Saturday, February 17, 2007

No Sweat...

Yesterday, I had what I consider to be an extraordinary opportunity and I just couldn't pass it up. One of the nation's top riders needed a short homestay and some logistical help for his visit to the Gatorade Sports Science Institute. Seeing as I live only a few miles away (less than 7 actually), and since I've always been curious as to what goes on there, I enthusiastically volunteered to help.

Just like the commercials of Chris Leigh suggest, this place really is a laboratory. And, for a geek like me (with a background in laboratory devices), it was almost better than picking out toys for Christmas. Almost.

The purpose of the visit was fairly straightforward. All involved just wanted to double-check the nutrition needs of the rider during simulated racing conditions. So, after a short tour and the mandatory bodily functions checks, they locked us all in a very warm, high humidity room, put the bike on the Computrainer (they have many of those around the facility) and let the rider "race" in rather hostile conditions while the lab techs took measurements and gathered samples. The large overhead projector proved entertaining for the rider.

I will add that some of the devices in this particular room looked a bit frightening (and feel free to choose from an exciting menu of choices for probes).

Anyway, in the end, this all reminded me of something that we all easily forget. Whether or not you are lucky enough to get into GSSI for testing, endurance athletes do need to frequently work on their nutrition plans.