July 2004 - Issue 043

Hammer Recoverite : The right way to ensure superior recovery!

The wait is over! Recoverite is here! With the addition of this extraordinary product, the Hammer Nutrition line of fuels is complete. We now have everything you, the endurance athlete, need for all your fueling requirements prior to, during, and after all your workouts and races.

Recoverite eliminates all the guesswork regarding fuel quality and appropriate amounts because it contains the right kinds of carbohydrates and protein your body needs and in the ratios we believe will ensure complete recovery. Simply put, with Recoverite you'll satisfy your body's post-workout/post-race caloric needs precisely and completely. And, unlike far too many drink mixes available, Recoverite tastes really good! After a hard workout or race the last thing you want to do is choke down some overly sweet and heavy recovery drink. Well, you won't have to worry about that with Recoverite. Your body will appreciate the quality of the fuel and your taste buds will appreciate its light, refreshing citrus flavor.

More information about Recoverite is available in the ad found elsewhere in this issue and also on the E-CAPS website (www.e-caps.com) and we invite you to take a look. Better yet, why not get a container of Recoverite and put it to the test? It's exactly what your body demands after workouts and races. Consistent use of Recoverite will absolutely help you achieve better results in all your training sessions and races. Recover right, right now, with Recoverite!

Hammer Proteins : New and improved

New names, new labels, new containers, and best of all, NEW formulas!

2004 sure has been a busy year at Hammer Nutrition. Not only have we introduced Recoverite and HEED, our new sports drink (with the new Mandarin Orange flavor coming soon), we've also revamped our protein powders. When you order our whey or soy protein powders, you'll notice new names (we've deleted the "Pro" from the name), new labels, and new containers. Best of all, you'll notice an even better protein product.

We continually look for the best possible sources/suppliers for the raw materials that constitute E-CAPS and Hammer Nutrition products and, after months of searching, Brian and Dr. Bill have found a supplier that provides a superb, yet cost-effective source of both soy and whey protein. We're very excited to incorporate these proteins into our Hammer Soy and Hammer Whey.

What you'll probably notice first is that the substantially improved taste of both products. Quite frankly, most protein powders, unless they are "enhanced" with flavorings or sweeteners, don't taste very good. Even then, with all the added flavorings, etc., there's a good chance they still won't taste good (I know, I've tried far too many of them). We've always been much more interested in producing/providing a high-quality protein without all the added flavorings or sweeteners (and miniscule amounts of auxiliary nutrients, for that matter). Not only are these sweeteners unnecessary and unhealthy (see Brian's column and Dr. Bill's article for more on that) they, and the inconsequential amounts of added nutrients in many protein powders, only serve to increase the price. They provide no performance benefit. We've looked long, hard, and everywhere to find a protein powder that didn't compromise our standards and was at least somewhat palatable. We believe we've finally found two winners in the new Hammer Soy and Hammer Whey proteins.

Hammer Soy is a fantastic protein, a great all-around, general health protein, one we recommend as a pre-workout/race protein source, and one that's ideal for vegetarians. Our new Hammer Whey is of particular interest, because we've changed from a whey protein concentrate to a whey protein isolate. The difference is substantial in that whey protein from concentrate typically yields 70-80% actual protein, while isolate yields a purer product, 90-97% actual protein, and little, if any, lactose or fat. Even those with lactose intolerance may find it an easily digestible protein source.

In addition to Hammer Whey now being in the superior isolate form, another major plus is the inclusion of a whopping SIX GRAMS of the amino acid l-glutamine in each scoop. This extraordinary amino acid plays a critical role is many important bodily functions, primarily the health of the digestive tract and immune system. The results of one well-designed study (Castell LM, Poortmans JR, Newsholme EA. Does glutamine have a role in reducing infections in athletes? Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 1996;73:488-490) involving 151 athletes undergoing strenuous exercise found that only 19% of the athletes taking supplemental glutamine got sick, whereas those in the placebo group had a sickness rate of 51%. In addition to its role in enhanced immune system function, glutamine is also a major player in the repair and preservation of lean muscle tissue. Needless to say, it's a vital component in supporting superior recovery between workout sessions and races.

The newly revised Hammer Soy and Hammer Whey are simply great products. We believe they're the best protein powders you can buy, and they're available now. For more information, visit their specific product pages at www.e-caps.com and for more information on protein requirements for endurance athletes please read the recently updated article, "The Importance of Protein For Endurance Athletes" in The Endurance Athlete's Guide To Success.

Dear Client,

Welcome to the 43rd issue of Endurance News, and a special welcome to those of you who are reading this as your first issue. As always, EN is chock full of interesting news, including race coverage, human-interest stories, and motivational and educational information for you to ponder. Long-time client Robb Beams also debuts as a contributor in this issue.

We are staying busy in 2004 with growth, innovation, and further refinement of our service as our main themes. We have a new website (it'll be up in a few weeks), the "everything-in-one-book" new catalog, new products HEED and RECOVERITE, the expanded 6th edition of The Endurance Athlete's Guide to Success, the Compex Sport electrical stimulator, the 3rd annual Highline Hammer Weekend, growing retail sales, and increasing international distribution, just to name a few of our advances.

Endurance News Staff

Steve Born, Dr. Bill Misner, Brian Frank

Editorial Contributors:
Robb Beams, Nate Llerandi

David Levin*

Angela Nock

*Article by Dr. Bill Misner are not proofed by Devid Levin

Our Mission

The objective of Endurance News is to provide you, the serious endurance athlete, with a valuable resource that you will find to be informative, educational, thought provoking and helpful in your ongoing pursuit of optimum performance and health.

Endurance News features insightful articles on diet, nutrition, training and other topics of interest for endurance athletes - written by myself as well as professional and elite amateur athletes and other experts in the area of nutrition and exercise. In addition, Endurance News will include articles highlighting new and existing E-Caps products and how to get the maximum benefits from them.

In reading this and future issues, please remember that the views expressed in this publication will always be biased in favor of a healthy diet, hard training that emphasizes quality over quantity, and prudent supplementation to improve health and performance. But above all, we at Endurance News believe there are no short cuts, and success can only come from hard work.

Back issues of Endurance News are available online at: www.e-caps.com

Legal disclaimer: The contents of Endurance News are not intended to provide medical advice to individuals. For medical advice, please consult a licensed health care specialist.

The FDA has evaluated none of the statements in this newsletter.
Of course, without your support and encouragement, none of this would be happening. So, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you once again. You also have my word that we will not waiver from our uncompromising commitment to providing you with clean, healthy, effective products backed by our formidable experiential knowledge and superlative-unheard of in this day and age-customer service. These were my goals in 1987 and they've never changed.

Now it's time for me to hop on my soapbox and tell you about my latest crusade. It's not really new since I've been talking about this issue for twelve years now. I'm going all out against commercial refined sugar and artificial sweeteners, colors, and flavors, in the foods we eat generally and in "sports" products specifically. In 1992 we led the way in educating athletes about the importance of consuming protein during prolonged exercise, and in 1995 we were the lone voice advocating little or no simple sugar intake during exercise. Today you will find some products and companies claiming protein and low simple sugar content as selling points for their drinks and gels.

However, there are still far, far too many companies using toxic ingredients in the drinks, bars, and gels they market and sell to athletes like you. More than likely you have one or more of these products on your shelf.

I'm telling you this with all sincerity. There is absolutely no way to justify the presence of any of these ingredients in our foods and especially in a sports drink, bar or gel. Manufacturers use these ingredients because they produce cheap, sweet, brightly colored appealing products-in other words, for the benefit of the seller, not the buyer. This is not just my opinion; research proves it. You see the effects of a high sugar/artificial additive diet every time you go out into the public.

As athletes we kid ourselves into thinking that because we burn so many calories, it doesn't matter what type of calories we consume. This foolhardy thinking could endanger your health and longevity. These are toxic, zero tolerance substances that you would be wise to avoid at all times, but especially when training and racing because these activities place your body under much stress.

Now, some of you may accuse me of using this "crusade" as a tactic to sell more product. If educating you about the known dangers of these toxic additives, being concerned for your better health, and offering products that don't contain junk, then I am certainly guilty. Honestly, whether you buy my products or others is secondary to getting you to stop using products contaminated with fructose and artificial ingredients.

What You Can Do

The most important two things for you to do are (1) continue educating yourself about sugar and artificial ingredients, and (2) read the labels of everything you buy. Whenever you encounter ingredients such as fructose, high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, glucose, aspartame, Nutrasweet®, Splenda®, sucralose, acesulfame K, FD&C color #1-99, avoid them like the plague and look for alternatives.

The articles on fructose and artificial sweeteners in this issue are a good start in the education process. We'll be bringing you more and more accurate, reliable information on one of the biggest unreported stories of our times on our website and in future issues of Endurance News. Our new website will also have a bookstore with this type of material offered. Last but not least, seek out non-establishment resources to continue educating yourself about this issue.

The question you have to ask yourself is: "Why am I eating junk food disguised as an energy drink, bar, or gel?" Now that you know what to look for and what to avoid, it should be easy for you get off the junk food habit, at least for your athletic fuels.

Remember, just say NO to fructose, in all of its forms, and to artificial sweeteners, colors and flavors! Your health and your the success of your next event may depend on it.

Brian Frank

Why Eat Junk Food Disguised As Nutrition Bars?

The Organic Vegan Food Bar energy bar, introduced in 2002, has been a big seller, despite the fact that you can buy a variety of inexpensive energy bars on just about every street corner. The makers of these bars may have had a late start into the energy bar game, but they have proven that there is still room in the category for a premium quality organic product.

