Lab Testing

Laboratory Testing

As part of a study into energy bars, I’ve been helping Sam Allen with his dissertation research.

A student at Oxford Brookes University, Sam is looking to determine the effect of energy bars during exercise. Specifically, beetroot as a primary ingredient.

The testing included an initial VO2 max test which supplied Sam with the data to calculate what my 80% effort would be for the two separate tests of different bars.

Three sessions, one week apart, lay ahead. The first (VO2) was short and sharp.

Cycling with oxygen on.

Establishing my VO2 max.


Having done several FTP (Functional Threshold Power) tests as part of my Trainer Road training, I was relatively accustomed to the sustained efforts at 80% of VO2 max.

Eating 3 Small Powerbars at 9am, I started at 11am from a resting heart rate.

I was required to cycle at 310 watts until failure (failure = <65rpm). Whilst this was right up there on the RPE scale, training at the top end of zone 4 (AKA threshold) is something that I’ve adapted over the years of bike racing.

80% VO

I managed to hold 310W just over half an hour.

Sam took my blood every 5 minutes to measure my blood glucose levels.

The ‘other’ bar

The third and final test had me consume 3 beetroot based energy bars at 9am with another 80% test at 11am.

A heavy week of mileage, including a century ride mid week and over & under workout on the trainer on Saturday was probably not the best prep in hindsight.

Fatigue set in quickly and my cadence dropped below 65 just after the 20 minute mark. HR topped at 184.


My test results, along with all the other participants, will enable Sam to determine to effect of nitrates from beetroot bars when exercising.

I’m looking forward to seeing and hearing about the results next year after the dissertation is submitted.

Best of luck to Sam on his degree and also to winning the Wessex Cyclo-cross series this season.

By |2017-11-28T13:46:33+00:00November 27th, 2017|Cycling, Research, Road Cycling|0 Comments

About the Author:

Ollie is an award winning business owner and endurance athlete with a penchant for leaving the comfort zone through exercise and adventure. Based in Hampshire, Ollie lives with his wife Anthea and their young children, Seb and Scarlett.

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