In search of Robert Millar
Unravelling the Mystery Surrounding Britain’s Most Successful Tour de France Cyclist
by Richard Moore
What a book! Thought provoking or what?! To date this must be the most enjoyable book about a past cyclist that I have ever had the privilege to read. It was such a great relief to read In search of Robert Millar after having to plough my way through Sex, Lies and Handlebar tape (the story of Jacque Anquetil) which had taken the thick end of two weeks to read, where as In search of Robert Millar was devoured in a matter of days!
To put my desire to read this book into perspective I must stress that Robert was in a key group of Tour de France riders whom I viewed as my sporting heroes in the 1980’s and as a young rider I looked up to, not so much as people whom I wanted to emulate but rather riders with a wide range of skill sets I wanted to learn from. The list included Paul Sherwin, Sean Kelly, Martin Early, Robert Millar, Greg Lemond, Sean Yates and Malcolm Elliot. As a young rider and even now I would certainly never have been able to place myself in this group and most certainly never in the same build as Robert. If he was a thoroughbred race horse I was the working shire-horse! But what stood out to me was his ability to suffer and suffer again knowing that those he was racing against where suffering even more then him. His ability to change speed up hill and put his opponents into major difficulty was legendary no it was the stuff that young boys dreams are made of.
I guess like many I had heard the rumours that Robert was now Roberto Millar and had dropped off the radar, occasionally passing comment on various bike forums, but I never wanted to believe what I had heard without proof. In essence this is what drew me to read In search of Robert Millar, would I be disappointed?
The quick answer to this question is a resounding NO. Far from being disappointed it was great, through the eyes of Richard Moore, to get a sneak insight into the life and times of one very special rider.
Richard’s book really does give the reader good understanding of what drives Robert and the things that make him tick. So many people interviewed for the book highlight that Robert was a very special, talented rider, with a good insight into the development of a race and wining strategy. Richard also shows how far ahead of his time Robert was with training methods and nutrition. Information Robert read was applied and tested in the real world of racing, things that did not work for him were then discarded. Robert was very focused on what worked and refused to pay lip service or waste any time on fads or pointless lab research that would not be applicable to his world.
The most telling tale of lab work verse real life was Robert’s first contact with a young Sports Science researcher called Peter Keen (later Performance Director for British Cycling). At a cycling conference Peter was pushing the use of Maxim as a major enhancement to performance for riders (hmm cross reference my review of Nuun and the recent BBC documentary). Robert needless to say dismissed the lab research as the product had never been tested in the field and just like Graeme Obree his opinion is that water works best.
Robert’s and Peter’s paths crossed again later in the book when Robert had been employed by the British Cycling to aid the development of the Road Racing squad. Needless to say as Peter appears to be a numbers man and Robert appears to be an experience man with no formal qualifications in sports science, surprise surprise Peter chose to not renew Roberts contract. I shall refrain from expressing my opinion about this but really encourage you to read the book and make up your own mind about the benefits of a sports science degree or the knowledge and understanding gained from the University of Real Life.
For me the most exciting part of the book must be the Epilogue, where Richard shares his e-mail communications with Robert Millar about the writing of the book. What a fascinating exchange.
Robert Millar for my money a cycling legend with so much that we can learn from. I can not recommend highly enough that you sit down and get hold of a copy of In search of Robert Millar I am sure you will not be disappointed.
In search of Robert Millar
Author: Richard Moore
Published by HarperSport (HarperCollins)
Available in Paperback, iBook & Kindle
RRP £8.99 (Paperback), RRP £8.99 (eBook), RRP £18.99 (Hardback)
Previous reads include:
Sex Lies and Handlebar Tape Jacques Anquetil (reviewed August 2012)
In Pursuit of Glory Bradley Wiggins
Flying Scotsman Graeme Obree
Rough Ride Paul Kimmage
Riding through the Darkness David Millar
We were young and carefree Laurent Fignon
Boy Racer Mark Cavendish (read Darren’s review here)
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.
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.
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:-
Sodium 173mg (2%)
Potassium 50mg (1%)
Total Carbs <1g
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.
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.
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.
It also occurs naturally in many stone fruits and berries from trees of the genus Sorbus.
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 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.
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):
PEG is also known as polyethylene oxide (PEO) or polyoxyethylene (POE), depending on its molecular weight, and under the tradename Carbowax.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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).
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.
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, 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. 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.
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.
