Mini Thin v. Ephedrine: A Scientific Study

Mini Thins and Ephedrine are two old school energy pills often stored behind the counter at your local 7-11. They are behind the counter with the other publicly questionable items such as cigs, condoms, fifths of Jack, porn mags, and cold remedies that have been determined to be crack ingredients. This being said, one has to wonder if taking these pills is a precursor to developing a crack habit. A bottle of Ephedrine spotted in your possession elicits social distain similar to that of being found with track marks on your forearm.

The “behind the counter mystique” associated with these drugs sparked my curiosity. I had to find out what their physical implications would be for cycling. How would they stack up to more socially acceptable energy supplements? Purchasing these drugs made me look over my shoulder to see if J was going to arrest me. There is one thing that I want to make very clear. I am not condoning these drugs or their use in association with cycling. This test is being performed solely to satisfy my own curiosity and maybe to provide you with a little insight or entertainment along the way.

What is in a Mini Thin?

200mg caffeine, 25mg synephrine, and 30 mg of a blend of ginseng, kola nut extract, Rhondiola Rosea root extract, and white willow bark extract. Sounds like something a beaver would eat for dinner.

What is in Ephedrine?

12.5 milligrams of ephedrine. A bronchodilator that acts similar to adrenaline.

The format for the test is the same as previous energy supplement tests. Here are the specifics…

15 mile rides on The Road To Nowhere (this is what Mike and I have nicknamed our stationary recumbent). A 9 minute warm up followed by ten 1-minute sprints spaced 3 minutes apart and then a sustained time trial pace until the odometer reads 15 miles. Tension is set at a 6 on a 0-10 dial. Wind is 0 mph. Barometric pressure about 29. Humidity about 50%. Maybe slightly higher later in the ride.

The first ride took place after taking a Mini Thin. My ride under the influence of Mini Thins (MT) had a top speed of 31.2 mph and a maximum HR of 182. 15 miles were covered in 45min 35 seconds. The real story of this ride was my HR. During the course of my test rides, my HR typically tops 180 once and drops into the 160’s between sprints. MT’s effect on my heart was similar that of nitrous oxide on a street racer’s tricked out Mitsubishi. My heart revved to a series of nauseating rates. 180 was topped on 9 of my 10 sprints. My average heart rate between sprints was 170. As I type this entry, my heart rate is still about 102 and I have been off of the bike for about a half an hour. I also have a nasty case of the shakes. I’m sure an EKG would have shown some pretty weird activity. I must say that intervals under the influence of MT was a real cardiac adventure.

Next up was Ephedrine. Let me start by saying that when I went to 7-11 on Wednesday morning to purchase my packet of Ephedrine, I was asked to sign my name in a book and show my driver’s license. Holy cow. I was beginning to have second thoughts. I had to call Teresa to be reassured that this wasn’t totally wrong. She felt that, outside of the physical ramifications, she didn’t see a problem from a legal or habit-forming standpoint. That was the sliver of encouragement I needed. The test would go on Thursday morning.

Thursday morning came. I opened up the ephedrine box and took a capsule. It was a gel cap that tasked remarkably like cod liver oil. Anyway, I hopped on The Road to Nowhere and began my ride with a close eye on my HR monitor. I have to admit, I was a little scared. The 9 minute warm-up elapsed and I began knocking out the sprints. Was I about to give myself a stroke? No. Ephedrine gently raised my heart rate up to the upper 170 and topped it out at a ride high of 184. Unlike Mini Thins, Ephedrine allowed my heart rate to lower between sprints down to 159-162. My top speed was 31.5. I was able to sustain higher speeds for longer during my sprints too.

Next thing to watch was the clock…..15 miles in 44 minutes 16 seconds. It was a Road to Nowhere all time record!

Obviously the long term ramifications taking Mini Thins and Ephedrine are not good. You’d probably eventually become a crack addict and potentially blow up your house. I am sure they are illegal in racing. Nonetheless, I just had to know. I hope you enjoyed this study.