Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Roctane: Gu's new blackmarket blend, tested!

Here's a little secret: Gu's sponsored athletes like Wendy Ingraham and Michellie Jones have long had an ace up their sleeve; Gu provided them a little sumthin-sumthin, some amplified goods.

What Gu did was create special formulations of their product for their pros, to test with. They called it Roctane and gave it to the athletes in unlabled silver Gu packets with "Hardrock" printed on 'em (after the Hardrock 100-mile ultramarathon, which the designing doctor's daughter was doing, the initial motivation for creating a special blend). No nutritional info, no special flavor, no nothin. Sometimes the stuff tasted ok, sometimes it was horrible. If it was what they wanted the athletes to try to test its effectiveness, the pros became the guinea pigs.

Then, recently, they hit upon a bit of a jackpot with one blend of Roctane. And it's going public.

Holly with Gu styled me with some samples of the super-secret-until-now Roctane at Sea Otter this past weekend, which, for the first time, will be available to the public. It's been Michelle's premium secret stuff for years, and we'll soon be able to get our hands on it.

It's on the market just now because they'd been toying with the flavor for a while. The high citrate levels added a tang to the flavor that was a bit much for many. But once they get the formulation right, it was go time.

The supplement facts look like this: 100 calories, which is standard. 35 milligrams of caffeine, a double dose. 25 grams of carbs, 5 grams of sugar, 65 milligrams of sodium. All good.

The difference comes with some new additives to this high-octane mix. First is Histidine, which Gu says delays energy-sapping build-up. They also add a new OKG amino acid complex, which reduces muscular damage and branch chain amino acids are increased, for added energy and mental acuity.

The higher citrate levels that tweaked the taste actually help speed the conversion of carbs into energy, while delaying the build-up of acid in muscles.

Add belly-settling ginger and the anti-inflammatory chamomile It's gluten, dairy and nut free to boot. And right now it comes in a Blueberry-Pomegranate flavor, with others to come soon.

First taste? Very good in all honesty. The citrate kick-up had me worried it'd be tangy, which can often sour the belly, but it wasn't at all. I've long been a fan of Just Plain Gu for something that my stomach could just digest without dealing with flavor fatigue, but this was very palatable.

First test? Todays' three-hour slog over the mountains from Agoura Hills to Malibu and back was a perfect application. Once at the coast halfway through the ride, and just prior to a loooong 25-minute slog back up the hill to Mulholland and on to Agoura Hills, I had a hit of what is being called the equivalent of crack for endurance athletes.

Well, for not having a lot of bike miles in the bank, I was due to detonate royally on the ascent. And it didn't happen.. held my lines. Descent the other side, I considered rolling off the back, afraid I was going to be sloppy on the switchback and end up in a ditch, but instead I attacked the hell out of the descent, overselling some decreasing radius hairpins and ending up in the opposing lanes.

OK, that was just my fault for going in too hot. But for the work I put in, I was on top of the descent full gas. Normally I might have just backed off and cruised down. Not today.

Sold.... it truly works, better than "stock" Gu for sure. (Wow, it really does sound like underground blackmarket stuff!) I can only imagine what how it fuels when an athlete is, well, fit. I have Alcatraz in a couple months, so I better get on it.

When can you get it? Hold your horses...not till June. With people saying it's as good as it's being hyped, you can expect this to fly off the shelves in its first run. Check gusports.com for more on Roctane.

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