next time, whenever that will be, I’ll probably write about organising my first ever hill-climb and also about the importance and thrills of cyclocross.

Thanks for reading.

David James

Twitter: @Dai_Cwmheulog
 
 
 
 

Review: +Nuun – Electrolyte enhanced drinks tabs

With the recent BBC Panorama documentary in mind about the research that underpins sales and marketing of sports drinks in the UK, I have become some what sceptical about the claims made by manufacturers relating to the performance enhancement that the general population of active sports people and in our case active cyclists can gain from the use of sports drinks and nutrition products. People believe it super effective during their workouts, having even become famous as the joe rogan diet included drinking sports drinks in his workout routine. And that’s what the researcher is trying to analyze.

For those who did not see the programme, in a nutshell, the BBC had linked up with a group of researchers at Oxford University who wanted to test the validity of the research and data that is currently being used to sell Lucozade Sport and Powerade.

As we may know all research findings are based on statistical analysis and we all know about statistics, ‘there are lies, damn lies and statistics’! I should know I used to use research findings and materials data to sell a specific engineering product. In the past making claims that our product out performed the competition. Well it did in certain areas but not always the one the customer wanted to use it in, but who was I to enlighten them to that fact!

The outcome of the team at Oxford appeared to suggest that sports drinks offer no significant advantage to the average population vs drinking water. In fact they went even further and suggested the the ingestion of 23 grammes of sugar per 500ml of fluid could be detrimental to the target audience, children!

But perhaps this is where Nuun is different as the name might suggest it has nuun of the ‘nasty’ calories found in sugar, although this does mean the drink does not provide an energy source but then it is does not claim to do this.

So what does the American manufacturer actually claim? Well here is their promotional information on the company website:-

Nuun branded products’ formulation is based on years of research and feedback from some of the world’s top academic and practicing experts in the field of sports medicine—specifically in dehydration and hyponatremia. Nuun’s development is focused on the three most important aspects of proper hydration:
 
SPEED OF ABSORPTION
One of the most important characteristics of what you drink while you’re active is the speed at which your body can absorb it. The concentration of dissolved salts and sugars (osmolarity, for those more technically inclined) determines how fast the drink can cross from your digestive track into your bloodstream, where it can re-hydrate and replenish you. Nuun branded products produce a hypotonic solution, so your body absorbs Nuun faster than the leading “sports drinks” or even water alone. This gives your body the ability to restore optimal water and electrolyte balance quickly and efficiently.
 
ELECTROLYTE CONTENT
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that people who are active for more than one hour get 500–700mg of sodium for every liter of water they consume. This is up to three times the sodium amount that traditional “sports drinks” provide. Some experts in the field believe that sodium concentrations should be closer to the 700–1000mg range. In addition to other critical electrolytes, Nuun Active Hydration provides 700mg of sodium for every liter of drink to ensure that you are adequately replenishing your body to help you perform at your best and stay healthy. U Natural Hydration is an all-natural line of electrolyte and vitamin-enhanced drink tablets with half the sodium as Nuun Active Hydration. U Natural Hydration is sweetened with stevia and contains only 7 calories per tab. It is ideal for less intense activities, so it would be great to take with your paradigmpeptides, a perfect way to stay balanced and quenched during a workout.
 
CARBOHYDRATE CONTENT
Nuun branded products contain virtually no carbohydrates (less than 1g) for a couple of reasons. Ingesting drinks containing high levels of carbohydrates can slow the rate at which your stomach empties, delaying the absorbance of the water and electrolytes. Carbs also increase the osmolality of what you’re drinking, delaying absorption beyond the stomach.
If you’re participating in intense exercises lasting more than 60 to 90 minutes, you should consume carbohydrates to ensure energy levels for working muscles. But how you do that is up to you. Everyone manages energy consumption differently, whether it’s with sports bars, gel or other sources of calories and carbohydrates.

Other then the reference to the American College of Sports Medicine no specific references appear to be easily found on the company website. The marketing blurb continues with:-

WHY IS HYDRATION IMPORTANT?
Hydration is important for your overall health, regardless of your daily activity level. A large percentage of your body is made up of water, and proper hydration means ensuring that your body maintains that level of water, as we are constantly losing water. Water helps your body regulate temperature, transport nutrients to organs and tissues, transport oxygen to cells, remove waste, and protect your joins and organs.
Hydration, however, is more than just drinking water. Proper hydration is essential for concentration and attention to detail, whether you’re running a marathon, or a marathon of errands. Even a small decline in dehydration levels can result in a decrease of mental and physical performance.

HOW CAN I STAY HYDRATED WITHOUT THE UNNECESSARY SUGARS?
Nuun is hydration, without the sugar – a refreshing alternative to many of the options in the beverage market today. On average, Americans consume 130 pounds of sugar per person, per year. Sugar has been directly related to heart disease, metabolic syndrome and diabetes.
Beverages containing large amounts of sugar can accelerate the dehydration process. Sugar requires water from the body in order to be digested, leaving less water to properly fuel muscle and brain function. With zero sugars and only 8 calories in each 16oz. bottle, Nuun is a smart choice for hydration.

