TDU cyclists’ secret weapon for dehydration

With the Tour Down Under expecting just over 800,000 cyclists and spectators to attend this week, hydration will be top of mind for all cyclists, amateur and pros alike.

National cyclist Emily Watts, who rides with the Subaru Giant Racing Team, knows hot Australian summers all too well and has a secret weapon to combat dehydration developed at Flinders University.

“I first trialled PREPD over the Tour of Tasmania and while the conditions weren’t hot, hydration was still very important given the duration of the race. I had an amazing experience and noticed feeling better hydrated with less performance drop near the end of each stage,” she says.

Emily recently won third place at the under 23s time trial at the recent national road championship in Ballarat and believes good hydration has been a key in her training and racing schedule.

“I have been a loyal consumer since the (product’s) trial days which has seen me using it during training and racing. I believe in the idea that you should train how you are going to race. This means the effort, focus and preparation for training should be approached just as seriously as a race. This highlighted when using PREPD at events, like the nationals, when exertion is consistently at high intensity day after day.”

PREPD is a Flinders startup launched in November 2018 after more than 20 years of collaborative research between Flinders and Yale Universities. It works using a unique resistant starch which triggers hydration in the gut.

Co-inventor Professor Graeme Young says while the human body can’t store water in reserve, the unique resistant starch unlocks the largely unused hydration potential of the large intestine to absorb up to 5L of fluid per day.

Clinical trial results showing a dramatic hydration boost with AFL players using PREPD were published in 2018. Since then PREPD is reported to have been used behind closed doors this summer by elite level cricketers, footballers and pro cyclists during the 2019 Tour Down Under.

PREPD has been designed not to replace sports drinks, but to complement them and make them work more effectively.

Oliver’s Real Food Racing Team.

It’s a hydration enhancer consumed 6-12 hours before, and then immediately after exertion, to boost the absorption of any electrolyte drink and water to reduce dehydration.

Oliver’s Real Food Racing team member, Jesse Featonby, says it helped his performance last year.

“PREPD has redefined the way I think about nutrition,” Jesse says. “Having a simple and efficient way to stay hydrated and recover quickly has given me the best results of my career in 2019.”

Oliver’s Real Food Racing team manager Sam Layzell says “with the challenges our team constantly face competing at both home and in Asia, PREPD ensures we minimise the stress of travel, and the associated dehydration of long transits.

“It also helps us combat the extreme heat we experience both abroad in the AsiaTour and over the summer of cycling hear at home.”

Amber Pate, who rides with the Norwood Cycling Club, uses PREPD in her exercise regime.

“With an endurance training load of around 18-20 hours per week, I notice a significant drop in my performance after repeated days of hard training,” she says.

“After extensively testing PREPD, I consistently felt better hydrated, my training performance was consistent, and I excelled in race situations even when under high levels of fatigue.

“Completing the same training sessions with and without PREPD, I noticed a significant increase in strength and endurance throughout the duration of the four hour sessions.”

Norwood Cycling Club rider Amber Pate is competing in TDU 2020 using PREPD.

Professionally renowned UCI cycling coach Kevin Poulton knows how to prepare his riders for events.

“Because the majority of racing lasts 4-7 hours, there is a real risk of the athletes suffering from dehydration,” he says.

“We know that fluid loss of just 2% is going to have huge effect on the athlete’s ability to perform.

“This means that all the hard work an athlete puts into preparing for a race can easily be undone by a poor hydration strategy on race day.”

He was first introduced to PREPD through a friend who knew he was about to conduct a pre-Vuelta training camp in Andorra during the height of summer in 2018.

UCI Cycling Coach Kevin Poulton trialled PREP with riders.

“I had conducted my research on PREPD and knew what the supposed benefits were. However, going into the camp I didn’t explain to the athlete in detail what he could expect to experience,” he says.

“I wanted to trial PREPD without giving away what we were looking for from the product. To my amazement, everything PREPD expected the athlete to experience with the product, he was conveying the same messages back to me.”

“Most notably, he was strong in the final hour of training. He commented that he didn’t feel the need to drink as often, and there were less bathroom stops during the long training sessions.

“At the same time, I was monitoring pre and post exercise weight and I was very pleased with the minimal amount of fluid loss experienced despite the high temperatures,” Kevin says.

PREPD also is highly regarded by Tim Reed, one of Australia’s best triathletes and the 2016 70.3 World Champion.

“The first time I performed significantly better in my controlled sub maximal cycling tests,” Tim says. “I didn’t quite believe the improvement so I retested many times over two months until there could be no doubt whatsoever that the hydration enhancing effects of PREPD are very real and was absolutely improving my performance. I would highly recommend to any athlete looking to improve their endurance performance and recovery.”

PREPD also is highly regarded by one of Australia’s best triathletes and the 2016 70.3 World Champion, Tim Reed.

“The first time I used PREPD I performed significantly better in my controlled sub maximal cycling tests. I didn’t quite believe the improvement so I retested many times over two months until there could be no doubt whatsoever that the hydration enhancing effects of PREPD are very real and was absolutely improving my performance. I would highly recommend to any athlete looking to improve their endurance performance and recovery.”

 

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College of Medicine and Public Health

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