Fuelling and nutrition during my long-distance challenges has always been one of my weaknesses and I’m constantly experimenting to find my happy place. On this weekend’s long ride I put some of the High5 sports nutrition products to the test.
Sports powders, gels and shakes are notoriously pricey and if, like me, you’re on a budget, costs to stay upright on a long ride can get expensive. I was impressed by how much you get in one of High5’s Race Packs for only £6.99 . They bundle loads of their nutrition products into a neat little box so that you can try them all out and and then when you find your winning combo you can invest in more of that specific type.
I loosely followed the four hour sportive plan that was included in the race pack which was roughly equivalent to my 60 mile ride from London to Brighton.
Before I left...
I woke up 90 minutes before I set off and had toast and peanut butter and sipped on 500mls of EnergySource X’treme. The theory behind this is to intake a boost of caffeine before I set off.
I then loaded my bike cages with one bottle of water and one mixed with a sachet of EnergySource which would keep me topped up with fluids, electrolytes and 90g of carbohydrate whilst I was peddling away.
During the ride
It’s fuelling during the ride that I always fall short on and it was no different on this ride. The recommendation from High5 is to take a gel every hour for someone that weighs between 50-60kgs. I think I finally worked out that gels and I do not see eye to eye. I took out my first gel at a set of traffic lights and in between trying to clip in and set off again I forgot the gel was in my hand and exploded it over my lovely mint green handle bars. The gels are so gooey that my entire right hand was coated in an adhesive layer of glucose and my fingers were literally sticking to the brakes. This, I might add, has nothing to do with High5’s product, but my own ridiculousness.
Having a sticky hand wasn’t my only issue. After my second gel that was Mojito flavoured and tasted like a wrong night in Magaluf I felt pretty queazy. I don’t know if this was specifically down to the gel flavour or if it was because I had gunned it a bit too fast. I do tend to get quite nauseous at points when I’m on a long run or ride so again, probably not High5’s fault. To overcome this I stopped for a few minutes and munched a Trek bar and banana and then set off again.
I was struggling to digest the third gel so instead my cycling partner gave me one of her Shot Blocks by Clif Bar which literally turned my ride around and I was back on form and ready to climb Ditchling Beacon. I think personally, Shot Bloks suit me better than gels because they are more solid and feel slightly easier to digest. I don’t know if it is the act of chewing that sets off your digestive tracks but I found them easier than gels, you can also simply pop them in your mouth whilst moving and there is no risk of getting sticky! I am not aware if High5 do something similar but for cycling I would recommend this type of energy source over gels.
I wheeled into Brighton station feeling euphoric but, once the adrenaline was leaving my system my body started to become aware of the distance it had just covered and it was not happy with me. After quickly grabbing a chicken baguette from Upper Crust, I poured in my High5 Protein mix and got that down the hatch. This shake is meant to aid muscle recovery so that you don’t spend the next three days walking in a dubious fashion. A day later and I must say that I definitely feel the benefits of the protein and am much less stiff than after previous rides.
Later that night
Once I got home, wearily carried my bike up the stairs and nearly stood on the cat, I was shattered and had a slight headache. It was the hottest day of the year so far and I put this purely down to dehydration. I ended my High5 trial with one of their electrolyte sachets and this sorted me out completely and allowed me to have a really restful sleep that night.
So, to summarise: overall I am impressed by the High5 products, especially the powdered drinks and the protein shake for recovery. Given that it was such a hot day, I probably should have taken an extra sachet of EnergySource with me but on the whole these were well received. The gels were not so good but again, I put that down to personal choice and I am sure they work for others. I think the High5 race pack is a really good bargain especially if you are a fan of gels. I will be buying more of the protein and EnergySource powders in the future but might turn to Clif Bar’s Shot Bloks for nutrition during my ride.
Stay in touch for more energy experiments on Queen of the Mile this summer.