Their success has led them to other variations of the original bar. We don't offer these other versions of the Organic Vegan Food Bars, but you can find them with increasing ease at better health food stores and whole food markets.

When Steve first introduced me to Organic Vegan Food Bars a couple of years ago, I was immediately impressed with the quality of the ingredients, pleasant taste, and moistness. As the makers point out on their label, "Most 'health bars' are acid forming processed dead food with artificial sweeteners and ingredients. Organic Food Bar is your solution to eating healthy on the go. Our bar consists of enzymatically-live organic super foods that provide optimum nutrition for all." Their label also states "No preservatives, additives, salt, or refined sugars. Gluten Free."

The "Mini" Organic Food Bar is Here

My only reservation about the original bar was its size. At a full 300 calories in a 68-gram bar, it's 50-100 calories more than most bars and more than I usually eat as a snack. I would usually eat half of a bar and save the other half for my next snack time.

Whether my asking them to make a smaller bar had anything to do with it or not, my wish has been granted, in the form of a 170 calorie, 40 gram version. I think this is the perfect size for a snack bar. If you do elect to eat solid food during extended periods of exercise, this is a much more manageable size.

Of course the smaller size bar also carries a smaller price tag, just $1.50. We will continue to carry the original size also, at a great price of only $2.25 (SRP is $2.99).

Here's a run down of the original 300-calorie bar's premium ingredients: Organic Almond Butter, Organic Date Paste, Organic Agave Nectar, Organic Brown Rice Protein, Organic Raisins, Organic Flax Sprout Powder, Organic Soy Sprout Powder, Organic Quinoa Sprout Powder, Organic Sesame Seeds, and Lots of Love!

The only difference in the make-up of the "mini" bar is that they left out the soy and quinoa sprouts.

If you haven't tried these bars yet, you really should. If you've been enjoying the bars but wishing they were a little smaller, then the new mini bar is going to be perfect for you. You can order them from our website or by calling us. Yes, they are worth the trouble and extra expense. Actually, the point is that your health is worth the extra trouble and expense!

Half Empty Containers : What's going on?

The question of whether the glass is half full or half empty has been debated by optimists and pessimists for ages. In the case of Hammer Nutrition powdered products, it's not really a debate as much as it is a perception. This article offers an explanation and how we plan to solve the perceived problem of half-full containers.

When you buy something, you would normally expect a full container of product. What constitutes a full container could also be debated for some time, but I think we can all agree that a container filled only 50% or thereabouts is not understood to be "full." So it is entirely reasonable that you might be a little disappointed when you open a container and find it only half full of powder. You might even wonder if it's defective, or if you really are getting as much as is stated on the label.

Unfortunately, I'm afraid this may have happened to you if you purchased a container of Perpetuem, HEED, Hammer Whey, or Sustained Energy. We've even heard from a few clients who've suggested that we were doing this intentionally to try to deceive people into thinking they were getting more for their money or that we weren't putting as much product into the containers as the labels stated. Being accused of those types of business practices bothers me, but I can certainly understand their concern.

If you have noticed this and wondered the same, let me be the first to apologize. The last thing any of us wants is to deceive or trick you. Let me also assure you that no matter the size of the container, you always get the full amount of product and the stated number of servings you paid for.

Honestly, this is really a manufacturing issue. When the powders are run through the high speed bottling equipment, they "fluff up" with air. Once in the container, the powder gradually settles. This is why all of our powders (and most everyone else's, also), carry the following disclaimer: "Contents are packed by weight, not volume, and some settling may occur." The settling phenomenon also explains why the plastic scoop always ends up at the bottom of the container, even though it's inserted after the powder goes in. As the powder is settling down, and during shipping, the denser plastic scoop sinks through the powder to the bottom of the container.

Because this is a manufacturing issue, I have been working with our production facilities to encourage them to find smaller containers that do not hinder the manufacturing process and yet still allow the container to appear relatively full once it's settled. Despite previous assurances that the containers were as small as they could be, we have been able to reduce the container sizes by 25 to 33% on all Hammer Nutrition powdered products. It's amazing what you can get when you persist!

Soon, you'll notice the size of the HEED (32 servings), Perpetuem (8 & 32 servings), Sustained Energy (8 & 30 servings) and other powder products arriving in smaller containers, approximately 75% or more full. Please note: this is not the "smaller-package, virtual price increase" ploy used by so many food vendors. Only the container is smaller; the content amount and price remain unchanged. You will still be getting what you paid for without the over-sized container or any misperceptions. Also, smaller packaging means easier shipping, easier storage, and less waste.

Take Your Performance To The Next Level
COMPEX SPORT Muscle Stimulator

"I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that THIS PRODUCT WORKS. The Compex gives me an unreal workout and the "Recovery" function alone is worth the price of the product. The Compex IS what "taking your performance to the next level" means, clear and simple."

Steve Born Senior Technical Advisor
With the Compex you will:
  • Dramatically improve muscle recovery Minimize next-day muscle soreness
  • Improve muscle elasticity Reduce your risk of injury
  • Increase endurance Go longer!
  • Increase strength More power throughout
  • Develop explosive strength More power when you need it
  • Have a better and faster warm-up Peak performance right away
  • and much more!

Each unit comes complete with 1 set of 2" x 2" electrodes, 1 set of 2" x 4" electrodes, leadwires, user manual, training planner CD, the electrode placement booklet, battery charger, and a carrying case.

Ask Dr. Bill, Bill Misner, Ph.D.

QUESTION : What are the causes of muscle cramps and how can I resolve them?

ANSWER : The general origin of muscle cramps as defined by sport scientists in human performance laboratories is not well investigated and is therefore not well understood. Clinically, "Exercise-Associated-Muscle-Cramps or EAMC's have several theoretical causes:
  • Inherited abnormalities of substrate metabolism ("Metabolic Theory"),

  • Abnormalities of fluid balance ("Dehydration Theory"),

  • Abnormalities of serum electrolyte concentrations ("Electrolyte Theory"),

  • Extreme environmental conditions from heat or cold ("Environmental Theory").

Anyone of the above or a combination of each could stage the physiological environment for a muscle cramp.

In studies, recent data from runners during EAMC do not support a single hypothetical cause from #1-2-3-4 above. Electromyographic (EMG) data collected during these cramp episodes reveals baseline activity is increased (between spasms). And, reduction of baseline EMG activity correlates well with clinical recovery. During acute cramping EMG activity is high. Passive stretching reduces EMG activity and the stimulus evoking cramp mechanism.

In animal studies, abnormal reflex activity in the muscle spindle (increased exercise) and the Golgi tendon organ (decreased activity) has been observed in fatigued muscle. Schwellnus et al.*, have hypothesized that EAMC is caused by sustained abnormal spinal which appears to be secondary to muscle fatigue. "Local muscle fatigue is responsible for increased muscle spindle afferent and decreased Golgi tendon organ afferent activity. Sustained abnormal reflex activity would explain increased baseline EMG activity between bouts of cramping. Passive stretching invokes afferent activity from the Golgi tendon organ, thereby relieving the cramp and decreasing EMG activity."* *Schwellnus MP, Derman EW, Noakes TD, "Aetiology of skeletal muscle 'cramps' during exercise: a novel hypothesis," J SPORTS SCI,1997 Jun,15:3,277-285.

Endurance Athletes' Cramp-Relative Resolutions

Therefore the origins of muscle cramping are multiple thus poorly understood. In review of the electrolyte, fluid, and fuel -related disturbances from athletes who resolved cramping problems the following individual resolutions were reported to us from 1996-2004:
  1. Fluid intake under 30 fluid ounces per hour
  2. Endurolyte intake range 3-6 per hour
  3. Fuel/calorie intake under 300 k/cal/hour
  4. Acclimatization training in heat 14-21 days
  5. Interval training sessions 2-3 X week
  6. Glycerol hyperhydration loading protocol (Liquid Endurance)
  7. Elimination of supplemental ginseng, fructose, caffeine, simple sugar, creatine
  8. Increase endurance duration training distance
  9. Reduced pace to suite individual fitness state
  10. Change in prescription medications
  11. Unknown resolutions: "They just went away..."
Real Gains Happen When You Recover Right!
Glutamine Fortified Recover Drink
The real gain of exercise occurs during recovery, but only in the presence of adequate rest and optimal nutritional support. That's where RECOVERITE comes in, providing unsurpassed nutritional support to ensure you obtain the maximum value from your workouts and complete recovery after each training session and race.
  • Ideal 3:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio
  • 100% whey protein isolate - no inferior proteins
  • Enhanced muscle glycogen synthesis
  • Optimal immune system support from 3 grams of L-Glutamine/serving
  • You get only what's good for you - No artificial anything!
  • Replenish lost electrolytes
  • Pleasant, light citrus flavor

Ensure superior recovery with Recoverite!
1.800.336.1977 www.hammernutrition.com

What Are You Eating?

Introduction : Endurance athletes are encouraged to read the labels carefully questioning every ingredient listed. Just because an energy bar, gel, powdered potion, or drink is associated with and recommended for use during health-enhancing exercise, does NOT mean the substance consumed is also "healthy". Dr. Elson Haas M.D. and Dr. Christine H. Farlow, D.C., experts in this area, eloquently raise the question and identify several common not-so-healthy additives in manufactured food fuels that should be avoided.

Bill Misner, Ph.D., C.S.M.T.

Food Additives & Human Health
Elson M. Haas, M.D.

Why Are Chemicals Added To Our Food?

