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  1. #1
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    First race, never used GU should I try?

    My first race is in the morning. I got some GU and Clif Gel shots in my race pack. Never used these before. Is it too risky to try them on race day?
    Joe
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  2. #2
    spec4life???..smh...
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    i wouldnt try anything new during a race...If it is your first race youll likely be racing in a category where the race will be short enough you wont need anything more than water or a sports drink.

  3. #3
    Happy Trails
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    If you don't use more than 2 an hour and drink 8 oz of water after gel you will be fine.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
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    My race distance is 24 miles and I figure 2:30 ride time based on my pre-ride.

    I am thinking of one at the start and one about 2/3 distance on flat gravel road. The first 8 miles are all up. Gradual at first then claiming more at the end of that.

    On my pre-ride it did it with just water and normal pre-ride meal. I always carry a Clif bar just In case and I needed it badly last ride the weekend after my pre-ride. That ride was 23 miles and 3 hrs, but not a race so I had time to stop and eat the bar.
    Joe
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  5. #5
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    Personal experience: I had only tried gu shots twice before my race last weekend. I had one just before, and twice during about 50 minutes apart during my 2:33, 30 mile race. I felt like they were a bit of a saving grace, but as people have said drink plenty of water with them and I'm sure you'll be fine.

  6. #6
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    a friend of mine gets terrible stomach aches from the GU's...

    So whenever I try something new, I dont even try it first during training.. I want to be by a bathroom just in case...

  7. #7
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    I did the race. Never used the GU. Maybe for a casual ride to see what if it does something to my stomach. Finished the race well and never ran out of gas.
    Joe
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  8. #8
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    Everyone is different, i love the GU gels, and dislike the Cliff ones...try them out when you are training, find what works and stick with it.
    2009 Trek Fuel EX8 Black/White

  9. #9
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    I have grown to really like GU and always have some on rides and races. When racing I like to have one easy access for the 2nd third of the race if needed, fuel the fire to keep it hot. For longer rides and races they can help to reduce cramping, etc. Just like your clif bar (in my pack as well) the gu is there just in case. When on fun rides the crew I go with doesn't really like to stop at all and if we do it is for a minute or two. GU is quick to consume and quick to deliver. I am actually looking into making a homebrew gu because at $1 - $1.50 a pop it adds up.

  10. #10
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    I hardly consider GU risky. I prefer GU over the Cliff product. I always put one under my shorts on my thigh so I can get to it quickly. I typically will have one about 1/2 way through my races. Wash it down with water.
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

    2012 Specialized Stumpy EVO 29 HT

  11. #11
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    I normally do a Hammer Gel before my morning rides and maybe a Stinger waffle about an hour in. I brought both to the same race you were in, JoePaz. I also filled my one bottle up with Hammer Perpetuem, which I had never used. Like you, this was also my first race. I had my Camelback for water. It was at the last minute that I decided to bring the water bottle mixed w/ Perpetuem. About an hour into the race, I went for the waffle while riding and opened it with my teeth. I hit a bump and the waffle fell the ground. All I had left was the Perpetuem. That stuff is great and gave me sustained energy to finish strong. It was the Orange-Vanilla flavor and it tasted really good. I will definitely use it again for any ride over 2 hours long.
    -boom

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomvader View Post
    .. About an hour into the race, I went for the waffle while riding and opened it with my teeth. I hit a bump and the waffle fell the ground. ..
    That is funny..... Where was that? On the dirt road sort of mid ride headed due west?

    I did the ride with camelbak full with 100oz of water and I was happy I did as I saw a water bottle mid trail in one spot. I always worry about having a bottle rattle out while riding. I had a GU in my jersey pocket since I figure I would not reach my camelbak while riding. I also had cliff bar in the camelbak as well as normal tools, tube, etc. I started by eating a solid breakfast and had 1/2 of another clif bar about 35 minutes before race time.

    Anyway due to the cool temps I did not use much water and never even had time to think about the GU. I never ran out of gas and that was good. My only incident was minor crash past the fence on the first big descent. This was in twisty bits after we followed the fence line and turned south again. I tried to pass another rider.. Pulled off the pass and then misssed the next turn and crashed over a large rock into some bushes. I did not lose much time and just got back on and rode on. However litte later on the rocky descent down maricopa I saw an 8" long section of cactus stuck on in my right leg. I never "felt" it and had no time to remove it. I hoped it would fall off, but I never did. Finally when we turned back east I was able to take a hand off the bar and fling the cactus off. Thankfully it was not too deep in there.

    Anway had it been a fun ride I would have stopped, but since it was a race just keep going and would have left it there for the entire ride if had not come off easily. First time I rode 2hr with zero stops for anything. Everything had to be done on the fly.
    Joe
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  13. #13
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    GU or any gel "that I've tried" in the past really seems to cramp up my GI tract. Cliff Bloxs work fine for me "for some reason"?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    That is funny..... Where was that? On the dirt road sort of mid ride headed due west?
    YES!!! Did you see it or see me drop it? LOL
    -boom

  15. #15
    @trailgrinder
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    Glad it worked out for you, typically the rule of thumb is to train with whatever your going to do during race day so you don't introduce any new foods into the system that may cause an upset stomach. I have tried gu, hammer, stinger shot, gu chomps etc. they all work for me since my stomach can handle most foods. Right now I prefer a mid ride stinger waffle and carry a small water bottle full of skratch labs or carbo rockets 333 that works very well for me. Only one complain about the gels in general are the consistency of them and once your sweating breathing, etc you have to choke them down a bit.

