Sunday, August 5, 2012


two weeks ago I rode with a group of girls (okay, women) who are training for lotoja.  I've known a few of them for a while, but haven't ridden with them other than in big group rides with the bad ass team.  they are terrific people, and our support team was unbelievably awesome.  we started in preston, idaho (the site of the first lotoja rest stop), and rode all the way to afton, wyoming.
it was a great experience, made even better by the fact that it was something I don't usually do.  I ride by myself most of the time, and on my group rides it's mainly men who want to do the ridiculously long rides I do.  additionally, we drove two hours to the start and about three and a half hours back home, things I never (ever) do.
it was a grand day.
and these are a few of the things I learned:

  • the stretch of country between preston and afton is much greener in july than it is in september
  • riding this stretch in july was a great deal hotter than riding it in september
  • even though I've ridden this route 5 times, there were miles and miles I didn't remember at all
  • mindy is absolutely terrific and if I only knew an amazing 40-year-old lds man I'd connect them pronto
  • rosie, at 60+, has more energy than I think I've ever had, and I can only hope to be like her down the road
  • riding rollers with others puts the pressure on, and causes me to visit zone 5 almost every time
  • all of these women use (and swear by) sportslegs, doping tip number one
  • they also use (and swear by) optygen, doping tip number two

I have never been a supplement-taker.  although there have been many times I've wished for a course of steroids, I've never taken more than ibuprofen, a vitamin D/calcium pill (when I remember), the occasional multi-vitamin (I know, bad, bad, bad), and an electrolyte capsule about once a year when I'm depleted and a friend offers one.
but the day after this group ride I went to REI and bought a bottle of sportslegs and a bottle of optygen.
I've been taking the optygen every day (as recommended), and the sportslegs each time I've gone on a ride longer than 35 miles.
and I think . . . it's possible . . . that they are making a difference.

sportslegs capsules essentially add lactic acid to your system, which has been determined to perform as a fuel for your mitochondria (the "energy factories" in muscle cells), according to research.  sportslegs sells itself as a tool to help you train harder and recover faster...  helping reduce the "burn" by priming your muscles with lactic acid, inducing them to produce less as you ride (or run, or climb, or whatever you do.)

optygen claims to increase exercise capacity and muscular strength, and of all the reviews I've read, my favorite states that all of optygen's ingredients are harmless to helpful, but none have been proven to boost performance. there are claims of increasing oxygen utilization, increasing the body's ability to adapt to high physical stress, increasing aerobic threshold, reducing lactic acid, and naturally increasing endurance. 

and more than one woman on my preston-to-afton ride swears by it.

so, for this month, I am a legal doper.
I'll probably finish my bottle of optygen and not replace it, but I might keep on with the sportslegs.  

I am feeling strong when I ride, and not feeling as depleted at the end of rides, or the day after a killer ride.  this could be a result of consistent, serious training, or it could be that training enhanced by a little calcium, magnesium, vitamin d, chromium, cordyceps cs4, rhodiola extract, and atpro matrix.....  
or a really good placebo effect.
if I think I can, I can . . .

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