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Old 07-30-07, 08:48 AM   #1
Jet Travis
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Don't Like Gatorade? How About Gels?

I know all of this is very subjective, but I always stayed away from sports drinks. They just seem to make me gag. But a couple of years ago I picked up some gels to ward of the bonk, and for me, they work extraordinarily well. I actually can feel them taking effect within a few minutes. You've got to wash them down with a goodish amount of water. I find I use maybe two on a very hilly 50-mile ride and always carry some extras (Good to have extras for a bonking cycling buddy).

Anyone else have experience with this--and which ones do you like?
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Old 07-30-07, 09:00 AM   #2
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So if you went on a 3 hour ride, would you drink a lot of water, then a gel every hour or so? Curious how you do it, as I do not really care for the Gatorade type drinks either. But if I do not keep hydrated I would struggle toward the end.
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Old 07-30-07, 09:11 AM   #3
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I tried non-caffeinated gels on my recent century for the first time. Only used one when I was getting fatigued (energy bars and rest stop snacks otherwise) but like the OP said, the effects were quick. Definitely need to wash them down with water though! Otherwise, yuck. Good for a needed quick energy jolt if bonking seems imminent but otherwise I prefer to snack on more palatable items & keep suckin' down the fluid.

Maybe it's groundless, but I am leery of delivering a jolt of caffeine to an already heavily taxed 50+ heart during a ride. Coffee with pie after is OK of course.
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Old 07-30-07, 09:16 AM   #4
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So if you went on a 3 hour ride, would you drink a lot of water, then a gel every hour or so? Curious how you do it, as I do not really care for the Gatorade type drinks either. But if I do not keep hydrated I would struggle toward the end.


If you read the marketing pitch on the label, you're supposed to take one every hour, but for me that's a bit much. On a three-hour ride, one (or maybe two) would be plenty for me. But everybody's different. It also depends on how much I ate before starting and how hard I was hammering.

I think the Powerbar gels taste the best. I get 'em in chocolate with added caffeine. They definitely give you a bit of jet fuel for your finishing kick.
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Old 07-30-07, 09:18 AM   #5
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Maybe it's groundless, but I am leery of delivering a jolt of caffeine to an already heavily taxed 50+ heart during a ride.
Hmmm. Interesing point.
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Old 07-30-07, 09:37 AM   #6
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I actually like the GU Expresso gels because they have x2 caffeine. I don't drink coffee on mornings I ride. I have started rethinking this a bit since caffeine is a diuretic it is probably not a good idea for me to take these during the summer months as I have hydrations problems in the humidity as is. In any event I usually only take one every for every 2 hours of riding. I like the gels better than a solid like power bars because you get the energy quicker and for me it doesn't affect my stomach.
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Old 07-30-07, 09:41 AM   #7
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I like Gu, the chocolate outrage and Espresso Love flavors. And I like the Cytomax mix that tastes like Tang. Mostly I prefer real food over the engineered and faux foods. Whole-wheat fig newtons hit the spot.

Of course, if something else is available and I'm in need, I won't be quite so picky.
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Old 07-30-07, 10:17 AM   #8
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I've had the same reaction to many sports drinks, and gels are even more difficult for me... way too intense all in one shot. With a considerable amount of experimentation I have found a sports drink that is actually quite well tolerated and it works. I've been using Cytomax (the citrus flavor I tolerate best) for two years now. The directions for use include "one to two scoops" per "X" ounces. I've found that anything over 1.5 scoops is too much and the unpleasant taste, sensation and stomach distress kick in again.
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Old 07-30-07, 11:30 AM   #9
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JT-do you do anything in addition to gels for electrolytes by chance? My experiments are indicating that taking an electrolyte capsule or two a day in advance of a long ride, and then 2-3-4 as needed the day of the ride are helping me quite a bit. I can take those with just water. However, if I just drink water and don't add the electrolytes I'm just one bit muscle cramp with a nice layer of fat on top.

I start out with a bottle of Gatorade and then go to water. I usually alternate between the two over the course of a ride. Like the perfect saddle, I'm still searching for the right fluid combo-will give Hammer a strong look as well as some recommendations from folks that ride around here.

