If like me you struggle with a lot of the mid-ride energy gels giving you an “upset” stomach then you are always happy to hear about a brand coming along and offering something natural. I have been using the Scratch Labs products in my drinks now and love them (especially the Orange flavor) and my wife bought me the Scratch Labs cook book, but I find it really hard to get myself organized to make whats in there as good as it sounds. This summer I was lucky enough to spend time in France on a ride with Ted King (of Cannondale Garmin fame) where I got introduced to UnTapped, a pure Maple Syrup “Athletic Fuel”. I was intrigued as I live in “Syrup country” upstate on the New York/Connecticut border. Syrup wasn’t something I though of as fuel. A few weeks later the guys at Untapped sent me a box to try out and I packed it in the kit bag on a two week trip to the Pyrenees, and this is where it proved to be a magic life saver. You know those days when you get the Michelin map out at breakfast and highlight a route. Something that looks good and will get you home before dark in time for a Panaché by the pool. But sometimes those maps lie, in a really bad way and a “triple chevron” road, well just doesn’t have the triple chevrons on. The climb started poorly with a 17% nice to meet you. That climb was called Col d’Ahusquy. The next 7km sat somewhere around the ever lucky 13% easing of to a what felt like a lovely average of 8-9% for the last 10km. At the top suffering from heat, jet-lag, not eating enough and generally sucking I pulled out the UnTapped with the wise words of Ted King ringing in my ears (“it can get you another 2 good hours…) In it went on the way down and we started the ride home over the Col d’Osquich. It literally is like magic. It kicked in pretty immediately and along with two new bottles of water I was feeling really good again. It was quick and effective and I reckon it got me at least another 2.5 hours. There is more to this than just a sugar kick, its naturally full of minerals and anti-oxidants – its basically just good for you. Its something I will definitely be adding to the every day ride kit. When something saves your ass like this did, you just put it in your pocket and don’t ask any questions – and put in a spare one for a friend in need.
If you want to get your hands on some go here