Originally, foods were grown and eaten directly from a relatively unpolluted Earth. Wild foods were sought and gathered. Cleaner oceans, lakes and rivers fed us nutritious fish. Animals in the wild provided protein foods to hunters and their tribes. As the human population multiplied, the world expanded, farming progressed, trade specialties developed, and town markets shared a variety of goods among a diversity of people. Techniques for food preparation and preservation, such as pickling, salting, and smoking, were developed to deal with the new problems of storage, waste, and food-borne illnesses. With advanced technology, our modern food industry's reliance on processing and additives continues to increase. Is this evolution, or are we sacrificing our health for the sake of technological "advances"?

For decades now, the food industry has continually created new chemicals to manipulate, preserve, and transform our food. With the use of chemicals, scientists are able to mimic natural flavors, color foods to make them look more "natural" or "fresh," preserve foods for longer and longer periods of time, and create altered versions of breads, crackers, fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy products and many more commonly used foods. Now there are even "foods" that are made entirely from chemicals. Coffee creamers, sugar substitutes, and candies consist almost completely of artificial ingredients. Such manipulation of our food can have a profound effect on our body's unique biochemical balance.

But there is a method to the food industry's madness. They generally provide five main reasons for why chemicals must be added to our foods:

  1. To improve shelf life or storage time.
  2. To make food convenient and easy to prepare.
  3. To increase the nutritional value.
  4. To improve the flavor of foods.
  5. To enhance the attractiveness of food products and improve consumer acceptance.

Which Food Additives Should You Avoid?

Avoiding toxins in your diet is an important initial step toward enhancing your health and lowering your risk of disease. Since foods represent a source of these toxins, let's look at the key additives that may undermine your health. Those with immediate effects may cause headaches or alter your energy level, or they may affect your mental concentration, behavior, or immune response. Those with long-term effects could increase your risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease and other degenerative conditions.

Begin by avoiding the most questionable additives, no longer consuming them on any regular basis. Make a decision to either cut down on or cut out altogether those food additives that may be hazardous to your health. Although it may seem difficult to change habits and find substitutes for foods you enjoy, remind yourself that you will be adding to your diet some wholesome new flavors and foods that you may come to like even more. Avoidance and discrimination are crucial proactive steps in most natural health care programs.

12 Key Additives To Avoid And Their Health Risks
1. Hydrogenated Fats
cardiovascular disease, obesity

2. Artificial Food Colors
allergies, asthma, hyperactivity; possible carcinogen

3. Nitrites and Nitrates
these substances can develop into nitrosamines in body, which can be carcinogenic

4. Sulfites (sulfur dioxide, metabisulfites, and others)
allergic and asthmatic reactions

5. Sugar and Sweeteners
obesity, dental cavities, diabetes and hypoglycemia, increased triglycerides (blood fats) or candida (yeast)

6. Artificial Sweeteners
(Aspartame, Acesulfame K and Saccharin) behavioral problems, hyperactivity, allergies, and possibly carcinogenic. The government cautions against the use of any artificial sweetener by children and pregnant women. Anyone with PKU (phenylketonuria-a problem of phenylalanine, an amino acid, metabolism) should not use aspartame (Nutrasweet).

7. MSG (monosodium glutamate)
common allergic and behavioral reactions, including headaches, dizziness, chest pains, depression and mood swings; also a possible neurotoxin

8. Preservatives (BHA, BHT, EDTA, etc.)
allergic reactions, hyperactivity, possibly cancer-causing; BHT may be toxic to the nervous system and the liver

9. Artificial Flavors
allergic or behavioral reactions

10. Refined Flour
low-nutrient calories, carbohydrate imbalances, altered insulin production

11. Salt (excessive)
fluid retention and blood pressure increases

12. Olestra (an artificial fat)
diarrhea and digestive disturbances

Other Concerns:
Food Waxes (protective coating of produce, as in cucumbers, peppers, and apples)-may trigger allergies, can contain pesticides, fungicide sprays or animal byproducts.

Plastic Packaging - Carcinogenic (vinyl chloride); immune reactions, lung shock

Is It Necessary To Give Up All Processed Foods & Food Additives?

When you begin to realize the health risks associated with processed foods and food additives, it makes good sense to start eating less of them. But this doesn't mean you need to take an alarmist approach. Here is a sensible rule to start with: If there are special treats that you just can't imagine living without, have them only on occasion. But be aware of what those special treats contain. Think about the possible wholesome alternatives that might taste just as good and which don't put your health at risk. Also, consider changing your consumer habits. Are there farmer's markets in your area where you could shop frequently? Is there a natural foods market with organic produce nearby that you've never bothered to check out? Changing your shopping and eating routines isn't something you can easily do overnight. The first step is to sharpen your awareness about what you're currently eating. Then you can take steps to make the changes you desire.

Dr. Christine H. Farlow's "Food Additive Safety Codes" chart (2) summarizes some of the additives in a variety of products with which consumers should be aware.

References (1) From Food Additives and Human Health, by permission, courtesy of Dr. Elson M. Haas, M.D., Healthy Child Online @: http://healthychild.com/database/food_additives_and_human_health.htm http://www.elsonhaas.com/contact_elson_haas.html

Dr. Elson Haas is a physician and author of the ever-popular Staying Healthy book series. He is the founder of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin, specializing in nutrition, detoxification and lifestyle transformation. Detoxification is a valuable healing tool for many people and many problems. Find out if its right for you.

(2) By permission, courtesy of Dr. Christine H. Farlow, D.C., From Food Additives article, Protect Your Family From Cancer-Causing Chemicals. Online @: http://www.healthyeatingadvisor.com/food-additives.html

Dr. Farlow is "The Healthy Eating Advisor" and author of 3 best selling health and nutrition books.

Food Additive Safety Codes

The following codes indicate the safety of the additives in the table below. Many additives have more than one code used to describe their safety.

*GRAS - Generally Recognized As Safe by the FDA.
§FDA approved colorant
SThere is no known toxicity. The additive appears to be safe.
AThe additive may cause allergic reactions.
CCaution is advised. The additive may be unsafe, poorly tested, or used in foods we eat too much of.
C1Caution is advised for certain groups in the population, such as pregnant women, infants, persons with high blood pressure, kidney problems, etc.

Common Food Additives
XACESULFAME-K - "Sunette"; may cause low blood sugar attacks; causes cancer, elevated cholesterol in lab animals.
XACESULFAME-POTASSIUM - same as acesulfame-K.
CAnimal or vegetable shortening - associated with heart disease, hardening of the arteries, elevated cholesterol levels.
X AARTIFICIAL COLOR FD & C, U.S CERTIFIED FOOD COLOR - contribute to hyperactivity in children; may contribute to learning and visual disorders, nerve damage; may be carcinogenic; see FD&C Colors.
C AArtificial flavoring - may cause reproductive disorders, developmental problems; not adequately tested.
CArtificial sweeteners - associated with health problems; see specific sweetener.
XASPARTAME - may cause brain damage in phenylketonurics; may cause central nervous system disturbances, menstrual difficulties; may affect brain development in unborn fetus.
* X ABHA - can cause liver and kidney damage, behavioral problems, infertility, weakened immune system, birth defects, cancer; should be avoided by infants, young children, pregnant women and those sensitive to aspirin.
* X ABHT - see BHA; banned in England.
X ABROMINATED VEGETABLE OIL - linked to major organ system damage, birth defects, growth problems; considered unsafe by the FDA, can still law fully be used unless further action is taken by the FDA .
* CCaffeine - psychoactive, addictive drug; may cause fertility problems, birth defects, heart disease, depression, nervousness, behavioral changes, insomnia, etc
§ XFD&C COLORS - colors considered safe by the FDA for use in food, drugs and cosmetics; most of the colors are derived from coal tar and must be certified by the FDA not to contain more than 10ppm of lead and arsenic; certification does not address any harmful effects these colors may have on the body; most coal tar colors are potential carcinogens, may contain carcinogenic contaminants, and cause allergic reactions.
CFree glutamates - may cause brain damage, especially in children; always found in autolyzed yeast, calcium caseinate, enzymes, flavors & flavorings, gelatin, glutamate, glutamic acid, hydrolyzed protein, hydrolyzed soy protein, plant protein extract, protease, protease enzymes, sodium caseinate, textured protein, yeast extract, yeast food and yeast nutrient; may be in barley malt,boullion, broth, carrageenan, malt extract, malt flavoring, maltodextrin, natural flavors, natural chicken flavoring, natural beef flavoring, natural pork flavoring, pectin, seasonings, soy protein, soy protein concentrate, soy protein isolate, soy sauce, soy sauce extract, stock, whey protein, whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, anything that is enzyme modified, fermented, protein fortified or ultrapasteurized and foods that advertise NO MSG; see MSG.
C AHydrogenated vegetable oil - associated with heart disease, breast and colon cancer, atherosclerosis, elevated cholesterol.
C AHydrolyzed vegetable protein - may cause brain and nervous system damage in infants; high salt content; may be corn, soy, or wheat based. Contains free glutamates.
* X AMSG - may cause headaches, itching, nausea, brain, nervous system, reproductive disorders, high blood pressure; pregnant, lactating mothers, infants, small children should avoid; allergic reactions common; may be hidden in infant formula, low fat milk, candy, chewing gum, drinks, over-the-counter medications, especially children's, binders and fillers for nutritional supplements, prescription and non-prescription drugs, IV fluids given in hospitals, chicken pox vaccine; it is being sprayed on growing fruits and vegetables as a growth enhancer; it is proposed for use on organic crops.
C ANatural flavors - may be chemically extracted and processed and in combination with other food additives not required to be listed on the label; may contain free glutamates; see MSG.
XNITRATES - form powerful cancer-causing agents in stomach; can cause death; considered dangerous by FDA but not banned because they prevent botulism.
XNITRITES - may cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness; see nitrates.

