gels...is it a myth?

runner

Veteran
Location
Bristol
ok first big 80 mile sportive in July and I was wondering if it was worth taking gels on my training runs. I recall at the TDF 2 years ago one of the sky team was penalized for dropping back and attempting to get Chris Frome a much needed gel! So are the much needed gels a benefit? If I find myself running low part way through a cycle will I get an instant (but presumably not sustained) hit from a gel If the answer is yes could you recommend what gels I should buy so that I can start carrying with me and get used to using them....
 

Spinney

Bimbleur extraordinaire
Location
Under the Edge
Gels have a disgusting texture. Why not just make sure you have some flapjack squares or jelly babies?
 

siadwell

Veteran
Location
Surrey
It's normally reckoned that the body has enough easily-utilised energy (in the form of glycogen) stored up for about 90 minutes of exercise. If you carry on after this, the body will have to switch to other energy sources, which are not as easily utilised and you may therefore experience "the bonk" and need to refuel.
As has been noted above, there's nothing to stop you eating real food at any point on a sportive, but energy gels are a concentrated and easily-consumed source of carbs so are used by pros, weekend warriors and those who believe the marketing hype.
There are obviously loads of different gels on the market and they all have the same aim - to deliver a quick shot of carbs - so the main reason to choose one brand over another is packaging, texture and flavour. Personally, I use the odd High5 gel for longer rides.
Worth noting that some people have intestinal "issues" with certain brands but not others, and some gels contain caffeine for a concentration boost (which again may not be for eveyone).
 

adscrim

Veteran
Location
Perth
I take a couple of gels with me when doing something like a sportive, as a kind of get me home safety net. I've taken the same two with me to every event for the last year and a half and they go out of date in March. I don't think you should be planning to rely on gels other than at the back end of a ride but I don't see any harm in taking them. I don't like the powerbar gels I've tasted, the SIS ones are better but can be sickly. My current gel of choice is TorQs strawberry yoghurt flavour - which actually tastes like strawberry yoghurt (they also do an apple crumble which is passable) and resembles yoghurt in texture. All gels I've ever eaten had a texture similar to snot.

I prefer banana soreen spread with peanut butter and regular soreen spread with nutella, bananas, flapjacks and dried apricots. At the Kinross sportive last year I watched a guy in the carpark sink two gels before getting on his bike.
 

BSRU

A Human Being
Location
Swindon
Agree gels do not taste nice but the new banana flavour Hi5 gel is lovely, like eating banana sweets.
 

T.M.H.N.E.T

Disc brakes - Stopping things since 1902
Location
Northern Ireland
ok first big 80 mile sportive in July and I was wondering if it was worth taking gels on my training runs. I recall at the TDF 2 years ago one of the sky team was penalized for dropping back and attempting to get Chris Frome a much needed gel! So are the much needed gels a benefit? If I find myself running low part way through a cycle will I get an instant (but presumably not sustained) hit from a gel If the answer is yes could you recommend what gels I should buy so that I can start carrying with me and get used to using them....
Yes it would be sensible but worth remembering that training rides and sportives are NOT races. Therefore you can carry food, or indeed stop at a planned feed station.
 
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