It sounds like one of the keys for me is to limit the sugar in the drinks........I've had some issues there.

Oh yeah-I use Gu Banana (no caffeine)-but use a lot less than I used to. Since I swore off caffeine a few years ago I really dislike how it affects my old bod......
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Old 07-30-07, 11:45 AM   #10
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JT-do you do anything in addition to gels for electrolytes by chance? My experiments are indicating that taking an electrolyte capsule or two a day in advance of a long ride, and then 2-3-4 as needed the day of the ride are helping me quite a bit. I can take those with just water. However, if I just drink water and don't add the electrolytes I'm just one bit muscle cramp with a nice layer of fat on top.
..
I hate spending the exhorbitant prices on commercial sports drinks and food, especially if they don't really do much for me. But I must admit some of them work pretty well. I live in Houston and we have hot humid summers where hyrdration is an important factor to deal with. I started using the "electrolyte stamina" tablets sold by whole foods at the recommendation of a cycling friend. They work very well and are super convenient. I love bananas. In our area, convenience stores sell them one at a time, catering to the cycling crowds that pass through the country side. I also carry fig newtons, corabba energy squares (sold by a local grocery store), and peanut butter ******* sandwiches. For long rides (50-100 miles) I carry one bottle of accelerade. I buy the huge powder jug on sale at performance bike.

My experience with gels is the same as the OP. They seem to give quicker energy than anything else I've tried. I carry a couple of packs to use "as needed". Most of the time I don't need them.

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Old 07-30-07, 01:05 PM   #11
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Maybe it's groundless, but I am leery of delivering a jolt of caffeine to an already heavily taxed 50+ heart during a ride. Coffee with pie after is OK of course.
I'm afraid of caffeine at any time. It makes my BP go out the roof.

I use Hammer's enduroltyes for the electrolyte part. For rides less that 2 hrs, I don't worry about anything to eat until I get back. From 2-3 hrs, I use Hammer gel. Over 3 hrs, I use Perpetuem, and start on it early in the ride.
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Old 07-30-07, 01:17 PM   #12
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I don't know anything about them. Like wrobertdavis I object to paying an exhorbitant price for packaged sugar, and electrolyes, especially with caffeine added.
What's generally the ingredients in them, or are they all pretty much the same, and do most have caffeine or some other stimulant added?
I'll have to look at them closely next time I'm in the bike shops. Might make an occasional good substitute for the various aids as I get pretty tired of the taste of them.
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Old 07-30-07, 01:24 PM   #13
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Don't use them on rides of less than 4 hours but On the mountain climb I took one at around the one hour and 2 hour mark. Just to play safe. Did take a good swig of water after each one but I also use a Carbo Load energy drink on the long rides at full strength.

Make and Flavour-Go Gell in the Isotonic form and the flavour is Tropical. Tastes exactly the same as all the others I have tried-Except the chocolate and I have given up on that one. If I want chocolate then I want the real stuff-so a bar of chocolate in the back pocket for two hours and it has the consistency of a Gell pack- Pity the wrapper is not as easy to use.
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Old 07-30-07, 02:04 PM   #14
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When we get older, we seem to get a bit stuck in our ways. I think lemonade-flavored Gatorade is rocket fuel - Gatoade and water and an occasional Powerbar is all I use. After reading these posts, I'm thinking maybe I should branch out and try a gel
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Old 07-30-07, 05:11 PM   #15
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Those sports beans and Clif Bloks are also pretty good if you don't like Gatorade.
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Old 07-30-07, 09:55 PM   #16
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I've only ever had Clif shots in various flavors (they're gels) and liked them a LOT.
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Old 07-30-07, 10:04 PM   #17
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I've used the regular gels at rest stops on organized rides. I don't like big shots of caffeine either on long rides. Make sure you drink a good swig of water with gels. I had a guy throw an empty gel foil in the cooler I used at a rest stop I ran, and it hardened in a couple of hours and was like epoxy to get out of the cooler.
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Old 07-30-07, 10:53 PM   #18
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They make em without caffine. Bought some and they are the closest thing to eating school glue I have experienced since first grade.
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