Don’t worry. This isn’t about the weather. I just happened to be standing on the roof, outside the kids’ bedroom window, raking snow to keep the ice dams at bay, when my wife, with whom I’d spent the previous two hours shoveling the driveway and walk, passed a water bottle out to me and said, “Drink this.” It was Gatorade, lemon-lime, and there was a moment, when it hit my tongue of reptile brain pleasure, sugars and liquids triggering all sorts of chemical reactions deep in my brain, deep in my soul.
I don’t normally ride with Gatorade. Smart people tell me it’s not a great choice, so I usually go straight water, or, if I have a bit more time to plan, I set up a couple Nuun tabs to dissolve overnight in the refrigerator. I cleave pretty closely to the lemon-lime line of flavoring anyway. Since the original Gatorade hit the market when I was a kid, I have just come to associate that flavor with thirst remedy.
Like food bars, the powdered drinks available at most bike shops have multiplied like a herd of rabbits in rapture to the dulcet tones of Barry White. Skratch Labs make a popular line of beverages for people who take their hydration very seriously. Osmo and Clif bear mentioning. Gu and Hammer Nutrition and First Endurance, the list goes on.
I imagine that if you work for one of these companies, you have a lot of science to back up the ingredients in your mix. And the problem with science, like the problem with engineering, is that everyone says theirs is better, and the unwashed masses, ignoramuses like me, just don’t know what to think. I confess that, in the morass of my unenlightened mind, I aim first for wetness. Water checks that box, and even I realize I need some salt, too, mainly because I can taste it running off my brow.
Don’t take my approach. I’m a shambles. I’m standing on a roof with a snow rake.
This week’s Group Ride asks, what’s in your bottle? Do you spend a lot of money on the most modern potions? Or do you just run it under the tap and spin away down the road, carefree as a rabbit humming along to a little Barry White.