Wednesday, December 17, 2014

GU Product Review: Overall Impressions

     Three GU product test days saw 10 hours of cycling, two and a half hours of basketball, nine bottles, eight gels, and three Chocolate Smoothie recovery packets consumed, with zero signs of bonking or an upset stomach.
     I'm sold. Now it is your time to pick up some GU product, at a local store, and understand the noticeable benefits of properly utilizing the range of nutritional supplements that GU provides.
   
GU Energy Gels
     During my three days of testing, GU energy gels provided instant energy, in an easily consumable form. From the Salted Carmel to Chocolate Outrage flavors, the taste is dialed and I was never afraid of blindly plucking a gel out of my pocket.

GU Brew Drink Mix
     Refreshing, soothing, and energizing duly encapsulates GU Brew drink mix. While it comes in a variety of flavors, I used the Watermelon flavor, throughout my three days of testing. It worked perfectly and was not overpowering.   

GU Brew Electrolyte Drink Tablets
     Looking to go light on the calories, while still ingesting necessary electrolytes? GU solved the aforementioned issue with its GU Brew electrolyte drink tablets. The drink tablets provided a fizzy addition, when added to water, which was a pleasant surprise. After experimenting with the Lemon Lime and Strawberry Lemonade flavors, GU continues its trend of great tasting products.

     After beginning in 1991, GU is a prevalent sports nutrition company that is based in Berkley, California.
     GU provides ample support to the cycling community. As a Silver level sponsor for the SoCal High School Cycling League, which promotes high school mountain biking, I was fortunate to benefit from their support.
     After racing in the SoCal High School Cycling League, for four years, I also compete with the Team Rokform Under-23 road team, where GU is a sponsor.
     I am now a student at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Throughout the weekend of December 5-7, GU provided neutral nutritional support for the San Luis Obispo Long Slow Distance (LSD) weekend, which can be read about here.
     During the San Luis Obispo LSD weekend, I was fortunate enough to spend time with Mr. Brian Vaughan, the CEO of GU, and Mr. Yuri Hauswald, the Cycling Marketing Manger of GU.
     Thank you very much to Mr. Vaughan and Mr. Hauswald, for providing me with the opportunity to test and review a plethora of GU products!      

GU Product Review: Monday, December 15

Monday, December 15
     After consecutive days, with fairly sizable ride time, I was ready to take a step back and ride locally.
     Monday's spin took me to the local hills, on my road bike, and it did not lack in climbing. 

Total Ride Time - 1:39:39
Total Moving Time - 1:38:19
Distance - 23.04 miles
Elevation Gain - 2,444'
Average Moving Speed - 14.1 miles per hour
Calories Burned - 1,609

24:00 - One GU Chocolate Outrage energy gel eaten.
1:02 - One 16 ounce bottle of Watermelon GU Brew drink mix completed.
1:14 - One GU Salted Caramel energy gel eaten.
1:38 - One 16 ounce bottle of Watermelon GU Brew drink mix completed.

     After multiple days of big rides, Monday could have been a tough day on the bike. However, from the start, my legs felt fresh and ready to go.
     In all reality, I do not think it is a coincidence that consistent fueling and recovery, with GU products, left me feeling better on a long-term basis.
     Although Monday was set to be a short ride, I wanted to continue consuming calories. Throughout the ride, I took on about 340 calories, from liquids and gels.
     My estimated amount of calories burned, for Monday's ride, was 1,609. However, this is most likely on the high side.
     I did not wear my heart rate monitor, which could have adversely affected the estimate. Instead, I rode for pure enjoyment, as I often do, and went on feel.
     After less than two hours of riding, I recovered with eight ounces of milk and a GU Brew Chocolate Smoothie recovery packet, before heading out to play one and a half hours of basketball.

GU Product Review: Sunday, December 14

Sunday, December 14
     Of the GU product use and review days, Sunday was the pinnacle of testing and remaining properly fueled.
     Sunday revolved around an enjoyable road ride, in the San Gabriel Mountains, with cool weather and beautiful scenery.
     With my dad for company, I was thrilled with a great piece of riding.