Aspartame Lawsuits Point Fingers At Food Giants

Reprinted with permission from Acres USA

The old controversy over aspartame, a substance approved for use as a sweetener in food products over 20 years ago despite clear evidence of its being a neurotoxin, might heat up again. Lawsuits filed in early April against 12 companies allege that the food companies committed fraud and breach of warranty by marketing products to the public such as diet Coke, diet Pepsi, sugar free gum, Flintstones vitamins, yogurt and children's aspirin with the full knowledge that aspartame, the sweetener in them, is neurotoxic.

The plaintiffs, including the National Justice League and two other anti-aspartame activists, have asked for an injunction to stop companies from producing, manufacturing, processing, selling or using aspartame and, in all three cases have sought a jury trial. The suits, filed in three California courts, contend that aspartame is a drug masquerading as an additive.

Chronic Poisoning

Aspartame liberates free methyl alcohol. The resulting chronic methanol poisoning affects the dopamine system of the brain causing addiction. Methanol, or wood alcohol, constitutes one-third of the aspartame molecule and is classified as a severe metabolic poison and narcotic.

A plethora of FDA documents released under the Freedom of Information Act in the 1990's revealed that the agency knew about the dangers of aspartame and only approved it after then-CEO of Searle Laboratories, Don Rumsfeld, pulled political strings in the Reagan administration.

This report appeared in the June 2004 issue of Acres USA. For subscription information, visit the web site acresusa.com, call 1-800-355-5313 or write P.O. Box 91299, Austin, Tex. 78709

Endurance News Goes Electronic
Inbox or Mailbox, Your Choice

It only took us 43 issues over the course of 12 years, but I am pleased to announce that we can now offer you Endurance News as an HTML e-mail newsletter. Co-produced by our talented graphic artist Angela Nock and web wizard Mandy Hallos, you can be sure that your electronic version will be just as readable as our printed version.

If you are wondering why you should sign up to receive Endurance News electronically, let me let me give you a couple of compelling reasons. The first is consistency. You may have noticed that even though we publish quarterly, sometimes you get one and sometimes you don't. This is because the size of our client base has become so large that we can only mail to those of you who have ordered within the past four months. We used to go back an entire year, but due to ever escalating printing and postage costs and the aforementioned size of our mailing list, we've had to cut back.

Of course we wouldn't mind if you made a point of ordering every 120 days or so, but we don't expect you to just so you can receive every issue of Endurance News, especially with an increasing number of you buying our Hammer products from your local retailer. So, you can be sure to get all the news in every issue by subscribing to the e-version. If you prefer to read on paper instead of the computer screen, each issue will have a "printer friendly" button that will allow you to print out your copy to read and pass along to friends.

The second reason is our desire to conserve natural resources in all that we do. 15,000 issues at 12 to 16 pages each means a lot of paper, and that means a lot of trees. If even 50% of you sign up to receive EN electronically, we'll be able to save a lot of trees.

Of course, we save money when we send an issue electronically instead of mailing a paper copy to you, but really, this is not our primary motivation. All savings will go right back into improving the publication and circulation. We can reach clients who are more than four months out from their last order, increase the content of each issue, and possibly increase from four to six issues per year in 2005.

Lastly, let me assure you that by subscribing to Endurance News in HTML e-mail form, you are not agreeing to let us spam you daily with junk mail or sell your address to a third party. We take your in-box very seriously and we'll put Endurance News in it only if you click on this link and subscribe.

As you can see, there are several good reasons to subscribe, and I can't think of any not to. Do it today; you'll be glad you did.

International Update : Where in the world is Hammer Nutrition

Hammer Nutrition products are becoming available to athletes all over the globe. We began thinking about expanding into international markets a couple of years ago and started with our friends up north in Canada. Things have progressed nicely, and Hammer Gel (and in some areas other products, too) can be found throughout Canada, Australia, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Israel, and South Africa. We have also just begun distribution in Malaysia that will reach several other Asian countries, including Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, India, and the Philippines. In 2005 we expect to begin distribution New Zealand, Italy, Germany, and possibly other EU countries.

If you happen to be in any of these countries soon, you might find Hammer Gel in a local bike shop, tri shop, or running store. Also, if you have any solid connections in these countries, or others that we might be interested in, please give us a call!

Mostly, we just wanted to let you know what's going on.

Get FREE Product!
The Athlete Referral Program

Don't miss out on the opportunity to get free product! You heard correctly, you can get FREE Hammer Nutrition or E-CAPS product simply by spreading the good news about the advancement these products have brought to your training and racing. We put money in your account with us every time you refer a FIRST TIME customer to us for ordering. You get to use this money toward any product we sell, anytime. If you haven't taken advantage of our referral program read on.

When a friend you refer to us places his or her FIRST order with us, either online or on the phone, and they mention your name and client number, everybody wins!

It's a win-win-win offer.

  • Your friend receives 15% off their first order!
  • You get 25% of that same order credited to your account for future orders!
  • We get another satisfied client!

To make this even easier, we have created a few tools for you. Next time you order, whether online or on the phone, request referral cards to be sent to you. They are free of charge. These cards explain the entire program and give you four perforated cards that you can write your name and customer number then start handing them out. If you're like me and prefer the e-mail method, we have a tool for you as well. Get online at www.e-caps.com and select the Get FREE Product graphic right on the home page. This convenient tool will allow you to e-mail your friends and family five at a time!

As always, we appreciate your patronage. Now you can tell your friends and reap the rewards of free product and the knowledge that you've set up your friend to achieve their endurance goals.

Hammer On!

Mid-Season Burn Out and How To Recover From It - by Robb Beams

Have you reached the month of July and noticed that you just don't have the motivation you had back in January? Are you falling asleep earlier in the evening and having to force yourself to get out of bed in the morning? Does it seem that you are no longer the first one to arrive for morning swims and one of the last to show up for long runs and rides? If these symptoms sound familiar, you are probably facing a case of mid-season burnout.

As endurance athletes we can withstand a lot of stress and high load levels, but we reach a point where we need take a step back and recover, both mentally and physically. Let's consider each characteristic of burnout and suggest some strategies to help you turn it around:

Not Motivated

A. The first thing you must do is evaluate your short, mid, and long-term goals and honestly assess whether they are realistic given your other responsibilities, such as family and work. Do you have enough time to get the necessary workouts in to meet your goals, or do you find that the workouts add another stress to your lifestyle? If you find that you are cramming everything in to get it all done, you need to re-evaluate your race goals. Remember, you don't have to drop out of a race just because you couldn't train exactly the way you intended. Instead, realign your expectations in light of the available training time. Don't let the likelihood of failing to meet your expected or desired time for the event rob you of the pleasure of participation.

B. Look over your time trial and field-testing results and analyze how far you have come since the beginning of the year. If you haven't improved as much as you would have liked, then you need to look into your training protocols; something is obviously missing. If you currently don't have a coach to develop and analyze your weekly progress, then take your training log to a reputable coach and ask him or her for an analysis. Having an outside opinion of your protocols will help you more readily identify your missing workouts and physical weaknesses.

C. Take a week off from training and ask yourself what drew you to this sport in the first place. Remember how excited you were about completing your first race? Take each day of your week off and spend it going over old photos and revisiting your most memorable events. Rekindle that feeling by going back to your first race venue. Even if there is no longer an event there, relive it on your own (safety pending) and re-create the experience.

D. Change your training courses to include a variety of routes, or at least do your regular courses backwards. The key here is to be creative and break the boredom that leads to burnout. When did you start identifying your workouts as "training" instead of "exercise?" Think about it!

E. Hire a qualified coach who will swim (open water), bike (outside), and run with you to help you increase your efficiencies in all three disciplines. The key to enjoying your workouts again is to learn how to be as efficient as possible and how to maintain that efficiency throughout the entire race distance(s). Our motto is "Work smart, not hard."

Tired all the time

Endurance athletes tend to train at levels much harder than they perceive them to be. This leads to many long-term deficiencies ranging from blood chemistry values to mental outlook. Each athlete needs to know their Max HR levels for all three disciplines (especially the bike and the run), and these need to be determined by field-testing, not generic formulas. With proper testing, you can establish training zones based on specific HR levels to ensure that you train the appropriate energy systems on any given day. Remember, if you have set realistic goals and you have the appropriate training protocols in place, you only need to increase duration and intensity levels. By training within the correct HR zones, you will eliminate the tendency to train too hard.

Pushing the envelope for extended periods of time depletes vital nutrients such as creatine and cytochrome C. Chronic neglect of sleep and nutrition only compounds depletion issues.

Tips to regaining your energy

1. Have your blood chemistry evaluated for any deficiencies before completing any Max HR assessments.

You need to identify any deficiencies that may inhibit performance, and more importantly, your overall health. Some of the common deficiencies we see with our clients are low iron and CoQ10 levels. With some adjustments to your diet and simply eating nutritional meals on a regular basis, your blood chemistry will return to normal. Keep in mind that it takes six months to completely replace all of your muscle tissue; the body you have today is literally a reflection of what you have been consuming over the last six months.

