Monday, September 30, 2013

Time for a review

I've pretty much been a water guy while riding. It was a simple choice back in the days when I was riding with a camelbak. It continued as I transitioned to bottles.  Most of the time I didn't think my rides were long enough to necessitate me thinking about hydration, or really nutrition. You see, I've been pretty bad about treating myself right on the bike.

I'd always carry some sort of nutrition on my rides, but typically only reaching for it when I started to bonk. Basically, too late. Sure it would give me enough to get out of a trail, but I wasn't being an effective rider that way. On planned longer rides I have played around with different hydration options and have always been pretty pleased with increased performance; who knew this stuff was actually important?

With a new goal, the snake creek gap time trial, on the horizon; things have got to change. I was in the LBS one day stocking up for a ride out in Dupont when I stumbled upon Osmo. I grabbed a few single serves and was hooked. 

Flavor wise, it's spot on for me. There is no overpowering sweetness, just a smooth mild flavor, enough to tickle your taste buds but not bog down the hydration process. I know that first ride wasn't a huge epic ride, or a torturous death march, but sipping on Osmo for the first time had me feeling fresh all day. 

Ok, that kinda sounded like a feminine product line, but this stuff is legit. I've been using it on my training rides, and when used properly I've seen/felt great results. Basically, my legs seem to maintain more energy deeper into my rides - that certainly is a good thing!

Down at the Southern Singlespeed Championships I put Osmo to the test. Probably not the type of test conditions they would set up, but it is a real life testament to the effectiveness of their product. Disclaimer: the Southern Singlespeed Championships were hosted by the Faster Mustache crew and sponsored by (one of many sponsors, but germaine to this test) Terrapin Beer Company. Testing conditions: a bunch of singlespeeders directed by the Faster Mustache crew, beer flowing freely, and a 20 mile XC race. 

Let's just be honest, I woke up on race day "less then hydrated."  I got to work downing water as I ate some breakfast. My head was telling me that water alone wasn't doing the trick, so as I mixed my two bottles of Osmo for the race I decided to drink a bottle of Osmo before the race in hopes of righting the ship. 

After a brief warmup I was actually feeling pretty good, had Osmo already proven its merit before the start if the race?  The race starts, and I'm off on trails I've never seen before. I'm able to grab a wheel for the majority of the first lap which has me flying through a fun course but provides little opportunity to stay on top of hydration. Through my training I've found that downing a bottle every 50-60 minutes puts me in a good place. At the end if lap one I had to pull up to adjust a slipping seat post and notice that after 50ish minutes of racing I still have half (if not more) of my first bottle left. Not where I wanted to be. 

I'm back on the bike as fast as I can and cranking through the trails alone. As I stand to climb the first twinge of cramps attack. I started the morning in a "hole," and although I had felt good at the start I hadn't stayed on top of my hydration schedule. I start downing Osmo whenever the trail allows and quickly finish my first bottle (when I should already be into my second). I eat a little something as I pedal on, and my legs seem to come back as I continue to be more mindful of hydrating. 

Before I'm able to catch up on downing liquids to the point of where I should have been I have one more muscle revolt as I enter a climb. I continue riding and drinking. As I continue to drink I chase the cramps away. I finish the race with no more protests from my legs. 

Was that the "correct" use of the product?  Nope. I failed to keep on top of my already proven schedule - but that's racing. And that's one aspect I have to keep working at while racing - hydrating. But, it sure was a nice feeling to be able to beat back cramps (all while cursing myself for not staying on track and preventing them in the first place) and finish the race cranking away. I did not have to once dismount or walk. So that there is a victory. I've never been able to come back from cramps and finish that strong on water alone. 

Next step?  Get more Osmo, I'm just about out. 

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