Powering up with Beta Red & SRM
by Janel Holcomb
When I got my first pro contract I did it riding an entry-level aluminum bike with “shit components” (a pro mechanic’s exact words when he was forced to work on my bike at my first big race). But I had a coach and a power meter, and the director who hired me said those two things were evidence that I was committed to my development. I was investing in what counted most. It didn’t take me long to realize that SRM was the power meter I needed to use, and I haven’t used anything but SRM since 2009.
Fast forward to the prime of my pro career when I was first introduced to Beta Red. I had already been turned on to the science behind drinking beet juice for nitrate supplementation. And, as a devoted Enduro Bites eater, I jumped on the Beta Red program, consuming it every day during the week before big races. I began to notice the difference it made – and I had my SRM data to back up the improvement I felt.
How can you use your SRM to see how Beta Red is working for you? I have a few ideas that could help.
For many people with busy schedules, doing trainer workouts during the week becomes a lifeline to fitness, health and sanity. Often you repeat the same workout week to week and become familiar with the power you can hold for certain intervals.
Similarly, many of us have a group ride that we go on every Saturday, where the route is the same and the level of difficulty is fairly consistent. So, my first recommendation is to do a hard workout on your trainer or a very hard group ride with your SRM and take mental notes on how you’re feeling; consider writing down your observations in your training log. Then download the SRM file, and highlight a section that is repeated each week.
Next, start drinking Beta Red every day about an hour before your training session (even on a day off). Research shows that if you consume it daily for 6 days before a target event or training ride, it will improve stamina during intense exercise.
Another key ingredient in Beta Red is the amino acid Citrulline malate which is shown to reduce muscle fatigue, improve oxygen uptake during intense bouts of exercise and improve anaerobic performance. One study provided male cyclists with the supplement for 7 days before their time trial test, plus the day-of. So a week of drinking Beta Red is a good protocol to follow.
Now, go back to your trusted trainer workout or group ride and follow a similar approach to the pre-Beta Red workout by making observations. Do you feel better? Do you make the front group? Sustain higher power? Are you able to put out more repeated surges of power? Or recover faster from intense efforts in time for the final sprint?
Often riders who are on a “real life” schedule (as opposed to the “pro” life) find Beta Red significantly helps improve how they feel and how they ride. In addition to the sensations, you observe, download your SRM file and highlight the same area of the workout to see if your overall power was higher or if you were able to surge above a particular power more times than previously. You can look at average power, normalized power, TSS or IF as well, but I usually like to zoom in on the critical areas and get up-close-and-personal with how the numbers correlate to how I felt.
Go ahead: Fill a glass with Beta Red, charge your PC8, and get ready to ride better than you might expect! Then let us know how it worked for you.