Friday, February 22, 2013

Gel-bot Water Bottle Review

As we all know by now, nutrition plays a very important part in endurance sports.  When those sports last several hours refueling is even more important. As endurance athletes we need to keep our hydration levels up and consistently keep our bodies feed with an energy source like gels.

Personally I have always disliked individual gel packets. Mostly because I despise littering and it always just gets my blood boiling when I see gel packs and bar wrappers when I am out on the trail or during a race.  Wouldn't it be nice if there was a product that allowed easy access to your gels and allowed you to keep hydrated?  Well now there is - The Gel-bot Water bottle.

Truth be told, I actually came up with this idea about 15 years ago.   I need to start patenting these ideas I come up with.  I did not, but thankfully the folks at Hydrapak did. The idea is very simple.  The gel is stored in a inner plastic chamber that is attached to the bottle cap.  A small plunger is placed on the bottom of the chamber and allows the user to draw out the gel through the inner part of the dual valve on the cap.  The unit is perfect for about an hours worth water/fuel - 24 oz of H2O and ~ 2 gel packs.

For the past six months I have been using the Gel-bot.  I have really enjoyed the product during my rides and runs.  The quality of the product is very good.  No leaks and the spout is just soft enough.

I usually try to consume one water bottle an hour and about 200 to 250 calories.  The Gel-bot has worked out very well on my normal 2 hour training rides.  On longer rides/races like my upcoming Ouachita Challenge, I plan to just grab two new bottles at each checkpoint that Carolynn will be at.  This will allow for a really fast pit stop and keep me hydrated and fueled up. 

Cleaning the unit.  It is very simple to use and cleans up well (if you clean it after each use and not let the gels dry out).  I personally story the cap/gel unit in the refrigerator so no bacteria grows in it .  I clean it once a week with warm water and a small amount of  bleach. The unit is dishwasher safe, but I stick with my old fashion method of cleaning.

I could see the Gel-bot being used most of the year except for really cold days.  When the temps are really low the gel is hard to suck out.  I cold days I have used warm water in my bottles with great success.  I normally use warm water on cold days to keep my water bottle from freezing and it appears to work will for at least most of the ride.

I hope you enjoyed this little review.  Stay hydrated and fueled up

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Thoughts of Dan in the Night.

Last night I went out on a long ride which ended in darkness.  The thoughts that come into a man's mind during a peaceful night ride vary. On this night all I could think about was Dan. 

6 years ago today a very special person was taken from us all.  Daniel Tenaglia passed from injuries he sustain when he was struck by a vehicle.  Dan truly did make a difference and still does today.

As I silently rode along the floodplain area just outside of Parkville, MO (a route that what will soon become part of the Northland Trail System), thoughts of "what if" crept into my mind.  What if I had never given Dan that old Trek MTB bike of mine?  Would he had still been riding on that Alabama road back on February 11, 2007?  What if I would have never climbed on a motorcycle?  Would my little brother John still have passed oh so early in life?

I continue to work my way along the route which flows with the Missouri River.  It is very dark by now as I stop to rest and refuel.  A large log that had been washed up on the river banks provides a welcomed resting area. I sit and look around at nature.  Dan is with me and we both watch the herd of deer approach.  They do not notice either of us for several minutes.  Wildlife and nature are so beautiful and I am glad that we can see them together.

As the deer meander across the field I  think about continuing along into the night. I think about the camping and hiking stories Dan used to tell me.  I wonder if I could be like Dan and just be riding along and then just stop and camp out - no tent, just nature and him. The short stop has caused my body temperature to fall.  I start to shiver due to the cold temperature.  It was just above 40 degrees when I left, but as darkness fell so did the temperatures.  I decide it is time to head home.  I say good bye to Dan as his image fades into the dark river. Just as in life, tonight we only shared a small amount of time together.

Today I replanted one of the many plants that Dan gave me.  Ironically, yesterday someone at work knocked the plant off the window ledge causing it to break. I have faith that it will continue on for many years and will never be forgotten.

Rest in Peace
Dan Tenaglia
1969 - 2007