All very interesting, but wait what is this about sugar causing dehydration, this a new one to me. I always thought that the key to rehydration was to drink water with the addition of salt and sugar. Well that is certainly what I remember being told would save lives in third world countries, if only they could have clean water, salt and sugar!
But wait please remember that this product was developed for the American market and the key words to pick up on are:-

On average, Americans consume 130 pounds of sugar per person, per year. Sugar has been directly related to heart disease, metabolic syndrome and diabetes.

A quick internet search revealed via the Livestrong website that sugar can dehydrate you if you get very high levels in you blood, this can happen if you are, guess what, yes you guessed it Diabetic! (Read more: www.livestrong.com)
So with all this in mind and one over riding memory of the Panorama programme, Graeme Obree describing his feed and hydration regime for his hour records, water and jam butties!

 

So down to the testing; how does Nuun perform out on the road?

The first thing to comment on is the Nuun bottle that came with the test product, it is very good, and continues to be a favourite of mine after two weeks of daily rides. It has an easy to use soft mouth piece, wide mouth to allow for easy cleaning and is made of a soft plastic that allows easy squeeze to get a good squirt of hydration product.
The test arena for the hydration tabs is the sunny Vendee (Atlantic Coast France) and the region that is one of the key sponsors of the Europcar Team. Testing has been conducted on medium paced rides of over 60 minutes in temperature approaching and in excess of 30oC! Prime weather for dehydration and salt imbalance, the type of weather that can easily promote post ride cramp.
The three flavours on test were, Strawberry, Lemon and Lime and the main sample of Grape. Nuun recommended dosage is one tab per 500ml bottle, but being a tight Yorkshireman, I typically only use one tab (habit was developed using High 5 Zero) so my initial test rides are all based on a single tab.
The tabs are incredibly easy to use, drop one into the bottle and add water. Step back and watch them fizz away to their hearts content. With a little agitation they dissolve very quickly, so much easier then a powder mix and no mess. The tab format also means that will be easy to carry on a long ride and mix on route. Nice. This as far as I am concerned is an absolutely major benefit to using tabs vs powders. They are really easy to transport anywhere in the world and better still take up less cupboard space, this means less hassle from the one who is to be obeyed (aka the wife)!

Ride 1 Strawberry.
72 mins early morning start 7.30am temperature 22oC and climbing.
Initial reaction was that the flavour would probably be the bottom of my list, a little insipid to say the least but I would never normally drink anything strawberry flavoured so a little harsh maybe and especially as I am using a half dose.
The product seemed to work during and post ride and I would certainly say that it was more palatable then plain water.

Ride 2 Lemon and Lime.
78 mins fast paced afternoon ride 4pm temperature 32oC
This was a much better flavour for my taste even at half strength a very smooth taste and no after taste of bicarb (can sometimes get this with other tab products) over all quite impressed. No issues with cramp during the ride.

Further rides using Grape
A range of easy and hard rides across similar temperatures to the first two tests.
At half strength the grape did not taste very strong so I took the plunge and used the recommended one tabs per 500ml. Bingo! the taste was great and more importantly no cramp during or post rides. The biggest benefit for me, from past experience, is the fluids were good to drink even when the bottle temperature had risen during the ride. I normally find it unpleasant to drink warm water mid to end of a long warm ride. Adding Nuun changes this and the tepid fluid stays pleasant to drink and actually encourage you to maintain fluid balance.

So much for the use now for the science behind the product or at least the labeling and list of ingredients. Now be honest after all the hype, advertising and endorsements listed for the product you use how many of you actually read the ingredients and find out what they do or are used for? I confess I have never done so, but in view of the TV documentary I thought it might be enlightening!

 

On each packet is found the following:-
Nuun turns water into a refreshing sports hydration drink (hmm this smacks of the Apprentice style sales pitch!!)
According to the label Nuun are electrolyte enhanced drinks tabs with zero sugar and only 8 calories per tab.
The full nutrition data is listed for a tab in 240ml as:-
Fat 0g

Sodium 173mg (2%)

Potassium 50mg (1%)

Total Carbs <1g
Sugar 0g
Vitamin C 19mg (31%)
Riboflavin 250mg (15%)
Calcium 6.5mg (1%)
Magnesium 12.5mg (3%)

 (percentages based on a 2000 calorie diet)

Ingredients: citric acid, sorbitol, sodium bicarbonate, sodium carbonate, sodium benzonate, natural flavours, polyethylene glycol, magnesium oxide, sodium acetate, ascorbic acid, acesulfame potassium, calcium carbonate, natural colour, riboflavin 5-phosphate.

Hmm that all sounds very tasty, if not a little industrial!

A couple of the ingredients leapt out at me immediately:
Sorbitol is that not a laxative? I seem to remember in my childhood falling foul of eating too many sorbitol mints, hmm not a pleasant memory.
Sodium Bicarbonate (baking soda), is this not the active ingredient in popular Plink Plink fizz pick me up and headache tablet? I remember a science experiment at school where our teacher demonstrated that over 50% of the Alka Salksa was actually Bicarb and was only added to give the good old fizz for branding!
Sodium Benzonate, is that not related to benzene and is that not found in petrol and is it a cancer causing chemical?
Well that is what got me thinking about what all these chemical actually are and you can find out too my reading the ingredients appendix. (data sourced from Wikipedia so reader beware).

