Sunday, July 27, 2014

Training and Fasting

La Plagne 2000


Today’s workouts involved running 12.6km with a mostly anaerobic heart rate (above 150 bpm in my case) and then cycling up to la Plagne 2000 – which is a 4,600ft climb from the bottom – also anaerobic all the way up. Back-to-back workouts like this have always been beyond my reach in the past – the first session alone normally leading to fatigue and even obliging a nap within a few hours of completion – no matter how fit I was. After today’s workouts there was no fatigue or sleepiness all evening. Both workouts were well within my comfort zone and physical limits despite being anaerobic. The changes that have brought this result appear to be purely nutritional and not an issue of training technique or volume.

The only author I trust in the field of nutritional health is Dr Joel Fuhrman – a rare species of medical doctor who is prepared to criticise his own profession.  When his work is taken as a reference everything else appears to be intellectually incoherent by comparison. He simply practises a principle that has been well known and understood for thousands of years – the practice of basing health primarily on good plant based nutrition and the body’s own unsurpassed powerful capacity to heal itself when given the appropriate opportunity.

There are three core aspects to training nutrition: Basic Diet, Supplements and Fasting. Unfortunately Dr Furhman doesn’t discuss anywhere on his website or in his books in any depth how to apply this trio to athletic performance. He only discusses the benefits of a highly nutritious diet with respect to protecting the immune system from being depleted due to intense physical effort. In this post I’m going to focus mainly on “fasting” from a training perspective.

The Big Nutrition and Medical Lie

It’s tricky to find reliable information on diet and nutrition. So called “experts” contradict each other outright with specific scientific “facts” cherry picked to justify their beliefs. You end up with your head spinning and almost nothing but complete confusion. Planet Earth now apparently has 2.1 billion overweight or obese people so all those wonderful “experts” are doing a great job! 30% of all deaths in Europe and Central Asia are from heart disease alone – all absolutely avoidable (17+ million per year worldwide). The countless millions of people living with heart failure each spend around 500€ per month on drugs – so it’s an extremely profitable business altogether – not to mention the cost of unnecessary heart surgery, the most common surgical intervention that exists - 700,000 open heart ops per year in the US alone at $107,000 per op. There are also many people on the planet suffering from starvation - 842 million - with 1.2 billion in extreme poverty and 2.6 million children dying from starvation causes each year. Either way it is all malnutrition of one form or another whether obese or starving. It’s too easy to blame the victims and leave the “experts” squeaky clean – or to deflect the issue towards political, industrial or commercial influences. The fact is however that if the medical world was criminally insane it couldn’t generate more carnage, misery and unnecessary expense than it already does.

American Indians had a principle where they only paid their doctors when they were in good health and not when they were ill.  If that principle was applied to modern medicine the effects would be remarkable. Instead of keeping everyone nutritionally wrecked, drugged, surgically mutilated (In the US by the age of 60 one in three of ALL women have had hysterectomies.) and bankrupted through extortionate insurance or medical bills – doctors would have to learn how to actually help people instead of slowly killing and robbing them and the pharmaceutical, fast food and tobacco industries would be the first to be hammered.

We are brainwashed by a constant barrage of information telling us to never skip a meal and to eat small meals every three hours etc. We are advised even by governments and medical associations to have rich diets with a minimum of 20% to 35% fat – even if we are dying from heart disease or have a body crippled with chronic inflammation.  You have to wonder if those establishments have been deliberately set up to cripple and murder the general population and to profit from all the misery generated. Toxic fluoride pills for children have been standard for a generation now even though fluoride has absolutely no place in the human body and is only useful for generating Sarin Nerve gas, rat poison and Prozac (fluorine compound with the fluoride ion used in production). Fluoride is generally produced as an industrial waste when making agricultural fertilizer and it used to be very hard to dispose off until they decided to feed it to children and dump it into household water supplies. There is no scientific evidence showing that fluoride does anything positive – but we do know for certain that it is potentially extremely destructive in the human body and brain. Vaccines are also full of heavy metal toxic additives and there is plenty of evidence that they do not work. Try finding a post-war modern scientific study of the effectiveness of the smallpox vaccine and you won’t get very far. The fact is that the disease was on a steady decline long before the vaccine was introduced and that the rate of that decline was not changed by the vaccine. More importantly the vaccine had the effect of stopping the prevalent medical practice of the period of deliberately infecting people with smallpox as a supposed cure – a horrific practice that came to Europe from China through Turkey. In those days it was accepted that a doctor could kill an otherwise perfectly healthy patient. Nobody ever seemed to think about killing the stupid doctor. I do have to wonder if this perverse practice was a deliberate attempt to kill Christian and Muslim people – and whether it was introduced by the Turkish Doenmeh – Crypto Jews with a well known apparent agenda to occupy the professions and to destroy the so called “goyim” (Jewish supremacist and racist terminology for anyone who is not a Jew). Today’s giant pharmaceutical corporations may unfortunately have similar aspirations.

