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  1. #1
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    Caffeine during a long effot

    What are people's thoughts on caffeine during a race lasting longer then 8 hours? I usually use perpetuem Cafe Latte w/ caffeine and mix Chocolate and Espresso Gu in a flask to supplement the perpetuem. This equates to about a cup of coffee every hour or so. Do most people start off with little to no caffeine and then start taking it in during the middle/end of a race when you need a little something extra? Or do you start with it and continue it's use throughout the race?

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    That's a lot of caffeine, but you can cut out the Espresso Gu with caffeine and get something else.
    The purpose for a LITTLE caffeine is to help your body burn more fat during the workout/race. So you should start using it at the begining, not later in the race. Caffeine also improves your perceived exertion level. The downside of caffeine, is that it may dehydrate if taken in high portions. I'd limit it as as much as possible, 400-600mg a day should be enough, including your morning cup.
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  3. #3
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    I run a few caffeine-laced Hammer Gels between the 7-hour point and the finish, partly because of published performance advantages, but mostly because if I don't, a slight headache pops up.

    I guess I'm addicted to afternoon cup of coffee!

    The nutritionists will kill me for this, but a favorite way to get a bit of caf on a long road ride is to top off a water bottle with Mtn. Dew. Most gas stations won't take any money for the 4-6 ounce shot, and boy does it taste good on hot days.
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  4. #4
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    Heck with a 4-6 oz shot! I get a 12 ounce can. Every once in a while a 8oz. Red Bull.
    Comas aren't as fun as riding your bike, so wear a Helmet.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbcoach_co
    That's a lot of caffeine, but you can cut out the Espresso Gu with caffeine and get something else.
    The purpose for a LITTLE caffeine is to help your body burn more fat during the workout/race. So you should start using it at the begining, not later in the race. Caffeine also improves your perceived exertion level. The downside of caffeine, is that it may dehydrate if taken in high portions. I'd limit it as as much as possible, 400-600mg a day should be enough, including your morning cup.
    Thanks, appreciate the detailed response. Could explain why I didn't feel that great during the last 100k. Looks like cutting out the espresso should do the trick.

  6. #6
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    Too much caffeine can make you sleepy! I fell asleep on my feet once from too much caffeine.

    Caffeine is also tough on most racers stomachs. If it gets in the way of fueling the stimulant benefits are negated.

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    An overdose of Caffeine...can you jack you up

    I'd pay attention to the advice provided here.

    Here's a brief horror story. I unknowling (very stupid on my part) was downing three caffeine gels a lap beginning at the 9 our mark of a 24 hr race.....I took two excedrin (with caffeine) at midnight...which is something I have done in many other 24hr races. The combination of being stupid (pay attention to what type of gels you buy!) and the excedrin...had me peeing every 10 minutes, total loss of power (because I was becoming dehydrated)...slurring my words..and as Lynda said....I couldn't stay awake. I went from being on a pace for a PR type race...to completely shattered and so scared that I dnf'd because I actually thought I might have had hyponytremia (sorry for the mispell).

    Caffiene can be disasterous if not monitored correctly. BE CAREFUL
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger___
    I'd pay attention to the advice provided here.

    Here's a brief horror story. I unknowling (very stupid on my part) was downing three caffeine gels a lap beginning at the 9 our mark of a 24 hr race.....I took two excedrin (with caffeine) at midnight...which is something I have done in many other 24hr races. The combination of being stupid (pay attention to what type of gels you buy!) and the excedrin...had me peeing every 10 minutes, total loss of power (because I was becoming dehydrated)...slurring my words..and as Lynda said....I couldn't stay awake. I went from being on a pace for a PR type race...to completely shattered and so scared that I dnf'd because I actually thought I might have had hyponytremia (sorry for the mispell).

    Caffiene can be disasterous if not monitored correctly. BE CAREFUL
    Just to clarify: hyponatremia occurs when you DILUTE the blood with too much water or hypotonic solutions, NOT when you get dehydrated; when you get dehydrated your serum becomes more concentrated... so the last thing to worry here is hyponatremia
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyndaW
    Too much caffeine can make you sleepy! I fell asleep on my feet once from too much caffeine.