 

Back to the product itself and the burning question Does it work? and would I buy it?

Does it work? yes it does create a very palatable hydration drink with the benefit of no added sugar. Does it keep cramp at bay and provide good salt balance. Used at full strength Nuun works very well and does what it says on the Tin (or plastic tube in Nuun’s case) Would I buy it? Yes. It really does turn water into a great flavoured hydration drink. I would recommend you try Nuun for yourself, you might just find you like it and that it suits your needs well.
Tablets RRP: £6.00 for a pack of 12 Tablets.
Nuun Bottle RRP:£4.00
Flavours: Banana, Tropical, Lemon Tea, Citrus Fruit, Fruit Punch, Strawberry Lemonade, Kona Kola, Orange, Grape & Tri-Berry.

Enter our competition to win nuun goodies by clicking here!

To find out more about nuun and their products visit their website by clicking here.

 

 

 

Ingredients appendix

Citric acid is a weak organic acid. It is a natural preservative/conservative and is also used to add an acidic, or sour, taste to foods and soft drinks. In biochemistry, the conjugate base of citric acid, citrate, is important as an intermediate in the citric acid cycle, and therefore occurs in the metabolism of virtually all living things. Citric acid is a commodity chemical, and more than a million tonnes are produced every year by fermentation. It is used mainly as an acidifier, as a flavoring, and as a chelating agent.

Sorbitol, also known as glucitol, is a sugar alcohol, which the human body metabolizes slowly. It can be obtained by reduction of glucose, changing the aldehyde group to a hydroxyl group. Sorbitol is found in apples, pears, peaches, and prunes. It is synthesized by sorbitol-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, and converted to fructose by succinate dehydrogenase and sorbitol dehydrogenase. Succinate dehydrogenase is an enzyme complex that participates in the citric acid cycle.
Sweetener
Sorbitol is a sugar substitute. It may be listed under the inactive ingredients listed for some foods and products. Sorbitol is referred to as a nutritive sweetener because it provides dietary energy: 2.6 kilocalories (11 kilojoules) per gram versus the average 4 kilocalories (17 kilojoules) for carbohydrates. It is often used in diet foods (including diet drinks and ice cream), mints, cough syrups, and sugar-free chewing gum.[citation needed]
It also occurs naturally in many stone fruits and berries from trees of the genus Sorbus.

Laxative
Sorbitol can be used as a non-stimulant laxative via an oral suspension or enema. As with other sugar alcohols, gastrointestinal distress may result when food products that contain sorbitol are consumed. Sorbitol exerts its laxative effect by drawing water into the large intestine, thereby stimulating bowel movements. Sorbitol has been determined safe for use by the elderly, although it is not recommended without consultation with a clinician. Sorbitol is found in some dried fruits and may contribute to the laxative effects of prunes.

Sodium bicarbonate
Sodium bicarbonate or sodium hydrogen carbonate is the chemical compound with the formula NaHCO3. Sodium bicarbonate is a white solid that is crystalline but often appears as a fine powder. It has a slightly salty, alkaline taste resembling that of washing soda (sodium carbonate). The natural mineral form is nahcolite. It is a component of the mineral natron and is found dissolved in many mineral springs.
Since it has long been known and is widely used, the salt has many related names such as baking soda, bread soda, cooking soda, and bicarbonate of soda. In colloquial usage, its name is shortened to sodium bicarb, bicarb soda, or simply bicarb. The word saleratus, from Latin sal æratus meaning aerated salt, was widely used in the 19th century for both sodium bicarbonate and potassium bicarbonate. The term has now fallen out of common usage.
Baking soda in sports
Small amounts of sodium bicarbonate have been shown to be useful as a supplement for athletes in speed-based events, like middle distance running, lasting from about one to seven minutes. But overdose is a serious risk because sodium bicarbonate is slightly toxic and in particular gastrointestinal irritation is of concern. Additionally this practice causes a significant increase in dietary sodium.

Sodium carbonate (also known as washing soda or soda ash), Na2CO3 is a sodium salt of carbonic acid. It most commonly occurs as a crystalline heptahydrate, which readily effloresces to form a white powder, the monohydrate. Sodium carbonate is domestically well known for its everyday use as a water softener. It can be extracted from the ashes of many plants. It is synthetically produced in large quantities from salt (sodium chloride) and limestone in a process known as the Solvay process.

Sodium carbonate is also used in the production of sherbet powder. The cooling and fizzing sensation results from the endothermic reaction between sodium carbonate and a weak acid, commonly citric acid, releasing carbon dioxide gas, which occurs when the sherbet is moistened by saliva.
Sodium benzoate has the chemical formula NaC6H5CO2; it is a widely used food preservative, with E number E211. It is the sodium salt of benzoic acid and exists in this form when dissolved in water. It can be produced by reacting sodium hydroxide with benzoic acid

Sodium benzoate is a preservative. It is bacteriostatic and fungistatic under acidic conditions. It is most widely used in acidic foods such as salad dressings (vinegar), carbonated drinks (carbonic acid), jams and fruit juices (citric acid), pickles (vinegar), and condiments. It is also used as a preservative in medicines and cosmetics. As a food additive, sodium benzoate has the E number E211.