Along with many other devastating toxins even fluoride can slowly be removed from the body through both fasting and exercise – and so it’s not just about avoiding serious toxins which are commonly present in our food (pesticides and additives), water and medicine – it’s also about eliminating them and providing nutrient rich food at the same time.

“Fluoride causes more human cancer, and causes it faster, than any other chemical.”

- Dean Burk, Chief Chemist Emeritus, US National Cancer Institute


Fasting is extremely counter-intuitive as an aid to athletic performance.  During fasting you become tired and lethargic – especially when you continue training. It also takes a few days to recover strength once the fast is finished so this gives both a sense of weakness and lost training time. It would be easy to dismiss fasting as inappropriate for athletic improvement – but that assumption may be short sighted. There is a seemingly complete absence of information available on this subject so I’ve simply had to become my own guinea pig and observe the effects of various periods of fasting and recovery on performance issues. The results are surprising.

Some major benefits of intermittent fasting:

  • Lower weekly caloric intake (full day fasts)
  • Rapid weight loss
  • 20 fold increase in Human Growth Hormone levels (2000%) after only 24 hours
  • Rapid cellular detoxification
  • Improved immune system function
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Increased insulin sensitivity
  • Lower threshold for commencing glycogen replacement (greater carb loading capacity)
  • Cleansing of arteries – improved circulation – reversal of cardiovascular disease
  • Growth of new neurons in the brain and improved brain function
  • Genetic repair and longevity

So far I’ve only used either one day (30+ hrs) or two day (60+ hrs) fasts but this week I’ll be experimenting with daily (12 to 16 hr) intermittent fasting in addition to a one day fast.

One Day Fast (approx 24 to 36 hrs)


My preparation for fasting until now has included a good strong workout rather than a reduction or modification in eating – either cycling or running on the day or evening before – so that glycogen levels are already driven down a bit and any potential break in training time over the following few days is minimised. There is also an assumption that having used the muscles strongly there is less likelihood that fasting will start to break down any of that particular muscle tissue. I don’t know this for sure but based on the principle of “use it or lose it” this assumption might be reasonable. People are normally advised to modify their diet for about a week before attempting to fast so as to have more stable blood sugar levels.


For me the easiest way (psychologically) to begin any fast is to go to bed. When you wake up in the morning you are already 6 to 8 hours into your fast – and probably not hungry either. All my life I’ve felt obliged to eat breakfast when not feeling hungry – because we are commonly advised to do so. Perhaps this even discourages us from listening to our bodies. If there is no desire or need to eat then perhaps it’s better to go along with that. Despite common advice to avoid stimulants such as coffee I do like a coffee in the morning – and considering all the other things I’m avoiding I’m not about to give this up too.


On a one day fast I’ve used the occasional spoonful of honey in hot water when going through a difficult patch. Organic stock cubes work too for giving a comforting substitution for food. More recently however I’ve not needed the honey at all and have begun to dislike the stock cubes which leave an unpleasant aftertaste. Non organic stock cubes all seem to have monosodium glutamate and need to be avoided.


During the fast there is enough energy for exercising in the middle of it. Running 10k would be slowed down by about 5 minutes due to low glycogen levels – but it’s not that hard to do.  My idea with this – right or wrong – is to drive glycogen levels even lower and to push the body more rapidly into a deeper detox situation and ketosis (switching from glycogen to fat burning). There is a strong possibility that ketosis develops the body’s ability to burn fat more effectively. During exercise there isn’t such a clear switch from one metabolic system to the other. Running or cycling slowly will burn fat but that doesn’t stop when running fast – the other mechanisms are added and the fat burning continues with more overall calories being consumed.


During the full day of the fast there is no real tiredness or lethargy. The only difficulty is boredom at meal times! Other things need to be found to occupy the time so that social pressure and habits are removed.


The second morning (before break-fast) is when I have a mild headache. On two or three occasions I’ve had mild headaches and impaired vision (ophthalmic migraine). This begins a loss of central vision which is replaced by a flickering central aura. The aura then grows into a circle expanding outwards and the central vision itself becomes clear – eventually the thin ring moving outwards until it disappears after about 20 minutes. This is caused by the body eliminating cellular toxins and with the toxins entering the bloodstream. Usually around the same time tiredness from low blood sugar levels begins to kick in. Once this tiredness kicks in it stays. Normally it should take about 3 days for a male (less for a female) to enter a ketosis (fat burning) metabolic state but I get the impression that due to exercise the time for reaching this point has been about halved. Some people claim to feel energetic when this happens – but for me it is always just like permanent a “bonk” in running or cycling – it makes everything into a slow plod. The brain starts to become sluggish and very lethargic too. Perhaps after a long time of this the entire system would adapt – and it surely does in extreme circumstances – but I’m not yet interested in finding that out for myself.