  16. #16
    Gumnut Peddler
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    I keep 2 or 3 on hand for my longer races. Tape them by their tabs to the top tube on my bike so I can just grab and tear. Best thing that I like about carrying them this way is that they wont fall off/get lost, and the tear tabs remain on the bike, instead of dropped on the ground. The remainder of the sache is then stashed in the side pocket of my camelbak, which is easy to reach whilst on the bike, and keeps all the sticky in 1 place.

    They are an unusual texture and dont exactly taste amazing. I probably wouldnt try them either for the first time during a race, just because you never know how they might react. Dealing with the rubbish if you dont have a 'system' is also a pain, and you might end up with sticky crap everywhere.

    They do what they are supposed to do, but I still usually exhaust other options for food/energy first before I hit the GU's - primarily because I find it hard to eat really sweet and sticky stuff mid race.

    How did you find the overall race experience? Would you do it again?

  17. #17
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomvader View Post
    YES!!! Did you see it or see me drop it? LOL
    No, I did not, but that was really about 1 hour into the ride a perfect place to try something like that. Hey at least you made it through.
    Joe
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grinderz View Post
    ...How did you find the overall race experience? Would you do it again?

    Thanks for tips....

    I liked my first race as it added new dimension to riding. I don't believe will want to do a race series or anything mostly due to traning aspect and risk of taking the fun out of riding. I want to stay fit and a solid rider, but don't want to forced in to some training plan all the time. I'd rather ride for fun and do an occasional race to mix things up. I know I will never be good enough to win races because I don't have the time to train. So better to just take it casual and just enjoy the different style of riding and hope to finish mid pack.

    I figure maybe I will do 2-3 races next year. Whatever feels easy and not like too much work.

    BTW.. Don't take this to mean I don't ride hard, but I just don't want to spend all my time in between races preparing for the next race. I would rather just stay fit and do a race here and there when it fits into my life easily.
    Joe
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  19. #19
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    Just adding my take on the good info already posted.

    I tried Clif Shot Bloks margarita flavor on a training ride. So glad that was not my raceday fuel. Horrific taste to me.

    Skratch Labs seems to be a favorite among many. I find the cost too high compared to Ultima Replenisher and it doesn't give me any benefits from my training tests this summer.

    Trying Perpetuem in paste form this week.

    My stomach likes Ultima Replenisher, fig newtons and hammer gel better than Gu. Hoping the taste of Perpetuem is tolerable for 2+ hour winter rides. The Perpetuem tablets are too big and chalky.
    Last edited by westin; 11-14-2012 at 09:27 AM.

  20. #20
    Tailwind Nutrition
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    A couple of things to keep in mind with gels, gu's, etc. is that you are introducing 100 calories to your system all at once. If you are riding a longer distance (2+ hours) your digestive system is already working overtime trying to get your body the fuel it needs and it can only physiologically process between 250-300 calories per hour. Also, by shooting up your system with sugar all at once, you could have that peak/crash.

    So, two things: 1) make sure your total caloric intake doesn't exceed the 250-300 calories/hour or you might cause a traffic stomach jam at your stomach (this is easy to lose track of between your drink, gels, and whatever else you are eating); and 2) try not to take your Gu/gel in one shot...try to meter it out so that you are introducing calories slowly (the idea of taking water with it is a good idea)
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  21. #21
    Gumnut Peddler
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    How do you eat a GU/Gel slowly in a race? This would require holding on to it somehow, which would mean a sticky mess all over your gloves/handlebars/etc.

    I guess you can try hold it in your mouth, but your breathing will probably be effects as a result.

    I think the serving size of the Gu/Gel is what it is so you can take it all in 1 hit. Why else would it be in a small squeeze sized package?

    Agree with taking it with water. Its too sweet/sticky to just eat it and carry on.
    Burning fat, not oil.

  22. #22
    Tailwind Nutrition
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    I hear you...that's why I don't use them anymore. I used to squeeze out the top half of the packet, fold it over and stick in my jersey pocket. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't. When it didn't work it was a gross mess. Then I switched to the gummy Clif blocks which were better (plus i confess to liking gummy bears). Now I just drink an all in one fuel (electrolytes + calories) and ditch it all.

  23. #23
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    Having a Gel flask can make it easier to eat small amounts at a time and also saves you a few bucks if you buy it in bulk instead of the single server packets. That said I still like Clif blocks better easy to eat and they seem to agree with my stomach better then gels.

  24. #24
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    +1 for try it before the race to make sure it works for you.

  25. #25
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    Orange GU..when your running out of gas its like eating an energizer bunny

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