It is also used in fireworks as a fuel in whistle mix, a powder that emits a whistling noise when compressed into a tube and ignited. The fuel is also one of the fastest burning rocket fuels and provides a lot of thrust and smoke. It does have its downsides: there is a high danger of explosion when the fuel is sharply compressed because of the fuel’s sensitivity to impact.
Sodium benzoate is produced by the neutralization of benzoic acid with sodium hydroxide. Benzoic acid is detectable at low levels in cranberries, prunes, greengage plums, cinnamon, ripe cloves, and apples. Though benzoic acid is a more effective preservative, sodium benzoate is more commonly used as a food additive because benzoic acid does not dissolve well in water. Concentration as a preservative is limited by the FDA in the U.S. to 0.1% by weight. The International Programme on Chemical Safety found no adverse effects in humans at doses of 647–825 mg/kg of body weight per day.
Cats have a significantly lower tolerance against benzoic acid and its salts than rats and mice. Sodium benzoate is, however, allowed as an animal food additive at up to 0.1%, according to AFCO‘s official publication.
Safety and health
Main article: Benzene in soft drinks
In combination with ascorbic acid (vitamin C, E300), sodium benzoate and potassium benzoate form benzene, a known carcinogen. However, in most beverages that contain both, the benzene levels are below those considered dangerous for consumption. Heat, light and shelf life can affect the rate at which benzene is formed.
Professor Peter W. Piper of the University of Sheffield claims that sodium benzoate by itself can damage and inactivate vital parts of DNA in a cell’s mitochondria. Mitochondria consume oxygen to generate ATP, the body’s energy currency. If they are damaged due to disease, the cell malfunctions and may enter apoptosis.[citation needed]

Polyethylene glycol (PEG) is a polyether compound with many applications from industrial manufacturing to medicine. The structure of PEG is (note the repeated element in parentheses):
HO-CH2-(CH2-O-CH2-)n-CH2-OH
PEG is also known as polyethylene oxide (PEO) or polyoxyethylene (POE), depending on its molecular weight, and under the tradename Carbowax.

Biological uses

  • PEG is commonly used as a precipitant for plasmid DNA isolation and protein crystallisation. X-ray diffraction of protein crystals can reveal the atomic structure of proteins.
  • Polymer segments derived from PEG polyols impart flexibility to polyurethanes for applications such as elastomeric fibres (spandex) and foam cushions.
  • In microbiology, PEG precipitation is used to concentrate viruses. PEG is also used to induce complete fusion (mixing of both inner and outer leaflets) in liposomes reconstituted in vitro.
  • Gene therapy vectors (such as viruses) can be PEG-coated to shield them from inactivation by the immune system and to de-target them from organs where they may build up and have a toxic effect. The size of the PEG polymer has been shown to be important, with large polymers achieving the best immune protection.
  • PEG is a component of stable nucleic acid lipid particles (SNALPs) used to package siRNA for use in vivo.
  • In blood banking, PEG is used as a potentiator to enhance detection of antigens or antibodies.
  • When working with phenol in a laboratory situation, PEG 300 can be used on phenol skin burns to deactivate any residual phenol.

Commercial uses

  • It is the basis of many skin creams, as cetomacrogol, and sexual lubricants, frequently combined with glycerin.
  • PEG is used in a number of toothpastes as a dispersant; it binds water and helps keep xanthan gum uniformly distributed throughout the toothpaste. It is also under investigation for use in body armour and tattoos to monitor diabetes.
  • Low-molecular-weight (PEG 400) is used in Hewlett-Packard designjet printers as an ink solvent and lubricant for the print heads.
  • PEG is also one of the main ingredients in paintball fill because it is thick and flexible. However, as early as 2006, some Paintball manufacturers have been substituting cheaper alternatives for PEG.[citation needed]
  • PEG is a major ingredient in e-liquid, used in e-cigarettes. It is generally used as a 30%-50% proportion of the liquid that is vaporized. Its use is designed to give a smoother effect to the vaping action.[citation needed]
  • PEG is also as a food additive used as an anti-foaming agent; its INS number is 1521 or E1521 in the EU.

Magnesium oxide (MgO), or magnesia, is a white hygroscopic solid mineral that occurs naturally as periclase and is a source of magnesium (see also oxide). It has an empirical formula of MgO and consists of a lattice of Mg2+ ions and O2− ions held together by ionic bonds. Magnesium hydroxide forms in the presence of water (MgO + H2O → Mg(OH)2), but it can be reversed by heating it to separate moisture.
Magnesium oxide was historically known as magnesia alba (literally, the white mineral from Magnesia), to differentiate it from magnesia negra, a black mineral containing what is now known as manganese.

Medical
In medicine, magnesium oxide is used for relief of heartburn and sore stomach, as an antacid, magnesium supplement, and as a short-term laxative. It is also used to improve symptoms of indigestion. Side effects of magnesium oxide may include nausea and cramping. In quantities sufficient to obtain a laxative effect, side effects of long-term use include enteroliths resulting in bowel obstruction.

