Unhinged Assistance

by | Jan 31, 2017

January has been a fairly tough month. I have enjoyed 3 Unhinged rides already involving a Bonk, a pair of underpants and a slingshot around Rye. I don’t imagine I will keep up this run rate for the rest of the season but who can tell?  The first race of the season have been raced (report to follow), we have launched the Unhinged Strava GC and I have also been trying out lots of new things to gain some Unhinged assistance, three of which I would like to share with you in this post. Yes this is a (slightly) more serious post but I assure we can find a little Unhinged humour in there somewhere.

So, on to the 3 things:

  1. HRV4Training
  2. An Iron Girl Plus Power Breathe
  3. Cannabis


Let’s dive into each.



This is a pretty cool App that will help you identify if you are in danger of overtraining. It works on the principle of Heart Rate Variability (HRV). Rather than do my usual geek vomit in the post you can readily about it here. In summary, your heart does not beat at a constant frequency.  HRV is a measure of how this frequency varies.  By tracking what is a normal HRV for you, the app can give you an idea if you are under-recovered from recent intense workouts.

Like any good App it simplifies things to make the measurement user-friendly (just 1 minute) and uses the camera on your iPhone. Simples. You take a reading on waking and it is establishes a baseline over a number of days and assigns a score to what your heartbeat is up to. If things are out of whack then it will tell you to limit intensity for the coming day. You can then chose to ignore it or not if course. It is pretty useful if you are trying to handle a bigger training load than normal.

After a tough week and my Unhinged slingshot ride, I had a mind to do some intervals the next day. Even though the dogs were pretty shot, the App told me to crack on. So I did.

Here are some screen shots as to how it works.





HRV4Training 2

Proceed as planned!



HRV Trend


Now, I have to confess, that it did tell me to limit my training one day and I told it to piss off. I am the Unhinged Cyclist after all. However, I would probably take more notice if I got this two days in a row.


The Iron Girl Plus

The Iron Girl Plus

The Iron Girl Plus


The inventor of the Wattbike is a guy called Eddie Fletcher. I have met him a few times and he was kind enough to give me some killer intervals to do once. He also has something to do with Power Breathe and highly recommended them. The “something to do with” probably means that he received some dead presidents for highly recommending them. However, it seems like a fairly Unhinged piece of kit so I thought that I would give it a go.

The concept is a simple one, it looks to develop your breathing muscles by making it harder to breathe in. Simples. In turn this should develop your ability to suck in Oxygen when riding intensely.

I went for the Iron Girl Plus version as:

  1. It was half price
  2. It looks like a big pink dildo which I think is a very amusing thing to stick in one’s mouth. Particularly on the 6.56am from Tunbridge Wells to Charing Cross.


The drill is that you use it twice a day, taking in 30 breaths and then gradually increasing the resistance over time.

Now, I am pretty committed when I take something on and invariably see it through. Particularly when there is a sniff of extra speed at the end of the tunnel. However, in this case I lasted about 4 days.

Frankly, It is a disgusting piece of equipment.

Maybe it is just me but, at the end of the 30 breaths, it has a decent deposit of saliva nestled in the mouthpiece. After about 7 breaths I would develop a strange and unsettling hawking type sound in the throat which kinda put me off my stride (and created a fair amount of negative energy on the packed commuter train I can tell you). I also started to develop a fear of the session. I would dread it being “Iron Girl Plus Time”. Two sessions went down to one. One became zero.

It was not easy either. Nay, it was bloody difficult. I got it up to level 2.5. There are 10 phlegm inducing levels to tackle!

However, there is probably something in it (aside from a load of spit). A good review can be found here although the reviewer, Jezz, chose to use the Iron Man plus for his experiment.  Not sure he would have had the same positive experience with the Pink Dildo. Or maybe he would…

As I write this I realise that I am letting myself and my readers down so I will give it another go. I will let you know how i get on in a future post…






Yes I am talking about Ganja, Weed, Marijuana, Da ‘Erb, Jamaican Gold etc.. etc…

Not an obvious performance enhancer at first glance I will admit. I mean when have you heard of anyone the pro-peloton saying “A quick espresso and a spliff before this stage Luca?” Actually….

You would not think that it would do much good on the bike. You might even suggest that it would be somewhat detrimental to your bike handling skills.

But nay, the good shit has some good shit going on. Here is what it can do for you:

  1. Reduce stress levels (and cortisol – the stress hormone that becomes elevated with intense exercise)
  2. Aid recovery – very strong anti-oxidant properties and reduces inflammation
  3. Reduce the perception of pain
  4. Regulate the insulin system
  5. Keep the hormonal system in balance
  6. Aid sleep
  7. Inhibit cancer cell growth
  8. Make you feel less hungry (and hence improve your ability to work words a Skeletor type boat race)


Sure, I hear what you are all clamouring – it is highly illegal, on the WADA banned list and a bloody stupid idea. So, I am not strictly talking about Weed as we know it here. I am talking about Cannabidiol (CBD) which comes from the Cannabis (Hemp) plant.

I will now introduce Mr Walter White for a Q&A on the biochemistry of Cannabis and CBD. (With a large amount of help from Ben Greenfield in his excellent article and blatant sales pitch on the subject).

