It was at this year’s Interbike Dirt Demo, in the desert outside of Las Vegas, when a pal asked if I’d seen all the people walking around with yellow nose rings.
I hadn’t really noticed, but all of a sudden it seemed everyone was wearing them — a tent at the event was giving away three-packs of the Turbine, an in-the-nose implement billed as a “sports breathing technology.”
RhinoMed LTD, an Australian company, calls the Turbine an “intranasal dilator,” and, essentially, it is two small, soft, ratcheting paddles connected by a rubber bridge. You insert it into your nostrils to open the nasal airway.
At the desert bike demo, I grabbed a sample pack and tossed it in my bag before moving on to another test ride, skeptical but curious about the funny little product.
Fast-forward a couple weeks and the local cyclocross season is well underway. Early season races tend to be dry, hot affairs, and when you’re a back-of-the-pack racer like me, you tend to eat a lot of dust, making an already laborious task like breathing even harder.
Before a race I remembered my yellow “ring” and put it in for a try. Riding in the ‘cross race I definitely could feel an increase in the airflow through my nostrils, and therefore an “improvement” in my breathing.
To quantify it exactly is difficult but the company, which makes similar products for people who snore, notes the Turbine can increase the oxygen that gets into your system.
The Turbine’s fit is not obtrusive, nor uncomfortable in any way, but I definitely could feel it in place, pushing outward on my nostrils. The paddles are adjustable, and three sizes are offered for different nose types.
The company claims the device “expands” the airway, and that an athlete can gain up to “38% more air.” A few high-level athletes, including Tour de France champion Chris Froome, use the Turbine, so there is some momentum behind the concept.
Each individual Turbine device can be used up to ten times. They cost about $15 for a trial pack at TourCycling.com and $27.95 for a three-pack of Turbines.
It may look weird, but my experience with the Turbine was positive — I can say I felt like I was breathing more efficiently, the ring helping me slog around the course with upgraded airflow.
Would I recommend it? It’s worth a try. I feel a product such as the Turbine can improve breathing for anyone from the casual fitness rider, weekend warriors, and even elite racers.
I rocked my nosepiece for the whole race last week, breathing solidly as I pedaled and leaped hurdles on the course. It worked fine right up until the point I took a beverage hand-up in the race, the can bumping my nose, the Turbine shuffling, plinking out, and plummeting silently to disappear, gone, into my open can of beer as I coasted to a stop.
–See more at theturbine.com.