Sodium acetate, CH3COONa, also abbreviated NaOAc, also sodium ethanoate, is the sodium salt of acetic acid. This colourless salt has a wide range of uses.

Sodium acetate may be added to foods as a seasoning. It may be used in the form of sodium diacetate — a 1:1 complex of sodium acetate and acetic acid, given the E-number E262. A frequent use of this form is in salt and vinegar chips in the United States. Many US brands, including national manufacturer Frito-Lay, sell “salt and vinegar flavoured” chips that use this chemical, with lactose and smaller percentages of other chemicals, in lieu of a real salt and vinegar preparation.

Ascorbic acid is a naturally occurring organic compound with antioxidant properties. It is a white solid, but impure samples can appear yellowish. It dissolves well in water to give mildly acidic solutions. Ascorbic acid is one form (“vitamer“) of vitamin C. It was originally called L-hexuronic acid, but when it was found to have vitamin C activity in animals (“vitamin C” being defined as a vitamin activity, not then a specific substance), the suggestion was made to rename L-hexuronic acid. The new name for L-hexuronic acid is derived from a- (meaning “no”) and scorbutus (scurvy), the disease caused by a deficiency of vitamin C. Because it is derived from glucose, many animals are able to produce it, but humans require it as part of their nutrition. Other vertebrates lacking the ability to produce ascorbic acid include other primates, guinea pigs, teleost fishes, bats, and birds, all of which require it as a dietary micronutrient (that is, a vitamin).
Chemically, there exists a D-ascorbic acid which does not occur in nature. It may be synthesized artificially. It has identical antioxidant properties to L-ascorbic acid, yet has far less vitamin C activity (although not quite zero). This fact is taken as evidence that the antioxidant properties of ascorbic acid are only a small part of its effective vitamin activity. Specifically, L-ascorbate is known to participate in many specific enzyme reactions which require the correct epimer (L-ascorbate and not D-ascorbate).

Food chemistry
Ascorbic acid and its sodium, potassium, and calcium salts are commonly used as antioxidantfood additives. These compounds are water-soluble and thus cannot protect fats from oxidation: For this purpose, the fat-solubleesters of ascorbic acid with long-chain fatty acids (ascorbyl palmitate or ascorbyl stearate) can be used as food antioxidants. Eighty percent of the world’s supply of ascorbic acid is produced in China.
The relevant European food additive E numbers are

It creates volatile compounds when mixed with glucose and amino acids in 90 Celsius.
It is a cofactor in tyrosineoxidation.

Acesulfame potassium (ay-see-SUHL-faym) is a calorie-free artificial sweetener, also known as Acesulfame K or Ace K (K being the symbol for potassium), and marketed under the trade names Sunett and Sweet One. In the European Union, it is known under the E number (additive code) E950. It was discovered accidentally in 1967 by German chemist Karl Clauss at Hoechst AG (now Nutrinova). In chemical structure, acesulfame potassium is the potassium salt of 6-methyl-1,2,3-oxathiazine-4(3H)-one 2,2-dioxide. It is a white crystalline powder with molecular formula C4H4KNO4S and a molecular weight of 201.24 g/mol.

Acesulfame K is 200 times sweeter than sucrose (table sugar), as sweet as aspartame, about 2/3 as sweet as saccharin, and 1/3 as sweet as sucralose. Like saccharin, it has a slightly bitter aftertaste, especially at high concentrations. Kraft Foods has patented the use of sodium ferulate to mask acesulfame’s aftertaste. Acesulfame K is often blended with other sweeteners (usually sucralose or aspartame). These blends are reputed to give a more sugar-like taste whereby each sweetener masks the other’s aftertaste, and/or exhibits a synergistic effect by which the blend is sweeter than its components.
Unlike aspartame, acesulfame K is stable under heat, even under moderately acidic or basic conditions, allowing it to be used in baking, or in products that require a long shelf life. In carbonated drinks, it is almost always used in conjunction with another sweetener, such as aspartame or sucralose. It is also used as a sweetener in protein shakes and pharmaceutical products, especially chewable and liquid medications, where it can make the active ingredients more palatable.

Safety
As with other artificial sweeteners, there is concern over the safety of acesulfame potassium. Although studies of these sweeteners show varying and controversial degrees of dietary safety,[citation needed] the United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) has approved their general use. Critics say acesulfame potassium has not been studied adequately and may be carcinogenic, although these claims have been dismissed by the US FDA and by equivalent authorities in the European Union.
Some potential effects associated with Acesulfame K have appeared in animal studies. Acesulfame K has been shown to stimulate dose-dependent insulin secretion in rats, though no hypoglycemia was observed.
One rodent study showed no increased incidence of tumors in response to administration of acesulfame K. In this study, conducted by the National Toxicology Program, 60 rats were given acesulfame K for 40 weeks, making up as much as 3% of their total diet (which would be equivalent to a human consuming 1,343 12-oz cans of artificially sweetened soda every day). There was no sign that these (or lower) levels of acesulfame K increased the rats’ risk of cancer or other neoplasms. However, a similar study conducted with p53 haploinsufficient mice showed signs of carcinogenicity in males but not females. Further research in terms of food safety has been recommended.
Research suggests that acesulfame K may affect prenatal development. One study appeared to show that acesulfame K is ingested by mice through their mother’s amniotic fluid or breast milk, and that this influences the adult mouse’s sweet preference.