2. Eat more food and more often.

The most common scenario seen with our athletes is that due to such a full schedule, they are often too busy to eat. To get a better idea of your caloric intake, simply keep a food log for four days (preferably two weekend days and two week days) and then evaluate the total grams of carbohydrates, protein, and fat that you have consumed for each day. There are many different theories as to which combinations work the best. However, each athlete responds to foods differently-carbohydrate sensitivity, slow metabolism, etc. Don't take on one diet or another; instead, document and evaluate to make sure that you are doing what is right for you. Having your blood tested at regular intervals will help determine if you are getting enough of the necessary macro and micronutrients. The most consistent finding we have seen has been that athletes do not consume enough calories. This not only leads to fatigue, but also hinders performance levels because the necessary nutrients to rebuild muscle are inadequate.

3. Drink plenty of fluids, particularly water

When you realize that the average human body contains ninety-six pints of water and that sixty-four of these are intracellular, you quickly see the importance of hydration to the survival of an endurance athlete. When a muscle becomes dehydrated by only three percent, that muscle loses ten percent of its contractile strength and also incurs an eight percent loss of speed. Imagine undermining all of your hard work by starting your workout under-hydrated and then making the situation worse by not consuming adequate fluids and electrolytes (to facilitate the absorption of the water). Most athletes don't pay attention to how much body weight they lose in a regular workout, so they are not able to determine their hydration needs in an important hard workout or race. Remember, knowledge is power. Know what your typical losses are and how to replenish them.

4. Complete a Max HR assessment and establish specific HR training zones

Endurance athletes don't have problems "going hard," but rather "going easy." To many athletes, this would seem counterproductive, given all of the hard work of a weekly schedule. However, active recovery days are just as beneficial as hard training days because they help get fresh blood flow into broken-down muscle tissue and also help loosen muscles for slow, passive stretching. What is the highest HR at which you can exercise and still get the benefits of active recovery? This training zone is a combination of your true Max HR and your resting HR levels. Determining all of your training zones (from easiest to the hardest) requires capturing your resting HR for a minimum of four weeks to establish an up-to-date average and completing a Max HR test every for eight to ten weeks to determine if your Max HR has changed (the actual calculations of HR zones involve some additional calculations outside the scope of this article). Keep in mind that the heart is a muscle, and the stronger it gets, the lower your Max HR because it can push the necessary amount of blood and oxygen at a lower HR. Don't worry about a low HR affecting your training levels, because your resting HR usually falls accordingly.

5. Add one hour a night to your sleep and add a nap on the weekends

Though this is the tip that costs nothing (other than your time) and is the most comfortable (if you can calm your mind), it is the most overlooked. Rest is your body's opportunity to rebuild and repair muscle tissue (which is the purpose of training in the first place) and replenish the blood chemistry with foods you have consumed. If you break down a typical twenty-four hour day, you immediately lose 8-10 hours a day for work, an hour for traveling to and from work, four hours to family and friends and you have nine hours left (ideally). However, nothing is perfect in the world and things come up that shift the above numbers, so be flexible! Striving to get the necessary sleep is step number one; arranging your schedule to allow for it is more difficult. I would challenge you to set your day up around your sleep versus fitting it in around your activities.

6. Take one day off per week

Don't be afraid to take a day off from training. This means no training whatsoever, no short 20 minute runs or short swims. If at all possible, don't wake up to an alarm. Start your day off with a good-sized breakfast full of low glycemic carbohydrates, clean and lean proteins, and healthy fats. If you have been consistent with your weekly and monthly workouts, you have nothing to fear. If you can, arrange to get a massage or a session of facilitated stretching from an experienced trainer. This will help you relax and decrease your chances of a pulled muscle.

Robb Beams
USAT Level II Certified Triathlon Coach
Owner of Athletic Endurance Masters (AEM), Inc.

Robb has nine years experience coaching endurance athletes all over the country in various sports. AEM, Inc. has some of the most comprehensive training services and packages in the country.


Read the article Get Free Product to learn more about how you can get FREE product with our Athlete Referral Program.

The Athlete Referral Program...
it's a win-win-win situation!
Services include:
Complete and personalized periodization training programs for all race distances

One-on-one training sessions including open water swims, motor pacing bike work, and speed and efficiency running work

Facilitated stretching

Strength, power, and speed development

Blood chemistry analysis

Biomechanical analysis for power & efficiency (swimming, cycling, and running)

Blood lactate testing and evaluation (swimming, cycling, and running)

VO2 max testing and evaluation (swimming, cycling, and running)

Body fat vs. lean muscle tissue testing and evaluation

Weight loss programs to enhance strength-to-weight ratios

For more information, please contact Robb at www.enduranceacademy.com or by phone at 407.701.7586

From The Saddle Of Steve Born : On The Road

Welcome to the mid-summer edition of Endurance News! Although my column is normally entitled "From the Saddle of Steve Born" this month's edition would probably be more appropriate with the title "From the Road with Steve Born." That's because, for a portion of May and a good chunk of June, I've been on the road, working at event expos, giving clinics, or attending races. I have to be honest in saying that life on the road can be get old after awhile but that's always overshadowed by the fact that I love being at these events, doing expos, giving clinics, and, best of all, meeting athletes. Still, after two-plus weeks of driving the Hammer van and living out of a suitcase (for the most part) it was time to come back home. Even though it was all a lot of fun it's definitely good to be back. Also, with our Montana summer now firmly upon us, I'm able to be on my bike a lot more (and I'm enjoying the heck out of it... it stays light until darn near 10:00 PM!). Like Joe once told me while we were riding, "When it's like this (meaning a sunny, warm day in Montana) there is NO better place to be in the world." You know, I think he's right.


I am so excited about the introduction of this outstanding product because I believe it will very easily, precisely, and deliciously fulfill such an important component of athletic performance, namely, your recovery. I firmly believe (and am fond of saying) that how well you recover today greatly determines how well you perform tomorrow. To put it bluntly, if you want to get the very most out of all the time and effort you put into training, and if you want to achieve the best possible race results, you must subscribe to the concept that when the workout's done, it's not done-not until you put the finishing touches on it by "refilling the tank" with proper amounts and ratios of quality carbohydrates and protein.

When you do that consistently, your body responds by recovering more thoroughly (your immune system gets a boost and your muscle tissue rebuilds stronger and more completely). It's "soaking up" all the hard work you've done in training, which will allow you to be at your physical peak come race day. In addition, as part of the adaptation process to your training, your body will store more and more of a premium fuel known as muscle glycogen. If you replenish your body adequately, and as soon as possible after each and every workout, it will build up a nice 60-90 minutes worth of this precious fuel, which is the first fuel your body will use for tomorrow's workout or race. I don't know about you, but I'd definitely want to start a race with as much "on board" fuel as possible! And it's really pretty easy to make this a reality. All you need to do is replenish the body with the right amounts of quality fuel as soon as possible after all your workouts, when glycogen synthase activity is at its highest. We make that important task even easier with Recoverite. How? Because Recoverite has the right amounts and the proper ratios of the right kind of carbohydrates and protein all in one product... all the guesswork has been eliminated. Recoverite is definitely the easiest way to replenish your body with the right fuel in the right amounts and it absolutely fulfills a crucial aspect of athletic performance: recovery. Not only that, Recoverite tastes good too! No doubt about it, this is definitely a product you need to have in your "arsenal."

The 6th Edition of "The Endurance Athlete's Guide To Success" is Here!

One of the first requests Brian asked of me when I started at E-CAPS/Hammer Nutrition in 2000 was to finish an article he had started entitled, "The 10 Biggest Mistakes Endurance Athletes Make." Little did we know back then that this little article would provide the foundation for a body of work that we tentatively called "The Fueling Handbook," a manual that Brian had wanted to provide that wouldn't be misconstrued as a glorified product catalog.

Though this fueling handbook was a top-level project and one we were committed to completing, we were not yet 100% sure in what direction we wanted to take it. During this time I had already written a couple articles based on great information that Dr. Bill had provided me over the years (I must have well over 3000 emails of his in my email folder) as well as my own experiences (both positive and disastrous) as an endurance athlete. Then it hit me: Why don't we make this handbook a compilation of these current (and future) fueling-specific articles? Brian concurred and we were on our way. We needed a new name for this expanded vision, and Brian hit the nail squarely on the head with The Endurance Athlete's Guide to Success.

The Guide has itself been an overwhelming success, with well over 100,000 copies distributed and/or downloaded within the past two years. Thousands of athletes are achieving better performances in their training and racing from the application of the concepts provided in The Guide. In this issue of Endurance News I am very excited to tell you that we have again updated this fueling-specific handbook with additional text and information on our newest Hammer Nutrition products. Now in its 6th edition, The Endurance Athlete's Guide to Success is larger than ever at 64 pages, and it's ready to help you achieve your very best performance by taking the guesswork out of the oft-confusing topic of endurance fueling.

You can receive your copy of the newly revised The Endurance Athlete's Guide to Success free from our web site at http://e-caps.com/downloads/fuelinghandbook.pdf or you can obtain a nice, glossy print copy for $2.50 with your next order.

Per usual, there's so much more I could talk about but space prevents me from doing so here. Instead, I invite you to explore and enjoy this month's Endurance News. In particular, I would ask that you take to heart what Brian says in his column about refined sugars, and artificial sweeteners, colors and flavors, and devote some quality time to reading and retaining the information in Dr. Bill's/Dr. Haas's sobering article "What Are You Eating?" This is important stuff and I truly believe the information they have to share is absolutely crucial if you're at all interested in maintaining optimal athletic performance and health.

I hope you're having a great summer and enjoy this issue of Endurance News!

