The week 4 notes say “ride without hard efforts this week”, so it was a perfect week to start looking at nutrition for the ride – particularly reacquainting myself with the vast range of energy gels on the market and then proving to myself that I could stomach them in the middle of a ride …
In the past I’ve never really got on with energy gels all that much. I knew about their benefits whilst doing moderate exercise, but I never really found any of them that I liked and most of them made me want to throw up. In fact some did – which is not nice if you happened to be cycling just behind me (yup – that happened)!
Gels come in a variety of flavours and sizes
Personally I’ve tried three brands of energy gel – High5, SiS and Wiggle. Each of them come in a massive range of flavours and colours, and some of them have added value by introducing extra ingredients like caffeine and electrolytes into the mix. I’m not going to sit here and go through each of them in turn, because that would be seriously dull if you’re just reading this blog with a vague interest, but I will summarise them in terms of what I’ve found out about them by chucking them down my gullet:
- Really, really (really) sweet for my taste
- Usually come in citrus and berry flavours, so not a huge amount of variety
- The consistency is like a slightly thick but smooth juice
- You don’t get too much gel (40g), so it’s relatively easy to swallow
- £9.99 for a box of 20
These are the ones that I started off with when I first started cycling and I always found that even though the consistency was quite good the sweetness just made them too unpalatable. These were the ones that I’d throw straight back up under moderate intensity. Usually on my bike, my clothes, the road and anyone else cycling with me – they weren’t going to make me popular by any stretch!
My rating: 3/5
SiS (or “Science in Sport”)
- Moderate sweetness
- A vast amount of flavours – even ones like Double Espresso (my current favourite) and Cola
- Added value with ingredients like caffeine to help with a much needed extra kick
- A consistency that can be compared to part-set jelly
- Massive amounts of gel (60g), so it takes a few gulps to get it all down
- The most expensive at £29.99 for a box of 30
The flavour profile of these makes these better in my view. The only problem they present is that they are the largest out of all three brands I’ve tried, and that can be challenging whilst riding on the bike as you don’t really want to have to stop every 15 minutes to take a gel.
My rating: 4/5
- Moderate to high sweetness depending on the flavour you choose
- 9 flavours, including Strawberry Split, Mocha and Lemon Meringue
- A good middle ground in consistency – not too jelly or juice-like
- The smallest amount of gel (38g), so really easy to consume
- £9.99 for a box of 20
I’ve only just tried these out, but first indications show that there are a good compromise between sweetness and consistency. That and I like the nice flavour combinations they’ve come up with. A winner as far as I’m concerned.
My rating 4/5
I’m done with High5. For me the golden combination is a mix of SiS and Wiggle brands because of the flavours, the price and the fact my stomach seems to be able to handle them.
What have been your experiences with energy gels, or want a recommendation? Let me know in the comments section below.
This weeks training plan & rides
It’s been a while since I’ve been on the hilly sections near Dry Drayton, Knapwell and Boxworth so I thought I’d give them a go. They aren’t that hard, but I need to get some hills under my belt now that I’m seeing improvements in my strength and stamina:
The bog-standard loop left and right around Longstanton:
The wind was pretty strong on Saturday so I headed into Cambridge for some shelter amongst the buildings:
This week’s stats:
I’ve progressed onto riding some of the more hillier routes around Cambridge. You may snigger but you don’t have to go too far to find a testing hill or two – particularly when you haven’t ridden many in the last two years. My hill legs aren’t back yet through, so I need to try and remember where I left them …
|Distance||55.9miles / 89.9km||224.1miles / 360.6km|
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