Calcium carbonate is a chemical compound with the formula CaCO3. It is a common substance found in rocks in all parts of the world, and is the main component of shells of marine organisms, snails, coal balls, pearls, and eggshells. Calcium carbonate is the active ingredient in agricultural lime, and is usually the principal cause of hard water. It is commonly used medicinally as a calcium supplement or as an antacid, but excessive consumption can be hazardous.

Health and dietary applications

500-milligram calcium supplements made from calcium carbonate

Calcium carbonate is widely used medicinally as an inexpensive dietary calcium supplement or gastric antacid. It may be used as a phosphate binder for the treatment of hyperphosphatemia (primarily in patients with chronic renal failure). It is also used in the pharmaceutical industry as an inert filler for tablets and other pharmaceuticals.

Calcium carbonate is known among IBS sufferers to help reduce diarrhea[citation needed]. Some individuals report being symptom-free since starting supplementation. The process in which calcium carbonate reduces diarrhea is by binding water in the bowel, which creates a stool that is firmer and better formed. Calcium carbonate supplements are often combined with magnesium in various proportions. This should be taken into account as magnesium is known to cause diarrhea.
Calcium carbonate is used in the production of toothpaste and has seen a resurgence as a food preservative and color retainer, when used in or with products such as organic apples or food.
Excess calcium from supplements, fortified food and high-calcium diets, can cause the milk-alkali syndrome, which has serious toxicity and can be fatal. In 1915, Bertram Sippy introduced the “Sippy regimen” of hourly ingestion of milk and cream, and the gradual addition of eggs and cooked cereal, for 10 days, combined with alkaline powders, which provided symptomatic relief for peptic ulcer disease. Over the next several decades, the Sippy regimen resulted in renal failure, alkalosis, and hypercalcemia, mostly in men with peptic ulcer disease. These adverse effects were reversed when the regimen stopped, but it was fatal in some patients with protracted vomiting. Milk alkali syndrome declined in men after effective treatments for peptic ulcer disease arose. During the past 15 years, it has been reported in women taking calcium supplements above the recommended range of 1.2 to 1.5 g daily, for prevention and treatment of osteoporosis, and is exacerbated by dehydration. Calcium has been added to over-the-counter products, which contributes to inadvertent excessive intake. Excessive calcium intake can lead to hypercalcemia, complications of which include vomiting, abdominal pain and altered mental status.
As a food additive it is designated E170; INS number 170. Used as an acidity regulator, anticaking agent, stabiliser or colour it is approved for usage in the EU, USA and Australia and New Zealand. It is used in some soy milk products as a source of dietary calcium; one study suggests that calcium carbonate might be as bioavailable as the calcium in cow’s milk. Calcium carbonate is also used as a firming agent in many canned or bottled vegetable products.

Flavin mononucleotide (FMN), or riboflavin-5′-phosphate, is a biomolecule produced from riboflavin (vitamin B2) by the enzyme riboflavin kinase and functions as prosthetic group of various oxidoreductases including NADH dehydrogenase as well as cofactor in biological blue-light photo receptors. During catalytic cycle, the reversible interconversion of oxidized (FMN), semiquinone (FMNH•) and reduced (FMNH2) forms occurs in the various oxidoreductases. FMN is a stronger oxidizing agent than NADH and is particularly useful because it can take part in both one- and two-electron transfers. In its role as blue-light photo receptor, (oxidized) FMN stands out from the ‘conventional’ photo receptors as the signaling state and not an E/Z isomerization.
It is the principal form in which riboflavin is found in cells and tissues. It requires more energy to produce, but is more soluble than riboflavin.

Food additive
Flavin mononucleotide is also used as an orange-red food colour additive, designated in Europe as the E number E101a.
E106, a very closely related food dye, is riboflavin-5′-phosphate sodium salt, which consists mainly of the monosodium salt of the 5′-monophosphate ester of riboflavin. It is rapidly turned to free riboflavin after ingestion. It is found in many foods for babies and young children as well as jams, milk products, and sweets and sugar products.

 

l’édition Française e.1

When considering a cycling holiday, one of the first destinations many will think of is France. The rolling mountains, the colour littered fields, the warm sunny weather and all the fresh carbs you can dream of from the local patisserie.

So, I guess it’s no surprise that I spent a week en France this summer dans ma velo!

The Vercors, a region not familar to most, is a range of mountains in the Rhone-Alps, otherwise known as the Prealps; a 1.5 hour drive from Lyon or half an hour from Valence (Eurostar/TGV drop off). The scenery is simply stunning. Sheer rock faces suddenly appear on the horizon, displaying thousands’ of years of history, as the surrounding farmlands provide green tranquility. And, the roads through and around the Vercors are not only well kept (no sneaky pot holes) but quiet too. And by quiet, I mean you’ll see only 1 or 2 cars on a 4 hour ride!