Steve Born
Senior Technical Advisor

Product Spotlight : Improve Post Workout Recovery and More With Boron
This column is dedicated to those E-CAPS products that may be considered "fringe," especially in light of our primary products such as the Daily Essentials - Premium Insurance Caps, Race Caps Supreme, and Mito-R Caps. However, these particular products have a definite reason for being in the E-CAPS line and, used under specific circumstances, may have an equally definite place in your supplement regimen. One of these nutrients/E-CAPS products is boron, and the reason I've chosen it is because I personally find this time of year, when training/racing volume is peaking, to be an excellent time to increase my intake of this micronutrient.

Here's an article about boron that appears in one of Dr. Bill's Journal of Endurance (J.O.E.) issues, from back in 2001...

Boron's Micro-Hormone Donation For Enhanced Performance
By Bill Misner, Ph.D.

Knowledge of human physiology and nutrition has increased greatly, and so has application of dietary alterations and micro-supplements. Modulation of dietary composition and/or supplementation with specific nutrients with the intent of improving human physical performance is a working definition of nutritional ergogenic aids.

BORON is such a trace element nutrient, and recently it has been shown to increase the concentration of plasma steroid hormones. In a single blind, crossover trial, it resulted in a significant increase in plasma 17-B estradiol (E2) concentration and there was a trend for plasma testosterone (T) levels to be increased! The ratio of estradiol: testosterone increased significantly. However, there was no perturbation in plasma lipids. Furthermore, the effect of boron on steroidogenesis and its mechanism was also investigated in two more studies conducted on adult male rats. The elevation of endogenous steroid hormones as a result of boron supplementation suggests that boron may be used as an ergogenic safe substance for athletes, which should be further investigated. [1]

In general, most sport science nutritionists recommend no more than 3-6 milligrams Boron per day, stating the body has only a micro-appetite for this hormone-enhancing mineral. However, Dr. Michael Colgan, Ph.D., known internationally for his research in sports nutrition and in aging takes 8 mg. Boron daily [2]. Boron is an essential element for plants and is also necessary for humans. Boron is distributed throughout the human body with the highest concentration in the bones and dental enamel. Boron affects the metabolism of steroid hormones [increases male sex hormone levels.] and may also play a role in converting vitamin D to its more active form, increasing calcium uptake and deposition into bone. It is essential for healthy bone and joint function, effecting the balance and absorption of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. It affects cell membranes and how signals are transmitted across membranes.

Boron deficiency may affect calcium and magnesium metabolism, the composition, structure and strength of bone, contributing to osteoporosis. This is due to decreased absorption with increased excretion of calcium and magnesium. Due to these effects on calcium and magnesium metabolism, boron deficiency may also contribute to the formation of kidney stones. Such a deficiency may decrease mental alertness.

There is no RDA for boron. A safe and adequate daily intake is estimated between 1 and 10 mg. Toxic effects appear at intakes of about 100 mg. Premium Insurance Caps are formulated at 5 milligrams boron per each 14 capsule dose. Separate boron supplements typically come in 3-5 mg. units. Plant foods such as fruit, vegetables, soybeans and nuts are rich sources of boron but the level in food depends on the soil in which it is grown.

Additional new research shows that boron is most helpful for aiding in the prevention of prostate cancer, which is, of course, of prime interest to all male athletes. This and all the reasons Dr. Bill presents is why consuming adequate amounts of boron are important. During most of the year I believe a 2.5 mg dose (obtained from one packet of Premium Insurance Caps) is an adequate daily amount (though taking additional boron would certainly not be harmful at all). The primary reason I like taking an additional 5 mg of boron after training sessions during my peak training volume periods is because it's during this time that boron may become more depleted through more intense and/or higher volume training. Because boron supports adequate production of specific anabolic hormones (not the overproduction, as some bodybuilding-specific companies have suggested in the past) and because these hormones are critical for ensuring optimal recovery I feel this additional boron support goes a long way during these periods of higher volume training.

As far as toxicity/toxic effects of this mineral are concerned (the effects being manifested as loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea, and skin rashes) I've looked at several different sources, most of which list varying amounts. Some have suggested doses around 50 mg daily while others suggested doses as high as 500 mg daily. The most common level I saw, which concurs with Dr. Bill's assessment, was for daily intakes of around 100 mg/day. Considering that two full packets of Premium Insurance Caps provides 5 mg of boron and that an additional boron capsule provides another 5 mg the maximum amount we would be taking would still fall far, far below any toxic potential amount.

So while boron may not be in the same category as our "Daily Essentials" products, it has a definite place in the E-CAPS product line. Especially now, when your training volume is at or near its peak, perhaps you too should consider making it a part of your daily supplement regimen.

References available upon request.

Athlete Spotlight

Suzy Degazon
A Truly Inspiring Athlete

Suzy runs with determination admit it. Suzy is one of my all-time favorite athletes to work with. And no, it's not because, via her world travels, she keeps me well stocked in some of the world's finest coffee and chocolate It's because she's one of the most remarkable athletes you could ever meet, one who's story is so inspiring. Yet, in spite of her substantial success over the years, Suzy is about the humblest and most accessible person you could meet. Her naturally effervescent and joyful spirit overflows with everyone she meets yet underneath she is, as the cliché goes, "tough as nails." Most recently Suzy took third place in the Austrian Double Ultra Triathlon Neulengbach in 32 hours 12 minutes 40 seconds.

Q: You've had a remarkable journey to becoming the champion athlete you are Suzy. Tell us a little about yourself and the journey.

A: Well I was born in London England on 18th April 1964 making me the grand old age of 40! Parents were in the hotel industry so I became a Pastry chef in 5-star hotels in London - the last thing on my mind was sport of any kind. I hated gym class and liked to study music. I spent 10 years of my life in and out of 17 mental institutions with Anorexia Nervosa weighing in at 29 kg (64 lbs.) at my lowest, I had tubes up my nose, needles and tubes in my arms. I was treated like a dangerous criminal and sentenced under the mental health act of 1983. I was not allowed to get out of bed and I was labeled devious, sly, and manipulative. I was in a complete void being force fed and made to feel like a freak of nature. They were not wasted years as I learned a lot about people. While I was on bed rest I saw a marathon on television and decided I wanted to do that. The nurses laughed at me and said I could not run to the toilet I was so thin! A few years later I find my self to be a triathlete! I currently reside in Puerto Rico, working as a sport journalist for x-tri.com.

Q: Give us a little history on your athletic background

A: I was never much of an athlete in England. Hated sport. I used to like hiking but did not like swimming or judo or gymnastics; I felt I did not blend in! Instead, I excelled in Girl Scouts camping etc. I started doing tris in 1993 in Puerto Rico. I was running a 10km race and a Columbian trainer spotted me and asked if I needed a coach. I laughed and said I was going to be a triathlete. When he saw the bike I had he kindly took me to a friend of his who lent me a racing bike for the event. I could not change the gears or get the water bottle out of the cage... but I loved that bike! On race day I was last out of the water (the bike was easy to find though!). As it turned out, I won my age group and received a trophy and $50! I never gave that bike back and purchased it in 1993!

Q: How did you come to do ultra distance triathlons? What was it that made you think, "this is the sport that I can excel in?"

A: I enjoyed the racing season in 1993 in Puerto Rico and I was told there was an Ironman race but that was impossible and only 1 or 2 athletes from P.R had done one... hmmm. So in 1994 I signed up for the Vineman in Santa Rosa, CA. In January of that year I was hit by a car ended up with a cast on my left leg (I still suffer with that leg). However, I went and when I finished nearly last they were taking down the balloons. A pro named Nancy Vallence told me I should go to New Zealand as was a great race and plenty people at the finish chute. So in 1995 I went to Auckland New Zealand, did a good race and met 3 athletes from England who told me about a triple Iron distance in France!! So I went to France in 1996 for a triple Iron distance race. After swimming 7 miles in a swimming pool I went to get on the bike for 336 miles and had no helmet! I borrowed a French Telecom workers hard helmet and soon found my self on French TV cycling through Grenoble advertising French telecom! I was not to finish that race as I fell asleep in the night and cracked a few ribs. The following year I placed 3rd female after finishing the 78-mile run! I suddenly became the 9th woman in 10 years to finish a triple iron race! I love the mindset of the athletes and crews so different from the short distances. The friendships I made during the race it is not about finishing but starting the race and hoping to finish.

Q: What have your results been over the years?

A: I've done over 200 triathlons of all distances in my career [Steve's Note: Trust me, the list is impressive!] including the 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 Ultraman Hawaii, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 Double Iron-distance triathlon in Canada [Steve's Note: Suzy won the race] and the 2003 and 2004 Austrian Double Iron-distance triathlon [Steve's Note: Suzy claimed 3rd place in this most recent race]

Q: Of all the events you've done is there a favorite of yours?

A: Of course! Without having to even think about this question, Ultraman Hawaii! This race just brings back triathlon to its roots: Day One is a 6.2-mile ocean swim and a 90-mile bike to the Volcano Park (the view is breath taking). This second day in a 171-mile bike around the island to Hawi and Day Three finishes with a 52-mile run to Kona. Every athlete has a support crew and by the end of 3 days you have a new family of friends!!

Q: What E-CAPS/Hammer Nutrition products are you currently using? What have been your experiences with them?

