My usual Sea Otter “lunch” consists of whichever nutrition company I’m walking past that also has samples. This year had some tasty newcomers to keep me fueled, along with all manner of gels, drinks, and snack foods, some weirder than others. And I tried all of them.
Above are several new flavors from vegan sports nutrition brand Cranked Naturals, inspired by popular Hispanic drinks. Look for Horchata, Tamarindo, and Jamaica (hu-my-ka, not the island of Jamaica), which sound perfect for hot summer rides. I tried the Jamaica and it was delicious.
Skratch was showing off new Pineapple and Raspberry Limeade sports drink flavors, and a new Salted Maple + Mallow crispy rice cake. Immediately following Sea Otter, I headed to an even in CO and got to try their breakfast burrito with kimchi and it’s quite tasty…definitely worth checking out their new Boulder cafe if you’re in the area.
SaltStick’s high-sodium electrolyte drink mix now comes in 40-serving canisters in addition to the single-serve stick packs they started out with. They’re part of Alete Nutrition, which also owns…
…Bonk Breaker, which was showing off new Rainbow Blast and Green Apple chews, joining Cola and Root Beer, and…
…JoJé energy bars, which are made with whole food ingredients and were some of my favorites for the weekend. The brand was founded by Jess Cerra, who co-hosts The Last Best Ride gravel race in Whitefish, MT, which is now on my bucket list.
CarboRocket has moved to small canisters for their Rocket Red pre-race nitric oxide booster, which I like a lot, making it easier to scoop out than the bags they used before. Their Shroom Sport is a plant-based protein powder with a blend of six different mushroom powders that claim to boost your VO2 max with a few weeks of daily use.
Speaking of ‘shrooms, Twisted Spoke’s new Cordyceps supplement uses 200mg of pure Cordycepin extract (not just a full spectrum mushroom powder, so the ingredients are standardized per dose). It, too, claims to boost VO2 max with regular use, with general studies supporting such claims in addition to reduced inflammation. (They also make CBD and related products, including a very excellent chamois cream, and I interviewed them for the podcast about all that.
Speaking of CBD, Floyd’s of Leadville has new Cotton Candy and Red Raspberry flavors of the CBD gems, the difference between the two packages being black is Full Spectrum, and white is Isolate. They’re pretty much just gummies, no real electrolytes to speak of, but if you like sugar while you ride and you like CBD, well… it tastes like Cotton Candy, so what’s not to like?
OMSO’s new Power Fuel comes with or without caffeine and is a flavorless source of carbs that you add to any sports drink you want. Comprised mostly of clustered dextrin, a carbohydrate that packs more energy but empties through the stomach quickly so you can get more fuel into your system without upsetting your stomach. It also contains a bit of fructose and sodium, too.
I’ve tried it on a few long rides now and it seems to work well, without getting overly thick or sticky or weird tasting like some other products I’ve tried with the same carb source.
Fluid has just added a pure whey protein isolate product to their line, making it easy to add protein to shakes, smoothies, recovery drinks, etc. If you’ve tried upping your whey protein and been extra gassy, it’s probably because you cheaped out and bought whey protein concentrate. I’ve been there. It’s fun, but only for you, and only until it’s not. Whey Isolate doesn’t (usually) have the same hilarious side effects and it delivers more protein per gram, but it costs more.
Their Tactical lineup is aimed at active folks (think firefighters, field workers, etc.) but not athletes specifically since they add Sucralose as the main sweetener, which makes them slightly more affordable than some other electrolyte tablets that use Stevia or other natural sweeteners.
DripDrop makes high-electrolyte powders for rehydrating you, making them a good option for before or after really hot rides or really long nights. Or days. No one’s judging.
GU’s latest flavors are Lemonade Chews and Raspberry Lemonade gels, the latter not really being my favorite flavor but they support a good cause.
Ryno Power’s Mana gels are mostly maltodextrin and add Himalayan Pink Salt, but it’s their bars that are more interesting. Made with 100% non-GMO and mostly organic real food ingredients, they also have 10g of protein with the 29g of carbs and 4.5g fat, making them longer lasting than high-sugar, all-carb bars.
Chargel had absolutely nothing new, but they were chilled handing them out like candy. If you haven’t tried these, they’re like half sports drink, half gel carb-and-fluid source. Imagine sucking Jell-O thru a straw and you get the idea, except it’s a little easier than that so you can do it while riding hard, and definitely easier and more hydrating than an actual gel. I like them way more than I thought I would.
The most surprising snack that I also liked way more than I thought I would, even though I really like high-protein snacks, were the Wilde Protein Chips. They’re made from chicken. Not chicken flavored, but actual chicken.
They were only sampling the Nashville Hot flavor, but the Chicken & Waffles and Salt & Vinegar would probably have been my preference.
Laird Superfoods gets a brand refresh for their Superfood Creamers (which are great), and they’ve added a new Daily Greens supplement. It’s exactly what you think it is, and if you’ve ever had Athletic Greens, it tastes kinda like that but less pineapple-y, and it’s more affordable. It comes in 30-serving bags and 15-pack single servings for about $2/serving.
Picky Bars are delicious, and their new(ish) Nut Butter Bars are more delicious. They make a great mid-ride snack, but are probably best stored in a top tube or handlebar bag, they won’t really get melty, but they might get a little soft in your jersey pocket on a hot day.
My favorite snack of the show was the new Honey Stinger Oat + Honey bars. They have a nut butter center coated in crunchy oats and are freakin’ delicious. They also introduced their first caffeinated energy chews, too.
Shout out to Best Day Brewing for keeping everyone (and, seriously, I mean EVERYONE) hydrated with their delicious non-alcoholic beers all weekend. Every booth had some, and they kept the cooler full every time I walked by. Good stuff and highly recommend if you’re trying to cut back. I forgot to take a photo of their beer, so this one’s from their Instagram. Cheers!