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Tell me what Sports Drink you Prefer on those Long Training Skates!

eebee's picture

We haven't discussed sports or energy drinks of choice here lately, and I wanted to find out what others are using. This could spill over into a discussion about sports nutrition - i.e what prevents you from bonking, as opposed to what protein bar you eat during recovery hours. Basically I'm still trying to find an alternative to Gatorade. The problem is, Gatorade works so well for me during a three hour, hot weather skate. However, suffice it to say for post-skate reasons I need to try to find an alternative. I'm not sure if the high fructose corn syrup is to blame or what, exactly.

I've heard other names such as 'Spizz', and other people using other powdered mixes to make their own. At this point I'd like to just jump in and try some other things out during the safety of training, rather than try to detangle and reassemble a list of ingredients. 

So, what do you use: plain ol' water + electrolytes and a gel every 45 mins, or coca cola and fig newtons, or watered down fruit juice and bananas? Something else? 



timv's picture

Still Juicy-Juicing

One part Juicy Juice fruit punch to two parts water, same as I've been drinking the past seven or eight years. During two very hot days of an Eddy Matzger workshop (2001 I think) I went through three bottles a day without complaint. Or should I say it went through me. No issues with it since then, no reason to consider switching.
JonathanS's picture

Good luck with Gu

I have had good luck with the Gu sports drink. It is not as sweet as the Gatorade, but still has the electrolytes. I use this with the Gu packets, which I know some people can't stand but they don't bother me. Except after the A2A, where after eating about 15 packets, it was all I could do to choke down another. It took me about a month to get over that adversion. The only advise I would offer if you go this route is on skates of more than 4 hrs, I would mix the Gu drink a little stronger than recommended. Or at least that is what works for me. The Gu products sit well on my stomach, even on a very hot day. I have not had good luck with the gummy bear kind of sports nutrition products. They taste so darn good I eat the whole pack right away and then have a stomach ache. So not a statement against the product, just against my eating habits. :-)
eebee's picture


Thanks for the replies! I will be trying both out, although I'm not sure how much the total calories has to do with my mid-skate Gatorade success. I don't eat many gels. Maybe I should increase the gels and reduce the sugar in the drink. Not sure. And after swearing off of ingredients comparisons, I did find this article.

Not sure yet what I'm going to do at Tour de Kale tomorrow, since it's going to be really hot and that's probably not a good time to mess with what works. 

Gu- and Gatorade aversion during A2A is a common thing! Salty crackers help with the sickly sweet feeling, but I'd like to find something with less fat and wheat. A jar of Marmite might work.

roadskater's picture

Still Gator, Adding One Teaspoon of Salt per 100 Oz. or So

In the park I use a 24 oz. Polar bottle and I put one of the large size scoops of Gator in that. I think that's enough for a 32 oz. recommended mixture, but it's good as I often don't eat properly before skating. I try to eat a gel 30 minutes before or as early as I can on arriving at the park if I haven't eaten much lately. For subsequent bottles of water I may do the same or may use just water depending how I'm feeling. Sometimes I just keep adding water and it gets thinner as I go. But anything I need to do to get myself to drink is OK with me. It may be too many calories, but OK, it seems to keep me going. One tip is I've found when I need water the Dollar Tree is a good spot for a gallon if I've forgotten to get a jug of filtered (or not) from home. It's cheaper than the convenience stores, if not as cold. Sometimes I keep a filter pitcher in the trunk and filter whatever I can get but it doesn't matter much in terms of taste with Gator of course! On the road I use the CamelBak 48 oz. fanny pack and put 2 of the large sized scoops in with a half to a full teaspoon of Morton's Lite Salt (sodium and potassium). It cuts the sweetness and gets me started with electrolytes from the start of sweating instead of chasing it later. As the day wears on I usually have 2 large scoops in a zip with 1 teaspoon of salt if it's over 30 miles or so, as the supplied Gator is sometimes thin of course. Salt without fat is hard to find at rest stops so I try to mix it in frm the start (Morton's Lite Salt, that is) so I don't end up eating some fat salty snack that makes me want to give up and curl up in a ditch and sleep awhile. Some of the trail mixes offered up have enough sweets with salt clinging on and not too many nuts in there and it can be quite good. On Tour de Lions they had some Cranberry Trail Mix that was Kirkland brand (Costco) ooh and it grrrrocked!
roadskater's picture

Let's Not Forget Coca-Cola

Often spoken of in Tour de France circles, how the cycleslaves leave the caps off the bottles to defizz the Cokes for the riders, recently in watching the Spring Tours including Giro d'Italia, I noted that often small cans of Coca-Cola were handed off from car to rider. This created envy in me like no standard water bottle can do! Those shiny red metal cans imagined dripping with icy droplets sent me either to the coffee maker and ice bucket or the nearest convenience store. I think it'd be sweet if they had very cold Cokes at the last rest stop of the day. I think it would really hit the spot. Sometimes when we do the 48-miler Hannah route (second half of Carolina Century) we stop for a Coke along the way and it is superior. Also I have very fond memories of an ice cream sandwich eaten at Sandy Cross store on Hannah day when we did the 48 miler as Day 1 of the Tour to Tanglewood had been postponed in terms of the ride and skate part. That was rejuvenating and less snooze inducing than I feared. It was the right thing.
timv's picture

I've mentioned this paper (now kinda old) a few times

An unsponsored survey conducted at the 1997 US Professional Championship Road Race showed that more than half of the cyclists drank Coca-Cola, usually during the last half of the race.

Assume you're a competitive road cyclist and you've been racing for more than four hours in hot conditions. Your carbohydrate stores are dwindling and your body water has dropped by more than four liters. With less than an hour of riding to go, you enter the feed zone one last time. As you look for every possible advantage, an important question dominates your thoughts: "What should I drink?"

In the sport of road cycling, competition typically occurs on successive days and generally lasts 2 to 6 hours. Competitions can be characterized as aerobically demanding with short high-intensity efforts that involve anaerobic energy systems. This type of activity depletes body water and muscle glycogen, so carbohydrate-electrolyte sport drinks are recommended. At the Australian Institute of Sport, athletes undergo nutritional counseling to ensure that they are aware of drinking strategies that are compatible with current scientific wisdom. But we have noted on many occasions that Aussie road cyclists, mountain cyclists, and cross-country skiers drink Coca-Cola during competition. The consumption of soft drinks, especially colas, was a common practice among athletes 20 years ago (VanHandel, et al., 1977), but you would think that top athletes would now be using the recommended sport drinks. We decided to do a survey during the US Professional Cycling Championships to find out what the best cyclists use.

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