I think way back to when Justin and I first started riding bikes, all the way back in August of 2005... we filled up our Camelbak's (get this - I used a 2.5L Dream that fits nothing, and he carried around a 3L TransAlp that you could fit not only a tent and light-weight backpacking gear in, but also the kitchen sink!) with water, packed some Clif Shots and Power Bars, and off we went. I don't think it was until 2006 that we ever tried any kind of drink mix aside from pre-packaged Gatorade. I don't remember why we did, either, but we did.
I remember thinking that Cytomax helped my performance a ton! I was able to ride longer, and a tad faster (I was extremely slow then; think not only the last person to the top of the hill, but the last person down to the bottom, and not by just a minute or so...by a REALLY long time) than before. We used to be out riding for a few hours at a time, and really knew nothing about nutrition or fueling for endurance sports. Honestly, I know I still have a lot to learn (that's half the fun!).
But, I've pretty much religiously used Cytomax ever since. I had a brief stint where I used HEED for a month or so, and in the one XC race I did I nearly cramped up (that's only happened one other time), and had a horrible endurance ride, so back to Cytomax I went. I always really liked the flavor.
I know Cyto has a lot of sugar, but it probably is part of why it tastes so dang good in the first place.
I'm a fan of other Hammer Nutrition products (though I'm not currently using any), but for some reason for drink mix I went back to Cytomax. I had wanted to try out the CytoSport recovery mix, but never got the container from the bike shop I'd asked to order it. So, I've used Recoverite in the past. My recent favorite recovery mix was Strawberry Recoverite, OJ, water, and Vanilla Whey Protein.
Needless to say... when I pre-registered for the US Kenda Cup West - Bonelli Park race, I knew I was guaranteed a swag bag! I LOVE swag bags. No joke. It is almost my favorite part of every race.
"What kind of gel flavor am I going to get?? What kind of other samples will be included? Ooh, goodies!" I LOVE goodies.
So, when I picked up my bag at Bonelli and in it was included a sample of E2 Hydro, I was looking forward to trying it. The packaging made it look really interesting, the flavor sounded really good, and I couldn't wait to mix it up.
I didn't mix it up for the race - you never try something new on race day!
But, I used it in a training ride a week or so later. The taste is a bit different than what I was used to (a bit less sweet, and it definitely took a little getting used to), but I liked it! It was oddly refreshing and tasty. Not medicine-like, but definitely not sugar-filled.
I made sure to grab some extra sample packets at the Pro XCT Fontana National in March, and grabbed a few more at Sea Otter. I'd only gotten 3 other sample packets of it through registration for the Kenda Cup West, so it was in high demand! Not only did I take Justin's samples, but I made sure he didn't "want" to use it either!
I talked to one of the other Sho-Air pro racers the morning of Sea Otter, and he's a big proponent of no supplementation (I believe some of the WC women are the same way, though I've never directly spoken to them regarding supplements - e.g. nutritional products, whey protein, etc.). So, post-race I asked him what he used. He tossed me a sample packet of E2 ProCharge. I had my recovery drink already mixed, so I'd had that already, but knew I'd save the ProCharge for another day!
Luckily for me Sho-Air/Specialized is supported by E2 Performance, so I was able to get hooked up with some E2 Hydro and some ProCharge!
I used both in the course recon and race at Santa Ynez last weekend and was pleasantly surprised. I knew it would work for me since I'd been using it in training, and also was able to try the Hydro in the heat the week before Santa Ynez.
I have struggled a bit in the past in taking in Cytomax when it's hot. I've actually discussed this with other racers, and they agree Cytomax is not easy to ingest while racing in the heat. For some reason it makes me have a much worse feeling of cottonmouth than I would probably not drinking anything at all. Despite a weak concentration at Sea Otter, I still struggled to take in enough fluids during the race until I went through the feed zone and picked up an extra bottle of water from the neutral feed.
The Hydro from E2 is still really drinkable, even mixed at one full scoop/one serving per 21-24oz. I've yet to try it in the HEAT of battle (e.g. 85F+ in an XC race), but I know I will get a chance at some point this summer, and I know it won't disappoint.
I could rehash the info from the site, but just check out the info and if you can pick up some samples of the product - definitely try it out for your next training ride!
I plan on training and racing with E2 Hydro and recovering with ProCharge (mixed with milk for some additional carbs - followed up with AB&J!!) this season.
Maybe it'll work for you, too!