Talking tactics #1: gels or drinks

I’ve just spent a few minutes mulling over how many SiS GO gels I could attach to my top tube. An odd thing to find myself doing but one I think every Etaper needs to think about. The food/fuel/drink debate is going to form a significant part of most riders strategy as time lost at the feed stations could be critical when it comes to medals or simply avoiding the broom wagon.

I am tending towards going with gels on the grounds that it seems like the lowest risk strategy: no fiddling with homemade batches of powder trying to get them into water bottles which will involve being stopped and which could just get blown in the breeze. Instead, If I can get six gels down each side of the top tube and secure them with a bit of gaffa tape, I will have them to hand and available while riding.

That means only having to negotiate getting water at the feed stations, and maybe solid foods, to refill bottles before getting under way again. It also means that I can keep my pockets free for additional gels or food and light items. I don’t want to be weighing my body down with items that can bounce about, and even out of, pockets and which will bang against me. Given that I get quite sodden with sweat at the back, having things slapping against my lower back could be a real irritant and quite uncomfortable.

I’ve not found an energy drink that I like but I may pack a couple emergency sachets in my jersey. As accessible as the pockets usually are, I would rather not have to be fiddling around trying to fish stuff out of them in a big peleton or on a climb.

I would be very interested to hear from experienced Etapers as to whether they think this makes a sensible plan. I seem to remember reading one who went with gels for similar reasons, but I don’t want to find myself out of energy halfway round having made a disastrous planning error.

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