A crisp morning air, we cast our breath, exhaust gases from the pump house of our aerobic system. On a warmer day, we wouldn't see the outcome of all the noise and work going into each and every pedal stroke. The grind, the humming, the clanking of metal.
We stop. We always do.
The weather won't affect what we see here. It is the same grinding, humming and clanking of before. The tamper pressed firmly and then that very same steam, like exhaust gases of the espresso machines faux-aerobic system.
The range in cycling level and age of riders we see on our roads and trails is both wide and encouraging nowadays. While many have different objectives, the fraternity is wholesome and can be a catalyst for motivation. At the very heart of this lies a brown liquid thought to have originated in Ethiopia. Coffee.
It's bean a long time
When I write a training programme for any rider there are always good options for coffee spins in a week. You can't take life and your training too serious, all the time, and if you do I genuinely believe you won't be as committed to the times when you do need to tighten the shoe straps and bite down on the leather.
It can be useful to align your easier rides with friends you haven't seen for a while and make the coffee the focus, not the bike. This kind of coffee ride is perfect for recovery rides and will make discipline much easier.
The race to the stop or the race home?
The coffee stop for some is an important marker of pace and tempo. There are those groups who ramp-up the pace as the stop approaches and there are others who lift the pace after leaving. It's a natural break in the ride, an opportunity to relax and maybe joke about what's gone on before or plan what is coming! Caffeinated carnage.
Without the coffee? Well, it's just a pee stop then isn't it...
There is a much more scientific side to coffee and how it works so well with cycling. In fact, so well that there is a limit on caffeine for racing cyclists.
The World Anti Doping Agency limit has varied over the years from 12-15 mcg caffeine per litre of urine, or approximately 1,000 mg (or 6-8 cups of coffee) consumed within a relatively short period of about 1 hour.
In terms of performance here are some of the ways coffee assists in training and racing.
Caffeine encourages the mobility of fatty acids from adipose tissue. The greater ease with which the body can utilise these acids, via lipid metabolism, mean a rider can preserve more glycogen for higher intensity efforts on the bike. In any scenario having more energy available later in a ride is desirable. For changing body composition and leaning up it's a fantastic aide.
Caffeine as a stimulant also provides alertness, and as the brain uses glycogen as it's energy source that alertness is a performance gain observed while in a glycogen depleted state. Consider doppio espresso prior to a fasted ride to boost your concentration levels. It will be sharpness that comes without a calorie receipt.
Research shows that caffeine assists in carbohydrate absorption post-workout. In tests, athletes who ingested caffeine with carbohydrate had 66% more glycogen in their muscles four hours after finishing intense, glycogen-depleting exercise than those who consumed only carbohydrates.
With all the benefits on offer, how can we ignore it...
Wake up and smell the coffee!
If you would like our help at Elevation Coaching to formulate a progressive training plan to smash your goals and keep the fun in cycling get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
We offer a range of bespoke plans ranging from £75.