A: I currently use Perpetuem as I love the taste and it is superior over other products out there. I love the raspberry Hammer Gel and the espresso (mainly for the caffeine boost!!) I also use the Race Caps Supreme, Endurolytes, and Liquid Endurance. I usually go by your (Steve's) advise for long events. I mix the desired number of scoops of Perpetuem to last for 12 hours so I keep count of the calories and another bottle of water and then just keep asking for water. The gel I keep in the gel flask as emergency fueling in my back pocket. After a strong workout or recovery from competition I use the Hammer Soy and put in banana and mango to give it a smoothy appeal with natural yogurt. These products really do make a difference when you use them correctly and the best thing is that the people that sell them use them too!

On the podium (center) at Ultraman AustriaQ: As an ultra distance triathlete, what advice (mental, training, other) would you give to triathletes that want to go beyond the half or full iron distance to an ultra distance race?

A: Just to give it a try! All so often I get told I am nuts for doing what I do. It is not until you actually experience the ultra scene whether it be crewing or competing does one realize the full magnitude of the events. I get tired of reading about athletes who worry about not finishing or slow time or not placing in the top slots. To me it is not about whether you win or lose but how you play the game. It maybe seem to be a physical sport but when you are running 78 miles it is much more a mental game and how the athlete perceives 78 miles... as I see it, it is one mile 78 times! As for training, I am still learning although I will say there is nothing like a good solid base, which means if you plan to do a double iron distance be prepared to sit on that bike for 10 to 15 hours and learn how to eat on the bike and run. Try out race day food in training and when you are suffering in competition remember why you are competing all those hours of training and that everyone else is probably suffering. Remember good old Hawaiian Tropic sunscreen [Steve's Note: Hawaiian Tropic is a sponsor of Suzy's] and comfortable clothing. As for running, healthy feet are happy feet so invest in good running shoes specific to your race and foot type. In general, have fun enjoy the camaraderie of the other athletes and crews.

Q: What's next for Suzy Degazon?

A: Hmmmm to take cross-country ski lessons from Steve? (Only joking Steve!). I will be at Ultraman Hawaii for my 7th time in November and in 2005 I would like to try the Marathon de Sables in Morrocco, Leadville 100 in Colorado, and Cycle to the Sun in Maui, and begin teaching Scuba diving again to children. And, in about 2006 I'd like to do both the Badwater Ultra run and the Furnace Creek 508. Whatever I do, I always try to apply this thought: "A JOURNEY OF A 1000 MILES BEGINS WITH A SINGLE STEP."

Nate's Corner : Get The Work Done Before Tapering

That big race of the season, the one you're whole season is geared toward, should be an exciting time. You've put in the hard work and hopefully you're ready to put the hammer down. However, the final weeks leading into that big event can be some of the most stressful of the year.

This is when the doubts start to creep in. This is when you start doing things you shouldn't do during a taper. You start pushing harder to make sure you eek out every bit of speed for the race, or you do that "one last" track workout or long ride "just to be sure" your fitness is OK. Problem is, in the final weeks those workouts are the ones that can cripple your ultimate performance.

If the work hasn't been done before tapering begins, then it's too late. If you're still undertrained - due to recent sickness, injury, laziness, etc. - still, the only way you're going to get your body totally prepared is by tapering and not by working harder.

I suggest a 2-week taper for Olympic distance triathlons and 40k TTs on the bike, or 10k runs. For marathons, Ironmans and ultra-cycling events, I give my athletes a month-long taper. Weekly volume tapers off dramatically, and the intensity of the hard workouts stays high though the volume of hard work done also decreases. During this decrease in overall work, the body takes less time to recover from workouts and, thus, is able to top off its energy system stores - something it can't usually do during hard bouts of training.

Finally, don't misinterpret the "mid-taper blues", a period of time where you can feel sluggish. It's very common to the taper process. Your body has been used to getting hammered and all of a sudden you're being nice to it. It takes a while for the body to adapt and round the corner. If you encounter the blues, don't panic. You'll rebound quickly. When you do, you should be feeling more energetic, stronger, faster and confident.

Cutting down on duration, amount of intensity and, possibly, the number of weekly workouts is the way to maximize the taper process. Doing that last hard/long workout just to be sure your fitness is OK, is not the way to ensure great results.

Nate Llerandi is a former national champion class swimmer/world class triathlete. He has been coaching since 1990 and creates programs for athletes of all sports and ability levels. You can contact him at natellerandi@yahoo.com

Race Report
Catching up with a few amazing athletes

Jess Draskau-Petersson Petersson Powers To Another Top Finish

Great Britain's Jess Draskau-Petersson, an E-CAPS/Hammer Nutrition sponsored athlete, continued her surge towards the very top in the triathlon world. Following two stellar efforts earlier this season - a 5th place finish at Ironman New Zealand followed by a win in the Cervélo Half Ironman - Petersson, outran Ironman veteran Fernanda Keller in the final 2 kilometers to take 3rd place in the recent Ironman Austria in a time of 9:24:18.

Matt Seeley Conquering Coeur d'Alene

I had another breakthrough race at Ironman Coeur d'Alene last Sunday, taking the lead on the bike and almost holding on for the win. World class triathlete Chris Legh (Australia) put forth an incredible 2:53 run split to catch just catch me at mile 25, but my 2nd place, 2:43 bike course record, and 8:44 overall time (19 minute PR) were anything but disappointing. I have attached a picture from the finish with E-caps patch visible. Race coverage included numerous websites, newspaper shots, Spokane ABC TV special, and OLN and magazine articles later this summer.

Mostly, I want to thank you and Hammer Nutrition for playing a major role in my success. None of my training, recovery, and racing would happen without your products. They are the highest quiality, most effective, and most reliable performance nutrition and supplement products on the market. At Ironman Coeur d'Alene I used Hammer Gel and HEED for continuous, dependable energy throughout the day along with Endurolytes to maximize rehydration even as the temps rose into the mid-80's. The result was a record setting bike split folowed by the best ironman marathon of my career and an overall time of 8:44. Of course that is just the beginning. Throughout the months/years of training and preparation, I have relied not only on Hammer Gel, HEED, and Sustained Energy for fuel, but also Xobaline and Omega Source for rapid recovery and Race Caps Supreme for optimal training and racing performance. Hammer Nutrition products are at the very core of my continued triathlon success.

Matt Seeley
John Bagley The KC Kid

The KC Kid is back- it took me three and a half years, but I got it back. I had a fantastic run, the bike, the equipment and the body performed in excellent form for the 2004 Minnesota State Time Trail Championship. Time for the 40K(24.8 miles) was 52:29- fastest time of the day- Gold medal, for Pro 1-2, and Men's 40-44

Thanks for the support!
John Bagley

Kristin Armstrong Athens Bound

I'm sure you have heard that I earned the final Olympic spot last weekend at the selection race in Redlands. What a dream come true! I am now just preparing for Athens in August. I'll be leaving for Germany in mid-July for a few training races. Should be an exciting adventure. I'll keep you posted.

Thanks so much for your support.
Kristin Armstrong Team T-Mobile

Karen Kelly Rockin' Through 26.2 Miles

Just wanted to let you know that your products helped me to a great finish this last Sunday at the Rock n' Roll Marathon in San Diego. I drank Sustained Energy in the morning and had it along the course, as well I loaded race day boost 4 days ahead of time, took my Race Caps Supreme morning of and took some of Endurolytes about every 30 minutes along the course, and washed down some Tissue Rejuvenator at the finish! I achieved a PR with 3:08:26. I was 3rd in my division (out of 2054) and 17th woman overall (out of 8710).

Further, about 3 weeks ago my team and I had an adventure race (Cal Eco #2) and we came in first, 1 hour 20 min ahead of the second place team. We are off to southern Yosemite at the end of this month for Cal Eco race #3.

I really attribute my racing success this year to your products. I really only started using them last year and have been consistently using them this race season and what a difference. In this last marathon, I never hit a wall, just felt great the entire way (well my feet were a wee bit sore and my muscles were screaming yesterday). Anyhow, just wanted to send you an update. I'm really excited I was introduced to your products and that using them has helped me have a successful season so far!

Karen Kelly

Jens Beck A 1/2 Iron With Extra Running

I just got back from my 1/2 iron-distance race on Kona last week and I am happy to report another successful trip. I finished first in my age group and fifth overall. However, I have to add that I had 2nd place in the bag but broke my chain with 3 miles left to go. I had to run my bike in with my bike shoes. Needless to say that it did not make it any easier to run 16.1 miles in the Kona heat. Upon my return to Anchorage I completed the Eagle River (sprint) triathlon and missed my own course record by 4 seconds :-( At least I was able to secure the win.

Thanks, Jens Beck

Steven Duplinsky
Cold Water and Shoe-Shaped Bruises

I am writing to update you on my early season. Its been a crazy spring with much bad luck and much success. I had major bike troubles at triathlon worlds that cost me 7 minutes but still had the 6th fastest run despite that. I also did the Aquathlon Worlds before Tri Worlds -- I had a great first run finishing second overall by half a second, unfortunately I fell victim to the extremely cold water with no wetsuits allowed but hung on to finish as the top American Overall. Duathlon worlds went much better despite getting knocked down really hard at the start (and then literally trampled -- I had shoe shaped bruises all over after the race) I was able to make my way back up to 6th. I really appreciated the added boost that Race Day Boost adds. I notice in races that I use it I feel sharper come race day. I love the Hammer cycling shorts too, they're actually more comfortable than any ones I have ever worn so I wear them all the time.