Within riding distance are the beautiful and historic towns and view points of Pont en Royans, who’s houses hug the cliff-side; St Nazaire en Royans which is over shadowed by its aqueduct and fresh water lake; and Europe’s largest gorge, the Combe Laval; which, when cycling through can only be described as a scene from a James Bond car chase.

I stayed with Velo Vercors, a small but specialised cycling holidays company run by Roger Dunne – an ex GB pro cyclist, and his wife Teresa. Velo Vercors cater for everyone, that is, families that may get out on their bikes a couple of times a year but want to explore the French countryside, through to training camps for cycling clubs (sounds familiar!). And, with a broad range of abilities they also provide a range of suggested/mapped rides from 10-20km routes to spend the day at the lake; to a climb (and descent) up Alpe d’Huez, only 1.5 hours drive away. Arranging bike hire prior to your arrival, travelling there couldn’t be easier.

Their typically ‘French’ property, in the heart of St Jean Royans, one of the larger towns in the region, boasts self-catering gites (rural cottages) for a weekly break or B&B accommodation with independent front door access for shorter stays. All surrounded by fantastic gardens, a ‘summer lounge’ and of course, over-looked by the stunning mountainside. Plus, there’s an open-air pool a 2 minute walk up the road for the well needed rest days, and a masseuse on call to ease out the tight legs after a hard day’s climbing.

Roger, cycling clearly in his blood, is available as a cycle guide or domestique, which makes riding in a new area a breeze – there’s no worrying about taking the wrong turn, plus with his experience, he provides great advice and tips on the climbs and descents. God knows how he keeps going though – Alpe d’Huez twice and Mont Venteux in the space of 1.5 weeks? He must have a motor hidden somewhere!

All in all, a week at Velo Vercors may be absolutely shattering, but is definitely a holiday worth taking!

– Local area ride I took: http://runkeeper.com/user/hayleydavies/activity/100305127
– Tour of the Vercors including Pont en Royans, Col de Carrie and Combe Laval: http://runkeeper.com/user/hayleydavies/activity/100676919

Hayley Davies

Hayley Davies

Writer

Riding since Feb 2011 Hayley is a 30 year old female who loves adventures. If she’s not on one of her many bikes or in the water on a bodyboard/surfboard, then Hayley is probably out looking for something new to keep the adrenaline pumping!
Website: www.hjdonline.co.uk

Cyclodam

We’d like to introduce you to the Cyclodam Cycling Club, based in the beautiful city of Amsterdam and run by the lovely Hayley Davies and Monica Haydock.

Cyclodam provide all you need from a cycling club; catering for beginners to the uber experienced rider, all ages, men, women, boys and girls. They will show you how to use a bike for exercise, for sport and for getting you home safely from work. It’s a great social way to make new like-minded friends from all walks of life.

They break their club into three logical areas that make it extremely friendly and accessible, no need to feel out of your depth.

They also run a number of social events including weekly weekend rides, and workshops on all things cycle related like nutrition and bike maintenance and fun trips to visit some of the worlds top cycling races, this year they are going to the final stage of the Tour de France, so if you’re in Paris for the finish keep an eye out for the Cyclodam guys and girls!

The three levels are:
Love Cycling: Beginner or out-of-practice cyclist, you either don’t know how to ride a bike, or believe you’ve forgotten how (you’ve heard the cliché!). Join them to re-explore the art of riding a bike from the Dutch Highway Code, basic maintenance and how to balance your shopping while cycling!

Intro to Cycling as Exercise: Whether you’ve grown up watching the Tour de France and see yourself as the next pro or just realize the benefits of cycling, Cyclodam will help you get to grips with using 2 wheels as more than a form of transportation.

Cycling & Triathlon Club (CTC): For the enthusiastic cyclist, Cyclodam’s road and triathlon group, ride, train and compete together regularly. Why not join them out on the road? All levels of expertise welcome. It’s a mix of girls, boys, nationalities, ages and experiences. Training as often as work and personal commitments allow they meet regularly to better their swim, run and cycling skills. You can also find many of them at national and international competitions. New to road cycling or triathlons? Don’t worry – they welcome and encourage all new members, beginner or expert!

 
What Cyclodam say:
What can you expect from Cyclodam CTC?
As a member of Cyclodam CTC, expect to push your personal goals and achievements further. We work hard to make sure all individual training goals are met as a club. At the beginning of the swim, run or cycle session, we identify what each athlete aims to achieve and work together as a team to meet these.

Aside from training, you can also expect a range of benefits as a member from our main sponsor Giant, and the opportunity to wear team kit (we’ll be taking orders twice yearly). And of course, having fun at our superb socials!

How can you become a member?
Becoming a member is easy. We charge 25 Euros per year for each member. This is to cover our costs and to make sure we can keep the club running and provide you with the best offers from local companies. If you wish to join, please send an email to [email protected]

For more information please visit the website: www.Cyclodam.com
or Facebook page: www.facebook.com/cyclodam

 


 
 

Just One Click is all it Takes

You have heard me mention the lovely folk at Wheels for Wellbeing before in a blog last year. The charity helps people with and without disabilities into cycling, hand cycling and other non-traditional cycling activities. Because of the serious hard work the team and volunteers have put in it’s been shortlisted for the National Lottery top 10 funded sports projects.

