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Gels and bonk chews vs... Twizzlers?

Old 08-08-18, 11:21 PM
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UniChris
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Gels and bonk chews vs... Twizzlers?

Riding my first century on Monday I realized little of the food I'd brought was palatable. Surviving banana and a half were okay, PBJ's would have been easier to get down without the peanut butter, and only managed to get down a couple cliff bar portions.

Given the heat was going through electrolyte tabs in copious quantities of water so fast that I stopped at a bike shop and bought another tube. While I was there kind of looked at the various gels and anti-bonk energy chews and stuff, but so much unknown, and everyone says not to try new things on a ride. Quite appreciative of their invitation to rest a bit and use their restroom to wash my face though!

Then headed a few blocks to a 7-11 to buy a jug of water to refill my bottles and a much-desired "ordinary food" sandwich. And wandering the aisle spotted something familiar from earlier in life: a pack of twizzlers.

So I bought those, figuring they were basically no-mess sugar in a form familiar from the past. And apart from the sandwich that was mostly what fueled the 2nd half of the ride especially as by the 3/4 point with the sun lower in the sky I stopped mixing either gatorade powder or electrolyte tablets into the water.

Question is, was that a good idea or a bad one? They're basically corn syrup, flour, a bit of oil, some salt and some potassium.

Athletic chews and gels seem to use more specialized sugars, but in the end does it really matter?
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Old 08-09-18, 02:54 AM
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Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
Riding my first century on Monday I realized little of the food I'd brought was palatable. Surviving banana and a half were okay, PBJ's would have been easier to get down without the peanut butter, and only managed to get down a couple cliff bar portions.

Given the heat was going through electrolyte tabs in copious quantities of water so fast that I stopped at a bike shop and bought another tube. While I was there kind of looked at the various gels and anti-bonk energy chews and stuff, but so much unknown, and everyone says not to try new things on a ride. Quite appreciative of their invitation to rest a bit and use their restroom to wash my face though!

Then headed a few blocks to a 7-11 to buy a jug of water to refill my bottles and a much-desired "ordinary food" sandwich. And wandering the aisle spotted something familiar from earlier in life: a pack of twizzlers.

So I bought those, figuring they were basically no-mess sugar in a form familiar from the past. And apart from the sandwich that was mostly what fueled the 2nd half of the ride especially as by the 3/4 point with the sun lower in the sky I stopped mixing either gatorade powder or electrolyte tablets into the water.

Question is, was that a good idea or a bad one? They're basically corn syrup, flour, a bit of oil, some salt and some potassium.

Athletic chews and gels seem to use more specialized sugars, but in the end does it really matter?
A guy at work told me on long rides he sometimes takes gummy bears with him to give him a little boost now and then when needed. I think sugar would have the opposite affect on me but then again this guy is in a lot better shape than me.
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Old 08-09-18, 03:09 AM
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Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
Athletic chews and gels seem to use more specialized sugars, but in the end does it really matter?
Not really. Theyíre mostly carbs which is what you need on a ride so as long as you like the taste itís all good energy.
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Old 08-09-18, 03:39 AM
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Sugar is sugar. You might absorb them at a slightly different rate depending on other ingredients but it gets the job done and you had electrolytes from another source already. I used straight glucose tabs when I did my last race, it worked but juice, energy gels, or candy would have have been fine to too. Iím hypoglycemic so I try to stick with what I know will keep me steady without sending me on a blood sugar rollercoaster. Everyone is a bit different so do what works best for you.
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Old 08-09-18, 03:56 AM
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After years of using Gu gels, I switched to carrying one of these https://www.hammernutrition.com/products/hammer-flask/ filled with raw honey. It is considerably cheaper than gel packs and gives me an almost instant boost of energy. I've been using the honey for over a year and don't feel like the gels performed any better.
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Old 08-09-18, 04:06 AM
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Eat whatever works for you, even if it's junk food. Armstrong ate Stroopwafel's in races. They're empty calories but actually popular in the peloton.

https://www.bicycling.com/health-nut...e-stroopwafel/
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Old 08-09-18, 07:35 AM
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This years Tour advertised the Jelly Belly energy beans out the wazoo.
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Old 08-09-18, 07:56 AM
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I would carry only Snickers bars if they didn't melt.
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Old 08-09-18, 08:17 AM
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Those Jelly Belly Sport Beans are pretty good, and I don't much care for Jelly Beans. They were practically throwing packets into the crowd at our local race this year.