Rest and Recovery Day

Although most people would suggest resting during the fasting day I’ve chosen to rest the day after fasting instead – when glycogen stores are at their lowest and the opportunity to rebuild those stores is necessary. If you exercise at this point (day following the fast) then you will not be able to work hard, you will feel demotivated and your heart rate will remain low. Oddly enough there is sometimes a great sense of wellbeing when exercising then despite those issues and I can only assume that this is linked to detoxification – which occurs significantly within the brain itself.

After a tough sporting event a rest and recovery period is also necessary and I’ve been struck with the similarity of the state of the body after fasting to this post-competition state. This hints that the real post-competition issue is not “fatigue” but very low muscle glycogen storage levels. One major key to restoring glycogen levels after exercise is the immediate consumption at a rate of 1.5g per Kilo of body weight of carbs (either simple or complex) – which allows an efficient recharge of muscle glycogen during a brief window of opportunity. One hour later and the ability to recharge quickly to a good level is literally lost. This is also useful to know if more than one training session will take place in a day.

Carb Loading

After the fast you can load up with carbs and apparently stock greater amounts of glycogen than before. The standard way of carb loading is to eat no carbs during a week starting 10 days before a competition – eating only fats and protein. Three days prior to the competition the diet is reversed with protein and fats eliminated, exercise reduced and only carbs consumed. This roughly doubles the glycogen and glucose stocked within the liver, muscles and blood. Fasting seems to do the same job as eating only protein and fat. It would be interesting to know if fasting is even more efficient than the standard approach. So far I’ve found when exercising on the day of breaking the fast it hasn’t been possible to restore glycogen levels fast enough after either a one or two day fast. On day two of the recovery after a two day fast there is still not a good level of glycogen or performance, but after a one day fast there does seem to be a strong recovery – at least up to normal levels. What I do know for sure is that three full days of carb loading works perfectly in both cases.

In my case the one day fast was followed up with additional 12hr “intermittent” fasting overnight so the gain in strength/glycogen by the afternoon following the fast was also subject to this constraint.

In conclusion it appears that the longer you fast the longer it takes to rebuild glycogen stores – but 3 to 4 clear days seems to guarantee not only recovery but a boosted level no matter how long you fast.

I’ll go from now on for 1.5 to 2 days recovery for a one day fast and 3 to 4 days for a two day fast or from any sustained absence of carbs from the diet. Intermittent fasting doesn’t seem to cause training problems – as long as a good meal is taken a few hours before training. I would probably stop intermittent fasting however about 3 days before a competition to ensure carb loading.

Two Day Fast (48 hrs to 64 hrs)

Fasting longer than one day is just a case of “more of the same”. It just takes longer to recover and your brain goes into hibernation mode for longer. People talk about experiencing alertness but so far I’ve not experienced anything like that  at any time with fasting – nor has anyone else I know personally who has tried – at least up to 6 days. The only way the brain seems to be affected during fasting is that it makes your behaviour irritable and lethargic. I’ve also noticed that those who fast for five days or more seem to be more or less traumatised by the experience. Two days seems to be long enough to seriously induce weight loss but to not create any behavioural swings afterwards. The second evening seems to pass very slowly and the best way to to find a good movie to act as a distraction. It’s not really possible to be very productive by this stage.

Recovery from a two day fast takes time – so we are really looking at a 5 day block minimum. This is what I used successfully for the JPP race recently – privileging weight loss and carbs loading over outright training. Two day s fasting – then three days (3x 24hrs) recovery from the morning of breaking the fast to the morning of the race. Mon/Tue fasting – breaking the fast Wed morning and racing on Saturday morning. Full day of rest on Friday.

Intermittent Fasting (12 to 16 hrs daily)

Fasting for a number of hours within a day – normally from 12 to 16 hours – is called “Intermittent Fasting”. The idea here is that the body gets 4 hours to digest properly after the last meal and then 8 more hours at least for the liver to go though a full detox cycle. This is apparently long enough also for the brain to start its own cleaning up processes. Currently I’m experimenting with a 12 hour cycle of fasting from 8 pm to 8 am – to fit into line with normal meal times. The big advantage for me is that it prevents the evening munchies from taking over and frequent raiding of the refrigerator for comfort eating in front of the computer.

