Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Fueling the Ride

Sac-A-tomatoes has been inundated with a very nasty flu bug the last 10 days, and I seem to have had a near-miss. Literally. I got hit. It's more like it's black, hooded, maliciousness slithered past me while I was hiding behind my shower curtain in the midnight hour, but shower curtains being porous and all, I still seemed to have gotten dosed a bit. Still hoping to get in a 75-miler this weekend, but DAMNED I hate being sick. Sensory deprivation with a twist of achy fever!

Hoping to ride today, and not knowing I would wake up in soaking wet sheets with a raging fever this AM, I went shopping last night and scored some of my favorite ride fuels. Some, like the Acai juice drinks, (recession-laced price cut in about half btw) are more for before and after the ride, and the chocolate is for anti-oxidants. (that's my story and I'm sticking to it!) From left to right in the picture...

  1. Zola Acai with Blueberry Juice. Something new for me, it was about the same price as the Bolthouse drinks and may or may not have more Acai content. It is all organic and has a little Guarana' kicker with 24mg of caffeine. Weirdly, it also has some oil in it with 1,200mg of omega 3,6,9 fatty acids. Zola is from San Francisco, so it's blessed by the liberal Gods of planetary salvation. I gotta try spiking my Gatorade with some of this stuff to get some anti-oxidants with my ride fuels.
  2. Bolthouse Do Brazil Bom Dia is a new division of the Bolthouse family from Bakersfield, Ca. I was half expecting a small matter ~ anti-matter explosion in political sub-space with them in such close proximity here - sort of like seating Bill Maher and Ann Coulter next to each other at a formal dinner! The Bolthouse family has been making juices for 3 generations from their home-grown veggies right there in beautiful downtown oil derreks-ville. I love all of their juices and find their carrot juice, in particular, to be earthy and flavorful, without the sticky sweetness of Odwalla's carrot juice.
  3. Bolthouse does Acai in 3 or 4 different ways, and the Pomegranate is very good and perhaps even a bit higher in anti-oxidants than the Blueberry mix. I chugged the Blueberry bottle right after I took this shot (can you see the shaking of my addict's hand as my throat went dry with anticipation? :D ) It sent the flu troll siren-screaming from my presence, or so I hope.
  4. Powerbar Energizer - Fruit Smoothie - is my favorite rocket fuel. It works before, during and after rides. It has actual fruit, including fig and strawberry, and contains fructose as well as maltodextrin. The strawberry at least has SOME anti-oxidants in it. For 100,000 years at least, man has eaten fruit for fast fuel carbs, and all bundled up with those carbs was nature's own gift of anti-oxidants. Perhaps Mother Nature has had a chat with the Power People. In any case, a step in the right direction in my opinion. It also has 100% of your RDA of B vitamins, so while that maltodextrin is sucking up vitamins when being digested, this bar keeps your boilers stoked and protected at the same time.
  5. Powerbar Step 1 - Oatmeal Raisin - which surprisingly, has oatmeal and raisins in it. One of the things I like about Powerbars is the content of the bars actually changes with each flavor, so you can tailor your fuel to your body's unique requirements. Oatmeal is so soothing on the gut it will get you through the worst of IBS, or in my case, the best of diverticulitis. Both Powerbars also have substantial amounts of protein in them.
  6. Gatorade - Frost - mixed from powder at half strength, it allows me to dilute the sugar, and thereby control the osmotic pressure of Powerbars not quite dilute enough in the stomach. Failing dilution, any sugars in the stomach will actually pull fluids out of the stomach lining and make digestion pretty much impossible. Worst case the dilution results in an extra "nature break" or two, but will not leave you in gastric hell. As temps rise, and blood flow is diverted to the surface of the skin to cool your core, this dilution becomes much more important, as digestion suffers greatly. (missed the class photo here due to scheduling conflicts with the football team)
  7. Hershey bittersweet chocolate bar. It's all about the anti-oxidants! That's still my story. Notice how tenaciously I'm sticking to it? :D It makes me thirsty for still more skim milk after rides, as long as I don't overdo it.
To offer a little balance, I should mention what I think doesn't work.
  1. Cliff Bars - the whole grains take far too long to digest and will eventually pass through the stomach and small intestine undigested and will putrefy. The disgusting sound of the word "putrefy" is a good cue as to the resulting gastronomical malestrome that will ensue. Even if eaten while waiting for the US debt to be paid off, it's use of inulin, a fiber attractive to food mfgs because of its creamy texture, which cannot be digested, but loves to ferment in your gut, puts it in the "don't even go there" category. If you find yourself reaching for this product, just lift your bike up, slam it down on your leg sharply, attempting to use your large chainring to flay all of the skin off your shin. Trust me, that would lead to less discomfort.
  2. Cliff ShotBloks - which are mostly brown rice syrup. They are fine, but brown rice syrup is just too slow to digest to make good ride fuel. They would be OK when on a long break, or just before a long downhill like Mt Palomar, but then so would a couple of slices of pizza and a Coke. They come in many flavors, and some contain extra salt and some caffeine, and some both. They are sticky, are a mess on warm hands, and tend to slip out of your hands if you're sweating.
  3. Anything coated in chocolate, because in warm weather the chocolate coating melts and is a mess. If you are on the go your hands are instantly slimed with chocolate, so even on a downhill they are off-limits unless you are fond of the "hey look mom, no hands" riding style when going downhill 55mph. I have worked out a system where my keys are tucked under the left leg of my shorts, and my Powerbars under my right leg. This is because I have found I can handle, open, eat and stuff the empty wrapper back under my right leg using my right hand - while switching hands to stuff the empty under my left short leg usually results in litter on the road. I have lost keys from every other thing/place/person I have ever used to hold them, EXCEPT my shorts. If I am found running around in public without my shorts on, my keys are going to be the least of my problems! The spandex and rubber thigh-grippers seal keys in place through climbs, teary-eyed descents, brutal cobblestone, and bone breaking falls. In 30+ years I have never lost a key tucked into my shorts. My keys are on a ring with a mini-Border's Books card. One swipe and the Emergency Responders will know who I am and that I have a 25% discount coupon waiting for me if I survive - always looking for motivation! :D (The reasoning behind the mini-swipe card from Borders is that it's ID that isn't obviously ID. God forbid, if you should fall prey to foul play, there's a good chance it will be left at the scene. Always carry a good form of photo ID on you with contact info)
The glass colander contains Earl Grey tea. When really wrecked from a ride my food of last resort, even when very nauseated, is very, very sweet tea. How sweet? As much sugar as I can make float! A recent study has reported that caffeine after hard rides is very effective at speeding the replacement of liver glycogen after the 2nd hour. All I know is it makes me feel half human again after brutal rides - at least for a hour or so. Rinse and repeat as needed.

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