The candy bar at the "80% of the way home" mark is fantastic. If it's really hot, or it's been really far, a chocolate malt crunch waffle cone from the RiteAid is like a beam of sunshine coming straight down from the heavens. I don't even notice the last 15-20 miles.

To the point: eat whatever suits you. It's not about nutrition, it's about fuel.
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Old 08-09-18, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
Athletic chews and gels seem to use more specialized sugars, but in the end does it really matter?
Sugars are sugars, "specialized" sugars would be marketing hype. If Twizzlers worked for you, there's your answer. Most of the "sports" foods are really candy in some form. They just do things like use "rice syrup" instead of corn syrup because corn syrup is associated with junk food--chemically, rice syrup is glucose, as is corn syrup unless corn syrup has been processed into high fructose corn syrup.

The maltodextrin in a lot of these, BTW, is probably made from corn starch.
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Old 08-09-18, 08:22 AM
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You could have had a Mentos Moment, and been the coolest guy in the whole convenience store, casually offering the sexy clerk a mint on your way out of the store, which she of course accepts . . . and gives you her phone number! Score!

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Old 08-09-18, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Colnago Mixte View Post
You could have had a Mentos Moment, and been the coolest guy in the whole convenience store, casually offering the sexy clerk a mint on your way out of the store, which she of course accepts . . . and gives you her phone number! Score!


Serious question--is it possible to look cool while holding a unicycle? And did anyone consider how the filter they used in that picture would make her teeth look?

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Old 08-09-18, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Serious question--is it possible to look cool while holding a unicycle?
Hand one to Chuck Norris and it'll be the coolest thing ever.
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Old 08-09-18, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
I would carry only Snickers bars if they didn't melt.
Peanut M&M's are a good treat to have along on long rides. The bag is easy to get in and out of a pocket, and they're easy and, more importantly not messy to eat, even one-handed.
I like the Almond ones even more, but they're not as easy to find. (every gas station, news stand and vending machine has peanut M&M's)
I tend to crash off of big doses of straight sugar pretty quickly, so the fat content of the nuts gives me a little more sustained energy.

I'll use the gummy chews as well, especially if it's hot. The fruit punch flavor Shot Bloks do a prety good job of getting the dust-and-sweat taste out of your mouth.

I tend to avoid 'gu' gels in general, as they tend to go through my system very quickly, so I need to make sure i'm no more than an hour's ride from a 'proper' bathroom.
I do carry a couple of them, though, one no-caffeine and one 100mg, in case i have a serious 'bonk' and need a last-ditch boost to get to an aid station / pickup point.

Usually, though, i try to stick with 'real' foods, oranges, bananas, 'whole ingredient' granola bars like Kashi and Kind bars, PBJ is good, but hard to pack, and hard to eat while rolling. And water. Lots of water. I usually down a bottle every 10 miles or so.
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Old 08-09-18, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
I would carry only Snickers bars if they didn't melt.
Somehow the idea of a chocolate is a big turn off in a ride setting. It's part of why my occasional browsing of the candy aisle mid-ride never lead to a purchase before.

Hiking in the cold and rain, sure. But not riding on a hot day.

Smaller pieces as in the generic m&m's in trailmix, sure.

Did at one point consider some chocolate milk but didn't want to do anything unkown that might remotely raise doubts about ability to get through the day without a #2 stop.