Current Plan

Currently I’m combining a one day fast each week with intermittent fasting on all the other days. The intermittent fasting is the easiest way to fast. It’s far more natural than any “diet” because it’s utterly simple. Just don’t eat again after the main evening meal until breakfast! If you feel like extending the fast then skip breakfast and eat at 12am instead.

Even if you decide to misbehave and stuff yourself with rich food during the 8 hour eating window it’s not really possible to consume enough calories to make up for what you have cut out – at least if you have also been exercising heavily. Appetite tends to be curbed by fasting so that even with intermittent fasting, when you start eating again, you don’t actually want to eat very much.

So far I’ve completed one week of this combination of “One Day” and “Intermittent” fasting and that included not only some reasonable training performances but one 12 hour stint of heavy labour clearing shrubs, trees and weeds that had formed an impenetrable jungle. I was physically exhausted after that and my brain felt dead – but that might have happened under any circumstances.

This week during the One Day Fast I went for a 10k run and could only manage 57 mins due to low blood sugar. The day after the fast was used as a rest and recovery day. The following day I rode up to La Plagne (2000m altitude) and was already strong enough and with enough glycogen to set a personal best time for the season of 1hr 26mins.  The next day on tired legs and while getting used to Intermittent Fasting I ran the second fastest 10k of the season at 51 mins.

Monday, July 7, 2014

JPP Cluses–Les Carroz (Haute Savoie) 2014

Many thanks to Paul Evans for putting us up for the night in Chamonix and feeding us. According to Chris the addition of curry to his pasta sauce was a delicious discovery – despite being complete sacrilege. The curry itself however was definitely excellent – and the glacier view in the early morning inspiring…

Fasting to go faster

This was a bit of an experimental race for me having been fasting earlier in the week to lose weight – and being low on overall training mileage. Most people have managed close to three times my 1500km training. My focus however has been on weight loss – managing to lose 10kg in around 5 weeks. Intermittent fasting – either two or one day periods each week – seems to be very effective for weight control. One day fasts have no impact on overall energy levels even when maintaining training – but two day fasts have a serious impact and prevent training for most of the week. The two day fasts bring weight down faster. My strategy was to workout hard the day before fasting – add another good workout on the first day of the fast – and then rest on day two. Following the workout on day one there would be a real dip in energy which would remain from then on – both during and for a while after the fast. The first two two-day fasts caused vision trouble (ophthalmic migraine) as the body started to detoxify due to the dramatic cellular cleansing effect of fasting. Since then this has not recurred and there have been no more headaches or odd feelings. If feeding commenced the morning after a one day fast (32 to 36 hrs) then energy would rapidly return to normal – but if another day was added (approx 60 hrs total) then even after recommencing feeding there would be no energy available for training on either the first or second day.

For this race three days were available to re-stock glycogen levels and this seems to have worked. On day one after the fast I did a 2hr bike ride and felt dizzy and asthmatic on stopping when very low on energy. Day two was used for an 11.5 km run – resting up the cycling muscles. Energy levels had recovered somewhat but were still below par. Saturday – day 3 was a day of physical rest. Throughout the three days there was a deliberate attempt to replace glycogen – eating lots of unrefined complex carbohydrates and dried dates (glucose and fructose 2:1 - plus many metabolic nutrients).

Preparation appears to have been spot on for the race. It could also be that the depletion of carbs in the body permitted even more carbs to be loaded for the race – this being a carb-loading technique used commonly by endurance athletes.

Recommended reading: “Eating and Fasting for Health: A Medical Doctor’s Program for Conquering Disease.”  Dr Joel Fuhrman.

Race Nutrition

Fasting was only one aspect of the experiments going on for this race. There were several other nutritional efforts going on too. I’d used sugar mixes before in races but found them to be more noticeably effective in training for avoiding post exercise fatigue. The 2:1 maltodextrin:fructose  mix definitely works to keep away headaches, nausea, stomach cramps, leg pains and bonking – but not leg cramps! I had the distinct impression from other races that the sugar improved performance but that this improvement created even greater demand on the muscles resulting in even greater exposure to cramps.

The ingredients in the sugar mix are maltodextrin, fructose, Multi-vitamin/mineral, sea salt, lemon juice and caffeine. The body can absorb 90g of carbs per hour due to the balance of available glucose and fructose in this mixture (each using a different metabolic pathway) - with the maltodextrin version of glucose reducing water requirements to 1/6th for digestion. The vitamin/mineral supplement is for aiding metabolism and the sea salt is to maintain electrolyte levels when hydrating. During the race there was serious heat to contend with – but despite that I drank only about 2 litres of water during 4hrs 28mins and this did not appear to have any adverse effect. Cramps are clearly systemic and are caused by combinations of factors – making them very difficult to avoid. They are not caused by electrolyte levels in general because most of the time people actually dehydrate significantly during exercise and this increases electrolyte levels overall. It’s only when a lot of water is being consumed that electrolyte levels can be diluted from sweating.