Below are my early spring results (also in my limited track season I set league records for the 1 and 2 mile with the fastest time in the state)

  • 2004 International Competition
  • World Duathlon Championship : 6th place Junior Elite; 1st American
  • World Triathlon Championship : 6th fastest run split
  • World Aquathlon Championship : Top Finishing USA athlete overall, 2nd overall run split
  • USA Elite Team : selected to represent the USA in the ITU World Triathlon Championship
  • USA Elite Team : selected to represent the USA in the ITU World Duathlon Championship

Thanks so much for your awesome support!
Steven Duplinsky
Troy DeLong Headed For Nationals

I did the St George triathlon in May and placed 3rd in the 30-39 age group. On June 12th I did the Boise Spudman and finished 2nd in my age group. I would have placed first if it wasn't for a flat tire 2 miles from the run transition. With this finish I qualified for the age group nationals in August. Last weekend I raced the High Uintas and was 28th in the road race and 10th in the Time Trial. I still have a lot more planned this summer, so I hope the results keep getting better!

Thanks to everyone at Hammer,
Troy DeLong


do you want the E-Caps/Hammer Nutrition community to know what you're up to? Have a great photo you want to share? Send a short email to graphic@e-caps.com (please put Race Report in the subject line) about your recent accomplishments and we'll try to include it in our Race Report

John Cobb and Hammer Nutrition : A Perfect Partnership

If you've been at any of the well-known duathlons or triathlons such as the Powerman Alabama, Wildflower Triathlon, Californiaman Triathlon, Great Floridian Triathlon, Ironman Florida, or any of the Tri America series events, you've probably seen the huge18-wheeler in the expo area. That's "The Big Red Truck" of John Cobb's Bicycle Sports, a nationally recognized, innovative, and highly technical cycling-specific resource/company. In addition to this impossible-to-miss expo "booth," John Cobb's Bicycle Sports is also a complete online store with seven additional storefront locations throughout the country.

John Cobb is arguably the guru when it comes to aerodynamics, and he's the inventor of the SYSTEM ONE™ bicycle fit technology. As their website (www.bicyclesports.com) states: "Hundreds of hours of wind tunnel testing, numerous physiological studies, and advising countless professional and amateur triathletes and cyclists have culminated in Bicycle Sports' SYSTEM ONE™. The SYSTEM ONE™ experience combines our extensive analysis of your physiology, bio-mechanics and riding technique with your riding history and goals to help you find new speed and become one with your bike." Needless to say, John Cobb's Bicycle Sports has their "finger firmly on the pulse" of advanced technology for the improvement of athletic performance.

While at Powerman Alabama earlier this year, I had the opportunity to meet and talk with Cody Smith, John Cobb's partner. He expressed his tremendous interest in the Hammer Nutrition line of fuels and our immense knowledge (he was very impressed by The Endurance Athlete's Guide To Success), and I was impressed with the extremely professional approach of their organization, the presentation of the Big Red Truck, and all the products they were representing, displaying, and selling. After that initial meeting, one thing led to another and we're now very pleased to announce a partnership with John Cobb's Bicycle Sports.

So if you're at any of the following events (I've listed only those that are upcoming, they'll have already been at nearly 20 events prior to the printing of this edition of Endurance News) take a moment to stop by and say "Hi" to the great staff manning The Big Red Truck. Some of us from Hammer Nutrition will be joining them at selected events as well. The Big Red Truck will be fully stocked with all the Hammer Nutrition fuels, should you need to purchase anything for the race, and they'll have our "Hammer Gel taste test bar" set up as well. See you at the races!

August 1 - Sports Spectrum River Cities Triathlon - Shreveport, LA

August 14 - CATS 1/2 Iron Distance and Sprint Triathlon - Lake de Gray, AR

August 14 - Tri America Triathlon - Cleveland, OH

August 21 - Tri America Triathlon - Oakdale, MN

August 28 - Tri America Triathlon - New Orleans, LA

September 11 - Seagate Triathlon - Pebble Beach, CA

September 18 - Tri America Triathlon - Clermont, FL

October 4 - USAT Age-Group Nationals - Shreveport, LA

October 9 - Tri America Triathlon - Miami, FL

October 23 - Great Floridian Triathlon - Clermont, FL

October 30 - Treasure Island Triathlon - San Francisco, CA

November 6 - Ironman Florida

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The 2004 Insight Race Across America : Proving Itself As The World's Toughest Endurance Event

This year's edition of what many consider to be the world's toughest endurance contest was recently completed. And, true to form, RAAM, a race that E-CAPS/Hammer Nutrition enthusiastically sponsors, proved once again why it is such a difficult race to complete. Of the 19 solo competitors who began the race June 20 in San Diego, only 8 completed the 2958.5-mile course. One noticeable non-entrant was last year's winner Allen Larsen who, citing personal reasons, withdrew from the race during the week prior to the start.

This year's winner was Slovenian Jure Robic, who finished 3rd in 2003, with an outstanding time of 8 days, 9 hours, 51 minutes, an average speed of 14.66 mph. Unlike a stage race, the clock never stops once the race begins, even during sleep breaks, making this a phenomenally fast average speed, one of the fastest ever recorded. I talked with Jure and his crew just before the start, helping them finalize his nutrition program, and I know that he used Perpetuem, Hammer Gel, and Endurolytes during his speedy crossing.

Rookie Michael Trevino of San Diego took second with an impressive time of 8 days, 21 hours, 6 minutes. Usually, first time entrants in RAAM aren't considered favorites for the victory, but Trevino matched Robic's pace for most of the race. Trevino is also an accomplished ultra-runner with wins in such prestigious races as the Badwater Ultra, the San Diego One-Day Ultra, the Lost Boy's 50-mile ultra, and several others.

Rounding out the finishers were former champion Wolfgang Fasching of Austria in 3rd, then Enrico DeAngeli of Italy in 4th, Rob Kish of Port Orange, FL (who completed his 19th consecutive RAAM, an absolutely unheard of feat) in 5th, Andrew Otto of San Francisco, CA in 6th, Guus Moonen of Holland in 7th, and Randy Van Zee of Sheldon, IA in 8th. Interesting to note that both Moonen and Van Zee are 52 years old.

E-CAPS/Hammer Nutrition was again well represented in RAAM with race winner Robic using some of the Hammer Nutrition products during his effort. Other solo finishers using E-CAPS/Hammer Nutrition were Otto, Moonen, and Van Zee.

E-CAPS/Hammer Nutrition was also well represented in the team divisions, most notably with sponsored athletes George Thomas and Terri Gooch, who took the win in the two-person mixed team division in a time of 7 days, 18 hours, 5 minutes. In the eight-person corporate division, Team R2R-Kaiser Permanente came in first, with many of the team using a variety of E-CAPS/Hammer Nutrition products.

A complete list of race results and several articles can be found at the RAAM website at www.raceacrossamerica.org

Join the T.E.A.M. : The E-CAPS Auto-Ship Method

If you have ever run out of your favorite Hammer Nutrition or E-CAPS products then come on and join the team. We'll do the work; you relax and know your product will be there on time when you need it with free shipping to boot.

Benefits of T.E.A.M. membership:
  • SAVE - Discounted pricing on your favorite E-CAPS or Hammer products

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  • shipment every 90 days

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Joining is easy and free. Next time you place an order with products that you would like to receive every three months, just let your client service representative know. They will ensure that you get the right amount of product to last three months and provide you with the details of the membership. If you just placed your order you can write to us at team@e-caps.com. Anytime you want to add items to your auto ship order, you can either e-mail us or call us before the shipment and we will gladly add the items with free shipping. You can cancel your membership at any time.

Wear Proper Attire When Cycling by David Levin

1. Helmet
Although I rarely see a lidless cyclist anymore, I know there are still some of you out there cycling sans helmet. If you had the experience I had last summer, you'd never ride again without one.

Riding well to the right on a striped, wide enough road, I took a 30 mph, four-ton dope slap from the side-view mirror of a passing delivery truck. The force literally drove me headfirst into the asphalt. Cracked helmet? For sure. Able to finish the ride after getting checked out by the ambulance crew? Also yes. Same result if no helmet? Hardly. Not being one to ever ride without a helmet, I didn't really thank my lucky stars (of which I was seeing plenty) that I had it on. But I sure was glad the bike and I escaped serious damage.

The point is that even on wide, well-marked roads, even if you're a great bike-handler and always a safe rider, a truck's gonna get you some day. Don't let your arrogance about dorky helmets ruin your life.

This year, after a less-consequential bump from a flatbed truck, I've also gone to a clip-on rear-view mirror and a flasher on my backside. If you use Hammer Nutrition products because you care about your health, you ought to also consider the health implications of head trauma.

2. Hammer-Logo Apparel
This adventure befell me on the infamously unmarked, mismarked, and just downright confusing roads of rural North Carolina ("If you need a map to drive in North Carolina, you shouldn't be driving in North Carolina" says my nephew, an NC resident). Riding from my wife's ancestral family home in southern Virginia, I attempted to rendezvous with her (in the car) on the way to visit our daughter in Raleigh. A nice ride, but not unsurprisingly, I fell victim to the notorious back roads. I was where I thought should be, but even after an hour, no spouse in sight. Clearly, our meeting point did not share the coordinates erroneously stated on the map.

Then a chap happens by, sees my Hammer Gel jersey, and offers me his cell phone. "You use Hammer Gel? That's great stuff. No messy pouches." A couple of quick calls, a little more waiting, and joyful reunion with my wife followed. As he drove off, I saw he had a Hammer Nutrition decal on his window.

This was pork rind and tobacco country, not a locale where one would expect to find an athlete of any stripe, let alone another Hammer Gel fan. Made for a great story when we finally made it to my daughter's apartment later that night.

So be safe, wear your helmet, and if you don't carry a cell phone, at least wear a friendly Hammer Gel jersey!