What I'd intended to do, but forgot, was get a cup of soup at a convenience store with a microwave. Neglected to even look and see if they had that.

Mostly now I'm thinking about how to put a twizzlers dispenser on a pack strap. And then remembering that the whole way home in the dark I was telling myself I was pushing through because I wasn't going to do any more long rides this summer. Guess it could still apply to moderate ones.
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Old 08-09-18, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
I would carry only Snickers bars if they didn't melt.
Same here. I had a discussion with a coworker one day who was touting the protein bars he ate at the gym. Put the nutrition information side by side, and would you believe it, the Snickers was almost identical as far as calories, fat, carbs, and protein?! But then, I like chocolate and I like Snickers bars.
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Old 08-09-18, 09:05 AM
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If it weren't for one small problem, I'd pretty much just use candy instead of specialized energy gels/food for rides. Cheaper and does virtually the same thing.

That problem: I have a pretty major sweet tooth, and if I purchased the candy earlier than the night before, it probably wouldn't be around for the ride.
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Old 08-09-18, 09:08 AM
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Twizzlers?!?


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Old 08-09-18, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by OBoile View Post
If it weren't for one small problem, I'd pretty much just use candy instead of specialized energy gels/food for rides. Cheaper and does virtually the same thing.

That problem: I have a pretty major sweet tooth, and if I purchased the candy earlier than the night before, it probably wouldn't be around for the ride.
Wow, that's perfect! Sports food is just candy that tastes too bad to be a tempting snack.
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Old 08-09-18, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by OBoile View Post
I have a pretty major sweet tooth, and if I purchased the candy earlier than the night before, it probably wouldn't be around for the ride.
One of the virtues of candy is that you can get it at any gas station or convenience store during the ride. So you don't have to purchase it the night before or carry it through the earlier miles or melt it in the heat.

But yes, had that problem with the bag of trail mix I got. Lost half to "sampling for quality" beforehand. Ate a tiny bit on the ride and while waiting for my train home, and then finishing it last night...

Also keep thinking there's got to be something in the pharmacy supplements aisle that would substitute for electrolyte tablets. Fortunately it wasn't that hot the time I forgot mine on the kitchen table, and made it through to where there was a bike shop.

Originally Posted by livedarklions
Wow, that's perfect! Sports food is just candy that tastes too bad to be a tempting snack.
There are three cliff bars still taped to my seat post. That said, I have eaten them at home when time for real food fell victim to poor planning.
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Old 08-09-18, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
There are three cliff bars still taped to my seat post. That said, I have eaten them at home when time for real food fell victim to poor planning.
That'll teach you! Save them for the zombie apocalypse.
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Old 08-09-18, 10:55 AM
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When I hiked the AT, king size Snickers was my snack of choice, and I still lost 27 lbs. I do honey now. My daughter keeps bees, so we are flush with it. My son makes mead...

hey...

Why not just say screw it and drink beers as you ride? Carbs, right?
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Old 08-09-18, 11:16 AM
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This is why God gave us M&Ms--the milk chocolate candy that melts in your mouth, not in your hand.

I dislike most of the high-tech sugar cyclists eat but I love M&Ms (plain and peanut). So that's what I eat on long rides.
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Old 08-09-18, 11:30 AM
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Lately I've been bouncing between a couple packs of gummy bears or an energy gel before my commute home. Before that I was running out of gas around 10-15 miles in, especially if I had a lunch without any surgery snacks.

both the gummy bears and energy gels seem to do the trick. The gummy bears are certainly tastier.
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Old 08-09-18, 11:37 AM
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I don't know. I love Gu gels and chews and feel like they do an excellent job of keeping me strong during a long ride.

Caramel M&M's and dill pickle potato chips are excellent at mile 85 of a century but gels and chews are a staple of my diet on the bike, especially the flavors with a little caffeine.

I can't see eating Twizzlers and M&M's as primary fuel for a long ride.


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Last edited by TimothyH; 08-09-18 at 11:57 AM.
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