Friday, February 24, 2012

Review of FRS and Quercetin supplementation

Last summer, I took advantage of FRS' offer of a Free Performance Pack. FRS had sponsored several running races that I'd done and I liked the product. To keep this review short, the 'secret ingredient' of FRS, the antioxidant Quercetin, basically won't help you (according to the primary literature I reviewed in pubmed). Should you care to read more about Quercetin, check out this thoughtful article from Lava magazine, "Plates Not Pills: Quercetin."

There was a bit of a delay in shipping due to an apparent overload of interest, but the package was still a bargain at a price of only Free + $4 for shipping. 

The pack included a bunch of single-serving sized powder bags (in the white and orange box), two cans of FRS, and two packs of energy chews. Since Quercetin has only two possible ways of helping an athlete: 1) through working (and it doesn't), or 2) through the placebo effect (which can be very powerful, but was unfortunately lost on me since I knew it wouldn't work...), the energy chews were rather ineffectual, and tasted more like medicine than anything. I prefer Sport Jellies or, especially, CLIF Shot Bloks. I use Shot Bloks on the bike during longer races to augment my primary bike nutrition of IM Perform and Powerbars. 

Photo courtesy of a review from 

The powdered mix had a pleasant flavor, but was difficult to fully dissolve into solution and had a very powerful dye in it. I'm pretty sure it could stain a brand new teflon pan. 

The drink, however, is really where FRS shines despite it's false promise of a benefit from Quercetin. Many triathletes, especially in Ironman races, like to take Red Bull during the run. With all of the amazingly unnecessary ingredients in Red Bull, including the ever-pointless Taurine and a fairly large dose of caffeine, FRS presents itself as a great alternative for the athlete that wants a quick load of caffeine and carbohydrates during the run leg. For those that currently use or are interested in using Red Bull or other energy drinks during your training and racing, I would strongly recommend that you consider replacing it with FRS. I may even leave a can in my run special needs bag at IM Coeur d'Alene this June. 

Plus, if you're a Tebow fan, they're sponsoring him and helping share the word about his foundation: 

In summary, FRS is a nicely flavored drink that blends a little bit of caffeine and carbs into a nice package. While the energy chews left much to be desired, the drink is a great option for replacing Red Bull in your long-distance triathlon special needs bag. 

Triathlon Aero Flat Kit + Bottle Holder

Previously I detailed how I carry hydration on the bike in this post. I've added a new component to my behind-the-saddle system with my 2-in-1 Topeak pump and thought it was worth posting.

In short, I ordered a Minoura behind-the-saddle single bottle holder through Speedy Reedy and flipped it such that it mounted and held the bottle as shown in the angle below rather than parallel to and directly behind the seatpost. I've now added a Topeak Two-Timer pump to the Minoura mount for my upcoming races. It allows me to have a fast change with CO2, while also giving me the backup option of a hand pump should the CO2 malfunction or misfire.  I haven't had occasion to use it yet, so I can't provide any insight to it's function. One downside is that Topeak made it to only fit Topeak-brand CO2 cartridges, which I think is, basically, stupid. But a penny will compensate for the disparity in size and allow one to run standard CO2 according to one yahoo user's review of the product (who was told the trick by Topeak customer service). Here are some more photos:

 Here's a zoomed-in shot of the frontal profile. You can see the bottom of the bottle as the obvious white circle behind the seatpost, while the head of the pump is visible beneath the right side of the saddle (your left as you view the image). That will be nicely blocked by my right leg, however, so overall I am very pleased. I'm uncertain yet as to where I'll place my spare butyl tube (note: I'll run latex tubes on race day but bring a butyl spare as latex tubes poorly retain CO2).