Unhinged Cyclist: “Mr White, it is really good to meet you. I have to say that I am a big fan of your work.

Walter White: “Likewise”

Unhinged Cyclist: “Mr White, can you tell me about what gets you stoned when smoking a joint please?’

Walter White: “That would be the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the bit of the Hemp plant that induces a euphoric state, a cerebral high and potentially a large amount of time in a horizontal position”.

Unhinged Cyclist: “So Mr White, so what is CBD all about?”

Walter White: “CBD is Canabidiol, a major part of the plant. CBD is legal, safe and has been very well researched in respect of multitude of medical applications.”

Unhinged Cyclist: “Mr White, how do we get the legal, safe, not-banned CBD Oil without the euphoria inducing THC?”

Walter White: “That is simple. We let the plants have sex”

Unhinged Cyclist:“You what? Sorry, I mean You what, Mr White?”

Walter White: “Well, hemp plants have a male and female version. If the female plant is pollinated by the male plant she is happy. In this case she produces hardly any THC. However, if she aint getting any action, then she gets frustrated. She sort of goes bananas and produces this mind bending chemical that we know as THC. So if you get your Cannabis from plants where the females an the males are mixed, up resulting in Happy Mrs Hemp, then we are all good. In your case, lots of positive effects on recovery, stress and weight loss. But if you get your weed from angry frustrated Mrs Hemp who has not seen hide nor hair of a Hemp Stallion then, in your case, you get very high, fall off your bike, eat a load of Doritos and get landed with a 2 year ban in the process. So my advice to the Unhinged Cycling dude is to make sure Mrs Hemp is getting some!”

Unhinged Cyclist:”Thank you Mr White, this is very good advice.”

Walter White: “My pleasure, and may I say, Keep Rollin’.”

Unhinged Cyclist: “Always Mr White.. always”

So it is safe, legal and you can buy it from the internet or reputable health shops. I got hold of my first stash from Brother Unhinged who sent me some for Christmas. Thanks Bro’.

4 drops under the tongue, 4 times per day. And like the Iron Girl plus it is bloody disgusting. If it gets to the back of your throat then (I am led to believe) it tastes like that horrible burning sensation you would get if you took a big toke on a doobie. (You can also get it in capsule form)

So what has it done for me? I have noticed the following effects:

  1. Mrs Unhinged will tell you that I am a slightly more amenable person to live with.
  2. I am certainly less hungry.
  3. I seem to be recovering well from a pretty intense training load over the last few weeks
  4. I have developed an interest in fantasy novels (actually – I had that anyway)
  5. I am sleeping better albeit am choosing to sleep for less


Now, as I say, I am trying lots of new things at the moment so difficult to distinguish where the benefits are coming from but I think there is something in this product. Do with that what you will.  Just don’t try to smoke it.

As ever, I would love to hear form you in the comments for views and experiences with the products.

Next up I will review the first crit race of the season which has some quality Unhinged behaviour in it from both the Unhinged Cyclist and the bloke who came second.  We will also be looking at the interim Unhinged Cycling Strava General Classification.

Thanks for reading!



    • Rob Stephenson

      Thanks Shaun, will take a look. I know that Garmin use Firstbeat to come up with their recovery time. I hate my Garmin but think that this is a cool feature that works for me.

  1. Glen Bowker

    I was fearing an overly technical review, but the Iron Girl Plus piece just made my day! Keep up the Unhinged work!

    Now, where has Walter gone, I need to chat with him!

      • Mrs B

        Another great blog. I glazed over at the HRV, laughed out loud at Iron girl plus (it must be horrendous for you to quit at 25%) and was fascinated to learn about CBD. Looking forward to what you can produce during the 24 hour transit to Australia :0)

  2. Neil

    Interesting that. I’ve been using another HRV app, Elite HRV for a few weeks now. I don’t think I’ve been using it long enough to fully review it but I’m not convinced yet by the results. If nothing else it would/should be a good indicator of any virus or illness you may be coming down with. I’ve had a few readings that have suggested I shouldn’t train at high intensity but this wasn’t after particularly hard training sessions.. So I’ll persevere and see. You can add it as a metric in Training Peaks so used in conjunction with the fatigue rating it could prove valuable. As for cannabis.. It certainly wasn’t a performance enhancer the way I used it in my youth! Perhaps a bong is not the best way to consume it!

    • Rob Stephenson

      Thanks Neil, yes – like all of these things, they need to be looked at in relation to a whole bunch of parameters including how you are feeling. But all helps if you are trying to push the envelope on intensity.

      As for the bong. I would agree. If you are gonna do it Camelback would be the way forward I reckon.

      PB: Note that the Unhinged Cyclist does not condone the consumption of illicit substances 😉

  3. CJP4

    Fantasy Novels?! I had you down as more of a Mills and Boon man…

    • Rob Stephenson

      CJP4 – you are correct of course. You can actually combine the 2 with Stephen King’s Dark Tower (Book 4 I think). Romantic fantasy tragedy!

  4. The Hinch

    Bloody brilliant bit of jibber Unhinged. It made me laugh out loud on the packed commuter bus home. Keep it coming

    • Rob Stephenson

      Thanks Hinch, Glad you are enjoying it.


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Hi, I’m the Unhinged Cyclist. That’s me in the pointy helmet with my trusty mower..

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