The first week in July saw all the GB Para-cycling team members who had been selected for the 2012 London Paralympics, travel to and stay at the St Pierre & Country Club in Chepstow for the week, while we trained at the National Velodrome in Newport. This hotel will be our venue for our holding camp before the transition up to London one week before the games.
The first week of my training on the track was a small shock to my system, having had only two weeks back on the track in Manchester after my training abroad and now with my legs finding their power again, the efforts on the track were going to be increased every day to maximise my improvements for London over the next two weeks.
On the Sunday 8th July, fellow Para-cyclist and Paralympic Gold medallist Jody Cundy MBE and I were invited to take part in a SKY ride for the public at the Velodrome in Newport as part of the celebrations of 50 days to go before the start of the 2012 London Paralympics. The day was organised to invite the public to take part in safe cycling with trained staff on the roads around Newport. Jody and I had a fab time and made lots of new cycling friends, who also enjoyed their cycling experiences around the coastline roads in the sun.
My second week of track training in Newport saw me and my legs finally start to see some progress. The first week was more like a baptism of fire for me trying to achieve some really fast times on the boards, as well as get used to training at maximum on every effort. The week session was broken up with a 3 hour road ride with two of the team members who really enjoyed the Welsh countryside, apart from the rain which was warm but very wet!
While I was on the camp in Newport, I had the pleasure of being interviewed over the telephone by Stuart Lieberman from the International Paralympic Committee. The IPC (www.paralympic.org) oversee all Paralympic sports across the globe, so it was my pleasure to share my epic life changing story with Stuart and to explain just how my life has changed since becoming a Para-cyclist and also a Paralympic hopeful. I had to explain who “Dewi the Dragon” was and how he was going to help me in London, as my Paralympic mascot.
On 13th July, my-self and the team went to the Crown Plaza Hotel in Central London to have our official suit fitting for the 2012 London Paralympic Games, supplied by retailer Next. It was a brilliant experience for me and everyone who attended, as this was the first time we all had the chance to mingle with our fellow ParalympicsGB athletes from all the other sports who are going to compete in London in August and September.
The journey back to Manchester that night was very slow and certainly a long one, having taken us 6 hours to drive back, as the traffic was bedlam. The next day I was keen to get back on my bike and felt really good on my 2 hour road ride on my TT bike, which was thankfully spent in the sunshine.
Monday 16th July saw the start of my 6 week double training sessions on the track, with me having to do a road ride in the morning, then a full on track session in the afternoon, plus, gym twice a week. I do honestly enjoy these sessions; it’s just a case of working hard and then sleeping through the tiredness before the benefits are seen a few weeks later.
Mid July, I was invited by 2012 London Paralympic partner Deloitte, to a private function to share my experience and my life changing story with some of their young clients in Manchester. Deloitte who is the professional services supporter for both of the London 2012 games and who is among the country’s leading professional services firms, providing audit, tax, consulting and corporate finance services. My talk went really well and I had the pleasure of holding a 2012 Olympic torch, it felt rather serial to actually be holding a real one, however, the evening was a great success and enjoyed by all. On times I still have to pinch myself to realise that I am actually doing what I am doing for my country and it was my pleasure to talk and network with such a fabulous group of professionals.
My last week of training in July saw my track sessions increased and also my time spent on the TT bike. This extra amount of training helps me to overload my body before I start my final few weeks of preparation, for the biggest challenge of my Para-cycling career at the 2012 London Paralympics.
The end of July saw my-self and fellow GB Para-cycling team member Jody Cundy MBE, attend a BBC radio interview called “world have your say” at the Manchester National Velodrome. The interview was live across the World and covered the global excitement that the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics had created. The interview went really well and especially after Bradley Wiggins had just won the Tour De France two days previous, so everyone was on a GB high.
As the biggest sporting event on the planet began at the end of July, the 2012 London Olympic fever hit the UK with style. We saw hundreds of millions of people across the globe watch the opening ceremony in awe and with only 4 weeks to go before the 2012 London Paralympics start, the whole of the UK will be behind every one of our ParalympicsGB athletes.
I am so excited to be a GB Para-cyclist competing at a home Paralympic Games, knowing that very soon I will not only be racing on the same track as Sir Chris Hoy, but with 6500 screaming fans in the stands. This is something that really does get me fired up to do well. I wish all Team GB and ParalympicsGB athletes all the very best for the Games and make Britain proud by doing your absolute best!
Rob Hayles Retirement Presentation - Image ©Copyright Ben Dando @ Cycling Shorts.
