I made my own gel on the weekend... and it worked! (I shouldn't sound surprised, right?)
- I managed to stuff about 1500 cal. of mostly maltodextrin into a 20oz. bottle for a five hour ride.
- included a few tablespoons of Gatorade for flavour, a half teaspoon of sea salt, a teaspoon of calcium carbonate, and... not quite enough water to make it easy to squeeze (more experimenting needed)
- it tasted nice, nowhere near as sickly sweet as packaged gels, was a fraction of the cost, gave me a consistent dose of energy and, most importantly, it earned my GI tract's Seal of Approval.
- in order to ensure the gel's isotonicity with my blood I calculated I'd need to quaff about 1 litre of water/hour, which is more than the 750mls I often get away with in the garage on the trainer. Will need to see what being outside, in warmer weather, under the stress of a race does to that volume.
Now here's one for the books... the five hour ride I did was on the trainer. You heard me correctly. Trainer. Five. Hours.
Pros to doing this:
- I'd never be more than a few steps from home in case the new malto brew didn't work out
- avoided some nasty winds and rains as well.
- got to see a few feature films and numerous episodes of Top Gear on Netflix.
- confirmed my Castelli bibs are divine. No chamois cream, yet no shower screams.
Cons: other than the profound restlessness of being on a fixed bike?! Not too much; even then it was better than staring at a line on the bottom of a pool!
In all honesty, I can confirm my suspicions that riding a trainer is harder on the body - the core, especially - than being just out on the road and my theory is that it is the absence of what I'd call "micro-adjustments." When on a trainer, we have no reason to move besides pedalling, whereas I think the fluid nature of cycling outdoors would engage/relax all of our body's other muscles just enough to break up their monotonous tension.
Looking forward to my first bike TT of the season this evening, a 20k route in a quiet area with a few good hills. It is nice to be able to sprinkle some events into the schedule to keep it exciting and intense.
Running's gone very well (knock on wood) and I must even say that the moments of good swimming "feel" are occurring more frequently and lasting longer. It doesn't mean I am getting faster, but if it means arriving @ T1 as less of a basket case than I was expecting to, I will be a happy camper.
Random thought that occurred to me as I sat today scarfing down a bowl of my favourite blend of GORP: once the IM is over I am going to be lost if I can't eat like a horse any time I want to. Oh, and the GORP blend? Salted peanuts, roast almonds, raw sunflower seeds, raisins, and dark chocolate chips. Come to think of it, I haven't had any for over an hour... excuse me a minute, will you?