I was riding out in the country recently, and noticed one of the riders in my group take a drink from his bottle. The bottle was clear, and the liquid inside was an unappealing yellow (yes, that color of yellow).
I asked him what he was drinking.
“It’s Accelerade,” he said, “with one scoop of lemon lime R4, and one Nuun lemon lime tablet. It’s the best drink mix I’ve come across.”
Wow. I carry two water bottles. One is plain water, and one is water with one Nuun tablet. Nothing fancy. But it turns out I’ve heard from lots of people who have their own ideas of what kind of drink mix to concoct for their rides. Here’s a sample:
As a certified Cheap Bastard, I put the following into a 28 ounce water bottle on rides that will last two hours or more:
- enough Gatorade powder to reconstitute a quart of Gatorade
- 1 tbsp unflavored whey powder
- 4-6 ice cubes
Works for me, and it leaves me feeling much stronger at the end of a ride than Gatorade alone. It costs a metric buttload less than Endurox, Cytomax, etc., too.
When I used to race on the pro duathalon circuit, my water bottle was always filled with defizzed Coke for shorter bike stages (say, 40K or less). If longer than 40K, I’d carry two bottles – one with Coke, one with water.
Hammer Perpetuem works for me…along with Thermolyte buffered sodium supplements (capsule).
From Bicycling magazine: “Sipping a sports drink with carbohydrate, rather than plain water, from the start of a long ride can help spare your precious muscle glycogen stores by about 50 percent in the first hour alone, according to a study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. This means you’ll have more energy for the long haul.”
I’ve used Accelerade before — by itself, not mixed with anything else. It seems to work. That is, I’ve never had any issues while using it. But the taste takes some getting used to. After my first jar of Accelerade was gone, I didn’t go back for another.
I did try Hammer Heed, on the advice of a friend. I thought it worked about as well as Accelerade, with its own funky taste. I haven’t gone back for a second container of that stuff, either.
The guy in the first example here said he thought the Accelerade was fine, until it warmed up. “Then the flavor is enough to make you sick,” he said. He used lots of ice in his bottle, but in the Texas summertime heat, it doesn’t last long. “I drink it pretty quick,” he said.
I have bought bottles of G2 — the low-sugar Gatorade — from convenience stores when out on a ride. That stuff seems to help, too, without the crazy taste. However, some serious athletes don’t use bottled energy drinks of that ilk.
If I can keep hydrated, and take the occasional food, I’m good on rides up to 100 miles. I’ve never felt the need to develop a personal energy mix of my own.
How about you? We’re nearing the end of the warm weather riding season, so a discussion along these lines might be superfluous, but it’s fun to hear different ideas kicked around. Do you have a special drink mix that you rely on?