You may have seen Chris Froome sporting one of these during La Vuelta this year but here is the next generation of breathing aid; the Turbine from Rhinomed. I have personally been a fan of breathing aids for years. I have used the strips that force open your nose by gripping either side of the outside part of your nose and flexing it open. I use cheaper ones for training and more expensive ones (that fall off less!) for racing. Whether it works or not is one of the most controversial points in cycling. I feel they help me, the strips that is, so I jumped at the chance to order the new Turbine from Rhinomed when I first saw them.
We need more air. When we exercise hard we simply need more oxygen, this causes us to breathe heavier and more repetitively. What a respiratory aid does is ensure that we get the most oxygen per breath. Cynics will tell you that once you go past a certain point and you start to breathe through your mouth what you do to help your nose get more oxygen through it is irrelevant. They might be right. I certainly breathe more through my mouth when racing hard than through my nose. Not a great start!
Rhinomed claim that with Turbine your power outputs increase by almost 20 watts, which is a lot of gain! This converts to travelling an additional 143 meters per 12.2 kilometres when compared to someone without a Turbine. How they came up with that I don’t know but they include the results of a clinical study that compares Turbine with its other competitors, although at this point I’d like to mention they don’t actually conduct the study in relation to sport.
You get three in a pack and it costs around £15.00 shipped from Australia. The suggested use is three times per unit, although if you look after it I suspect you may get a few more, and similarly if you drop it I would discard it immediately! Remember that technically this is inside your body and you may be introducing germs from improper use.
I tried this a couple of times. Once was a training ride for a twelve hour time trial and the other just a nice leisurely ride testing out some other equipment. I was disappointed to begin with. Maybe I’ve not set it up right, or misunderstood the sizing and got the wrong ones but it kept trying to escape. Sadly this meant a ride where I was forcing it back up my nose. The second ride was a little easier. I found that if I got the position right in my nose it would remain fairly still, although this changed once I took a sip from my bottle as I seem to open my nose slightly when drinking, again queue the great escape from my nose.
The final problem I had was more me than the device. I seem to produce a lot of nasal fluid while riding. This could be my mild asthma or just plain old pollution (as my nose is always clear when in mountainous areas). Either way my solution to this problem is blowing it out of my nose, or as I so eloquently call it a snot-rocket. This is just not possible while you have something up your nose.
Sadly what started out as such a great idea, and with a name like Chris Froome behind it such great promise has ended in disappointment. Luckily it’s not cost me much at all, unlike some other “fad” purchases I have made over the years! Shame as I really like the idea and I can’t see much of a way past it. Back to Breathe-Right strips for me. Although I do hope Rhinomed can find a solution…