There was a time in my life when I lived and breathed road cycling. I bought my first road bike in 1985 when I was in the Army stationed in Berlin, Germany. I had this German friend who worked at the bike shop where I bought the ride and he took me under his wing and taught me everything. After our rides on the weekends we would sit in his apartment eating croissants and Nutella and pouring over German cycling magazines. He instilled in me the crazy love for the sport that is so prevalent with cycling fans.
I don't plan to do a bunch of product reviews in these pages but if some device or supplement comes along that seems to truly make a difference I will offer it up to readers.
The need to stay hydrated in endurance sports is a no-brainer. In most activities and seasons it's simply a matter of putting your lips to the vessel of liquid and sucking it down. I'll spare you my treatise on fluid replacement beverages, carbs and protein contents, gastric emptying rates, etc. and just give you the latest "vessel" device.
Many people feel that big rewards come with a hefty price tag. When it comes to the 24 Hours of Sunlight event held last weekend, my wife, Dina's, reward was pretty big. She succeeded in setting the women's record for skiing the most vertical, up and down, in 24 hours (34,500 feet one way). The price? Well, initially, what you'd expect...exhaustion. Not too expensive, really. The next morning, however, the ante went up with some coffee ground emesis. That's the technical term for barfing up blood that's been sitting in your stomach juices long enough to change from bright red to black and coagulated. Hmmmm, not good. Next up was, pardon the graphic description, black shit. Now, from a medical standpoint, there are only a couple of common things that give humans black stools. Pepto Bismol will do it. Blueberries, a lot of them, will get close. But the most likely culprit in a healthy person who knows what they've been stuffing down their pie hole recently is upper gastrointestinal bleeding. By the time blood from, say, a bleeding ulcer gets to the exit, it turns your shit black. Lovely. Now things are getting expensive. Certainly figuratively and, perhaps, literally.
The weekend of pain is over! No more laps. No more nausea. Really, those are the only two things I dreaded during the event. Of course, the laps were expected. The gut issues were not. Neither were insurmountable problems, however, and both were dealt with as a matter of course. We had to keep ticking off the laps to stay in the race and we had to keep eating to keep skiing. By the middle of the night, both were sucking heavily!
Easy there all you net surfing gun nuts! This is not for you. I'm talking muscle glycogen here, not your spent shells from last weekend's Skeetapalooza! Go away!
The day of reckoning is at hand.