3 Times that it's OK to toss gel packs on the trails- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    3 Times that it's OK to toss gel packs on the trails

    1) If you've got a hot date after your ride and don't want to arrive with gooey pockets on your jersey: No, wait, you already stink and your date doesn't want to see you in your lycra anyways, so just stick that gel pack (and the tear tab too!) in your jersey pocket and take it home with you!

    2) Because you know that the wildlife will benefit from the unconsumed gel left in the pack that you toss, so you're really being kind to them: While we're not even sure the contents are actually edible, we are pretty damn positive that the packaging isn't, and until such time as you're prepared to hand feed the wildlife eliminating any possibility that they end up eating packaging along with carb gel, it's way better for all involved if you just tuck that thing into your pocket and dispose of it appropriately.

    3) Because of course you are in a race and the weight of that empty pack is surely the only thing standing between you and top step of the podium: Except that, if you'd just consume the contents, tuck the empty packaging in your pocket, and blow a single snot rocket when you were done, you and your bike would actually weigh less than before you started the process!

    At the end of the day it's NEVER OK to toss gel packs. One of the reasons most of us ride single track is that it's gorgeous in the woods. Nothing destroys that feeling quicker than trail garbage of any description. I pick on gel packs because they are almost exclusively tossed by mountain bikers. Tim's cups and cigarette butts I can blame on others, but gel packs are our problem.

    If you don't mind seeing all sorts of garbage on your rides, get on your road bike. Otherwise, if you brought it in with you, take it out with you! (and while you're at it, pick up just one piece of someone else's trash along the way and the trails will be better off for your presence.

    Tire side down!

  2. #2
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    I even see tubes. Who the F leaves an old tube by the side of the trail?

  3. #3
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    I've been to some 24's that have a 'gel pack' drop zone; a stretch of about 30 yards or so.
    The only important thing these days, is rhythm and melody. Rhythm...and melody.

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    I've seen drop zones too, and while it is an answer for those events, it sets a precedent that suggests there are times when it's OK, and from there it can just be a slippery slope.

    NEVER is just easier to remember!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by flash4092 View Post
    1)
    If you don't mind seeing all sorts of garbage on your rides, get on your road bike. Otherwise, if you brought it in with you, take it out with you! (and while you're at it, pick up just one piece of someone else's trash along the way and the trails will be better off for your presence.

    Tire side down!

    Agreed. Although it annoys me to see trash by the side of a paved road as well.
    My personal hero in the picking up garbage thing is Gord Ruder, who some of you may know and admire for his ability on a mountain bike. I saw him heading out onto the course on his bike within an hour of the finish of either Summer Solstice or Hot August Nights to pick up trash. I forget if he'd raced at the event or not.
    Cheers, Dave

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by flash4092 View Post
    I've seen drop zones too, and while it is an answer for those events, it sets a precedent that suggests there are times when it's OK, and from there it can just be a slippery slope.

    NEVER is just easier to remember!
    I'm never one to litter, but I think riders can discriminate between a race drop zone and an everyday out-and-about.
    The only important thing these days, is rhythm and melody. Rhythm...and melody.

  7. #7
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    Yep, You can usually tell the route that the tuesday night races at Albion took by the amount of gel packs on the trails the next day.
    Friends don't let friends cheer for the TML

  8. #8
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    Gel packs.... I'd like to staple them to the foreheads of the @$$holes that drop them. Maybe I'm missing the point of gel packs but wouldn't it be better anyways to eat a banana or an apple and toss the peel / core rather than eat a chemical brew with snot-like consistency?

    I usually pick up tubes found on the trail and patch them for spares or to give away.

  9. #9
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    I mentioned using one of those little gel flasks on here a few years ago like runners and Tri geeks use. I was informed by the Sausage Suit types it was to complicated to use that during a race.

