I had been "fading" lately on some of my longer training rides and was somewhat surprised as I have not had that issue in several years. I just didn't have the energy I normally had at the 70+ mile range. It was more than just the legs feeling tired. The easiest way I can explain it is just a noticeable drop in overall energy level. I have very successfully used bananas and peanut butter crackers for a long time but for whatever reason they just were not working as well as before. I took me several weeks to figure out what was going on-was it rest, stress, getting a year older, etc?????
I had a bottle of Hammer Gel Banana flavored Gel in my ride stash that for whatever reason I had not opened before and thankfully the expiration date was still okay. I took a chance and filled up one of my Gel bottles and used it on my long ride yesterday and it worked super. I had tried a sample of it a day or so ahead just to see how my stomach would handle it and it seemed okay enough to try-but you never really know until you've put it to the riding test! The banana flavor does NOT have caffeine which is what I was trying to avoid as well.
I only ate 2 bananas and used a good bit of the gel later in the ride and it was perfect for me. My stomach accomodated it very well plus it also seemed to get into my system pretty quickly. I'm sure the perfect weather helped to keep the fluid and calorie intake at a more moderate level. I will be interesting to see how it works on a warmer day!!
You can also mix the stuff with fluids or other stuff if you'd like. I've used the GU products before and also Hammer Gel raspberry but for whatever reason the banana Hammer Gel seems like a better fit for me.
Caution-Nutrition is like saddles in that they are a very personal choice for us. We all react differently to gels and foods. Don't do like I did and experiment on a long ride!!! I knew myself well enough to know how I'd react and also had backup plans. However, I think this product could help a lot of folks that are looking to add something that is really easy to use. There are 26 servings in the bottle I have so it works out to about 75 cents per serving-maybe a little cheaper than the individual packs??? I probably used 3-4 servings on my ride yesterday. I suspect I can find it cheaper than what I paid for the bottle and will most likely look around now that I know it's a keeper..........at least for now!!!
I'm beginning to wonder if different types of nutrition are like saddles. Stuff seems to work great for a long time and then for some unknown reason your body decides it has had enough.