Total Ride Time - 5:08:10
Total Moving Time - 4:42:38
Distance - 73.27 miles
Elevation Gain - 5,430'
Average Moving Speed - 15.6 miles per hour
Calories Burned - 2,520
Average Heart Rate - 131 beats per minute. 

58:00 - One half of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich eaten.
1:01 - One 16 ounce bottle of Watermelon GU Brew drink mix completed.
1:15 - One GU energy gel eaten.
2:05 - One half of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich eaten.
2:18 - One 16 ounce bottle of Watermelon GU Brew drink mix completed.
2:20 - One GU Salted Caramel energy gel eaten.
3:05 - One half of an oat bar eaten.
3:21 - One 16 ounce bottle of Lemon Lime GU Brew, with an electrolyte drink tablet completed. One GU Salted Caramel energy gel eaten.
3:58 - One half of an oat bar eaten.
4:21 - One GU Roctane Chocolate Raspberry ultra endurance energy gel eaten.
5:02 - One 16 ounce bottle of Lemon Lime GU Brew, with an electrolyte drink tablet completed.

     Overall, my fueling for Sunday's ride was fairly similar to Saturday but on an extended scale.
     After completing a more filling breakfast, in the morning, I still attempted to consume one sandwich early. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches sit well with my stomach, while providing essential and basic nutrients (carbohydrate, protein, fat, sugar).
     At 1:15 minutes, I consumed my first energy gel. This occurred before the first section of main climbing and it provided me with an essential burst.
     By 2:18 minutes, I had finished my second 16 ounce bottle of Watermelon GU Brew drink mix. Although the morning air was slightly cooler, I was slightly behind on my liquid intake.
     As the climbing continued, I took a second gel by 2:20 minutes, to spike my energy.
     Prior to beginning a large descent, I consumed one half of an oat bar, which is extremely calorie dense and provides low glycemic index carbohydrates.
     After completing a lengthy descent, I had finished my third bottle, with GU product, and consumed another energy gel.
     With the riding coming to a close, I took my final energy gel at 4:21 minutes. The GU Roctane Chocolate Raspberry ultra endurance energy gel provided me with an extra caffeine spike, which proved to be handy on the final leg home.
     A second big day had concluded and I recovered with eight ounces of milk and a GU Brew Chocolate Smoothie recovery packet, before heading out to play an hour of basketball!
     Similar to Saturday, Sunday proved to be an outstanding day of experimenting with the GU product. It passed my five hour climbing test, with flying colors.
     Sunday was my second consecutive day with high energy levels, consistent performance, and no upset stomach.
     While I am content with my Sunday fueling, additional GU Roctane ultra endurance energy gels and GU Roctane ultra endurance drink mix could have been utilized well, especially considering the length of my ride. 
     The range of GU products pair well together, as they provide an array of flavors and sensations. The GU Salted Caramel energy gels possess an outstanding sweet flavor and the fizzy GU Brew, with an electrolyte drink tablet, provides a different taste, which is ideal for endurance activities. 

GU Product Review: Saturday, December 13

Saturday, December 13

Members of the St. Francis Mountain Bike Team.
     Saturday happened to be a perfect day for a mountain bike ride, in addition to being day one of GU product use and review.
     After returning from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and arriving in my hometown, on Friday afternoon, I was determined to make it out to a high school ride on Saturday morning.
     St. Francis High School, which is located in Southern California, provided me with an outstanding four years of high school education and a platform for high school mountain biking, in the SoCal High School Cycling League, a subsidiary of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA).
     As a first year alumni, many high school friends continue to practice and race with the St. Francis High School Mountain Bike Team.
     Therefore, Saturday provided a great opportunity to tag a few hometown trails, while catching up with high school friends and riding partners.

