Creatine... again.

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Creatine... again.

Postby twizzle » Thu Apr 11, 2013 11:40 am

I got smacked around pretty badly in the 4km prologue TT at Gunning last week by a guy who has never been more than a couple of seconds ahead or behind me for that event. Last year, I beat him by one second at 436W average (4Km in 5:29). This year he beat me by 14 seconds, and I was putting out 463W average (6:07 - a headwind this year).

14 seconds! Now, I was on a different bike this year, but I tried very hard to be aero. I had a chat to him after the TT, and apart from doing serious VO2Max intervals in the last month (twice a week), he's been taking creatine. In the last few years, he's always had a slightly better sprint than me, in a crit I've beaten him to the line in the past, but only his < 2 minute power has been better than mine and when he's tired he struggled to stay with me on some climbs.

Now... I don't have a sprint, but it was very obvious over the two days that my pathetic sprint had completely disappeared by the end of the second day, ie. a few seconds at less than 9W/kg before dropping off, yet I was still able to hold the ~460W at the end of both road stages for the run to the line. Interestingly... my MAP test last year had me crack at around 460W.

So... could creatine explain the performance difference? Or has he pulled his finger out and done some serious training? Because his endurance pace wasn't anything spectacular.
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by BNA » Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:50 pm

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Re: Creatine... again.

Postby sogood » Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:50 pm

This is how myths are created! :)
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Re: Creatine... again.

Postby Metor » Thu Apr 11, 2013 8:40 pm

take creatine if you want to gain weight. Or if you are a very good track sprinter. If none of these 2 then don't bother.
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Re: Creatine... again.

Postby twizzle » Thu Apr 11, 2013 9:50 pm

Well, something has turned him into a weapon. He trained pretty hard last year and didn't have the legs he turned up with on the weekend!


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Re: Creatine... again.

Postby sogood » Thu Apr 11, 2013 11:15 pm

twizzle wrote:Well, something has turned him into a weapon. He trained pretty hard last year and didn't have the legs he turned up with on the weekend!

Or maybe he was just super motivated on the day and took advantage of peak form. Talk to a coach.
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Re: Creatine... again.

Postby geraldobeavis » Fri Apr 12, 2013 7:51 am

When I was more focussed on weight lifting using creatine made a very noticeable difference to my strength. I would not be surprised if it had the same impact for power generation while cycling. However as others pointed out you usually out in weight, normally around 2kg of water. You also tend to look bloated as well.

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Re: Creatine... again.

Postby Nobody » Fri Apr 12, 2013 8:26 am

He could also have been taking something that he didn't want to talk about.
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Re: Creatine... again.

Postby twizzle » Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:46 pm

I guess I should have done my own research to start with.

Weight gain.... ~2%. Deck chairs on the titanic. Show me a rec level cyclist who can't lose 2% of their body weight by ditching some fat.

"super motivated"? At the pointy end of the field, motivation is not a factor. We are not the namby-pamby "Ohhhh - it hurts, I'll go slower" crowd. I beat Graeme Allbon's time last year. (O.K., maybe he was having a bad day, but he did finish 2'nd in A grade for the weekend).


Study : Creatine effect on sprint performance (30s).
Prolonged usage effects. The prolonged dosage was only 2g/day vs. 5g/day everyone seems to use.
Results of analysing studies.
Summary of post-1999 studies.

Poking through these... if the weight gain isn't an issue, it's a no brainer. I did come across another study last night that suggested a reduction on O2 for sub-maximal efforts as well, but I can't find it again.
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Re: Creatine... again.

Postby philip » Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:05 pm

I think it's hard to compare 2 cyclists over 2 performances. 14 seconds difference over 4km is a bit but I don't think it's huge. I don't know a lot about power meters but you can get a good idea of how you paced it right? Surely that could make a difference. Does he have a PM too? Also you mention a big headwind, look how much of a difference that made compared to your last time when your power is significantly higher - were you out on the course at the same time?
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Re: Creatine... again.

Postby twizzle » Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:21 pm

Just done the analysis of riders who competed both 2012 and 2013.

The mean time difference was an increase equating to 8.8% of this years time. Mine was 10.6%, Roger was 6.5%. So I was about 2% slower than the average, and he was 2% faster.

No, Roger isn't riding with a PM these days, yes - I paced myself properly. Roger also had a skin suit, booties and took the bottle cages off his bike. Our time on the course was about three minutes apart.
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Re: Creatine... again.

