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  1. #1
    Senior Member Daveyboy's Avatar
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    Sustained Energy question

    Does anyone have any thoughts/experience with the Sustained Energy drink from Hammer?

    On last weekend's STP (one day ride of 204 miles) I tried it out thinking that it would be easier to 'drink' my nutrition. What I actually did was mix 2 scoops of SE with one scoop of HEED per water bottle. I know, I violated the 'don't try something new on a long ride' rule. I actually did try it on a 4 hour ride and it was ok.

    However, on this ride, I think my body reacted negatively to it as half-way into the ride I developed nausea and really bad gas, to the point that I really couldn't eat (drinking was ok.) The lack of eating and (and not drinking much) really slowed me down to the point where I had to stop every 15 miles or so and try to eat. I don't know if it was the Whey in the product, the fact that I was also trying to eat a little bit, or that it was hot out (almost 90 C). The gas seems kind of funny after the fact, but during the 200 mile ride, unpleasant is an under-statement.

    The reason I think it was the SE was that at about mile 145 I dumped it all out and went back to straight water and regular food. I slowly regained my strength and by the end of the ride I finished really strong. In fact, it was the best I felt all day.

    Knowing that it was hot out, I also took a few of those Hammer endurolytes per hour to make sure I wasn't losing to much sodium & potassium.

    I'm kind of new to the long distance riding thing (this year) and so I'm still trying to figure out what works and what doesn't as far as food goes. However, I do know that it's important to keep eating and drinking, not to eat to much at any time, and that adding some protein on longer rides is important.

    So any thoughts would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daveyboy View Post
    However, on this ride, I think my body reacted negatively to it

    Knowing that it was hot out, I also took a few of those Hammer endurolytes per hour to make sure I wasn't losing to much sodium & potassium.

    I'm kind of new to the long distance riding thing (this year) and so I'm still trying to figure out what works and what doesn't as far as food goes. However, I do know that it's important to keep eating and drinking, not to eat to much at any time, and that adding some protein on longer rides is important.

    So any thoughts would be appreciated.

    My body reacts negatively to SE the moment it enters my mouth ... it's HORRIBLE!! However, I do use HEED and Hammergel ... they're good. If I'm going to go with some sort of meal-replacement supplement, my choice is Ensure ... tastes good, goes down well. Otherwise I mainly eat real food.

    The other thing is that you can't get all these supplement products (like SE) everywhere in the world. That's a mainly US thing. But you can get real food pretty much anywhere you go. IMO it is better to get used to eating real food ... that way you can travel and still be able to ride your events.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Daveyboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    The other thing is that you can't get all these supplement products (like SE) everywhere in the world. That's a mainly US thing. But you can get real food pretty much anywhere you go. IMO it is better to get used to eating real food ... that way you can travel and still be able to ride your events.
    Thanks Machka, I think that's the key. When I started to eat 'regular' food again I felt much better. Just before the last leg, I ate half a ham sandwich and a fruit plate, it seemed to make a huge difference in how I felt on the bike.

    I had actually read one of your earlier posts about the ensure and went looking for some I knew we had before the big ride. But alas my 'pull-date queen' had just thrown it out.

  4. #4
    Portland Fred banerjek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daveyboy View Post
    I had actually read one of your earlier posts about the ensure and went looking for some I knew we had before the big ride. But alas my 'pull-date queen' had just thrown it out.
    Tell 'er that you just want to inoculate yourself. My experience is that if it smells/tastes OK, you're fine well after the expiration date.

    The notable exception to that is medicine. I once took some acetaminophen that was a few years expired. That made me pretty sick so I don't do that anymore.

  5. #5
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by banerjek View Post
    Tell 'er that you just want to inoculate yourself. My experience is that if it smells/tastes OK, you're fine well after the expiration date.

    The notable exception to that is medicine. I once took some acetaminophen that was a few years expired. That made me pretty sick so I don't do that anymore.
    Yeah, I'm still drinking Ensure which expired about a year ago. Seems OK.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daveyboy View Post
    Does anyone have any thoughts/experience with the Sustained Energy drink from Hammer?
    A friend of mine gave me a little baggie of Sustained Energy a night before a 200k, but I abided by the cardinal rule and didn't try it on the event itself. I used it on a following training century and liked it. I like the fact that it doesn't taste really sweet, and is pretty neutral. My mouth tended to get tired of all the flavoured stuff in energy drinks, but it's been able to accomodate SE either plain or when mixed with a little chocolate Hammer Gel.

    I've actually had the opposite part of your experience, Daveyboy, I went to using more Sustained Energy after getting nauseous and gassy experiences with eating mostly real food on a 300k, and I wanted something that was easier to digest. Also, after running out of food on a 600k last year and going for 30 miles without seeing a single open and operational store, I wanted to bring food that was relatively durable and could last me through segments where I couldn't depend on services (ie. riding after midnight, riding on a Sunday, etc.) I still tend to eat real food during my brevets, but that's more for my own morale than anything else. Sustained Energy is functional, but it doesn't bring me the joy that a bacon and egg sandwich might.