Total Ride Time - 3:00:21
Total Moving Time - 2:37:01
Distance - 22.63 miles
Elevation Gain - 3,123'
Average Moving Speed - 8.6 miles per hour
Calories Burned - 1,615

58:00 - One 16 ounce bottle of Watermelon GU Brew drink mix completed. One half of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich eaten.
1:15 - One GU Vanilla Bean energy gel eaten.
2:08 - One half of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich eaten.
2:13 - One 16 ounce bottle of Watermelon GU Brew drink mix completed.
2:35 - One GU Salted Caramel energy gel eaten.
2:58 - One 16 ounce bottle of Lemon Lime GU Brew, with an electrolyte drink tablet completed.

     With a total of three hours completed, multiple GU products did a perfect job of keeping me fueled, without an upset stomach.
     By 58:00 minutes, I had completed one 16 ounce bottle of Watermelon GU Brew drink mix and one half of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. After a light breakfast, I wanted to start this ride with solid foods. My estimated caloric intake, for the first hour, was about 490 calories. An hourly intake of 490 calories was on the heavy side but comfortable, especially after a minimal breakfast.


     By 1:15 minutes, I had eaten a GU Vanilla Bean energy gel, for 100 calories and a minor caffeine jolt. Through mixing solid foods and bars, with gels, I have found a system that provides me with a consistent amount of sustainable and rapid energy.


     In the second hour of riding, I consumed one half of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a GU Salted Caramel energy gel. In total, about 520 calories, which was on the heavy side.
     After eating well, throughout the ride, but not feeling bloated, I added one Lemon Lime GU Brew electrolyte drink tablet to my third 16 ounce bottle. The electrolyte drink tablets are light on calories, with only 10, but they provided a healthy amount of sodium and potassium, in a fizzy form.


     As I continued to ingest food, I did not need to ingest liquid calories but drink tablets maintained my electrolyte levels. 
     The fizzy electrolyte drink tablets provided an appeasing change of pace and taste, which I greatly appreciated. Over time, the drink began to flatten.
     After completing my ride, I refueled with eight ounces of milk and a GU Brew Chocolate Smoothie recovery packet.


     Overall, Saturday proved to be a lighthearted and enjoyable mountain bike ride. While focusing on my nutrition, I did consume a high amount of calories per hour, after a light breakfast. However, I never felt bloated or weighed down.
     The GU energy and recovery products were ideal for Saturday's mountain bike ride and I was very impressed. Throughout the range of GU products, the gels, drink mix, drink tablets, and recovery mix were easy to process and refreshing.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

2014 San Luis Obispo Long Slow Distance (LSD) Weekend

Atop Santa Rosa Creek road.
     Throughout the weekend of Friday, December 5 to Sunday, December 7, the 2014 San Luis Obispo Long Slow Distance (LSD) weekend captivated an audience of eclectic cyclists.     
     Mr. Chris Black, the lead organizer for the LSD weekend, did an outstanding job of informing cyclists, in regards to meet locations, routes, optional events, sponsors, and safety information.
     With the assistance of Mr. Black, selfless volunteers, sponsors, and a bountiful Central California cycling scene, the LSD weekend provided record breaking attendance numbers, for the annual event. Saturday's group included 169 riders and over 100 riders attended each day.
     Of the notable sponsors, GU provided neutral nutrition support, for all LSD cyclists. SRAM provided neutral maintenance support, for all LSD cyclists. 
     Friday saw cyclists avoiding wet weather, as they looped south of San Luis Obispo, after beginning at Art's Cyclery.

Day one. PC: Lee Bird.
     Saturday was remembered for a brutal climb up Santa Rosa Creek road, which is north of San Luis Obispo. Santa Rosa Creek split the LSD group, which started and ended at Foothill Cyclery.

Day two. PC: Lee Bird.

     Sunday's ride looped south, to Nipomo, and ventured on quiet country roads. After a hectic start and a splintered group, which was highlighted by an early accident, the LSD group joined together and continued as one peloton.