Pre race nutrition was supplemented with amino acids: Di Arginine Malate, Citrulline Malate, Taurine additional vitamin C and the special sugar D-Ribose which directly increases ATP production. Those supplements were used properly for at least a week in advance as their effects are somewhat cumulative.

Coordination and Breathing

During the race the other strategy for avoiding cramps would be to maintain form with alignment during pedalling. The “chi” mechanism is now completely integrated into my movements with the hip being actively pushed back during the down-stroke. Initially I was actively pulling the hip back during the push until spotting that there was no need to as it was naturally pushed back during the stroke if permitted. Previous cramps on the inside of the legs appear to be connected to a tendency to pressure the outside of the feet and perhaps turn the toes inwards slightly – so the effort here was to align the legs with the heels being held in and the quads being used more accurately. This alteration was easily made without altering cleats on the shoes.

The amino acids work largely with respect to nitrogen oxide production and its vasodilatory effect – improving circulation and the clearing and metabolism of lactic acid. Controlled breathing has a similar effect – especially when deliberately avoiding hyperventilation due to lactic acid build up. I made a conscious effort at all times to avoid big breaths and avoid clearing out the CO2 in the lungs – CO2 itself having a strong vasodilatory effect – though I couldn’t manage nasal breathing for this race. Nasal breathing gives the additional advantage of producing even more nitric oxide.

Bike Tech

One major contribution to cramping has been coming from the 36 tooth Rotor oval chain ring that replaced the standard 34 tooth compact one on my bike. The problem here being that on the push part of the cycle the axis of the 36T is equivalent to 38T and it only becomes equivalent to 34T through the dead spots. After the Time/Mégève race in June where cramping was once again an issue I asked myself whether it would be more sensible to return to a standard 34T or whether I should focus on losing weight to improve the power to weight ratio – and focus on coordination, training and nutrition. Having opted for the latter this JPP race would let me know if it was working.


The result has been pretty spectacular on a personal level at least. Nearly all of the race was spent either anaerobic or even red-lining – close to maximum heart rate – approx 1 hr 50 mins red-lining and 1 hr 50 mins anaerobic – with only 35 minutes aerobic. There were no physical problems, cramps or issues either during or after the race and at night no trace of post exercise discomfort. Next morning there was no post exercise discomfort or fatigue. Despite low training mileage I placed 21st in age category out of 63 and 118th out of 257 finishers overall. The final climb of the race was littered with the victims of cramps – walking or stretching having dismounted at the roadside. It was a very hot day with no wind, clear skies and sunshine.

Late afternoon electrical storm building up over La Plagne (back home!)

The Race

The race started with a neutralised section from the main assembly point to Cluses town centre – where the real depart would take place. There were four separate departs corresponding to each of the four distances – 60k, 90k, 110k and 130k. Chris was going for the 130k despite suffering from a painfully blocked lower back and I was respecting my current limits and only going for the 110k. The 130k was the first to depart with the 110 next. Participants had different coloured numbers to indicate which course they were on – a very useful distinction.

The race commenced with the immediate spectre of the Col de Romme – a 9km steep climb rising up out to the valley floor like a wall. A few years ago during the Grand Bornand race I came across this climb for the first time and when starting up this wall, after a descent and easy section on the flat, both legs cramped instantly forcing me straight off the bike!

In a way the JPP was merciful in that this climb was right at the start when it was cool and everyone had fresh legs.


I decided to just go with the flow and if I felt like going hard I would. The result was that the first hour was spent with a heart rate above 160 bpm – clearly red-lining the whole time. Normally this should lead rapidly to complete exhaustion but I felt OK so continued. Unusually (for me) I was constantly overtaking people all the way up the climb. Normally I get the sensation of going in reverse during climbing – so it’s amazing what losing 10 kilos can do! At the top of the Col de Romme a couple of guys I’d just overtaken during the final kilometre came flying by me and although initially I was just going to let them go there was another thing to consider. After the descent back down to Cluses there would be a very long faux-plat which would lose a great deal of time if isolated or stuck in a slow group. After a couple of minutes of relaxing and recovering from the climb I went in pursuit quickly bringing the heart back up to 161 bpm again even on the descent behind the strong rider with fluorescent orange wheel rims.

