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This is why all cyclists should drink coffee

This is why all cyclists should drink coffee

At Il Magistrale, we believe that coffee and cycling is a way of life. Cycling is about pushing harder, suffering longer and to keep on going to become a number one. Coffee is the helping hand in achieving those cycling goals.

Why do cyclists often take those coffee breaks? In fact, it happens so often that cycling cafes have been established. But what are the reasons behind it except that it is very pleasant to stop for a coffee and a pastry.

Coffee does something to a body, the caffeine causes a number of hormones in our body to be activated: adrenaline, dopamine and cortisol. What happens in the body is that amino acids in the muscles and glycogen in the liver is converted very quickly to glucose which is then released into the bloodstream. Because your body produces a lot of glucose at a rapid rate, this provides a lot of energy that you can then use, excellent for situations where you need to be able to act or move quickly.

It may be true that you get a boost after drinking coffee. Several studies have shown that coffee is a performance enhancer because of the caffeine. But the caffeine is not directly responsible energy boost.

Caffeine is quickly absorbed into the blood and then circulates through the body. Once it arrives at its destination, caffeine attaches itself to so-called receptors (receivers). Caffeine takes the place of another substance called "adenosine" on these receptors. This is a substance that makes you feel tired. Once caffeine takes the place of adenosine, there is no room for this other substance with the result that you feel less tired and even more awake and alert. There are even studies showing that the perception of pain and intensity is reduced. It also speeds up the energy releasing processes in the body. So the end result of a dose of caffeine is that you can push yourself just a little bit more, and let that come in handy for cycling. No wonder many cyclists have a fondness for coffee.

The positive effect of caffeine occurs about an hour after ingestion, but then you will have to drink more than one cup of coffee. There is evidence that 1-3 mg of caffeine per kg of body weight already has a performance-enhancing effect (for a 70kg person, that's about two to three cups of coffee), but traditional protocols assume 6-9 mg/kg an hour prior to exercise. Therefore, for a short run (under an hour), a cup of coffee will have little effect. However, try to be careful with the amount of caffeine you ingest per day, as your body can become accustomed to it, requiring more and more to achieve the same performance-enhancing effect. Remember that caffeine is in more products than just coffee. As a rule of thumb, five cups of coffee a day is fine. It does not dehydrate you, contrary to what is sometimes claimed.

Until a few years ago, top athletes had to be careful with their intake of coffee. In fact, caffeine, abundant in coffee, has twice been on the doping list. And not without reason. It can make you perform better and recover faster.

If we relate the above results to cycling, we can conclude the following: coffee can make an important contribution to the sports performance, but the quantity, format and moment of intake should be adjusted accordingly. Slow sugars and the right caffeine content are leading in this choice. The caffeine in coffee causes the carbohydrates (for example from the cake) to be stored faster into glycogen: the fuel for our muscles and thus the energy for your next ride.