We want to try and help them win so we are asking our readers to take one moment of their time and click to vote for WfW. Your vote could win them a £2000 cheque and an appearance on British National TV. You don’t need me to tell you just how useful that sort of money and exposure is for a charity in these hard time. So please take a minute to click and vote, don’t forget to tell your friends to vote to!

 

For more information on Wheels for Wellbeing please visit their website: www.wheelsforwellbeing.org.uk

 

To Vote please visit: www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/project/wheels-wellbeing

 

 

 

 

Herne Hill Velodrome welcomes disabled cyclists with open arms

 South London’s iconic track cycling venue experienced a first last Friday: trike cyclists, handcyclists, side-by-side tandem cyclists, enjoying the thrill of cycling at the Velodrome!

This was made possible by British Cycling’s re-surfacing of the banked track, last August, which included the addition of a 3.6m wide, flat strip, enabling others than 2 wheeler race-cyclists to ride at Herne Hill.

Most cyclists attending were discovering the Velodrome for the very first time. The event was organised by charity Wheels for Wellbeing, the charity works to remove all barriers to cycling for anyone who thinks they can’t (or can no longer) cycle. Isabelle Clement (Manager of Wheels for Wellbeing) said, “this was a trial session, to gauge the response of our regular participants. I’ve been confident our riders would love cycling on the track but the approaches to it are not perfect for access yet. We had a lot of volunteers on hand to help mitigate this aspect. For the long term, we will work with the Velodrome to ensure that disabled access is built into their future plans”.

Overall, people were very positive on the day though the distance from the nearest bus stop was an issue for some. Iman Saab (pictured), a former wheelchair racer commented, “I love cycling here! This is a proper workout; I really feel my muscles are doing some real work! This place is a wonderful site. I didn’t know it was here”. John Turnbull, a long standing member of Anerley CC recently needed to re-learn to cycle with Wheels for Wellbeing’s support, following an attack of shingles (which had left his legs paralysed initially). He was thrilled to be back at Herne Hill: “As a young cyclist I watched racing at Herne Hill in the 1950’s. It was quite exciting riding on the newly surfaced track. Nice smooth surface, enthusiastic helpers, from my point of view it’s perfect. I couldn’t wish for anything better”.

Wheels for Wellbeing has been working with the Velodrome over the last 18 months to ensure that, as investment starts flowing to renovate the site, disabled, younger and older cyclists are factored into all the infrastructure changes. Charmian Hornsby, a Herne Hill Velodrome Trust Board member who volunteered to help on Friday said, “It is wonderful to see how much difference the new flat track extension makes; the Trust is very keen to see new people cycle at the track. Wheels for Wellbeing’s participants are very welcome here”.
Wheels for Wellbeing’s Friday sessions generally run at the All Weather Pitch, above the Lido, in Brockwell Park. These will restart this week but the WfW team will continue to work with the Herne Hill Velodrome to turn this one off Velodrome session into a regular feature.

To find out more about Wheel for Wellbeing’s cycling sessions or any of its work, go to www.wheelsforwellbeing.org.uk, or find them on Facebook and Twitter (@wfwnews).
To support and donate to the charity please click here: www.justgiving.com/wheelsforwellbeing
 

About Wheels for Wellbeing

Wheels for Wellbeing is a charity which works to remove all barriers to cycling for anyone who thinks they can’t (or can no longer) cycle. We want people to be able to cycle safely on the road and enjoy social inclusion, health and environmental benefits on a daily basis. For people for whom cycling in a park is more appropriate, or who need to borrow 3 or 4 wheeler cycles, our emphasis is on running regular sessions so they too can enjoy cycling with their family and friends and benefit from regular exercise & fresh air. We also provide advice to individuals, groups and policy makers, and campaign for improvements which can reduce the barriers to disabled people cycling.
Wheels for Wellbeing was established in 2007. We run weekly sessions at Croydon Sports Arena and in Brockwell Park in Lambeth. We are actively seeking to establish sessions in other London boroughs and we work closely with similar projects elsewhere in the UK.
Wheels for Wellbeing currently receives funding from the Big Lottery Fund. It also needs to raise funds from private and corporate donations for much of its work.

 

About the Herne Hill Velodrome

Herne Hill Velodrome is the last remaining finals venue from the 1948 Olympic Games that is still in active use. It was given a new lease of life in 2011 after British Cycling invested in a programme of track refurbishment which included a complete resurfacing.
The Herne Hill Velodrome Trust is a charitable organisation (Charity Commission number 1140128) established in 2011 to lead the refurbishment and renewal of the Herne Hill Velodrome site for current and future generations of cyclists.
For more information on the velodrome visit www.hernehillvelodrome.com.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Subscribe for 10% Discount!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest cycling news and updates from our team. Receive 10% off your first order placed in our online shop!

You have Successfully Subscribed!