There was an earpiece in my left ear relaying audible feedback from the Runtastic  app on my smartphone. It would signal each kilometre the current distance, pace and time for the previous km plus current heart rate – so I was fully aware of all the parameters and also used this to time feeding from the sugar flasks in my back pockets. Feeding was extremely difficult to cope with while the body was red-lining with heartrate so close to maximum. During the entire race I swallowed less than half of the sugar that was really necessary – around 180 grams – while the body can assimilate 90 grams per hour and I had 360 grams with me. Around the 100km mark there was a slight headache that came from not eating enough sugar – but it was rapidly resolved with a swig of syrupy sugar from a flask – washed down with water – because blood sugar obviously still hadn’t slipped into an unrecoverable deficit. Towards the end of the race my heart rate was still anaerobic during effort and had dipped only to 150 bpm – which is normally what I’d be aiming for from the start of a race!

Following the strong guys downhill to Cluses was a real battle. I knew that I had to stay with them but eventually they got away. Rather than worry about it I knew that my cornering skills were a bit better then theirs so just waited until the road tightened up into hairpin bends near the bottom and so right at the end – without trying – ended up back together again with the fluorescent wheel rims for the start of the long faux-plat.

Those guys were on a mission but unfortunately they wanted me to share the work up front. That would have been fine but my heart was already close to maximum revs and there was no turbo to engage. I was cornered into doing two relatively painful spells in front. Despite the fact that we were tanking along and reeling in others at a rapid pace some fortunately managed to hold on to our train and were then able to rotate up front and take the pressure off me. This scenario continued for about half an hour until the next sharp climb began and then I could just let the strong guys go and return to a more manageable pace.  All along since during the Col de Romme a woman with number 540 kept appearing and disappearing. She climbed faster than me but typically lost time on the descents though she was hovering around my level in general. There were also a couple of guys close to 70 years old with legs that looked as hard as tree trunks who kept appearing. They were from the Pringy cycling club and obviously had a few kilometres under their belts – but unlike most people in cyclosportives they were smart enough to work together as a team. I tucked in behind those guys a few times but ended up doing rotations there as well and eventually dropping them. They got past me again when I stopped at the last feeding station and beat me to the finish line.

After parting company with the strong guys, the second climb, which was much more gradual, was done mostly in isolation. Too big a gap had been opened with those behind to make it worthwhile waiting for anyone to appear and I couldn’t keep up with the others. With this situation in mind I stopped at a feeding station and properly dismounted the bike to get a drink and fill a bottle. Just those few minutes made a major difference and getting back on the bike there was a sensation of complete recovery. By this time I’d expected to feel destroyed due to red-lining but instead it all felt surprisingly good. Starting off again several others had caught up and so for the next long stretch of varied terrain there were people to work with.  I never saw the strong guys again but Woman 540 and the old Pringy guys kept popping up. On the stretch before the final feeding station I was surprised to find myself pulling along other riders that I somehow imagined to be much stronger than me.

Starting the last climb from Chattons to Les Carroz I unexpectedly came across Woman 540 again up ahead – but she had obviously cracked and was going in reverse gear up the hill now. More and more people were lining the side of the road dealing with cramps.  Not only had practically the whole race kept me anaerobic but very surprisingly there were no signs of cramp even at this late stage. For a short while around the 100km mark on this last climb I could feel my head starting to fug up – but that just encouraged me to eat some more sugar and the problem was rapidly resolved. The completion of the race was fine – with no physical issues and reasonable strength all the way. The final stretch up to Les Carroz was lined with people walking off cramps or on foot stretching – including some relatively strong riders who had left me behind some 15 kilometres earlier. The finish is right at the top of a steep climb and the end is abrupt so there is no warm down. This is where I’m likely to be hit with slight exercise induced asthma for a few minutes. This time there was none of that, despite the heat. For the first time ever I was even able to enjoy eating the post race meal! It appears that the combination of nutrition, coordination and weight loss completely changed the outcome. Interestingly “training mileage” was not the issue. Despite being relatively undertrained there were no detrimental physical issues experienced. I was also pleased to finish before the leaders of the 130k race arrived.

The scenery and surrounds were stunning over a wonderfully varied route and the traffic control and organisation of the event were extremely well done.  The only negative was that the post race meal location was extremely poorly indicated and Chris left without eating – after doing really well on the 130k course while fighting a significant lower back problem. We ended up both turning up at the car in Cluses within minutes of each other – Chris’s phone being left in the car so no communications being possible up until then. Before lunch I realised that I’d left my helmet where I’d been sitting to recover from the race – so went back and fortunately found it still on the bench. Later, after lunch it dawned on me that I’d also lost my hifi earphones and they had been missing for over and hour. I cycled back to the finish line and someone had placed them on a bench in full view safely behind a barrier – so thanks to good people I recovered them. I’d also lost a retaining clip for the earphones at the last feeding stop during the race but when I calmly looked over the ground before setting off again it was just sitting there. Seemingly it was my lucky day!