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:49 pm

Too many uncontrolled variables. Changes in W/m^2 for both riders could easily account for that, let alone other factors.

Creatine possibly for short duration events, but not for anything more than that. Creatine is used early on in an effort if it's present, it won't be about for you at end of a road race for instance. And anecdotally I think you'll find a lot experience bad cramping.

As for weight gain, the water retention from a creatine loading protocol is likely a necessary by-product of any improvement in power. And for endurance cycling, then the gain may still be tempered with worsening W/kg. If you don't gain weight, you likely won't see the power gains, as you most likely didn't need it and are probably peeing it out with the rest of your bodily wastes.

It's mostly for sprint oriented athletes and those who have lower level of natural creatine from their diet (e.g. vegan/vegetarian). Of course every individual's response is unique, so I'm talking generalities.

In short, for a roadie, no.
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Re: Creatine... again.

Postby twizzle » Fri Apr 12, 2013 3:07 pm

Yes... but. It's not my W/kg for road racing that's the problem, it's getting dropped in sprints and short-duration climbs.

Roger is my height, a bit heavier than me these days (I'm 10kg lighter, he's probably 5Kg heavier than I am now, and our TT performance (short & long) has always been similar. Yes... I rode a different bike this year. Bar height is about the same as last year, maybe 1cm higher. Forks (Ribble "Black Storm" winter forks) are most definitely non-aero compared to my old TCR.

And... something I hadn't considered - I'm 10Kg lighter than last year, or 90.4% of my old weight. The first half of the course is slightly downhill... weight could be an advantage.
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Re: Creatine... again.

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Fri Apr 12, 2013 4:44 pm

twizzle wrote:Yes... but. It's not my W/kg for road racing that's the problem, it's getting dropped in sprints and short-duration climbs.

Sure, but unless the race critical short duration efforts occur in the opening minutes of the event, any advantage provided by creatine would be well gone by the time most race selections occur.

Where I think one can consider it, is during a dedicated block of training specifically designed to lift anaerobic work capacity, as it may provide an ability to train harder and/or recover more quickly during such interval sessions. But one has to be careful when doing this, as at some point in the cycle or shortly after it can lead to heavy/wooden legs.

But as far as race day performance goes, the creatine isn't likely to be of much benefit for middle and end of race efforts, and the downside risks (e.g. extra weight, cramping) still exist.
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Re: Creatine... again.

Postby Ross » Mon Apr 15, 2013 8:48 am

twizzle wrote:I got smacked around pretty badly in the 4km prologue TT at Gunning last week by a guy who has never been more than a couple of seconds ahead or behind me for that event. Last year, I beat him by one second at 436W average (4Km in 5:29). This year he beat me by 14 seconds, and I was putting out 463W average (6:07 - a headwind this year).

14 seconds! Now, I was on a different bike this year, but I tried very hard to be aero. I had a chat to him after the TT, and apart from doing serious VO2Max intervals in the last month (twice a week), he's been taking creatine. In the last few years, he's always had a slightly better sprint than me, in a crit I've beaten him to the line in the past, but only his < 2 minute power has been better than mine and when he's tired he struggled to stay with me on some climbs.

Now... I don't have a sprint, but it was very obvious over the two days that my pathetic sprint had completely disappeared by the end of the second day, ie. a few seconds at less than 9W/kg before dropping off, yet I was still able to hold the ~460W at the end of both road stages for the run to the line. Interestingly... my MAP test last year had me crack at around 460W.

So... could creatine explain the performance difference? Or has he pulled his finger out and done some serious training? Because his endurance pace wasn't anything spectacular.


How come with all the megawatts you claim to be putting out you only beat me by just over 2 mins and you sat in the bunch most of the race and I was ITTing in the wind for most of the race?
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Re: Creatine... again.

Postby twizzle » Mon Apr 15, 2013 11:15 am

Dunno what to say, Ross.

Yes, I spent time hiding in the bunch. I also spent a fair bit of time on the front as well - when necessary. And there was a lot of time when Kev and I were being hung out on the front so we sat up and were doing turns at stuff-all pace because we weren't going to chase down David if Roger wasn't going to take turns.
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Re: Creatine... again.

Postby twizzle » Mon Apr 15, 2013 11:44 am

... besides which, when you are my height and weight, they are not impressive numbers.
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Re: Creatine... again.