Day three. PC: Lee Bird.
     In addition to Northern California, Southern California, and out of state cyclists, multiple professional cyclists attended the cycling weekend.
     Freddie Rodriguez, a four-time professional United States National Road Race champion, made his presence known, throughout the weekend. The LSD event also contributed a monetary donation to the Fast Freddie Foundation, which benefits underprivileged youth.
     As a whole, the LSD weekend provided cyclists with a well-timed weekend of base miles, beautiful scenery, and fantastic company, all while contributing to a beneficial cause.
     Local news affiliate KSBY briefly covered the event, which can be seen here.
     Numerous photos and videos, from LSD cyclists, can be seen on the event Facebook page here.  

Monday, December 8, 2014

Wheelmen Rider Spotlight #7: Niels Smidth

Niels Smidth, atop the Morning Glory trailhead, in Central California.


     In an attempt to become well acquainted with the 2014-15 Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Wheelmen community, Niels Smidth marks the seventh rider spotlight. The following information was provided as a set list of questions that Smidth answered with detailed insight. All responses are unedited.

How long have you been a member of the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Wheelmen or Wheelwomen?
I’ve been on the Wheelmen since my Sophomore year, which makes this my fourth year on the club.

What is your favorite part of the Wheelmen and cycling, in general?
I think I’ve met some of my best friends in this club, mainly because cycling attracts lots of interesting people that like to do fun things outside. I love cycling because it makes me feel awesome (I am an endorphin addict) and keeps me healthy, it takes me to places I’d never see if I wasn’t a cyclist, and it gives my brain a welcome break from being an engineering grad student.

What cycling disciplines are you involved with?
I started out racing road, but have transitioned more to mountain biking. I would definitely consider myself one of the now very trendy “all mountain” riders. I really like to go on several hour long rides with big climbs, awesome views, and fun descents. I enjoy every part of the ride, up and down. I still do love doing long “adventure rides” on my road bike though, as much gravel/dirt is included in these rides.

Please describe your favorite San Luis Obispo ride.
I’m a big fan of West Cuesta ridge, I can get all sorts of different rides in. If I’m feeling like pedaling lots, I can go out on TV tower road for a long distance. If I want a fun descent, I’ll descend Morning Glory to get my fill of speed and rocks. I love how quiet it is out on West Cuesta.

What are you interested in accomplishing, with the Wheelmen, throughout 2014 and 2015?
Being an old person who’s been around a long time, my primary concern is getting new people involved and also passing on the knowledge I’ve gained from being VP/President/Race Director.

What are you studying at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo?
I’m currently a 5th year, getting my Master’s in Electrical Engineering. I am really interested in electromechanical systems (think Shimano DI2 J)

What is your favorite genre of music and your favorite song?
I’m currently in a country phase, so I’d go with Hank Williams Jr’s “A Country Boy Can Survive”. I pretty much listen to anything other than what the kids listen to these days.

Do you prefer “SLO Donut Company” or “Old West Cinnamon Rolls”?
This is a tough one…. I enjoy SLODOCO lots, as it’s location is central to the start and finish of many rides. I would say my favorite restaurant to end a ride at is “Taqueria Santa Cruz” with a Lengua Burrito!

Please provide us with one interesting fact about yourself.
I only allow myself to keep shaving my legs if I’m riding at least 4 days a week.

Aside from cycling and education, what occupies your time?
I’m a huge fan of pretty much anything outside. I love backpacking/hiking and am getting more into fishing and hunting as well. I also enjoy trail running when my mountain bicycle is broken and I need a singletrack fix. I also like making pretty much anything with my hands: woodwork, machining, sewing, you name it. I love making things to use for cycling.  

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Wheelmen Report: November Strava Champions Crowned

     At its Wednesday evening meeting, the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Wheelmen cycling team crowned its November Strava champions.
     Jonathan Schmidt and Julia Mace were repeat champions, for the male and female categories.
 
     Foothill Cyclery and WD-40, both official Wheelmen sponsors, provided neat awards for the winners and top-three places, in both the male and female categories.
Adam Evard, Jonathan Schmidt, and Anthony Fryer.
Amanda Strand.
     Adam O'Camb and Kyle Huerman were the most improved riders, from October to November.
     Throughout the month of November, the Wheelmen compiled impressive team totals. At the meeting, lofty goals were set for the upcoming months.
     The Wheelmen Strava challenge is a new concept for the 2014-15 academic school year. It encourages cycling, both on a social and competitive basis.
     Riders were awarded points based on ride time, group riding, and racing. Both group riding and racing provided extra points.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Wheelmen Rider Spotlight #6: Christopher Ha

Christopher Ha...pinned.


