Month: November 2006

Make your own sports drinks – cheap and tasty DIY solutions

I remember reading about a DIY sports drink a couple of years back and it caught my interest because I was going through a lot of powdered Gatorade which is next to impossible to find in Ireland, or spending too much money on Lucozade Sport or equivalent sports energy drinks. Athletes drink a lot in training and I wanted to make my own sports drinks to save money and also because I can tailor the ingredients better to my needs.

The important ingredients of a sports drink are:

  • water keep the body hydrated,
  • salts to both
    • aid in that hydration (salt makes the solution isotonic) and to
    • replace some (but not all) of the lost salts from sweat, and
  • carbohydrates (sugars) for energy.

It’s pretty easy to figure out a simple recipe if you want to make your own sports drink. Mess with the amounts to make it taste ok but don’t over do the sugar or salt:

  • 70% water
  • 30% orange juice
  • small amount of sugar to your energy and taste needs
  • pinch of salt (sodium is good, great if you can get some with potassium also)

That’s it. Simple, eh? Covers the basics, is dead cheap and tastes just fine. So that’s a bit basic, what else can you make?

One I’ve heard of cyclists using a lot years ago is flat coke, they shake it up to remove the gas which can interfere with digestion. I don’t know if they add salt but would make sense. This explains why a lot of pro-cyclists have bad teeth 🙂

Here’s another energy drink do it yourself receipe from Mike Greary:

1. Make a big iced tea mixture using green tea, white tea, and yerba mate tea. I like to add a little fruit flavor, so I’ll use 1 tea bag of a raspberry or blueberry hibiscus tea, and then use 2-3 green and/or white tea bags, and 2-3 yerba mate tea bags, and make a gallon container of iced tea. I just use a small amount of stevia to lightly sweeten the batch of tea.

2. I buy a container of organic coconut water from a health food store, or buy fresh coconuts to obtain the coconut water from the inside.

3. For my healthy energy drink, I mix a half of a glass of the white/green/yerba mate iced tea mixture and fill the rest of the glass with the coconut water.

This is actually a delicious and truly healthy energy drink instead of the chemical-laden crappy energy drinks that everybody is getting suckered into buying these days.

Here’s another DIY energy drink recipe which I saw over at Yaniverse – (s)he calls “EnerT”. The ingredients for 1000ml:

  • 2 Tea Bags
  • 6 level teaspoon sugar (24 grams)
  • A pinch of salt (0.5 grams)
  • 2 oz lemon juice (about 55 grams)
  • 30 oz boiling water

I opted for tea as caffeine has a beneficial workout benefit, and tea provides a low-level caffeine, striking my personally preferred balanced between ‘waking’ and ‘wired’. Any level of sugars under 8% is acceptable, but I find Gatorade to be overly caloric for those of us trying to balance increased workout performance with weight loss/maintenance.

Good point on the caffeine, and the sugar content is interesting too, I didn’t realise Gatorade was so high in calories.

Further reading:

How to embed YouTube or Google Videos in WordPress

It’s not always a simple case of pasting the YouTube or Google “embed code” into your blogs default editor. Sometimes you need to turn off the WYSIWYG bit which is messing up your embed code… don’t worry, it ain’t hard. You only need to do this if you’re hosting your own WordPress blog – if you’re on you can use the [youtube=…] and [googlevideo=…] tags!

In Options -> Writing section of WordPress admin (wordpress-location/wp-admin/options-writing.php)

  • Ensure “Users should use the visual rich editor by default” and “WordPress should correct invalidly nested XHTML automatically” are turned off.

In Users -> Your Profile, down the bottom (wordpress-location/wp-admin/profile.php):

  • Ensure “Use the visual rich editor when writing” is turned off

You can now paste the code in with WordPress mashing it up on you.

Pretty simple, eh? Don’t forget to reverse the setting afterwards, if you’re more of a WYSIWYG blogger.

Surly Cross-Check Ultegra 10speed component list

Here’s a list of the components on my new Cross-Check. It’s built up as a commuter/tourer/long distance machine and I hope to put serious amounts of mileage on it in the next year or three, before I eventually swap all the components over to something like a Mercian Cycles “ King of Mercia ” custom build frame or maybe something Ti 🙂

My initial research for the Surly was several threads on and

Frame: Surly Cross-Check 50cm

Cost: 500eur (expensive compared to online but the package from the LBS makes it worthwhile)

Why: Several reasons: it’s cheap, it’s steel, it’s extremely versatile. With fat tyre clearance for touring tyres and mudguards (fenders), horizontal rear dropouts so it’s fixed-gear friendly, and a great price, for my purposes I think it can’t be beat. (2.018kg)

Groupset: Shimano Ultegra 10 speed, Compact chainset

Cost: 500eur approx.

