Wen’s Dad Tries Daily Cordyceps
by William Dolphin, Wen's dad
After seven weeks of taking Twisted Spoke CBD's daily Cordyceps, I'm sold on their benefits. I’d noticed some subjective benefits, including lower-than-expected Relative Exertion numbers in Strava on rides I do frequently. But last week I finally got around to digging into my Garmin Connect reports, and there is where I found the startling data. Over the past month, my estimated VO2 max had increased by 10%!
Here’s the more complete story…
As expected from clinical trial results, the first few weeks of daily Cordyceps use produce no detectable effects. Beginning around week 4, I noticed lower heart rate and lower perceived exertion on my challenging weekly group ride -- the “world-famous” Montrose Ride, a ripping ride in the LA area with between 100 and 200 riders. Most weeks we have at least a few of the L39ION team and other top SoCal racers lighting it up.
For the past 14 years, I’ve spent most of my Saturday mornings on this ride, which follows the same route every week, so I know it well. Of course, the demands of any given group ride -- even one like this that is on the same route with roughly the same large collection of fit competitive cyclists -- vary considerably based on where in the group you're riding and how frisky everyone is feeling. Some weeks are brutal, some almost civilized. Nonetheless, the subjective reports of others about how fast the ride was that week tell you something. And I have my own long history with it.
During that week-4 ride, people commented on it being a fast one, but my periodic checks of heart rate during the ride seemed lower than normal, and my sense at the end was that it had been relatively easy. The Relative Effort score Strava reported for the 3.5 hours, based on my time in heart rate zones, also said that it was substantially easier for me than I’d expect.
I had similar experiences on the Montrose Ride the next few weeks – seemingly lower exertion and heartrate – though sticking my nose in the wind at upwards of 30 mph still hurt. Racing age 60, after all.
Ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) have been shown to line up with objective measures for experienced athletes, and heartrate is a relatively objective measure, though it can be influenced by a number of factors such as chronic training load, illness, etc. So, these all seemed like good indications that the Daily Cordyceps was having the effect I was hoping for.
Still, I was startled when I opened up the Garmin Connect report on VO2 and saw that it had gone from 47 to 52 over the 4-week reporting period – a full 10% increase. Based on the clinical trials that suggested trained endurance athletes show less measurable VO2 impact from cordyceps supplementation, I had not expected that. I’d have been happy with 4-5%, given how hard it is to raise VO2, particularly for an old guy who is generally allergic to intervals.
One thing is for sure, I’m going to continue taking Twisted Spoke CBD’s Daily Cordyceps. The benefits seem clear, and I’ve had no noticeable side effects. And with the high-altitude Leadville 100 MTB race on the horizon for August, more oxygen transport is exactly what I need.