Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Pharmacokinetics of a TIBS Almond Croissant

Zane told me today's Wednesday Punk ride was off due to pre-existing commitment on his part (his wedding anniversary) so I went out for a little 40km Waverley loop on the Paddy Wagon instead. It's still on 68" (42 x 16) and seeing as I got another kicking from Mac et al yesterday and there's a prospect of another one tomorrow, a light spin in an easy gear seemed like a good idea.

I rolled up to TIBS with 35kms on the clock for some post-ride refreshment; it's 5 km home from TIBS, as we all know "in-town-averages-don't-count" so as you're going to drop your average as you cat-and-mouse a bus from downtown Dartmouth up and over the bridge to the north end, you might as well do it with a delicately pulled 'spro lingering on your tastebuds. Screw your data in style!

Anyway, as I walked in, Zane walked out in lycra and a sleeveless-T and said "oh great, LT got hold of you; Laurie Park?".


Turns out Zane's wedding anniversary was on-hold until 3 and the ride was a go. Except I'd already done one. I had a hasty 'spro and an almond croissant, filled, drank and refilled my bidons and I was ready to go (again!). I almost forgot to take a picture, but remembered just in time.

It doesn't look pretty but I was a) hungry and b) realizing the easy 40 was turning into 100kms on 68" fixed and that's never going to be easy. The almond croissant went from gourmandise to fuel. It's a pity to treat one so, it borders on disrespect, but it was looking like one of those days.

Plus, I was wearing these Louis Garneau shorts that were left over from the first HLT and I picked up for $40 or something. Hey they're bibs; what can possibly go wrong?

Plenty. I was having some severe crotchal incompatibility issues with the LG chamois. I'm not saying they're bad shorts per se, they just don't fit my arse.

When espressosnob turned up we clipped in and rolled off. Problem was, he turned up on a Pro-Tour level carbon Wilier with DuraAce 7900 whilst Zane and I were on steel fixies (and Zane eschews brakes, so we only had four brakes between three bikes).

This was the cycling equivalent of bringing a gun to a knife-fight!

When I was young and stupid (as opposed to just stupid) the old boys used to talk about riding on experience and now I'm approaching old-boy status (in age if not wisdom) I see what they mean. Zane and LT rocketed off; Zane on 74" and LT on a proper bike with variable gears (what a concept! I predict they'll revolutionise cycling!). I sprinted onto wheels, spent a little energy now to save a whole lot more later on and tried to stayed glued onto the wheel in front up hill and down dale while willing the croissant to stay put.

Which brings us to the article under discussion in today's Journal Club; "The Pharmacokinetics of a TIBS Almond Croissant" Dacanay A., Z. Kelsall and L. Title. which we hope to submit to the Journal of Food Reversal. Although little known, J. Fd. Rev. has a high, ahem, impact factor.

Figure 1. Satiation Quotient (SQ) as a function of distance travelled. Following breakfast (1) the SQ dropped during the pre-load. Following ingestion of a TIBS almond croissant (2) it peaked maximally (3), which rapidly produced a feeling of imminent, involuntary croissant ejection whilst traveling at a speed of 9.7 m s-1 by bicycle. Such feelings decreased during the ride until the primes/attacks (A, B, C) which immediately restored feelings of involuntary buccal baked-goods rejection.

As you can see from the accompanying graph, the pre-load ride set the test-subject up nicely for the croissant, being neither bonky (Satiation Quotient, SQ, = 0) or stuffed full (SQ = 1) but nicely hungry (SQ ca. 0.1) which correlates with a feeling of "ooh, that looks nice, can I have one please?".

Following the croissant, the subject experienced an SQ approaching 1. Together with a rocket-ship start from the cafe at 9.7 m s-1, this was vaguely uncomfortable. The subject forgot to bring gels or similar, but that was acceptable as with an SQ ca. 1, even a gel (ca. 10 mL) was going to result in a Mr Creosote.

As the ride progressed, the SQ approached a normal figure (ca. 0.6, neither full or hungry). Given that blood redistribution must have occurred during the ride from the stomach to the legs, even at the advanced level of wheel-sucking that was observed, we can only speculate why the SQ, which is an entirely subjective scale, fell. It is likely that the absolute kicking experienced on the bike excited the inhibitory cells of the dorsal horn causing the pain in the legs to predominate and this caused the subject to forget, at a cortical level, about the croissant.

This was until the primes, A and B, on the way back, which managed to inhibit the excitation of the inhibitory neurons resulting in an almost involuntary inhibition of the voluntary inhibition of vomiting (keeping up?). After the primes LT launched a vicious attack, C, that was partly facilitated by his use of a new-fangled derraileur. The attack was partially neutralised utilising the dichotomous desicion-making tool first proposed by Strummer et al (1981) on Combat Rock by the popular 70s punk band "The Clash"

Of course, in an attack-situation where millisecond-levels of descrimination are required, it almost always recommended "to go now". The attack, and the feelings of immediate patisserie loss, was only fully neutralised when it was proposed by one of us that were four types of ride;

1) Drop ride; aka see you at the Rotary in 2 hrs suckers
2) No-drop ride #1; ride at a pace equivalent to that of the slowest rider
3) No-drop ride #2; we'll drop you but wait for you at the top of the hill
4) Don't drop the sponsor; self-explanatory.

This was a category #4 ride, given that a 49th Parallel Coffee 'spro "on the house" was a likely post-ride outcome.

In conclusion; an almond croissant from TIBS, which is approximately 70% butter and 50% almond paste (isolated from non-bitter variants of Prunus dulcis) is universally acknowledged to be "damn fine food". Regardless of it's placement in the Yumminess Schema, ingestion of even a single Almond Croissant before a bike ride may result in a varied syndrome with no single, pathognomic sign. It is likely that the severity of Post-Almond Croissant Ingestion Syndrome (PACIS) increases with the velocity of the bicycle-ride. We consider this to be the definitive study of PACIS as it would be clearly unethical to ask the test-subject to do this again!

Furthermore, we speculate that ingestion of an Almond Croissant immediately post-ride will not be associated with PACIS and may, in fact, be linked to an increase in brain serotonin and a general uplift in mood (After Ride Almond Croissant Happiness, ARACH). It is also likely the Almond Croissant will interact synergistically with espresso. Given that a statistically relevant sample is still required, it is clear that more research on ARACH, with and without the espresso variable, is needed.

Acknowledgements; The authors wish to thank Tara for the croissant and the driver of the black pick-up truck near Waverley who nearly rendered the study obsolete. This is TIBS ms#001.


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