Caffeine and Nutrition, Training with the Menstrual Cycle, Closing Gaps and More with Special Guest Amber Pierce – Ask a Cycling Coach 220

@ambermalika on coffee as @chad ruins everything:

So what you’re saying is, it tastes good, and we should eat more?

:rofl: :rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl:


Thank you so much for answering my question about caffeine and nutrient absorption. Much appreciated!!


In episode 220, it was mentioned that EVOC came out with a new bike bag where you only had to take off the wheels. However, after scouring the internet, I cannot find any reference to this bag? Has anyone seen pictures of this bag and know when it is going to be released?

I currently use the EVOC Pro case and love it because it fits within the dimensions and weight limits that certain airlines have to qualify it for normal bag pricing. I’m concerned that this new bag won’t fit the dimensions.


found my answer in the show notes :slight_smile: nothing to see here


Hey guys I’m really disappointed by the suscreen conversation! A few things I thought needed better consideration especially since the discussion sounded a lot like health advice:

  1. I completely disagree with the idea that sunscreens are suspect because they contain “chemicals”, whereas barrier-type sunblock doesn’t. I was surprised to hear Chad talk about it this way because it honestly gives off a pseudoscience vibe, like when someone talks about “flushing toxins”. The idea that we shouldn’t apply “chemicals” to our skin misses the point that everything’s a chemical, even water. The active ingredients in sunscreen are tested and to my knowledge there’s no evidence that they represent any kind of health risk. The greatest health concerns that have been reported are allergic reactions to ingredients like PABA, which is why most sunscreens these days use a different ingredient instead.

  2. broad spectrum sunscreens that protect against UVA and UVB light do exist, and there is good information out there to back up which products in particular give you the best coverage. Most importantly you can and should protect yourself from both - both will cause skin damage and both are risk factors for skin cancer.

  3. I was surprised to hear Chad claim you can build up a tolerance to sun exposure. What evidence is there of this? It sounds an awful lot like the false claim that getting a “base tan” will help protect from sunburns. It doesn’t. Both tans and sunburns reflect skin damage.

I would like to hear more about vitamin D although it’s pretty important to balance the fact that most of us do get a reasonable amount of Vitamin D from our diets. If we need more, increasing intake through supplements makes a lot more sense than ditching sunscreen and sunblock.


Agreed on all counts. ‘No such thing as a safe tan.’

Not sure I’d advocate using spray on sunscreen either, every summer here (Aus) there are news stories about people getting burned to a crisp when using the spray ons and therefore blaming the rubbish product. It’s not a rubbish product, most people simply don’t apply enough of it, compared to lotion based.


I understood them to be contrasting chemical-filter with mineral-filter sunscreens, not bemoaning chemicals generally. More on that at EWG, with references.

I’d recommend checking out the resources from EWG.

When the FDA began to consider sunscreen safety, it grandfathered in active ingredients from the late 1970s without reviewing the evidence of their potential hazards. In February 2019, the agency released its final draft sunscreens monograph, which contains insufficient health and safety data to designate 12 of the 16 sunscreen filters allowed for use in the U.S. as generally recognized as safe and effective, or GRASE. These 12 ingredients include some of the most commonly used UV filters, including oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and avobenzone. According to the agency, “nearly all of these sunscreen active ingredients … have limited or no data characterizing their absorption.”

I literally didn’t know that products existed that didn’t do this. Everything sold here is uvb in a protection factor of your choice ranging from ‘i like to tan on the surface of the sun’ to ‘pasty white year round please’ and the UVA is I suspect pretty similar in everything. The SPF15 I put on this morning is marked UVA ultra whatever that means.

In a similar twist of what we might call cognitive bias it also never even occured to me that there were mineral Vs chemical sunscreens.

Regarding ‘building up tolerance’ of sun exposure - the skin naturally gets thicker and darker with sun exposure. And yes, that does protect from more sun damage. However in the process of developing that thicker skin, you might have already caused enough damage for more long-lasting skin damage…

It’s also worth mentioning that sun tan as a result of just UV-A from a solarium does not lead to the same ‘tolerance build-up’ as exposure to both UV-A and UV-B, and leads to a false sense of security.

Most suncreams contain chemical protection, but some also add minerals - nanoparticles of TiO2 and ZnO - to help reflect light (this is mostly optical, it makes a thicker layer of cream look transparent) and makes the cream easier to apply.

