When it comes to ride nutrition, ’crossers have it easy. Our short races often mean no need to hydrate or eat in-race, but that makes pre- and post-race nutrition all the more important. Recently, we had the chance to test out a few new (and classic) products from Skratch Labs, and there are drink mixes that will fit almost every need a ’crosser might have… With the exception, of course, of a post-ride beer.
Apples and Cinnamon Hot Hydration Mix:
A hot sports drink? Weird, but kind of awesome when you think about standing around post-race in December in snowy Rhode Island. Imagine shivering in the cold after a long hour of sweating like crazy—usually, coffee is the go-to to warm you up, but you’re missing out on replacing a lot of electrolytes you lost while racing. Enter Skratch’s new Apples and Cinnamon Hot Hydration Mix. Snag some warm water and mix this up, and suddenly, recovery is started the right way! I admit, I haven’t gotten a chance to try it after a chilly race, but it’s delicious, and I’m almost excited for it to get cold again!
- Best for: post-race on a chilly ’cross day in December
- More info
Daily Electrolyte Mix
I’ve heard the Skratch Labs Daily Electrolyte Mix referred to as the ‘hangover cure’ for cyclists, and that’s actually fairly accurate. It’s an all-natural electrolyte mix without the calories of their normal exercise hydration mixes, available in raspberry and lemon-lime (still natural flavors!), which is awesome. I’m not saying that I ever drink too much after ’cross races while heckling in the beer garden, but if I ever did… I happen to know that this is a great drink to pick up after that last beer, or first thing in the morning the next day. It’s also excellent for recovery rides or short rides in the summer when calories in-ride aren’t an issue, but you still want to make sure you’re replacing the electrolytes lost from sweat.
- Best for: the morning after a race, or a short, hot ride
- More info
Exercise Hydration Mix
An all-natural sports drink means real flavors, like lemon-lime and raspberry. I love this Exercise Hydration Mix as a pre-race drink before a ’cross race, or even on the bike during an extremely hot race in the early season. It’s the highest calorie option at 80 calories per bottle, and doesn’t have that sickeningly sweet taste that many sports drinks have. It’s light but packed with the stuff that you actually need.
- Best for: pre-race nutrition
- More Info
Mango Hyper Hydration Mix
While most ’cross races won’t necessitate an extremely high sodium drink mix with 70 calories per bottle, this might be the best product of all of them if you’re doing a gravel grinder in extreme heat during the summer. I used this during the Canadian classic, Paris to Ancaster, and it kept me cramp-free. Compared to their normal drink mixes, it’s a bit sweeter, and the mango flavor is awesome. Great for ultra-sweaty races and training days, though they caution that with the high sodium content, it might not be for everyone.
- Best for: a hot gravel grinder where you need hydration and calories
- $2.95/single serving packet
- More Info