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Aug. 22, 2013
Colorado Kitchen Confidential, Part 3
Nitrate. It’s all the rage. So, while we’d love to talk about the delicious chicken chili enchiladas, cilantro rice, and black bean corn salsa that the Garmin-Sharp guys ate for dinner on Tuesday before stage 3 of the USA Pro Challenge, we will, instead, focus on the cilantro, arugula, and avocado salad that was also served. Why? Because arugula contains nitrate, and nitrate has been shown to significantly increase performance levels of athletes, including cyclists, in several serious studies.

Through a complex process involving the small intestines, saliva, bacteria and the stomach, consumed nitrate is converted to nitrite and then to nitric oxide, among other nitrogen oxides. Nitric oxide can have a surprisingly large impact on how well your muscles perform under high-intensity exercise, allowing them to use oxygen more efficiently. Although results obviously vary, one study showed an average increase of power of 5% for nitrate-ingesting cyclists during a short time trial. That’s freaking crazy!

JV and Talansky
Andrew Talansky and Jonathan Vaughters…discussing the benefits of nitrate?

Given the likely performance boost that nitrate can provide, Barb and Chris, the chefs cooking up meals in the Garmin Team Kitchen, have added foods like arugula, in which it naturally occurs. To squeeze a bit more power out of the riders, the chefs also juice beetroot daily for the team, as beetroot has a high concentration nitrate.

How well does nitrate work to boost muscle performance? Good enough for another day in yellow – that’s how good!
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Events, Team Clif Bar

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We like getting our heart rates up, taking a big breath of fresh air, savoring delicious food. But we also love telling stories and here's where we type 'em up. (BTW, it works both ways; leave a comment—please and thank you.)

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