For endurance athletes there’s often no true off-season. As a cross-country skier it could be argued that summer is my off-season, but for skiers, the summer actually involves even more training time than in winter. During the summer months, the goal is to build a solid endurance base that will support me through the winter racing season. Any race day is a process involving physical, mental, and nutritional routines. Keeping in touch with any kind of racing helps keep me sharp and provides low stakes opportunities for trying adjustments to the pre-race routines I use in the winter. During the summer, I use competitive mountain running as a way to activate my race gears and test new routines. Racing opportunities have been tough to find this summer, but recently I came upon an awesome opportunity to get back into the racing mindset.
The Jackson Hole Rendezvous Hillclimb is an 8-mile race with over 4,000 feet of elevation gain. As an hour-plus event, it was just long enough that I could certainly bonk without a smart plan for fueling my body through the race. Naturally, I saw an opportunity to test how I could use UnTapped products through my race day process to maximize my energy through the event. This was my plan:
- 1 hour to race start: Chai Waffle time. My last bit of solid food before the race. The nerves and excitement start to make food harder to get down, so having something extra tasty on hand to makes it easy. My idea was to have fuel through the end of my warmup and extending into the start of the race.
- 15 minutes to race start: I quickly grabbed a Coffee UnTapped. My favorite UnTapped product combines the two things I love the most! My goal was to have access to the energy in the maple syrup by race start and enjoy extra the performance boost offered by the coffee’s caffeine through the race.
- Go time! Starting off on the front line I felt ready to go. An hour of hot uphill running ahead of me.
I carried a collapsible 6 oz. running water bottle full of over-concentrated Lemon Tea Mapleaid and stashed another Coffee UnTapped in my pocket. Given the altitude and level of exertion, the cramps sure hit with under 1,000 feet to the high point, but I was ready: I downed my Mapleaid, stuffed the bottle into my shorts pocket and kept pushing. Five minutes later, the cramping had completely subsided, and I was back in it! My stride opened up again, and I cruised through the rest of the race into a top 10 finish. Ok, I know I said that this was supposed to be a low stakes opportunity, but I was feeling just a bit competitive.
Reflecting back, I was quite happy with how my plan worked. I found the Chai Waffle and Coffee UnTapped before the race easy on my stomach, and likely could have even pushed my consumption times even closer to the race. I was impressed and relieved by the effectiveness of the Mapleaid for fighting cramps and giving me an extra boost during the race. I was especially struck by how I felt post-race with regard to hydration. In summer racing, I usually get into a nasty dehydration hole that can be tough to come back from after my race. I felt that drinking the concentrated Mapleaid during the race not only gave me what I needed in the moment, but also gave me some capacity to effectively absorb water and keep hydrated after the race as well. This routine is definitely one I will come back to in the winter for similar duration races, and I plan to use it as a basis for developing plans for different race lengths as well.
After returning home, I took a hearty recovery nap. Upon my groggy awakening in the hot afternoon I remembered that I still had an unconsumed Coffee UnTapped from the race. As a pick-me-up before going out on an easy road ride for recovery, I used the packet to try Ted’s Iced Coffee UnTapped recipe. It was glorious and after a few minutes I felt awake and ready to get after it again.
After graduating from Bowdoin College this spring as an All-East NCAA team cross-country skier, Christian Gostout moved to Bozeman, Montana to continue his athletic career on a new level with the Crosscut Elite Team. Christian is loving life in the mountains, where his pursuit of competition at the top level in American skiing is more inspired than ever.