Saturday night saw the arrival of the much anticipated second Revolution of the season and the return of Mark Cavendish to the track after more than 2 years. Mark’s last outing was at the World Championships in 2009 and as a former World Madison Champion it was great to see him back at the track reunited (if only for a manly hug) with his former partner Rob Hayles. Since then we’ve witnessed Cavendish conquer the road in his gutsy and punchy style. It would be great to see what he could achieve tonight.
We arrived to set up about 4pm and the press and team areas were already buzzing, everyone was talking about Cav and whether he’d arrived yet. After investigating we heard the news that he had already arrived before most of the press had even got parked, he was keeping a low profile until later… who could blame him. Every new arrival to the press area wanted to know if Cav was doing interviews and could they be added to the list. It was all very vague, he wasn’t really wanting to do interviews and it would be a case of catching him if and when you could, and IF his PR would let you get near him. It didn’t seem to dampen the enthusiasm of the collective.
The atmosphere seemed to be fuelled by events at a larger venue across the road, Man City were playing at home to Newcastle United and you could hear the cheers of the home crowd as the goals went in… 3 in total. The velodrome car park and SportsCity were overflowing with football fans cars, so I was quite surprised to see the steady flow of Revolution season ticket holders when their doors were opened at about the time Manchester City fans were merrily leaving, it must have been gridlock outside as the football crowds dispersed and cycling fans attempted to park.
Matt Crampton and Callum Skinner - Image ©Copyright Ben Dando @ Cycling Shorts.
Cyclists were already warming up in their team bays, there was a steady stream of people from the media area back and forth to the Howies team area to see if the Manx man was about to appear. Other riders were also grabbing a lot of attention, Team Sky were represented by Geraint Thomas and Alex Dowsett after their hugely successful long road seasons and the media were hungry for soundbites, Rapha had the imposing figure of Ed Clancy.
Finally the compact figure of Mark Cavendish appeared looking smartly groomed sporting his pristine World Champion Jersey, a huge smile and what looked like a Movember Moustache or it could have just been an out of season look, there were a couple of slightly fuzz covered faces about, possibly tache attempts, facial hair isn’t the usual sight at a track meet.
Team UK Youth were being headed by their charismatic co-owner, the always delightful Magnus Backstedt who was feverishly signing autographs throughout the evening for anyone who asked, taking time to have conversations with all the young boys and girls who approached him, most of whom barely came up to his knees, bent double he would reach down to take their notepads and comment on their cool sunglasses, telling them how smart they looked in their replica team shirts, this made their day and with little puffed out chests and beaming smiles they headed back autographs and pens in hand to their mums and dads. Magnus really is in his element at these sorts of events connecting so well with the public. Tonight he would have a bike frame up for grabs as a prize for a Team UK Youth Prize Draw and tickets were selling like hot cakes. We grabbed a few words with Magnus, “It’s great to see such a huge crowd, I really enjoy being back at the track and hopefully the team will perform well tonight.”
There were less international cyclists presents at this Revolution, there may not have been quantity but there certainly was quality in the shape of flamboyant Franco Marvulli and Iljo Keisse the European Madison Champion. ITV4 were setting up their pundit station by the finish line which is now part of the Revolution experience, Ned Boulting flitting around from the media area to his set chatting away with the recently retired Rob Hayes his presenting partner. When the doors finally opened you could feel the excitement in the crowd, the whole velodrome was packed to the rafters, no spare standing room around the curves, all seats taken, the VIP area was about to take it’s first dinner course of the evening.
The riders swarmed around the track doing a few warm up laps and with about 20 minutes to go Mark Cavendish decided to take to the boards and the crown went wild, his distinct hunched riding style, trademark thick framed sunglasses and diminutive torso highlighted by his banded white jersey really stood out in the peloton of rather rangy leggy riders. When the teams were introduced before racing commenced and Howies took their turn to ride the Cote d’Azur Mark received a standing ovation. I grabbed a word with Geraint, how do you feel being back at the track? “It’s great and it’s going to be a special night, the crowd’s really buzzing and we haven’t even started yet!”
Before proceedings got underway with the Elite Motor Paced Scratch Race we witnessed Hugh Porter, who had obviously lost track of time chatting in the centre of the velodrome doing some speedy manoeuvres up the banking followed by Starsky & Hutch style acrobatics over the track railings to get back up to his commentary position, surprisingly nimble, blink and you’d miss him.
Mark Cavendish - ©Copyright Ben Dando @ Cycling Shorts.