    However....some of those wrappers left on the trail I suspect where not tossed there. My hunch is riders did in fact shove it back in the jersey pocket and came out when they pulled their hand back out. Or later when they pulled out their phone or something else it fell. And they didn't notice it.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enduramil View Post
    I mentioned using one of those little gel flasks on here a few years ago like runners and Tri geeks use. I was informed by the Sausage Suit types it was to complicated to use that during a race.
    They must have trouble walking and chewing bubble gum then too.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thatshowiroll View Post
    I even see tubes. Who the F leaves an old tube by the side of the trail?
    Quote Originally Posted by Bikin' Bric View Post

    I usually pick up tubes found on the trail and patch them for spares or to give away.
    People are using tubes?
    F*ck Cancer

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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclelicious View Post
    People are using tubes?
    I know, right? They probably still listen to Culture Club cassettes on their Walkman.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dgage View Post
    Yep, You can usually tell the route that the tuesday night races at Albion took by the amount of gel packs on the trails the next day.
    I can't quite get my head around taking a gel on a weekly series race. For the approximate 1 hour of racing no one needs to be taking a gel. If you skipped dinner to get there on time, take the gel pre-race. Better yet, pack a PBJ and eat that first - it's cheaper and probably better for you.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enduramil View Post
    However....some of those wrappers left on the trail I suspect where not tossed there. My hunch is riders did in fact shove it back in the jersey pocket and came out when they pulled their hand back out. Or later when they pulled out their phone or something else it fell. And they didn't notice it.
    There's an easy solution for that - put the empty gel pack under the leg band of your shorts. Easier to do, doesn't get your phone all gooey and they don't fall out (or if they do, it's hard not to notice)

  15. #15
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    It's never ok to litter, but there are far worse things that could happen or that are happening in the world lol

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    Nobody will argue with the relative significance of this issue in the overall scheme of things. I just can't wrap my head around the mentality of those who are in the woods enjoying them on their mountain bikes and defiling them at the same time.

    And regarding the accidental distribution of gel packs: I've probably picked up 120 of them on Albion trails since the 24 on the weekend (after only walking the parts of the course north of the lake so far) and only about 5 of them were on the trail itself. It's hard to imagine the rest falling out of a pocket 5 feet off the trail.

  17. #17
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    For a 24 hour, I get using gels, but it's totally unnecessary for a Tuesday night (now Wednesday night) race. I agree with Enduramil (!) - the gel flasks are actually way easier to use with less waste, but you have to be sure that you're going to use gels more than occasionally for it to be worthwhile.

  18. #18
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    IMO the only useful function of the packets is to taste-test at the shop so you don't buy a 500ml bottle of hammergel in a flavor you don't like.

    You can just freeze it for long-term storage.


    As an aside, I rode for 14 hours straight on Sunday and did not use any gel-based nutritional products before, during, or after the ride. Although I admit that was a road ride.
    The above statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration

  19. #19
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    Thanks for the public service announcement. It is an important issue, and deserves a reminder every now and then. In general, I believe you're preaching to the choir here on this forum when it comes to this topic, but maybe some others who are newer to the recreational/event/athletic use of natural areas will come across this and change their habits with a bit of education on etiquette (and common sense).

    Quote Originally Posted by flash4092 View Post
    Nobody will argue with the relative significance of this issue in the overall scheme of things. I just can't wrap my head around the mentality of those who are in the woods enjoying them on their mountain bikes and defiling them at the same time.

    And regarding the accidental distribution of gel packs: I've probably picked up 120 of them on Albion trails since the 24 on the weekend (after only walking the parts of the course north of the lake so far) and only about 5 of them were on the trail itself. It's hard to imagine the rest falling out of a pocket 5 feet off the trail.
    Nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

  20. #20
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    1) You're being chased by a bear
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by aerius View Post
    2) You're being chased by a cougar
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dgage View Post
    Yep, You can usually tell the route that the tuesday night races at Albion took by the amount of gel packs on the trails the next day.
    Yeah, can't say that I would agree here. I have been doing this series for 12 years now and don't ever recall seeing a gel pack on the course honestly. And I manage typically to do the maximum number of laps in the amount of allowed time so it's not like I am missing the folks throwing them on the ground because I am already finished. I would guess it's likely some of the weekend warriors that are tossing crap onto the trail. Most of us that are serious racers know better than that...I would hope...
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclelicious View Post
    People are using tubes?
    Quote Originally Posted by Thatshowiroll View Post
    I know, right? They probably still listen to Culture Club cassettes on their Walkman.
    Hey if it ain't broke don't fix it. One day I'll upgrade to tubeless, and maybe a walkman that plays CD's.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruiser View Post
    IMO the only useful function of the packets is to taste-test at the shop so you don't buy a 500ml bottle of hammergel in a flavor you don't like.