Postby craigg » Mon Apr 15, 2013 3:44 pm

Creatine has not been clinically shown to increase or decrease susceptibility to cramping in conjunction with heat and dehydration - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1421496/

The Creatine weight gain is associated with 'loading' (5 days of 5g 4 times per day). If you avoid the loading and just take the 3-5 grams per day you'll get the benefit after approx 4 weeks without the weight gain - http://www.ausport.gov.au/ais/nutrition ... s/creatine

Creatine is only of clinical proven benffit in short maximal efforts with minimal recovery time (<1 min between efforts), it would not account for the difference in performance of the prolog TT. It's more for criterium type events with closely spaced surges (eg corners, short sprint climbs etc).

For your TT event I'd suggest bicarb loading to increase lactate buffering - http://www.ausport.gov.au/__data/assets ... _sheet.pdf

The AIS website has a really good section on supplements.
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Re: Creatine... again.

Postby twizzle » Mon Apr 15, 2013 3:53 pm

Except in a short TT where the intial acceleration up to speed is important as well.

And I agree - after reading all of the literature, it's unlikely to be a significant gain over a 4km effort. But in a RR or crit, I often get dropped as I am unable to respond to the surges quickly enough and get gapped.
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Re: Creatine... again.

Postby toolonglegs » Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:10 pm

463w av for 6m7s and slightly down hill course... only 39 av :shock: ... what's the profile like at the end?... huge headwind?
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Re: Creatine... again.

Postby eightsixboy » Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:24 pm

I highly doubt creatine would be the difference between the two of you. You don't know how well he has trained or how fit he is, for all you know last time he was slower due to a bad day and this time he had a good day.

My experience with creatine is that its highly over rated, its not like you take it and have mass energy all of a sudden.
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Re: Creatine... again.

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:36 pm

twizzle wrote:Except in a short TT where the intial acceleration up to speed is important as well.

That only takes 10 seconds, 15 at most.
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Re: Creatine... again.

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:43 pm

craigg wrote:Creatine has not been clinically shown to increase or decrease susceptibility to cramping in conjunction with heat and dehydration - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1421496/

Correct although individual responses can vary, and there are plenty who do suffer badly when using it. Whether it's because they supplement incorrectly, or there are other reasons for the symptoms, any supplementation regime should be done with due care and tested well in advance of competition.

craigg wrote:For your TT event I'd suggest bicarb loading to increase lactate buffering - http://www.ausport.gov.au/__data/assets ... _sheet.pdf

If one tries this, be very careful to test it first, in a safe environment (i.e. be able to get to a dunny quickly) as some riders experience gastric problems, even severe distress.

craigg wrote:The AIS website has a really good section on supplements.

+1
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Re: Creatine... again.

Postby twizzle » Mon Apr 15, 2013 7:29 pm

eightsixboy wrote:I highly doubt creatine would be the difference between the two of you. You don't know how well he has trained or how fit he is, for all you know last time he was slower due to a bad day and this time he had a good day.

My experience with creatine is that its highly over rated, its not like you take it and have mass energy all of a sudden.


And as I said in the original post, we have never been more than a second or two apart over the years - this is our fourth Gunning ITT. Plus a handful of medium/long TT's in the past where we have always set very similar times.

And after doing my own research... correct, Creatine isn't the answer, except possibly in the initial kick from the start.

But my CTL was the highest it has ever been for this event, I was putting in 400k weeks - and IMO, 14 seconds is huge. Maybe it's the aero, I will be looking into that aspect - I've had to change my position a lot in the last year due to back problems and I might be presenting a lot more frontal area because of it. And next time we catch up, I'll be asking if I can get a copy of his data.


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Re: Creatine... again.

Postby twizzle » Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:14 pm

toolonglegs wrote:463w av for 6m7s and slightly down hill course... only 39 av :shock: ... what's the profile like at the end?... huge headwind?


2012. Garmin didn't want to play this year, needed a cold restart.
Time was 5:28, I kept going for a little while then turned back.

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Re: Creatine... again.

Postby vander » Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:18 pm

toolonglegs wrote:463w av for 6m7s and slightly down hill course... only 39 av :shock: ... what's the profile like at the end?... huge headwind?

This is something to look at Twiz. I would certainly be getting your powermeter checked. 460W is good no matter your size really. Jump on the track and do a pursuit would love to see what time you could get, if your power is correct I would expect somewhere around 4:30 or less which is a serious time.
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