Doing it all the hard way...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Scratch Labs drink mix review

Everyone seems to have a favorite potion in their water bottles. Some people get downright evangelical about their preferred mixture, others are more open minded. Hottie and El Hefe both only goes as far as having nuun tablets in their bottles and want no sugar. On the other extreme, Spinner John fills his bottles with Hammer Sustained Energy mixed as thick as pancake batter and thinks anything else is poison.

I have noted performance differences from one brand to another, but am open to trying new things. I have had mixed results with drinks that contain protein in addition to carbs and electrolytes. I can understand the logic behind having some protein in there, but a couple years ago during the Davis Double Century I got stomach cramps so bad I was wishing a car would run me over.

I have become a fan of Cytomax because of its lactic acid buffers and the fact that I don't have to worry about mixing simple sugars and complex carbohydrates. That near fatal combo was what lead to my Davis downfall in 2010.

While I am happy with Cytomax, as I said, I consider myself open minded. (Then again don't we all consider ourselves open minded?) I liked what I read about Skratch Labs drink mix and picked up a couple favors. At the time I was logging lots of kilometers, and would be able to go through any drink mix.

Performance is key, but there are lots of little things that can enhance the standing of a drink mix. One factor is the ability to dissolve. Skratch labs SDM (secret drink mix) does this just fine, Cytomax, not so much. Hammer products set the standard in this category.

Another aspect that is important is taste. More often than not, I reach down and grab a bottle out of duty, knowing I need to drink. Less often I reach down because I am thirsty or because the flavor in the bottle is calling me. Skratch labs rates very high here. The stuff tastes good. At the end of a long ride this week I had a little Cytomax in one bottle and I opened the lid and poured that out. In the other bottle I had some Skratch Labs drink and I opened the lid and drank it down. Then I realized what I had done and decided to write this review.

The key metric is performance. On a long hot ride yesterday (report coming) I could feel my legs hinting at upcoming cramps. I had two bottles and reached for the SDM (Skratch Labs) and drank deep. This wasn't hard because it goes down easy. I didn't get any leg cramps despite the early warning signs and so SDM passed my test.

Bottom line is Skratch Labs SDM is now my go to drink for long rides. I am not ready to give up Cytomax, but this gets a permanent place in my arsenal.

Four of five Evos!


Brian Killian said...

Thanks for the review. Do you use a post-ride drink that you can recommend?

EvoDavo said...

I use the Hammer Recoverite product. It is pretty much a powder that makes what sure seems like chocolate milk. I'm kind of a geek at races as I have a pre bottle (skratch labs or nuun) and my race bottles (scratch labs or Cytomax) and a recovery bottle of the Hammer Recoverite. As you might guess, I have a small cooler that I bring along to races..