The motor paced scratch race was over 6km and featured a top line up of endurance riders. Mark Cavendish and the Sky riders (Alex Dowsett, Geraint Thomas and Pete Kennaugh) were at the front of the pack, it was almost like a practice lead out train for next season, I’m not sure anyone had told Cav he wasn’t yet on the Sky team, but he stayed in his usual position that alerts others capable of a sprint finish to pay attention. In the end Steven Burke of Team UK Youth rushed to the front with just enough time left to wind it up and prevent Cav from jumping off the pack, he took the race in style.
The DHL Future Stars Boys then hit the track for what turned out to be a thrills and spills packed Scratch Race, the current Championship leader Ryan Whatmough took a nasty fall along with a number of other riders in two separate crashes in the back straight. Chris Lawless put in a major effort to stay away from the pack for a large chunk of the race but in the end the win went to his Maxgear teammate Jake Ragen, 2nd was Jake Kelly and 3rd was Jack Hoyle. This would prove to be the start of a great evening for Ragen. There was another interesting tussle going on in the centre of the track for those who had been sent to report on the event, a mele of press surrounded Mark Cavendish which I imagine may have started to get under his skin as the evening progressed, he could hardly move.
Mark finally took up his position to be interviewed by ITV4 for their television highlights show while the sprinters took to the track. We were also treated to a bumper selection of British sprinters, just four of them but all quality riders, Matt Crampton, Dave Daniell, Pete Mitchell and Callum Skinner. The first event for them was the 200m Time Trial and they all put in great performances but Dave Daniell pushed Matt Crampton into second place.
In the Revolution Series there is really only one girl who you need to mention… Emily Kay (Cunga Bikes), Emily has won the Championship two years running and in the first Revolution of this series she cleaned up by taking all three races in style, her ability to time her moves to perfection is unmatched, she knows when to sit in the wheels and when to wind it up to take sprint points, she has amazing tactics and out powers the whole field Emily really is a tour de force. There’s no doubt in my mind Emily is a going to play a major role in the British Cycling team in years to come, she’s destined to be a household name. The only girl to make an impact on Emily all evening was Ellie Coster in the first of the Girls races The DHL Future Stars Points Race. Emily gained maximum points during the race but Ellie took the final 5 points on the finish line, it still left Emily with a comfortable win and I’m not even sure if Emily might have sat back at the finish to preserve energy for the following two races ahead. She went on to win the Elimination and Scratch races with ease, in the Elimination race Ellie pushed for second place again, she’s really trying to make a mark against the dominating run Kay is having. Emily took the whole thing in her stride, definitely the girl of the evening and the season so far! Hats off to you Emily.
Where it went wrong for Rouleur Sam Harrison & Joe Kelly - Image ©Copyright Ben Dando @ Cycling Shorts.
The madison time trial didn’t pass without incident, unfortunately Rouleurs team of Sam Harrison and Manx man Joe Kelly came unstuck with their hand sling, the approach didn’t look good from our vantage point they didn’t seem to be matching their speed, Sam seemed ahead of Joe by quite a way and Sam seemed to grab at Joe’s handlebars thinking it was a hand and Joe grabbed Sam nearer the elbow, I’m not sure which element of the switchover caused what happened next, it was probably a combination of things but both rider came clattering down in front of the press area and Joe didn’t appear to move for quite a while. They did eventually get to their feet but the evening ended there for Joe as it was announced he was still concussed later in the evening and Sam appeared to retire too. The rest of the Madison event was fast paced with Ed Clancy and Andy Tennant riding a 55.351 which was more than enough for them to take victory, Sky came in 2nd over 2 seconds down followed by Howies (Cavendish and Andy Fenn) over half a second down on Sky.
The rest of the DHL Boys races were taken by Oliver Wood which bumped him up the overall standings but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to take the lead in the championship, the position was up for grabs after Whatmough’s fall in the first race and he was carrying injuries all evening but Jake Ragen put in some good consistent results after his earlier win and that gave him the edge over Wood. He gained a 2nd place in the Elimination and a 3rd place in the Points Race.
In the Elite Team Elimination the first team to go out was Team Sky, Cav was living dangerously near the back for most of the race, when the fourth team (Maxgear) were caught out Cav just nudged ahead but Howies couldn’t hang on much longer and the next and final elimination was Cavendish and his Team, they managed 3rd. The victorious team was Rapha with Keisse putting in a great ride representing the whole Rouleur team on his own as Kelly and Harrison retired. The big surprise was Team Sky being caught out at the first elimination.
