You find your physical limits by pushing them, which is exactly what the Core Six did last week when we pedaled every stage of the Amgen Tour of California. While we rode 700 miles, climbed 43,000 feet and logged nearly 40 hours of saddle time between the eight stages, we also tried to raise awareness about the high school mountain biking movement that hopes to have racing leagues in every state by 2020.
Our group of six ageless athletes, all of whom are over 40, left 3 hours ahead of the pro peloton each stage, to ensure that we beat them to the finish. A team of ex- and current racers, all of who feel very passionately about the sport, the Core Six was a relatively well balanced group of riders. Team work, and a fair amount of open conversation and patience, were key to ensuring that our team made it to the finish line each day as one group, as one family. It also took a tremendous amount of heart and a bit of science, too.
It’s impossible to pick one stage that was the “best”, because every stage had its geographical peaks and valleys, as well as emotional and physical highs and lows, too. Was it the Stage 1 patch of mile long, wheel sucking gravel that shattered our group into ragged, fragmented echelons, beat down by the gusty wind? Or was it the moment of silence taken for Paul Clark, brother of GU Energy Lab’s vice president of sales, Blair Clark, at the spot on Mines Road where his life was tragically taken by a careless motorist. We held his spirit in our hearts that day, hoping that our pedal strokes could honor his memory. Or was it riding with current and past members of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association, a non profit group responsible for putting #morekidsonbikes, Or was it my monumental bonk on Mt. Baldy when the lights went out, when there were no more logs to burn, with about 6K to go up the steepest part of the climb. It was a Sea Salt Chocolate GU Roctane Energy Gel that brought me back to life and allowed me to crest the frosty stretch of twisty, alpine tarmac.
Our eight stage test of cycling endurance was aided by new science developed by our Olympian and Head of R&D, Magda Boulet. Without giving away too many details, I will say that the branched-chain amino acid capsules were the silver bullet the whole week, especially when it came to reducing muscle fatigue and decreasing muscle damage. We also tested a new protein powder, as well as a magnesium supplement. Proper fueling and hydration were key to our success. Most riders consumed between 6 to 8 gels, mostly GU Roctane Energy Gel, and drank 4 to 6 bottles of GU Roctane Energy Drink and water each stage. Finding the right balance of solids, such as PB&J bites, pretzels, bars and bananas, to augment our sports nutrition intake was crucial. We tried to consume 200 to 250 calories per hour, but knew that we would always be operating at a caloric deficit, especially after back-to-back 100 mile days on the bike.
You might be wondering why we’d want to do something like this, why GU Energy Labs would want to support a test of endurance that pushed your physical limits. It’s pretty simple, really. We love riding our bikes. We love pushing ourselves past perceived barriers. We are passionate about the freedom, the adventure that the bike brings to our lives, and the lives of others. The bike can teach you so many lessons and bring so much joy and health to your life. I’m proud to work for a company that walks the talk, or in this case, pedals the talk, when it comes to making sports nutrition that allows athletes to be their personal best. Do what moves you.
— Yuri Hauswald, GU Employee since 2013