Ha (center).

     In an attempt to become well acquainted with the 2014-15 Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Wheelmen community, Christopher Ha marks the sixth rider spotlight. The following information was provided as a set list of questions that Ha cruised through, while providing a few laughable answers. All responses are unedited.

How long have you been a member of the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Wheelmen or Wheelwomen?
I have been a member of the Wheelmen since fall 2012. I want to be a part of the Wheelwomen, but they reject me every year.

What is your favorite part of the Wheelmen and cycling, in general?
My favorite part about the Wheelmen is the group of people that make up the club. Everyone is always stoked on riding bikes and willing to give a helping hand to the other members. What I enjoy about cycling is exploring new areas that I would have never been able to with a car.

What cycling disciplines are you involved with?
I think I may be one of the biggest roadies on the team… I wanted to get more involved in mountain bikes. However, an unfortunate event prevented me on purchasing one last summer.

Please describe your favorite San Luis Obispo ride.
Definitely Old Santa Rita

What are you interested in accomplishing, with the Wheelmen, throughout 2014 and 2015?
This year I want to get more people more involved in racing in the WCCC.

What are you studying at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo?
I’m on my (hopefully) last year in graduate school studying Biomedical Engineering.

What is your favorite genre of music and your favorite song?
It changes every season. As of now, I’m into anything with jazz-vibe to it. If you ask me again tomorrow, it may change. Edo Lee – Seguido is one of my favorites.

Do you prefer “SLO Donut Company” or “Old West Cinnamon Rolls”?
SLO Donut Company since it’s right across the street!

Please provide us with one interesting fact about yourself.
I won “Best Tanlines” in the 2014 road season for the Wheelmen!

Aside from cycling and education, what occupies your time?
Although I don’t think I’m too good at it, I enjoy cooking.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Wheelmen Rider Spotlight #5: Hank Mandsager

Hank Mandsager (right).

     In an attempt to become well acquainted with the 2014-15 Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Wheelmen community, Hank Mandsager marks the fifth rider spotlight. The following information was provided as a set list of questions, which Mandsager entertainingly answered. All responses are unedited.

How long have you been a member of the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Wheelmen or Wheelwomen?
I have been a member of the Wheelmen since Fall 2011

What is your favorite part of the Wheelmen and cycling, in general?
My favorite part about the Wheelmen is that it is a group of people who come together to ride bikes but always end up being a great group of friends. Cyclists, in general, tend to be a fun group of people.

What cycling disciplines are you involved with?
I stick to the pavement and have in the past competed in triathlons (how embarrassing…)

Please describe your favorite San Luis Obispo ride.
My favorite ride in SLO is definitely the annual Death Ride down from Big Sur. There is nothing better than the windy, two-lane road that towers above the perfectly blue Pacific Ocean.

What are you interested in accomplishing, with the Wheelmen, throughout 2014 and 2015?
As president of the club this year my goal is to encourage as many members of the Wheelmen and Cal Poly community to ride bikes. It is a challenging goal because the club has many different members with wildly different cycling backgrounds but I hope to foster an organization that appeals to as large of a group of cyclists as possible.

What are you studying at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo?
I am in my final year studying Aerospace Engineering with a concentration in Aeronautics

What is your favorite genre of music and your favorite song?
That is a difficult question because I tend to go through very short, intense phases of music selection. Currently the “Electropositivity” playlist on Spotify is on repeat.

Do you prefer “SLO Donut Company” or “Old West Cinnamon Rolls”?
Old West. Is that even a question?

Please provide us with one interesting fact about yourself.
I placed 36th in my age group at the Age-Group World Championships in Budapest, Hungary in 2010 for sprint distance triathlon.

Aside from cycling and education, what occupies your time?
Eating and sometimes sleeping.