Over the 3 rounds of the Revolution Sprint Matt Crampton got the better of the field stacking up some omnium points and doing the same in the Keirin by pipping Callum Skinner to the post, but it wasn’t enough to take the overall Sprint Omnium title from Dave Daniell who had been consistent all evening after his initial win in the 200m TT and his emphatic win in the 500m TT at the end of the evening.
In the Australian Pursuit Sky redeemed themselves after their disappointing result in the Elimination Race when Peter Kennaugh won over David O’Loughlin (Cunga Bikes).
Rob Hayes & Mark Cavendish interview - Image ©Copyright Ben Dando @ Cycling Shorts.
After the Pursuit there was a special presentation to mark Rob Hayles retirement, Rob did a lap of honour to yet another standing ovation he then rode through a guard of honour of all the elite riders with their bikes, Rob then dismounted and was greet with a hug by his old madison partner Mark Cavendish. Rob and Mark where then interviewed together by the ever enthusiastic Hugh Porter, he reminded everyone that Mark’s next major competition would be the BBC Sports Personality of the Year and he urged all present to vote for him… and who can argue with that… I urge you to do the same, I can’t think of a sportsman or woman who deserves it more! So don’t forget to have his number on speed dial on the evening of 22nd December 2011, it will be broadcast live from MediaCity, Salford Quays, Manchester, UK.
The real highlight of the evening was the Scratch Race, Team Sky really showed their strength, first of all Alex Dowsett rode off the front whcih has become his trademark all season, seeing the danger the peloton pulled him back and a small peloton of riders went off the front for a few laps. Spotting a chance Geraint Thomas and Peter Kennaugh leapt off the front to break away, it was almost like Sky had scripted the race, but they only stayed away briefly and gave up and returned to the pack, it seemed like they were waiting for someone to come and join them. Then there was a second attack from Alex Dowsett, now it became clear they were just trying to tire the whole pack by hitting and hitting again. Ed Clancy had had enough of this and saw his chance to go but Sky were on to him and Geraint pulled him back. Through all of this the crowd were going wild and everyone was on their feet, everyone had their eye on Cav who was sat on Franco Marvulli’s wheel, he basically stayed up front and out of trouble in around 5th place most of the race, assessing the field the whole time, he looked so at home. With five laps to go he was still sitting pretty in 5th and as the tempo raised his Howies lead out man Jon Mould dropped off the front and the Manx Missile launched. It was an awesome sight to see such speed and acceleration at the Manchester Velodrome where it all began for Mark. He crossed the line in style and the whole velodrome erupted.
Magnus’s hopes came to fruition tonight when Team UK Youth stepped onto the podium to take the lead in the Team Championship.
It was one of the best evenings of cycling I’ve seen in a long while and you can see the highlights for yourself at 7pm on ITV4 (UK) tonight!
Jake Ragen and Emily Kay lead the Future Stars Championship - Image ©Copyright Ben Dando @ Cycling Shorts.
Team UK Youth: Steven Burke, James Lowsley Williams & Magnus Backstedt - Image ©Copyright Ben Dando @ Cycling Shorts.
Motor Paced Scratch Race – Steven Burke Team UK Youth
DHL Future Stars Scratch Race – Boys – Jake Ragen Maxgear Racing
Revolution Sprint Omnium – 200m TT – Dave Daniell 10.285
DHL Future Stars Points Race – Girls – Emily Kay Cunga Bikes
1km Madison Time Trial – Ed Clancy and Andy Tennant Rapha Condor Sharp
DHL Future Stars Elimination – Boys – Oliver Wood
Revolution Sprint Round 1 – Heat 1 – Matt Crampton 10.606 Heat 2 Dave Daniell 10.647
Team Elimination – Rapha Condor Sharp (Andy Tennant)
DHL Future Stars Scratch Race – Girls – Emily Kay
Revolution Sprint Round 2 – Heat 1 Matt Crampton 10.716 Heat 2 Dave Daniell 10.909
Australian Pursuit – Peter Kennaugh Team Sky
Revolution Sprint Round 3 – Heat 1 Matt Crampton 10.831 Heat 2 Callum Skinner 10.951
DHL Future Stars Points Race – Boys – Oliver Wood
Cycling Weekly Keirin – Matt Crampton 10.595
DHL Future Stars Elimination – Girls – Emily Kay
Scratch Race – Mark Cavendish
Revolution Sprint – 4 station 500m TT – Dave Daniell 32.545 (who wins Omnium with opts)
Overall Points Leaders after two rounds:
Team Leaders – Team UK Youth
Future Stars Girls – Emily Kay
Future Stars Boys – Jake Ragen