    Caffeine is also tough on most racers stomachs. If it gets in the way of fueling the stimulant benefits are negated.
    Can you elaborate more? what was the ammount, when did you consumed it and at what time did you experience the sleepiness?
    I wonder if it was a direct effect of the caffeine (which would be strange since caffeine is a stimulant), or the fact that when that stimulation ceased, you "crashed"
    thanks
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  10. #10
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    I usually drink a big coffee (500-700 ml) about 1-2H before my endurance races, but I abolutely hate to have some caffeine gels, my stomach simply can't take them.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by TobyGadd
    +1 there's many research about it

    The blood flow to the kidneys (splanchnic circulation) is reduced during exercise and ADH (antidiuretic hormone) effect help to reduce urination
    Caffeine diuretic effect during exercise it is still (2010) a myth among people... can't believe it!
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    Caffeine (trimethylxanthine) is a xanthine alkaloid that is classified as a central nervous system stimulant. I like caffeine. I roast my own green coffee beans and there's rarely a day that goes by where I don't drink espresso or coffee. But drinking coffee and racing with caffeine are two different things...

    Lots of info to absorb over here, it will address some of the comments in this thread: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caffeine

    There is a lot of really interesting science behind caffeine and it's effects but pretty much anyone with a lot of caffeine experience can attest to some or all of the following; increased alertness, delayed fatigue, reduced RPE, improved mood, increased HR, increased BP, etc. There are possibly other things going on like fat oxidation, glycogen-sparing, increased beta-endorphins, etc.

    To the OP's question, obviously caffeine has a neural impact, muscular impact and a gastro-intestinal impact. What that impact is on each rider is very dependent on their typical daily caffeine consumption, how it gets metabolized, how much, when, under what conditions, etc. Is there an optimal dose (generally) for endurance racing, I suppose there could be a mg/Kg of body weight dosage rule of thumb applied but I would be hesitant to ever recommend "this is the perfect dose for racer xyx - nothing more and nothing less per hour". In my opinion caffeine has it's uses within the context of endurance racing, but it's specific to the racer.

    Here's some guidelines I apply for caffeine use in really long races:

    - I don't use caffeinated fuel until a few hours into a race, I find it difficult to keep my pace sensible if I'm caffeinated.

    - A few hours into a race I will grab a caffeinated bottle.

    - From that point forward I will adopt a 'listen to my body' approach towards the need for caffeine. I use it as a stim, mood and RPE tool, and I use it based on a lot of experimentation. What works for me might not work for anyone else.

    Again, caffeine affects everyone differently and the only way you can learn what works best for you in an endurance race is to carefully experiment and develop trends over a period of months (or years), to see what you like. Sometimes the 'more is better' approach isn't the best way to go - particularly with caffeine.

  14. #14
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    Caffeine + good ole sugar is almost as good as doping yourself. Once the Caffeine wears off in 30 minutes...the sugar takes over and because your metabolism is spiked - you won't even feel that crash...like sedentary folks do.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zachariah
    Caffeine + good ole sugar is almost as good as doping yourself. Once the Caffeine wears off in 30 minutes...the sugar takes over and because your metabolism is spiked - you won't even feel that crash...like sedentary folks do.
    Wow your understanding of substrate utilization and metabolism is way beyond comprehension
    Caffeine doesn't "wear off" in 30 minutes.... half life is over 4-6 hours
    Sugar doesn't "take over"...


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    Caffeine is a beautiful substance ... used properly. Recent (actually, for some time now) studies do suggest that caffeine acts differently when consumed during moderate to intense bouts of exercise, mostly regarding it's diurectic effect. Most endurance runners and cyclists I see prefer to start using caffeine in the later stages of a race, myself included .... based on experimentation during training and C & B races (not A races).

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    Since I joined MTBR.com I've fired my financial adviser, lawyer, quit going to the doctor and canned my cycling coach. All these people are useless now.
    Every person is different so best way to find out is experiment. Myself if I'm feeling sluggish and it's chilly outside I will add sugar to my coffee and pour it straight in to my water bottle. Coffee has never give me a problem, but I drink a lot of coffee anyway.
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    NSAIDs

    I'm not afraid of NSAIDs (the group includes aspirin mentioned in a product above) and use them frequently, BUT I'd be real careful about ingesting many if any during an endurance event. I think most of us are a little worried about dehydration during these long events and NSAIDs are generally considered to be pretty tough on your kidneys when you're dehydrated.

    I know the statements are somewhat vague and short on physiology but I strongly suggest you check into it.

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