Just when I was conceding defeat to the terrible summer hotness of Memphis, I happened upon a couple of new products that, as of this weekend, are swinging things back in to my favor.
Product #1: the new Gu Brew formulation
Because of my own personal preference for taste and digestibility, I previously diluted my Gu Roctane and Gu Electrolye Brew drink to somewhere in the neighborhood of 90cal per bottle. That’s not a bad strategy, and it worked pretty well for me, but it also meant that while diluting the sugar, I wasn’t getting quite as much of the electrolyte part of the mix.
They’ve now re-formulated the Brew to be lighter on the carb side (it’s 70 calories per serving as opposed to the 90 previous calories). The sodium content is 250mg per serving (with the 500mg per serving blueberry pomegranate option)- similar to the previous version of the mix. Additionally, they’ve now got a “plain” flavor (which I haven’t tried yet), and they’ve got single serve, pocket-sized packets that make it super easy to take your drink mix with you in order to continue consuming it throughout your longer rides.
I tried the lemon lime and watermelon flavors over the weekend, and, I can say that lemon lime tastes good (better than it did previously), and the watermelon is so good that it makes you actually want to drink the whole bottle, even later in the ride, when drinking anything sugary used to seem kind of like a chore.
Product #2: Camelbak Podium ICE Bottles
If you live someplace hot, you know that the previously available versions of insulated bottles aren’t really that good. Both Camelbak and Polar make bottles that, at best, marginally keep your drinks from boiling within the first hour of your ride, but still don’t make that much of a difference… certainly not enough of a difference to warrant dealing with the scum that seems to grow inside of a Polar bottle literally within one long ride (both of the ones I used during Dirty Kanza started the day totally clean and ended the day with scummy spots), or the fact that if you’re not careful with how you drink from a Polar bottle, the top would suck down a little and trap part of your lip with it. The previous version of the Camelbak insulated bottle just didn’t work well enough in the soul-crushing heat to bother paying extra for one or carrying the extra weight.
Enter the Camelbak Podium Ice.
My strategy over the weekend’s rides was to fill two of them with ice, keep one as plain water, and the other as Gu Brew. I drank at least one bottle of Brew per hour in addition to enough water to wash down whatever food I was eating (honestly, with the new formulation of Brew, I could probably go without the plain water, but I didn’t want to get too far off from what’s worked for me in the past). During my Saturday ride, the ice lasted long enough to make two more cold bottles of brew and water at the 2-hour mark. That remaining ice melted during the final hour of the ride, but the drink still remained refreshingly cold.
The result of combining these two products, along with some strategic ride planning (making two loops from the house so I could get an ice refill 3 hours in), meant that I finished my 5+ hours on Saturday feeling nearly as good as when I started, despite the heat index being well over 100 by the final hour.
I’m really stoked on all of it. The new Brew formula is so easy to drink, and the single serve packets make it incredibly convenient to carry in a jersey pocket on long rides (even the small pockets on my new kits). The combination of that and having constant access to cold liquid is a proverbial game-changer. If you’re someplace oppressively hot, give them a whirl ASAP.