Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Accelerade, a broken wheel, and me.

Accelerade sent me two boxes (48 bottles) of their ready-to-drink sportsdrink recently and asked me to blog about it. So, I am.

Before I start, let me say that what everyone can tolerate is very different. Myself, I can tolerate more solids and sugars on the bike than I can on the run. Dean Karnazis, as I never tire of pointing out, can eat whole pizzas in the middle of a grueling 100 mile run, while I get side cramps if I drink too much or get white sugar/sucrose.

So everyone is different. Not only that, but your ability to tolerate things changes over time. At least, mine has. I didn't used to be able to drink Gatorade at all when exercising, and now I can tolerate it when cycling.

Plus, I've discovered that working out the heat can increase your ability to do it. You just have to be careful and prepare.

A few days ago I went on a 60-mile ride out to San Felipe pueblo and back. Here's a partial profile (my Garmin battery ran down because I hadn't fully charged it) near mile 40:

The ride: 60 miles north from Albuquerque to San Felipe pueblo travel center, and then back again. The area is arid, with about 20% humidity, and the first 40 miles had about 1500 feet of climbing.

The fuel:
I filled two 20-ounces bottles and my aerobottle first with ice, and the poured nearly 3 bottles of Orange Accelerade ready-to-drink into them, drinking the last couple ounces down myself. By the time I got to the pueblo, the remaining stuff was warm, but it didn't bother me. Some people will freeze an entire bottle of whatever they're taking on long rides, but I forgot to do that.

Other supplies:
I also took along about a dozen whole wheat fig newtons, 2 packages of shot blocks, and 3 Nuun tablets. I generously applied really strong sunscreen, and had two tubes and 3 air cartriges with me. Pre-ride, I had two servings of Oatmeal and a PB sandwich, which has become my standard and beloved pre-long-workout-thing breakfast, washed down with, yes, Accelerade.

My impressions:
I like the taste of Accelerade. A LOT. It has a "hint of chalkiness" to it, in Sweet Baboo's words, possibly because of the added protein, but I thought of it as more of a puckery tartness. I love the fact that it wasn't so sweet. I can't stand things that are too sweet; I like them on the tart side.
What's really important about liking the taste? Well, you'll drink more. That's super important. If you can find a sports drink that provides energy, hydration, and electrolytes, I don't imagine there's that much difference but if you really like the taste you'll drink lots, which is a very good thing. Plus, a good taste gives you less to whine about in your head when you really need to concentrate on pedaling. I love what Perpetuum and Heed do for me, but the sickly-sweet taste gets to me after a whie. While I didn't mind warm Accelerade, it is best when cold. I've heard that others have not had great results when the stuff got warm.

Results: W
hen I got to the Pueblo, the 30 mile mark, I stopped. I felt pretty good, not sick or thirsty, no soreness or muscle fatigue, and no cramps. I went to the bathroom and rinsed out my bottles and refilled them as follows: 1 package of clif shot blocks in each one and one Nuun tablet. This was yet another experiment I wanted to try because I'd heard about it. While not as tasty as the Accerade, it was palatable, portable, and provided energy and electrolytes. Before setting out again, I ate my fig newtons.

I pedaled my badly broken wheel energetically home, and despite being warm I was fine. I've been gradually getting myself used to working out in the heat, as distasteful as I find it. By the time I gave up on trying to pedal my broken wheel my bike computer told me that there was about 108 degrees Farenheit radiating up off the pavement, but I felt good. Not great, mind you. It was hot and I was sweating. But I felt good enough to worry: What if one of the signs of acute hyperthermia is that you feel fine? Like people who are about to freeze to death who suddenly feel warm? However, I then realized that in the past as I've had very straight forward symptoms of heat exhaustion such as nausea and chills, and I didn't have any of these. I felt good afterwards, too.

Accelerade has added a sugar that I'm not familiar with called Trehalose to their forumulation. I don't know how long ago they did that. I did some reading and the only things I could come up with is that Trehalose stabilizes proteins at high temps. So if pre-Trehalose warm Accelerade made people sick, maybe this will prevent that. I just don't know enough about Trehalose to decide whether it's hype or not.

Later today, I'll take some to Wednesday night track workouts. We'll see how it works with interval running.



  1. I'm jealous I love accelerade. It is the only drink that I can really stomach and keep drinking even when I have lost my appetite on long rides.

  2. I've been using the powdered Accelerade for a few months, but primarily after working out because of the protein. I like it, but I wish there was MORE protein in it. I'll have to track down some of the ready to drink stuff. It sounds good.

  3. I haven't been able to post on your site for 2 days!
    Where are the bike boys when you need them? Kind of like Cabbana boys would be nice..that would just appear when we women have bike problems..

  4. i'll be trying that stuff out too. I usually only use sports drinks on the bike, but may try it on my long runs.

  5. the only problem with that drink is that it is not vegan!!!
    There is alternative that are vegan.

  6. I actually like Accel as a swim drink but have become a confirmed believer in PowerBar Endurance Lemon/lime since the Carmichael IMLou camp. I have to order it from REI but love the stuff...

    Must ask you where you got your bike sunglasses from. I'm having fits trying to find glasses/eye solutions for the IM.

  7. My cycling/running glasses are prescription, Brand: Liberty Optical; Model: "Biker." I heart them. I have two pairs, one I bought at a fine optical place for $350 and the second I bought at Wal-Mart optical for $150. (Yikes.) Online at


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