Why: I wanted a step up in quality from Sora and Tiagra. The 105 set would have been ideal but it was poor value for money compared to the Ultegra which was only 40 euros more. 172.5 cranks because I’ve been on a 175 MTB for years and 170 might be a shock to the system. I went for the compact chainset on LBS recommendation because I didn’t need to get long cage derailleur, change out the front for a triple which would have been at extra cost for them with little benefit. We went through the gear range on paper compared to a triple and I’m happy with, getting something like 34 to 112 gear inches (in steps of 3 to 6 averaging 4.5). Should be just fine for touring and fast commuting. (weight unknown)

Wheels: Mavic Open Pro rims (32spoke), DT Swiss double butted SS spokes, Ultegra hubs, Vittorio Randonneur 700×28 tyres

Cost: 200eur approx.

Why: These are great rims, light and very strong. I would have gone 36 spoke but my wheel guy reckoned I’d be fine with 32sp x DT Swiss. I picked the Ultegra hubs simply because I was going with the rest of the groupset (although I’m sure there’s a weight argument to be made for them, I’m more of a tourer than a weight weenie). These are great wheels, handbuilt, IMO, by one of the best wheel builders in the city. The tyre was my 2nd choice after the Continental Travel Contact, which the bike shop couldn’t source in the timeframe to get me on the road. Not a big deal since these are 28s I’ll probably be getting a set of 32s or (roadies avert your eyes!)even 37s for loaded touring and keeping these for the unloaded rides. (Wheelset: front 0.870kg, Rear 1.080kg, tyres & tube unknown)

Saddle: Brooks B17 Champion Special

Cost: 60eur approx.

Why: Find me a negative review of a B17 and I’ll show you a thousand positive ones. Leather, big, heavy and very comfortable. Allegedly I’m in the breaking in period, but I like the feel just fine. I got the Champion Special version for B17 price cos my shop are good to me! Black, because it shouts “steal me” in a slightly quieter voice than the Honey. (0.540kg)

Update: my LBS got the racing green version of the B17 CS in, so I changed to that as it fitted nicely with the frame colour 🙂

Seatpost: ITM Road Racing Alloy

Cost: 30eur approx.

Why: Bike shop recommendation. I didn’t want carbon fibre or to pay for a Thomson. That’s on the long finger. (weight unknown)

Bars: Ritchey WCS Logic Oversize, 44cm

Cost: 60eur approx.

Why: Shop recommendation. I wanted aluminium (I’m heavy and don’t trust carbon fibre, sorry). They went oversize for stiffness, and the 44cm because I’ve broad shoulders. Tape is unknown brand, black. I wanted the 3M reflective stuff but not in stock. Will eventually upgrade it. (0.235kg)

Stem: ITM Forged Lite Luxe 110MM, 10-degree rise/drop

Cost: 20eur approx.

Why: Shop recommendation, availability. (0.165g)

Headset: BBB

Cost: 30eur approx.

Why: I asked for “something good, but not Chris King expensive” (I didn’t win the lotto this weeK). Shop guy said they’d never any problems with the BBB headset and the price was right. (weight unknown)

Brakes: Tektro Oryx cantilevers

Cost: 30eur approx.

Why: Bike shop recommendation, online review confirmation – these seem to be great canti’s for the price (Rivendell use them on the Atlantis – can’t be that bad!). I initially explored different options, including going as far as to look at SRAM Force and the financially and availability-wise more realistic SRAM Rival . I’d read they could pull enough cable for v-brakes (or even mech disks!) which appealed to me. Eventually I decided on sticking with Ultegra integrated shifters and canti brake, the stopping power should be sufficient even though not equal to v-brake power. And I’m happy to say that they do seem to be quite good! There’s a fair bit of initial travel before they bite but when they do it’s very good stopping power. (0.166kg+0.166kg)

Rack: Tortec Expedition

Cost: 40eur

Why: Strong lightweight rack and available at the bike shop. It’s a decent touring rack and very light weight for it’s strength and size. I like the extended stay to keep the back of the panniers off the wheels. (0.800 kg

Mudguards aka fenders: Tortec full length (model unknown)

Cost: 30eur

Why: Availability. Mudguards are a must have for daily use in Ireland. (weight unknown)

Head Light: Light and Motion ARC HID NiMH

Cost: 308eur
Why: Mainly because I’m going to do some night trail riding on my MTB, but this light will be great for some of the long haul stuff (double century etc) that I plan to do cross-country, and if I’m ever looking for a decent place to put my tent in the pitch dark. (0.170kg +0.550kg)

Update: It has arrived! See my initial review of the Light and Motion ARC.

