Tour de France 100 Limited Edition Jersey

For the 100th Tour de France, Le Tour made available for purchase a limited edition cycling jersey in black to commemorate the final stage, which ends at night.

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When you first look at the jersey you see the logo for Le Coq Sportif (a French sporting goods company founded in 1882 that first supplied the Tour de France in 1951) and the initials of Henri Desgrange (the originator of the Tour de France). What is not immediately noticeable (and is in fact very hard to see) is the number 100 that is printed in a slightly lighter shade of black in the middle of the jersey (the bottom left photo above was enhanced to make the “100” visible).

The logo for Le Coq Sportif is again featured on the back of the jersey, and Henri Desgrange’s initials are located at the top of the center pocket. Below the initials is text that reads (in French) “In 1903 Henri Desgrange created the biggest cycling event of all time.” 

It doesn’t look like the jersey is available any longer (and if that’s true, then they went very fast), but due to the subtlety of the design it’s not something that the average person (or perhaps even your cycling buddies) would recognize as Tour de France jersey. I’m glad I bought one, but it would have been nice if Le Tour had issued a jersey that more prominently celebrated the 100th edition of the race.

Le Tour de France 100: The Official Treasures

There are a number of books available that celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Tour de France, but so far “Le Tour de France 100: The Official Treasures" is my favorite. 

The book is very well written, is interesting, and is occasionally fascinating. It covers the history of the Tour de France at a brisk pace, so you won’t find the same amount of detail as is found in books that specialize in specific eras of the Tour or in specific riders of the Tour, but it does an excellent job at hitting the high notes.

What sets this book apart from others is that it includes many high quality reproductions of historic documents from different periods of the Tour de France. Most of the documents are in French, but even not knowing the language (as I do not) I believe you will receive significant enjoyment from the inclusion of these facsimiles. A number of photos are also included, and many of the items would lend themselves to framing.

If you are new to the Tour de France then this book book will provide you with a great introduction to the Tour’s history, and even those who are intimately familiar with the history of the Tour de France should find enjoyment in this fine volume.

My Favorite Drink

When it comes to sports drinks there is no shortage of products from which to choose. I’ve tried a lot of them but generally I found them too sweet, too salty, or just generally unpalatable. After a while I got tired of the playing the “this drink is the best performance drink in the world” game and settled on filling my bottles with plain water for my rides.

About a year or so ago I heard about a new drink product named “Secret Drink Mix”. The thing that caught my attention about this drink was that the guy behind it was Allen Lim, who is a noted sports physiologist. Since I was familiar with Mr. Lim’s work with ProTour riders, I decided to give the drink a try.

My first impression of the drink mix was good: it was not overly sweet like many of the others and it was made with natural ingredients (including real fruit for the fruit flavor). I used “Secret Drink Mix” for a while but it didn’t seem to be doing much for me, so I didn’t re-order (plus I wasn’t able to cycle for many months after being hit by a truck while riding my bike, but that’s another story).

Eventually “Secret Drink Mix” became “Exercise Hydration Mix” and the company became Skratch Labs.

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Over time I kept reading positive reviews of the drink mix, so I decided to give it another try. A change I made this time was that when cycling I began to drink more frequently than I had before. Interestingly, this made a difference and I felt that the Skratch drink mix had a beneficial effect.

Because the mix is not overly sweet it’s easy to keep drinking and the constant small boost of carbohydrates and electrolytes probably helps reduce the feeling of fatigue. Also, unlike many sports drinks, the Skratch Labs drink does not seem to cause gastrointestinal issues while drinking it over the course of a longer ride.

While everyone is different, based on my own experience and based on the positive reviews by others, I suggest that you consider giving the drink a try.

If you do place an order, I recommend that you obtain a container to keep the drink mix powder in. The bags that the powder ship in have a “zip-lock” type of sealing system, but I’ve never been able to get it to work very well (it seems like the bags were always open whenever I took them out of the cupboard).

Skratch Labs does sell a storage jar which is mason jar which seals tightly via a clasp and which has the Skratch Labs logo on the front (see photo above). I bought a jar for each flavor of mix that I use and they do work well, but the logo is just a sticker on the front so I don’t know how well it will hold up long term (I guess it will depend upon how you clean the jars). Also, the “Pineapples” and “Lemons & Limes” flavors look the same in the jar, so if you use both you’ll probably want to mark one of the jars somehow (it would have been a nice idea if they included stickers for each of the flavors that you could attach to a jar).

Skratch Labs Exercise Hydration Drink Mix now accompanies me on each bike ride and while it probably won’t get me on the Tour de France podium, it does seem to help keep me hydrated on the road.