    A few caveats -- Due to amino acids Sustained Energy does go bad after a while. Also, the hotter and more diluted it is, the faster it will rot. I typically put about five scoops of it in a water bottle and will nurse that bottle for, at most, 5 hours. After 5 hours, the entire bottle gets rinsed out thoroughly with cold water (I bring a separate toothbrush specifically for this) and then a new batch of Sustained Energy is mixed in. It sounds like you had your bottle for longer than that window and given the heat, and relatively fluid mixture, it probably just went bad.

    If it smells at all sour, I would dump the lot and switch to my backup plan of going with all real food and water.

    I will, also, always have a bottle that is just water. Nothing gets added to it and, again, in the event that the SE goes bad, I can just lean on a pure water bottle to see me through my hydration.

  7. #7
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spokenword View Post
    I like the fact that it doesn't taste really sweet, and is pretty neutral.

    If it smells at all sour, I would dump the lot and switch to my backup plan of going with all real food and water.
    A few people have mentioned to me that Sustained Energy tastes "neutral". I find that a very interesting description. Your "neutral" is my "badly sour milk" ... SE smells and tastes like milk that has passed its expiry date about a month ago (and has a very similar texture - lumpy) when it is first made ... 5 hours later, it is crawling around on its own and absolutely reeking! It takes a healthy dose of bleach in the bottle to get that smell out.

    I've never smelled SE when it has smelled anything other than sour.

    But then, I detest the taste of milk too ... all milk, even the freshest stuff in the supermarket, takes sour to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    A few people have mentioned to me that Sustained Energy tastes "neutral". I find that a very interesting description. Your "neutral" is my "badly sour milk" ... SE smells and tastes like milk that has passed its expiry date about a month ago (and has a very similar texture - lumpy) when it is first made
    yeah, milk is the closest drink that comes to mind when I use Sustained Energy. Mixing with a gel also helps give me an easy visual of how well mixed / unlumpy the drink might be. If I can still see clumps of gel swirling in the bottle, then I need to shake it more. If the entire bottle looks like a pale version of the gel, then it's nicely mixed (Gu works, too, to a lesser degree, but it doesn't quite mix as well as Hammer Gel)
    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    But then, I detest the taste of milk too ... all milk, even the freshest stuff in the supermarket, takes sour to me.
    ah see, for me I didn't have milk until I moved to North America when I was 10 and the drink was a revelation. I drank it all the time until I arrived at university, where the cafeteria dispenses always seemed a little suspect. I don't particularly like drinking milk as a drink now, but I do like chocolate milk or cocoa with milk, which is basically what Sustained Energy with Chocolate Hammer Gel tastes like to me. Chocolate milk. with extra ass-kicking.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Marcello's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daveyboy View Post
    I don't know if it was the Whey in the product, the fact that I was also trying to eat a little bit, or that it was hot out (almost 90 C).
    It may not be just what you were drinking, it may well be the effect of the heat.

    I did a 300k brevet this past Saturday (on the same day as STP), a few miles south of Portland, and it was pretty hot in the afternoon. Living in the Pacific Northwest, I am not used to riding long distance in the heat, and I after 150k of riding quite well, I struggled to finish the brevet once my body refused to take any food (including Ensure Plus, something I never had problems with in previous, cooler rides). I did better once it got hazy and slightly cooler late in the afternoon.

    There are several endurance riders that I know who use Sustained Energy, Perpetueum, or Spitz as their main source of fuel on long distance rides. One of those may work for you, but on a hot day where you push your body a little more than it is used to, you may need to have something else that you can eat or drink, in case your digestive system does not want to cooperate.

  10. #10
    Hoary Marmot jmaurice's Avatar
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    I too have had problems with SE. I used to carry two bottles both with 2 scoops of SE and 1 of Heed, but I think that I was taking too long to drink the second bottle and it was going bad. So now I fill one bottle with SE and Heed and the other is just water.

    If I do not drink the SE and Heed, I will empty, rinse and refill to make sure that the contents are fresh.

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    I favor Perpeteum over SustainedEnergy, but my experience on STP one-day was the opposite - the solid food at rest stops was horrible! A PBJ sandwich at Chealis tasted 3 days old and sapped me for a couple hrs. I just read that I should've checked the bread for mold. I was favoring HEED and solid food up to that point - when I switched to Perpeteum things got better. The energy drinks they were serving seemed cruel and unusual, too!