Tail Light: 2x Planet Bike 5 LED Blinkies

Cost: 40eur

Why: Great brightness for the price. I’ll convince my LBS to get some in too so I won’t have to pay stupid amounts on shipping from US next time! (weight unknown)

Aussie thugs mar rampant victory

International Rules , a mix of Aussie rules football and our gaelic football , was graced by a crowd of 82,000+ at Croke Park today. I’m sure that many of them were just as disgusted with the goings on there as I was.

The second, third and fourth quarters were marked by superb Australian domination of the midfield and they created many brilliant scores. In fact, they showed us how to play our own game, on our own home ground. Their footballing skills were sublime and the handling especially great considering that many of these guys never played with a round ball before last week. I would love to see Dublin play in an All-Ireland Championship like this.

Back to the first quarter, what a shameful display of sheer thugishness hasn’t been since since… well since the last compromise rules series in Melbourne in 2005.

The Australian players deliberately targetted 3 of Irelands players, in particular Geraghty, who they had threatened this week. He was stretchered off unconscious. The referees were incompetant, cowardly and never in control of the violence. They showed 7 yellow cards in such a short space of time without ever considering a red.

Irish players were guilty of several infractions also, I’d like to be objective and condemn those actions, but realistically with the threat posed to their safety by the animals from the southern hemisphere self-defence was the only sane option of anybody with a respect for their own well-being.Chris Johnson shows off his football skills

I’m sure I wasn’t the only Irish person watching wishing these criminals would piss off back to whatever hole they crawled out of. The number of complaints received by the broadcaster support that theory. I hope that the GAA grow a pair and make the decision to discontinue this sham of a sport. Large revenues are not a good enough reason to keep putting our unpaid footballers through the grinder of professional cutthroats.I look back at what I’ve written above, and it seems rather vehement. Unfair? You decide. Here’s an Aussies fond memory from last year as they consider this years series…

Was there anything more amusing then when CJ single-handedly dropped three Irish squibs last year at the Telstra Dome? The coat hanger to begin proceedings was top notch but the flurry of strikes afterwards was even better.

As three Irish pounces lay on the ground battered and bruised, fearing for their well being at the hands of the CJ wrath, I tipped my hat to the good man for providing such entertainment. It just proved once again that the Irish are nothing more then a bunch of scared cats, afraid of physical confrontation. The Irish media cried foul, no more tackling they say, we’re too rough. We’re not rough, they’re just weak.

“Animals” doesn’t sound so far off the mark now, eh?

Update: the GAA has scrapped the International Rules series for 2007:

The move follows violence which marred the second Test between Ireland and Australia at Croke Park last month. GAA president Nicky Brennan said that about 50% of players contacted had given their views and all wanted the games to continue. Work will now start on clarifying rules and disciplinary procedures so that the internationals can resume in 2008. Players’ representative Dessie Farrell said that, while there would be disappointment that the 2007 series would not take place, the decision was probably a wise one.

Handbags at dawn, Fatty vs Dug

The wonderful stories that crop up in the blogosphere… here we have the Fat Cyclist who kindly helps out his friend by publically pleading with him not to attempt this 100 mile MTB race on a SS:

Dug, you don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of finishing the Leadville 100 on a singlespeed. It’s questionable, in fact, whether you’d finish the race on a geared bike. But that’s not the point I’m trying to make…

Dug, I want to see you succeed, but you can only succeed if you give yourself attainable goals.

Dug, not to be out-drama-queened, counters aggressively:

I shall not only finish the Leadville inside of 12 hours next year, not only finish inside of 12 hours on a singlespeed, not only a singlespeed but a RIGID singlespeed, not only finish Leadville on rigid singlespeed, but in UNDER 10 hours… I will simply offer you a wager.

  • If I finish Leadville next year in less than ten hours on my crappy, “Brad Keyes maintained” Surly Karate Monkey rigid singlespeed YOU will give ME whatever bike you ride in Leadville.
  • If I finish in Leadville in more than 11 hours, I will give YOU the bike I ride in the race.
  • If I finish between 10 and 11 hours, we’ll call it a push. You keep your bike, I keep mine. But, in this case, since I’ll have finished (and you contend I won’t finish), you’ll have to maintain my bike for me for the rest of calendar 2007.

Tension! The drama continues over on the FatCylist forums.