Supplements (Collection of abstracts…)


Taurine is an amino sulfonic acid, but it is often referred to as an amino acid, a chemical that is a required building block of protein. Taurine is found in large amounts in the brain, retina, heart, and blood cells called platelets. The best food sources are meat and fish.

Taurine supports neurological development and helps regulate the level of water and mineral salts in the blood. Taurine is also thought to have antioxidant properties. taurine is important in several metabolic processes of the body, including stabilizing cell membranes in electrically active tissues, such as the brain and heart. It also has functions in the gallbladder, eyes, and blood vessels.

Taurine promotes cardiovascular health, insulin sensitivity, electrolyte balance, hearing function, and immune modulation. In animal research, taurine protected against heart failure, reducing mortality by nearly 80%.

Its benefits are so broad and extensive that scientists have described taurine as “a wonder molecule.”

Taurine is found abundantly in healthy bodies. However, certain diets, particularly vegetarian or vegan diets, lack adequate amounts of taurine. Disease states—including liver, kidney, or heart failure, diabetes, and cancer—can all cause a deficiency in taurine. And aging bodies often cannot internally produce an optimal amount of taurine, making supplementation vital.

Because of taurine’s essential role in the body, supplementing with taurine can provide numerous health benefits, including restoring insulin sensitivity, mitigating diabetic complications, reversing cardiovascular disease factors, preventing and treating fatty liver disease, alleviating seizures, reversing tinnitus, and more.

Human studies show that 3 grams per day of taurine for 7 weeks reduced body weight significantly in a group of overweight or obese (but not-yet-diabetic) adults. Subjects saw significant declines in their serum triglycerides and “atherogenic index,” a ratio of multiple cholesterol components that predicts atherosclerosis risk. In adult diabetics, supplementation with 1.5 grams of taurine daily for just 14 days can reverse diabetes-induced abnormalities in arterial stiffness and in the ability of the vasculature to respond to changes in blood flow or pressure.

Taurine has powerful effects on the heart and blood vessels. People with higher levels of taurine have significantly lower rates of dying from coronary heart disease. Additionally, they have lower body mass index, lower blood pressure, and lower levels of dangerous lipids. Many different mechanisms account for these powerful effects on the heart and blood vessels.

In animal models of hypertension, taurine supplementation lowers blood pressure by reducing the resistance to blood flow in the blood vessel walls and by minimizing nerve impulses in the brain that drive blood pressure up. Oral taurine supplementation has been found to reduce the arterial thickening and stiffness characteristic of atherosclerosis, to restore arteries’ responses to beneficial endothelial nitric oxide, and to reduce inflammation (a direct contributor to cardiovascular disease).

Taurine is the most abundant amino acid you’ve never heard of. Strong evidence suggests that groups with the longest life spans consume higher amounts of taurine than those of us in the rest of the world. High intakes of taurine could be the underlying factor in the world’s longest-living populations—and for good reason.

Taurine supplementation can mitigate the damaging effects of fat, glucose, and excess insulin. Taurine strengthens and protects heart muscle cells and the system of blood vessels that supplies blood throughout the body, helping to protect against atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes.

And taurine protects vision and hearing. (

You may see taurine referred to as “a conditional amino acid,” to distinguish it from “an essential amino acid.” A “conditional amino acid” can be manufactured by the body, but an “essential amino acid” cannot be made by the body and must be provided by the diet. People who, for one reason or another, cannot make taurine, must get all the taurine they need from their diet or supplements. For example, supplementation is necessary in infants who are not breastfed because their ability to make taurine is not yet developed and cow's milk does not provide enough taurine. So taurine is often added to infant formulas. People who are being tube-fed often need taurine as well, so it is added to the nutritional products that they use. Excess taurine is excreted by the kidneys.

Some people take taurine supplements as medicine to treat congestive heart failure(CHF), high blood pressure, liver disease (hepatitis),  high cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia), and cystic fibrosis. Other uses include  seizure disorders (epilepsy), autism, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD),  eye problems (disorders of the retina), diabetes, and alcoholism. It is also used to improve mental performance and as an antioxidant.

Researchers aren’t exactly sure why taurine seems to help congestive heart failure (CHF). There is some evidence that it improves the function of the left ventricle, one of the chambers of the heart. Taurine might also improve heart failure because it seems to lower blood pressure and calm the sympathetic  nervous system, which is often too active in people with high blood pressure and CHF. The sympathetic nervous system is the part of the nervous system that responds to stress.