    It only seemed like 90C, really it was more like 90F. The heat barely fazed me, I'm used to it - but I mix my perpeteum one packet, one bottle, drink it fast and savor that orange dreamsicle flavor, chunkier the better, ain't NO WAY I'll let that delicious stuff spoil

  12. #12
    Lanterne Rouge
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    Weirdly enough the only way I find the taste of SE okay is when I mix it up into a pretty thick gel/paste consistency. Then it reminds me of tigers milk bar flavor.
    "Having modest aspirations RULES." --patentcad
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  13. #13
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    FYI, the 'big' brand in europe is SIS (science in sport). They make a recovery drink, and 'on the go' drink electrolyte and energy drinks (along with assorted bars, gels, etc).

    I use the recovery drink after rides, and it helps hugely. It's a soya-based protein and maltodextrin carb product, with some electrolyte and vitamins. I once drank it a half-hour before riding, and that was a big mistake, bloating etc.

    Many people here swear by the SIS products, and you can get them in a lot of bike shops, running and sport shops.

    I used the energy powder for a half-marathon, when I hadn't done any training. Finished fresher than when I'd trained for the event.

    Chocolate is by far the best flavour (they get the chocolate flavour from using cocoa powder, which makes it much nicer than synthetic flavouring).

    http://www.scienceinsport.com/

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    I've had similar experiences with Perpetuem on long rides. It seems to bring my entire digestive system to a halt, cause bloating, etc. This is even on cooler days where it hasn't had much of a chance to go bad.

    I've now quit using even HEED. I still like the taste of HEED, but as a source of either calories or electrolytes, it contains such minimal quantities that it just doesn't seem worth it. An extra couple of Endurolytes covers the electrolyte side, and an extra slug of HammerGel covers the calorie side -- without making you need to pee a couple km down the road. It's so much easier just carrying water -- don't have to worry about bottles going rancid, no futzing with plastic bags and sticky stuff blowing in the wind and getting everywhere, no sticky stuff dripping on my bike and ruining the finish, no keeping track of which bottles have HEED and which have water (don't get this wrong and squirt a big slug of HEED on your head!), no bags of powder taking up precious room in my handlebar/saddle bags, no bags of powder leaking sticky white stuff in same.

    I've also started taking straight salt pills to supplement my supplementary electrolyte pills (Endurolytes). From what I've read, almost all of what you sweat out is sodium; there is very minimal potassium, magnesium, or calcium sweated out. Yet Endurolytes have very limited sodium content, relative to what you sweat out. By eating salt pills, I've cut way back on Endurolyte consumption, without having cramps. The salt pills I bought are too big -- 1000 mg -- and make me feel like throwing up if I eat a whole one. But it's easy to crack it into half or thirds and I don't have any issues at all with those smaller quantities. So now, instead of eating 4 to 5 Endurolytes per hour to ward off cramps, I'm now down to a couple of Endurolytes per hour.

    I've also cut way back on energy bar consumption by buying sandwiches at controls (and sometimes an extra sandwich to eat between controls). This is partly in response to Machka's comments about the desirability of learning to live off real food in foreign countries where manufactured food might not be available, and partly in response to the fact that I get disgusted by energy bars by the end of a long ride. Still, there are always controls where you walk around the convenience store, knowing you really ought to eat, but finding nothing whatsoever that looks in the least bit appealing.

  15. #15
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    As a data point, the recommended dose for me (3 scoops) was way too much when I started using SE. I had bad gas, some nausea, but mostly bloat.

    The next few training rides, I mixed 2 scoops and went with that for a couple of weeks, even on "short" rides, just to get used to it.

    I'm up to three scoops/bottle now, but my sweet tooth prefers 2 scoops with 1 serving of Hammer Gel raspberry (any time) or espresso (in the mornings).

    HTH

  16. #16
    Member PerpetualMotion's Avatar
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    I carry lemon juice in a small plastic bottle (maybe 2 oz). I decrease the amount of cytomax when I add the lemon juice. Takes away a lot of the sweetness. One bottle of that with one bottle of good ol water works for me. Real food as needed.
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  17. #17
    www.ocrebels.com Rick@OCRR's Avatar
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    Sustained Energy works fine for me! None of the side effects noted above (thankfully). My usual ritual (on Planet Ultra doubles, and other that offer Hammer products at checkpoints) is full the 70oz. Camelback with ice, three scoops of Sustained Energy, squirt of Hammer Gel (vary the flavors over the ride), then fill the spaces between the ice bits with cold water.

    Then, I keep either plain water, or Gatorade (or Cytomax . . . whatever they're giving out) in my Polar bottle, adding ice whenever available.

    I do eat a little real food at the checkpoints (some fruit, a few Fig Newtons) and I feel well nourished throughout a double, and nothing to complain about!

    Rick / OCRR
    Last edited by Rick@OCRR; 07-30-07 at 09:55 PM.

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