Tuesday, 19 February 2008

BIKE FEATURE: my 2005 Giant TCR Composite

This is my road race bike. It's a size large Giant TCR Composite in unusual T-Mobile 'Flames' colour scheme, as used by the US T-Mobile, ahem, Women's team.
Spec is Shimano Dura-Ace throughout, except for Bontrager Race X-Lite compact carbon crankset and KMC X-10SL gold chain. Other kit is Thomson X-2 Stem and Masterpiece seatpost, Deda Spectrum carbon bars, Fizik Arione Carbon CX saddle and Look Keo Carbon pedals. Wheels are Ksyrium ES and tyres are currently folding Continental Gator Skins (on account of the winter weather). Weight is 16.3lbs (with pedals).

REVIEW: Torq gel - Black Cherry Yoghurt Flavour

I've been using energy gels for 3 or 4 years now, and I swear by them for keeping my energy levels up during a race or a ride. Having a flask of energy gels in my back pocket during a long race gives me the confidence that I will be able to keep going to the end and still have something left for the last lap.

I've tried lots of brands: PowerGels I find quite disgusting and SIS gels too gloopy and seem to coagulate into lumps in the heat (not nice!). I had settled on High5 gels as being the best, as they come in a variety of fruity flavours and are not too big in terms of volume. They also come in unleaded (regular) and leaded varieties (caffeinated) for that extra kick.

Anyway, during Round 3 of the Thetford Winter MTB Series I was fighting for position with Matt Hart from Torq Fitness and had a chat with him afterwards about their new gels. Having tried a few flavours, I bought a mixed box. I tried my first gel a few weeks ago on a 32 mile training ride on the road around the North Downs: a Black Cherry Yoghurt flavour. Now I like black cherry yoghurt, but wouldn't choose to eat one during a ride. While some of the Torq gels are caffeinated, this one isn't. The ingredients claim a "Research-proven 2:1 Maltodextrin:Fructise formulation for 40% greater carbohydrate delivery". A 45g (29g of which are carbs) sachet contains 114 calories and has a good mix of electrolytes.

So what does it taste like? I suspect this flavour will divide opinion. I quite like it. It's quite sharp and bold for a gel product, and gives your mouth a welcome revival. I'm not sure how great it would be on a very hot day though, when bold flavours are not always as welcome. Anyway, the effect, while obviously subjective, seems to be quite quick to hit the system, and I felt quite quickly reenergised. I'll also be trying the other flavours and also a bunch of their other products.

Verdict: 4/5

Monday, 4 February 2008

What does Overbiked mean?

I came across the term 'overbiked' in a cycling magazine's review of a high-end carbon road bike. I think it was the reviewer's way of saying that the bike was better than he was. As most high-end bikes are close to those used by pro-racers, perhaps this isn't all that surprising. Still, taking 'overbiking' to new heights has become something of a pastime for me. To me 'overbiked' can mean more than that though. It can also simply mean that you are way too obsessed with cycling. That's me too. Anyway, I'm going to use this blog to record my overbiked life, my races and any interesting equipment that I buy or get a chance to try.