Citrulline Malate

Citrulline is a substance called a non-essential amino acid. Your kidneys change L-citrulline into another amino acid called L-arginine and a chemical called nitric oxide.

These compounds are important to your  heart and blood vessel health. They may also boost your immune system.

Citrulline boosts nitric oxide production in the body. Nitric oxide helps your arteries relax and work better, which improves blood flow throughout your body. This can be helpful for treating or preventing many diseases.

Citrulline, like arginine, is important in vasodilation, the widening of blood vessels, resulting from relaxation of smooth muscle cells within the vessel walls, especially in the large arteries and veins and smaller arterioles. The endothelium (inner lining) of blood vessels uses nitric oxide to signal the surrounding smooth muscle to relax. This results in a relaxing of the blood vessels, and increased blood flow.

In the body, citrulline is converted to the amino acid arginine, which goes on to make another important substance—nitric oxide. When citrulline enters the kidney, vascular endothelium and other tissues, it can be readily converted to arginine, thus raising plasma and tissue levels of arginine and enhancing nitric oxide production.

Additionally, nitric oxide works as an antioxidant that reduces the possibility of immune cells adhering to artery walls. This helps keep down inflammation.

As we get older there is a decrease in nitric oxide production because the body makes less citrulline and arginine.

Di Arginine Malate

Arginine-rich foods include red meat, fish, poultry, wheat germ, grains, nuts and seeds, and dairy products.

Arginine, also known as L-arginine, is involved in a number of different functions in the body. They include wound healing, helping the kidneys remove waste products from the body, maintaining immune and hormone function.

In the body, the amino acid arginine changes into nitric oxide (NO). Supplemental arginine helps the body produce more nitric oxide, and it helps with conditions that improve when blood vessels are relaxed, such as atherosclerosis.

Even more importantly, new studies are showing that supplemental citrulline also assists in nitric oxide production by boosting blood levels of arginine. It does this because it is more readily absorbed and bioavailable than arginine alone, and it bypasses metabolism in the liver and gastrointestinal tract and is readily absorbed in the kidneys.

In the first study to show that oral supplementation with citrulline raises blood levels of arginine, 20 healthy volunteers were given 6 different dosing regimens of placebo, citrulline, and arginine.

After one week of oral supplementation, the citrulline dose increased plasma arginine concentration more effectively than arginine alone.

A study in humans also showed the citrulline supplementation’s “time release” effect on arginine production. In this study an oral dose of 3.8 grams of citrulline resulted in a 227% peak increase in plasma arginine levels after 4 hours, compared with a 90% peak increase with the same dose of arginine.

Thus, acute oral administration of citrulline appears to be considerably more efficient at raising plasma levels of arginine over the long term than arginine itself.


Ribose (d-ribose) is a type of simple sugar, or carbohydrate, that our bodies make.

It is an essential component of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which supplies energy to our cells.

People take extra ribose for several reasons, most of them related to exercise and sports performance.

Manufacturers claim that ribose: Increases endurance and energy, reduces muscle fatigue , speeds up post-workout recovery.

The pathological defect in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome is slow recycling of ATP. Normally there is enough ATP in a heart cell to last about ten beats - this means that roughly speaking ATP needs to be re-cycled every ten seconds. Top athletes like Steve Redgrave probably recycle ATP every five seconds, but patients with fatigues may only be able to recycle ATP every minute. Therefore I can do in ten seconds what Steve Redgrave can do in five seconds, but it might take one of my fatigue syndrome patients a minute to achieve the same!

ATP in releasing energy is converted to ADP (2-phosphates) which is recycled back through mitochondria to ATP (3-phosphates). However, if the system is really pushed then the body can extract energy from ADP by converting it into AMP (1-phosphate). The problem is that AMP is very slowly recycled, if at all, and most is lost from the cell. This means that the body has to make brand new ATP. This it does from D-Ribose and this it can do very quickly. The trouble is the body making D-Ribose. Normally this is made from glucose. However if the cell is lacking in energy then any glucose lying around can be converted to lactic acid to generate energy. The problem here is twofold - first of all the lactic acid causes pain. Secondly any glucose that is swilling around is not available to make D-ribose.

Even when glucose supply is plentiful, production of D-ribose in the cell by the glucose pentose shunt is very slow.

D-ribose as a nutritional supplement is therefore useful because it is immediately available for the generation of new ATP

Because D-ribose is a simple sugar, it is extremely well absorbed. The clinical experience of cardiologists using D-ribose to treat heart failure due to mitochondrial failure is that it is very effective and free from side effects (