Since I've started using it, I've found that I recover much quicker from hard rides. If I did a serious stint up front, or a hard climb, I usually sat back for awhile before recovering. I now find that my body 'bounces' back in less time than before. Maybe it's all in the head, but I somehow 'feel' stronger while using creatine.
I've been using creatine on and off for a few years now. I use it to help in the gym, not really for biking. I take 5 grams every day after immediately after my early morning workout. The only side affect I have experienced is some cramping in my calf during riding, but I can not say for sure that it is caused by creatine.
Vo2, the link you gave (www.absolute-creatine.com) is an EXCELLENT source of information.
You are supposed to use creatine to complement your workouts and diet. If used properly, creatine will help you add muscle. You will not add fat from using it. Creatine helps your muscles last longer during your workouts (or your rides in this case). Because creatine allows your muscles to work a longer during workouts, you are able to work a little bit harder, so you break down your muscle tissue a little bit more (thus, you gain muscle size when your body recovers).
Some people do tend to retain water when using creatine (does not happen to me). One way to fight that is to drink MORE water. The excess water will help keep you hydrated and will flush your body of any excess water that is not needed.
In cycling, the most commonly reported performance improvements when creatine is used are in events where there are repeated sprints with little rest (like track endurance).
Creatine supports the ATP-PC energy system ('alactic') and this provides energy for very short explosive efforts (i.e. less than 8 seconds in duration). Recovery of the phosphcreatine stores (the substrate of the ATP-PC system) after such an effort takes around 2 1/2 minutes during rest. Therefore creatine improves performance in events or training where very short, very intense sprints happen with little opportunity for recovery as it increases the rate of recovery of the phosphcreatine stores.
It appears that most endurance athletes are using creatine because it 'might' help performance and not because it does for 'sure'. Creatine might help during criteriums and road racing because of the limited number of sprints spread over the race but the benefit will be very limited. There is likely to be no benefit for time trialers as there is no sprinting involved at all.
If you don't want to put on weight, you just need to make sure that you use more energy (i.e. kcals) than you eat. If you want to use creatine with carbohydrate, you should consume these carbs in place of other carbs in your diet (and not in addition to the diet).
Is there any research to suggest that carbs will help creatine be absorbed faster? Or is it just some sales ploy?
Sounds like a job for . . . Lab Rat. . . (tan, tan, taaaaaaahh!!)
I am looking for some decent supplementation, so I'm not really using any other products. I'm also usinig a pretty regular training program so I'll be a Lab Rat. (This product is not tested on animals ;D)
Shall we do an online progress report. This is what I propose in principle.
I, Lab Rat, will document my daily training routine. First as is.
I will then buy some creatine and use it, recording dosage and will continue to record my daily training routine. I will include how I felt during the ride, how hard I worked and what everyone wants to know, am I getting faster.
Ah, Lab-Rat, good idea. I was thinking more on published research, however this could be interesting!
But remember that creatine is only of any real benefit for riders involved in events which have a partern of sprint, rest, sprint, rest... Typical of this are track sprint heats or BMX heats. Creatine is unlikly to have a great benefit for things like TT or road racing as there are no really explosive sprints or sufficent rest! The reason for this is that Creatine suports the Alactic (or ATP-PC) energy system and this is used very little in endurance events!
You might want to read the post from 08.05.2002 jsut to clear the above point up. I'd be interested in hearing about your experiment though!