GU’s Roctane completely changed the game. They’ve given the triathlete exactly what they had always been missing and ultimately the sport, they put together the next generation of endurance fuel that met all the needs of the athlete and did so in a manner which could be ingested in a couple different ways and on any occasion. Let me explain how I came to this conclusion:
I came to the sport of triathlon when it was still very pure (not that it isn’t today, but I think anyone that has been around for awhile likes to claim “they were there when….”) and still pretty young. Maybe it would be better to say that I arrived when the sport was ending it’s awkward teenage years and long after it was still in diapers and similarly still learning to crawl, stand, walk and it’s eventual run. By the time I did my first sprint triathlon it would now be time to see if the values and proper parenting that so many others had contributed to the sport would hold and if this thing with so much potential would become a superstar as an adult…
The sport has indeed become not only a full fledged adult but also a rock star and much has changed. But for all the time and effort we spend on wind tunnels, compression gear and the likes we have seen the biggest gains come from within. Meaning what we put into our engines, not what we build around them and how we detail them out with the likes of shinier chrome or boring out the valves. We would be nothing if it were not for the fuel we fire our legs, lungs, arms, bodies and brains on.
GU was way new and the idea of gel packs were still not the norm, especially with weekend athletes. People would still bring a water bottle with themselves to a workout, they most certainly did not have a nutritional strategy or plan. There was a group of guys in town who used to make what they called an “ironman” cocktail and it was some sort of horrid concoction of powders, electrolytes, oils and fluid. It was lumpy, tasted like shit (yes, shit) and I don’t think anyone had any real idea of what it was or certainly what purpose it must have served. It was the classic “this is how we have always done it” mentality. I would imagine that early on the guy who nerded out in his garage building this in some sort of jerry-rigged laboratory actually had the right idea but as it was passed from one geeked out triathlete to the next it was adulterated with additive after additive (not that we have ever been guilty of excess in our sport…). Here were your options:
- Gatorade – sugar water that had an athlete on the bottle
- “Ironman Cocktail” or some other type of first generation of supplement
Bottom line, it wasn’t much and what was available was untested, unreliable and really tough to duplicate. A few years back GU dedicated themselves to building a product that would do two things better than anyone else:
- Meet the nearly impossible needs of the endurance athlete who was under incredible stress and duress
- Meet the standards of the above stated “bottom line” – thoroughly tested, completely reliable and consistently deliver exactly what the athlete needed
You now could meet all of your nutritional needs in one place. Electrolytes, carbohydrates and calories delivered in a product that wouldn’t turn your stomach and that would allow you to actually consume enough to meet your quickly depleting stores without crushing your intestines. For style points they made it taste great and brought it to you in a bunch of different flavors. They made it available in gels which could quickly be shot into the mouth and they built it in powder form so you could easily sip it down while you plowed down the Queen K.
I’ve been using Roctane Energy Drink since it was first sent to me in small, unmarked gray cannisters while in R&D and being refined and still use it today. The sport has completely grown up and so has the science behind the nutrition.