The first time my water bottle froze on a bike ride, I’d been cycling for fewer than five years. I’d say that I was enthusiastic, but not yet serious. This detail will help explain why my reaction to the stiff bottle and lack of water entering my mouth brought about a reaction of such mystification that I stopped pedaling, allowed a gap to open, nearly got dropped and stared at the ice block wondering how I would survive. Yes, my concern was grave enough to hip-check my own mortality. I was a kid out of the South and some stuff just isn’t allowed to happen. Like a frozen bottle.
What did I know?
We don’t feature nutrition products here very often for a few reasons. The first is that they are so inexpensive, you don’t really need a lot of guidance on trying stuff. If it doesn’t work for you, there’s little you’ve risked. Also, what works for one rider doesn’t always work for another rider, though there’s more and more science emerging on things that just aren’t going to work well under super-strenuous conditions. Similarly, we’re getting a better idea of what will help when you’re going hard.
I’ve come to believe in Skratch Labs the way I believe in Apple products. Both companies make products that are super-easy to use, make sense, have an ethos I respect and appreciate and on those rare occasions I’m having an issue, it’s invariably due to a lack of maintenance on my part. God, the parallels are almost spooky.
So, back to that frozen bottle. We’ve pretty well conquered that, thanks to insulated bottles and hot fluids. But what about the flavor of those hot fluids. I’ve got a buddy who puts tea in his bottles; bully for him. That doesn’t work for me. And I can’t drink a lemon-lime mix hot. Partly because I think of it as a cold drink the way I think of Coke as a cold drink and partly because one time during a crit in 105-degree heat my bottle got so hot that the mix scalded the back of my throat and I spoke in a raspy whisper for the next three days. So even warmish lemon-lime mix will cause me to shudder.
But Skratch offers a hardly publicized mix called Apples and Cinnamon. The first time I mixed this with hot water and took a sip I drank almost half the bottle on the spot. I was transported back to the deck of the Red Lion Inn in the Berkshires to a trip with my father and sister. We hung out drinking spiced cider. That was a very good day.
You needn’t the emotional connection to the flavor, but I can report with some conviction that if you’re a believer in the Skratch hydration philosophy, this stuff plus hot water in an insulated bottle will do wonders for riding on a chilly day.