Finally – an energy gel you’ll enjoy
I can still remember my first energy gel; cloying, thick, overly sweet and impossible to swallow. Over the years, I’ve avoided them like the plague.
However, when the distances increase sometimes you have no choice but to include them in your race.
They still don’t agree with me, though. I can remember one particularly horrendous Ashby 20 in Derbyshire where, struggling on the hills and completing lacking in energy, I grabbed a few of the gels on offer and hoped for a miraculous effect (yes, I know, big mistake). I finished doubled over with stomach cramps and was sick all the way home. Nice.
I had a similar experience at the Cowman Half Ironman in 2012. Struggling through the run I grabbed a couple of gels on offer…. and felt nauseous and bilious as a result.
When I first started Ironman training, I tried various gels on the bike but they all left me doubled over with cramps. (I suffer with IBS and it doesn’t take much to trigger an episode). I’d resigned myself to managing on jam sandwiches when staff at Sutton Runner mentioned new Torq gels – saying they were as close to natural as a gel can get… with no added sweeteners or flavours.
They gave me three different flavours to try. About 20 miles into my 90 mile training ride (my longest yet) I hesitantly tore the top of the first one and squeezed a tiny amount into my mouth. Immediately, my senses lit up, my eyes widened and my taste buds exploded. Raspberry ripple. And it really did taste like raspberry ripple. Not the nasty squirty, artificial stuff from Mr Whippy vans. But proper, full-on, creamy-yogurt type, raspberry ripple, desert. ‘Yum,’ I found myself saying, as I squeezed the lot into my gob – relishing every drop.
Even better, there were no side-effects. I felt energised and raring to go.
I’m not a great fan of Black Cherry yogurt (it’s normally the one left in the fridge to expire and get chucked) but this one, an hour later, was equally delicious.
Two hours later, sitting on a grass verge in Whittington, Staffs, exhausted, tearful and with a badly grazed knee after a comedy Mr Bean moment (getting my shoes stuck in my pedals), the tank was empty. I still had another 10 miles to go to get home and had no idea how I was going to do it. I’d scoffed all my peanut butter and jam sarnies and was all out of jelly beans (they scattered all over the road in my topple). In desperation, I fished around for the third gel – tropical fruit. Now, I have to say, this was my least favourite of the flavours I tried but it was still lovely compared to some of the horrors I’ve endured. And it did the trick. Five minutes later, I was off and felt so revived I completed an extra loop of 20 miles on top.
I arrived home dirty and sore but triumphant at completing my longest ride yet (140k) – cramp-and-sickness free – and delighted that I’d finally cracked my nutrition for the race.
Thank you Torq. I’m truly indebted to you – and to the guys at Sutton Runner (Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands) for recommending! To find out more about Torq, and the science behind it, click here.