Some suncreams also add microplastics. I’d personally avoid those for their environmental impact, as well as those with oxybenzon, which kills corals (and is banned on Hawaii and other islands).


I LOL’d!

Haha! That last one was a doozy! This one is looking a bit tamer… :wink:

1 Like

Nothing super new, but when I run out of my endurance mix powder, I’ll make a batch of watered down iced tea (any unsweetened black tea, but favorites include Assam and English Breakfast), lemon juice, and maple syrup and add a pinch of table salt to each bottle. Gives a touch of caffeine, electrolytes, carbs, and flavor. I don’t get too crazy being precise with proportions, so the recipe is all to taste.

Plain water is great for hydrating too, if you’re not in crazy hot conditions or riding crazy long. The hotter/longer your ride, the more you really need electrolytes. I’ve also frequently just added a pinch of table salt to plain water. You can barely taste the salt, but it will make a difference in your hydration status!


Hey, don’t make fun of my laugh… ! :upside_down_face:

Thank you!

Seriously, someone needed to find a silver lining for us coffee addicts in that segment! :wink:


Thanks for asking that question! It had never crossed my mind, and I got to learn some fascinating new stuff!


Through clenched teeth that entire segment I kept saying to myself, “SHUT UP @chad! Stop the badmouthing of my espresso now @chad.”

Sidebar, I was doing a crit when I was a collegiate racer in North Carolina. I ran into Jonas Carney in a coffee shop. I had raced already and he was getting ready to race the Pro/1. I think he was with Saturn at the time. I want to say this was 1994? anyway, as I’m getting my ‘recovery latte’…Jonas rolls up to the counter and orders around 8 double espressos and proceeds to hammer them in quick succession. Then clops out to to his bike clips in and rolls out for this call-up.

So if Jonas did it, Chad…I mean, come on!


@ambermalika thanks for all the great info, including the info to help me understand sports performance and my daughters! They are home for the weekend and last night we had an interesting conversation based on the podcast :+1:t3:


This is such a huge topic! The original question posed asked us what our personal routines were for applying sunscreen for training, and I think @chad plans to address a lot of this on his deep dive about Vitamin D. I went back and listened to the segment again, and I realize I didn’t make my own perspective on this very clear.

I’ve got friends in toxicology research, and that’s a scary rabbit hole. That said, what is probably most surprising is that many of the more complicated-sounding chemical ingredients in skin-care products are harmless, while innocuous sounding things like “parfum” can be more sinister. The other thing to keep in mind is that our environments are FILLED with toxins, both natural and manmade, and that our bodies have highly adaptive and specialized systems to efficiently rid our body of unwanted toxins. Our bodies are actually really good at this, and we need to remember to give them due credit. When things go awry, it’s more often due to overwhelming the body with such huge doses that it can’t keep up, or due to pathology in the body’s natural defense system.

When it comes to sunscreen specifically, I’ve had teammates who were diagnosed very young with melanoma. In my own personal risk analysis as regards use of sunscreen, I put skin cancer at the top of my list of outcomes I want to avoid. I used 30 SPF or higher sunblocks (usually 30 or 50) that include both physical (e.g. titanium dioxide) and chemical (e.g. avo- or oxybenzone) sunscreens. I’m not sponsored by any brands, but I do like Neutrogena Sport Face: it has both physical and chemical sunscreens and absorbs well if you apply it 20 or so minutes before starting your workout. I think allowing enough time for the sunscreen to absorb before getting your sweat on makes a big difference in the efficacy of whatever you use. This is all my own personal opinion.

I am NOT an expert in this: I advocate speaking with your dermatologist for advice. (Many people have skin sensitivities that may preclude certain kinds of sunscreens.) On that note, if you spend a lot of time outdoors in the sun (and if your insurance allows), it’s a great idea to make a habit of seeing your dermatologist on an annual basis for a skin check.

When you really get into the literature on toxins and all the common substances can potentially cause harm, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Most folks on this forum are likely very conscientious about what they consume, and that’s really the best thing you can do (and the most anyone really CAN do). Educate yourself with information from credible sources, make a decision based on your own risk tolerance, and then read labels and buy/consume accordingly.

My personal decision for myself is to use both physical and chemical sunscreens, as I worry more about skin cancer than about the effects of any of the ingredients in my sunscreens.


That’s awesome! Please let them know they can reach out to me anytime with questions. If I can offer good perspective, I will, and if not, chances are I can connect them with someone who can!