    You can just freeze it for long-term storage.


    As an aside, I rode for 14 hours straight on Sunday and did not use any gel-based nutritional products before, during, or after the ride. Although I admit that was a road ride.

    Personally prefer real food over gels. And if necessary the blood of my enemies.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbmeister View Post
    Yeah, can't say that I would agree here. I have been doing this series for 12 years now and don't ever recall seeing a gel pack on the course honestly. And I manage typically to do the maximum number of laps in the amount of allowed time so it's not like I am missing the folks throwing them on the ground because I am already finished. I would guess it's likely some of the weekend warriors that are tossing crap onto the trail. Most of us that are serious racers know better than that...I would hope...
    Go out the next day and ride at a nice leisurely pace..you tend to miss a lot when racing
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by flash4092 View Post
    And regarding the accidental distribution of gel packs: I've probably picked up 120 of them on Albion trails since the 24 on the weekend (after only walking the parts of the course north of the lake so far) and only about 5 of them were on the trail itself. It's hard to imagine the rest falling out of a pocket 5 feet off the trail.
    There was no designated gelpack drop zone this year for some reason. Maybe Adam and the crew didn't see a difference in scattered packs in years' past when they had the drop zones.

    It's not too hard to shove an empty packet into one's jersey for that matter. 3 pockets is plenty for necessary stuff including garbage.
    The only important thing these days, is rhythm and melody. Rhythm...and melody.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dgage View Post
    Go out the next day and ride at a nice leisurely pace..you tend to miss a lot when racing
    I have also never seen anyone using gels on a 55 minute maximum race either, so it's not coming from where you think it is. A good number of the weekly racers wouldn't even consider using gels based on experience, with all due respect to everyone. And those of us that are a little more serious in terms of fueling the engine also wouldn't even consider cramming a gel down during a weekly short race as a means of getting an advantage. As I said, I have done enough of these races to have seen if this was an issue. And also rode an hour and a half today at Albion and didn't see a single gel pack anywhere. I think there's a little bit of stereotyping, but I will keep an eye out for it in the future being it's totally unacceptable.
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  28. #28
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    I suspect this is largely a reflection of what you're looking at while riding at pace, because I walked Pining For More, Sugar Shack Shuffle and WuWu after you'd ridden them and didn't have any trouble finding about 15 gel packs (not to mention a pair of flip flops, a handful of bottled water bottles (with and without water), and 50 or 60 feet of chico tape that's been there for at least a year.

    All I have left to cover from after the 24 are the trails close to the chalet and I will get to them this weekend (in the rain I suspect). I can't ride at the moment, so I don't mind walking the trails, but I do plan to be back out there soon.

  29. #29
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    Sure appreciate your help picking these damn things up.
    ..now just tinker with our bikes and feed the cats. - oldbear52

  30. #30
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    I'm guessing based on the timing of this post that the gel packs were left by participants in the 24 hours of summer solstice, not the Wednesday night crew. But I would imagine Chico's race crew picks up garbage while taking down the tape from the course.

    Of course, in a perfect world there would be no garbage to pick up as folks should be taking their gel wrappers back out of the trails.

    I especially like the Clif shots as they have a little "leash" for the top of the gel pack so when you bite it off, it stays attached to the rest of the pack and doesn't flutter away, which I will confess has sometimes happened to me until I started using a gel flask instead
    Strava made me do it....

  31. #31
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    Pro tip from Rebecca Rusch - dilute your gel 1:10 with water for flasks - makes it come out way easier.

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    I thought the answer would be (1) Never, (2) Never and (3) Never

    Perhaps even more then people who build the trails, the people who pick up the trash are friggin' Angels, and blessings on them.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toronto Goat View Post
    I thought the answer would be (1) Never, (2) Never and (3) Never

    Perhaps even more then people who build the trails, the people who pick up the trash are friggin' Angels, and blessings on them.
    "you must spread some more reputation around before giving it to Toronto Goat again"
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