Why FTP is King, New Bicarbonate Study, Apple Cider Vinegar, and More – Ask a Cycling Coach Podcast 473

Alex Wild joined us to discuss how to beat a rider with a big FTP and why it makes them so difficult to race. We were particularly discussing the case of Matt Beers in the Lifetime Grand Prix after his dominant solo win at BWR CA. This was a fun conversation full of bench racing and game theory discussion. :slight_smile:

We also discussed what Alex learned from up & down results from his first racing block, which led to a discussion on the risks of focusing too much on weight and racing undernourished.

Then we looked into two studies:

First, a new study looking into Maurten’s bicarb product and considering whether this should change our perspectives on sodium bicarbonate for cyclists. Link

Then a surprising study that has left us scratching out heads regarding apple cider vinegar’s weight loss capabilities. In short, it seems too good to be true… Link


What? You beat me to the post? (Really great Pod today, Love the conversation)


I make my own sports drink, and apple cider vinegar is part of it to help kill the sweetness. As a result, I’ve been getting at least 5ml of apple cider vinegar a day for over 2 years. I’ve experienced no weight loss. But it does keep the nasty black stuff from forming in water bottle valve and mouthpiece.


I’d be interested in @Jonathan’s view on the passage in the study that talks about fat oxidation, and particularly his view on the impact taking it would have on high intensity training, assuming for the sake of argument that apple cider vinegar works the way the study suggests. Here’s the passage:
“5’-AMP-activated protein kinase is also known to stimulate fatty acid oxidation, thereby increasing energy expenditure.32 33 These data suggest that the effect of ACV on weight and fat loss may be partly due to the ability of AcOH to inhibit lipogenesis and gluconeogenesis and activate fat oxidation.”

Now that’s a reason that could get me on-board!


True that FTP drives performance, good call, but there is a tendency to keep on with the weight discussion which is getting a bit long in the tooth.

For many people having apple cider vinegar before a meal reduces the blood glucose response to that meal . No idea how. Presumably it therefore reduces the insulin response to that meal which could be one of the mechanisms that help with fat loss.

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I wouldn’t if you like having teeth…

I feel the podcast has gone very anti weight loss in the last few years. Yes I get that unhealthy weight loss is bad but there’s plenty of new cyclists that come to the podcast that losing a few kgs will be helpful. After about 12 months of added work stress I’ve put on about 3 stone. If i just concentrate on raising my ftp it’s not going to magically shift.


This is my experience. Anecdotal of course, but last year my large weight loss (45lbs+) coincided with me drinking ACV and Lemon Juice in a 1/2 ratio for the blood glucose response.

After some research into IF etc, ACV and LJ, was recommended to help with insulin resistance.

Weather it helped or not. I dunno… but I lost a lot of weight quickly and a lot of that was fat.

Might have been a placebo but it was one thing I did, among a small group of other things, that coincided with the weight loss.


Well done with the weight loss. Consuming the same food in similar circumstances brought about a much reduced glucose response when it was preceded with ACV when I was experimenting with a CGM a while ago. I was initially very sceptical and so was very surprised . I also got similar results if I walk for 30 minutes after a meal.

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What dilutions would y’all recommend for ACV? Tried it this morning and was repulsed with the smell/taste hahah

FWIW, I’m a big fan of research-centric episodes like this. Keep up the great work!

I used in 750ml water 1 Tbsp ACV to 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice. It’s still an acquired taste but takes the edge off

ACV question: If I understand the admittedly inconclusive research, ACV may possibly support weight loss, and may do so by improving insulin resistance. To my mind, this could explain why the results aren’t clearer, given the wide range of individual responses to insulin. Given the lack of side effects, this seems to suggest a daily dose of ACV for insulin response and/or weight loss might be worth trying to see what your individual response might be.

What I’m a little less clear on is what the impact might be on athletic performance, or how one might adjust their carb intake before and during workouts if one opts for a daily dose of ACV. Thoughts?

Please note the abundance of “might” and “possibly”. I recognize we’re treading in the grey area between science, bro science, and diet claims. I’m treating all of this as roughly as trustworthy as campaign promises from my favorite politician.

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Thought it was hilarious hearing Alex’s story of how he was in his room before a race, weighing rice, whereas Keegan was in the lobby trying to figure out how much water to put in half & half to make milk to dip his cookie. I think it really is a great example of how we are all different. For Alex, not focusing on the numbers adds stress, whereas to others (me included) focusing on those same numbers would.

On another note… And maybe this is just me… but I kinda felt bad for Alex having to sit there for much of the podcast discussing how great Matt Beers and Keagan are. I know the angle was “how do you beat someone with such a high FTP” but it morphed into something else. Kinda wish the focus would have been on Alex, his training, strategy to get on the podium. It was interesting to hear that if Beers was off the front “it wasn’t his job” to help bridge the gap as it was in a way his teammate (same sponsor).

I did turn it off when it got into the apple cider vinegar, bicarbonate stuff. But I am on team cookie rather than team food scales. :wink:


Picked up some apple cider vinegar today

About 8 ounces sparkling water and 2 teaspoons (10ml) Apple Cider Vinegar. Really easy to drink. My Kirkland Ginger Lemonade Kombucha is stronger flavored. We make our own sparkling water so I’ll try that next.

Coincidentally I listened to the podcast on the way to the supermarket, and came straight across the ACV. I’m generally “Proven, peer review science” type when it comes to diet/ supplements, but at €2.69 for 500ml, and going on the research discussed of 5ml a day fasted, I decided feck it!

I have it in the bathroom and take the 5ml and a swig of water first thing in the morning. Obviously, it’s naturally followed by brushing my teeth. I did try 15ml first day and then remembered 5, 10 or 15 didn’t make a significant difference - It tastes rotten!

I’ve filed it in the such small dose at such a small cost, it’s not doing any harm.

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That’s a very bad idea, brush before or at least 1 h after

I wouldn’t call tooth erosion not any harm, especially if you use it as above