Somewhat related to the comments on the previous post…

 stolen from  

MTB league bans caffeine for High School athletes

The NorCal High School Mountain Bike League, which recently released a new rule book for its 2008 racing season, is banning the consumption of caffeine at their competitions. The stance is motivated by concerns for high school athletes’ health, as well as in response to a tremendous surge of new caffeinated energy products and related marketing seen thus far in the 2000’s.

Over the past few years, the League has seen an increase in caffeine usage amongst its athletes; some even strategising with timed consumption of caffeinated products on the final lap of a race. This is a “performance-enhancement-based mentality” the League would like to nip in the bud.

There are also health-related concerns associated with teenagers’ caffeine consumption. Dr. Richard Stein, director of preventative cardiology at New York’s Beth Israel Medical Center and a representative for the American Heart Association said, “What five years ago was considered outrageous doses of caffeine is now well within the range of expected doses. We will soon find out the effects of prolonged usage in high doses starting at an early age. In the past, that’s always been a formula for poor health and mental outcomes.” The bottom line is that research has yet to demonstrate that a high amount of caffeine intake is safe for young people.

For Matt Fritzinger, League founder and director, “the conversation began when I was approached for the second time by ‘Brand X’. ‘Brand X’ said themselves that youth, originally, were not in their marketing plan – but that ‘Brand Y’ (a leading coffee shop franchise) changed their minds. The marketing representative made it clear, they wanted ‘product in hand.’ I realized this is a lot like the cigarette industry was; they get the free samples out there, and then they can count on a percentage of life-long addicts. Though less harmful than cigarettes, the strategy is the same.”

Fritzinger’ concerns were fuelled by a changing attitude within the racing scene. “Over the next couple years I spoke with many high school athletes and coaches,” he continued. “Some athletes admitted they were already ‘addicted’ to certain energy drinks, and I found that coaches were supportive of the ban.”

Although there cannot be a test for caffeine consumption in races, Fritzinger trusts the proper guidance of the athletes will ultimately bear fruit. “There have been questions about enforcement. It’s true that we do not have a test, but nor can we afford a test for steroids or EPO. However, we have a 3-to-1 ratio of dedicated adults working with the athletes, and with good coaching and education kids usually make the right decisions. On the other hand, those who try to get a boost, might get penalized if we find the wrong products during our random pocket-checks.”

Guarana Root, Taurine and Creatine have also been banned. The text of the entire rule book is available at


I reckon this is a good call as some of the “energy” drinks out there are one small step from a caffeine enema.


13 thoughts on “Somewhat related to the comments on the previous post…

  1. My daily non-fat Latte would be a problem.

    it is already a problem though, cause non-fat really means a bit less fat and still a whole lotta calories, translating into about 3-5 pounds this winter.

    Caffeine is addictive and quoting that Amy Winehouse dilhole.

    “I dont want to go to rehab, no, no, no”

  2. Yes, yes, yes, I am well aware that many bikers consume caffeine. Myself included. Howev, I do think that a high school league should discourage consumption based on the performance enhancing aspect.
    PS- All those foofoo coffees are the same thing. You are probably more addicted to the sweetness than you are the caffeine.

  3. I just remembered something, I recently ordered two boxes of the new caffeinated jelly Belly Sport Beans.

    Watermelon and Cherry flavored. Mmmm, caffeine.

    Now pardon me while I finish my morning Diet Coke w/Lime.

  4. Some issues I have with the legislation above:

    TAURINE? Really? I just had an amino acid lecture yesterday (and NO, Taurine is not an AA) that went into the critical aspects of Taurine on brain signaling as a neurotransmitter (aka: brain function). Taurine is synthesized in the human body by Cysteine and the metabolic half life is very short, so detection of Taurine ingested before an event would be futile. Not to mention, Taurine levels are highly controlled by the liver, so these riders would have higher brain function, and extra would be excreted either via the feces or Urine. There is no energetic effects from Taurine as proven to date, no toxicity. They missed the boat on this one.

    Secondly, creatine is essential for the synthesis of creatine phosphate, which is muscular fuel for short quick bursts (<10seconds). It comes from meat and fish. How can this be banned? Creatine supplementation leads to Diarrhea (during a loading phase), which is NOT performance enhancing, and eventual weight gain due to increased muscle Creatine Phosphate stores. More non-essential weight for MTB riders = bad! Oh, and obviously MTB races for high school kids are under 10 seconds. These two “bans” are ridiculous.

    I agree that Red bull and Monster etc should be avoided, but by ANYONE, not just kids (chronic hypertension is a bitch). I met a kid on the wards the other day who “had to drink” a Pepsi every morning otherwise he’d get a headache. That is sad in my opinion.

    Sorry if I bored everyone with info, but sometimes parents-as-legislators just miss the boat. Now go enjoy your diet-coke-with-lime. I’ll enjoy mine, I promise!

  5. Yep. I’m pretty sure you’re a nerd.

    I don’t know think they’re actually going to test for any of this stuff.

    Thanks, Doc.

  6. sandros clearly is taking some of the same classes my wife took when she was in med school at the U. She lectures me occasionally on the ills of what I like to eat and drink, but she is not shy about admitting Diet Coke and Diet Coke alone is what got her through many long nights during residency.

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