Known for riding off the front of group rides only to be caught in the first mile, CJ got back on a road bike and realized he must win the Donut Derby at least once in his life. Regularly pledging he's "not a climber," he can be found as a regular attendee of Trexlertown's Thursday Night Training Criterium or sitting on the couch watching Paris-Roubaix reruns. CJ has been a constant rider of the Hell of Hunterdon in New Jersey and races the Tour of the Battenkill before going into seasonal hiding on cross-country ski trails.

Review: Skratch Labs Exercise Hydration Drink Mix Strawberries & Passion Fruit   

Review: Skratch Labs Exercise Hydration Drink Mix Strawberries & Passion Fruit  

(2017) Several years ago I reluctantly sat down in a dentist’s chair and proceeded to try to converse in a cordial manner as best one can do with tools in his mouth. The dentist herself was an endurance athlete and immediately recognized something about my teeth. She asked what sort of hydration I used. My response was not atypical of the time; I used the store bought rehydration solution with the bolt of lightning on the label.

 

She could tell by the damage to my teeth that I used the ultra sweet hydration solution. The dentist persisted in asking if I found it to be beneficial to use it. I stated it actually hurt my teeth and, when extremely thirsty on hot days, it hurt my mouth as well. It made me reluctant to hydrate when I needed it most. I won’t even get started on the potential stomach issues possibly pegged to the stuff. So when a new solution came out all those years ago stating it was made without chemicals, I rejoiced.

 

Skratch Labs has recently added two new flavors to their lineup. I wanted to sample them so I sprung for the single serving stick of strawberry and passion fruit and geared up for a ride where hydration would be key. But first: I needed to properly dehydrate myself the night before.

 

That’s right, dearest internet. I took one for the team to do a proper training session. The severity of the ride was in a constant state of change, but I knew my role. Some people wanted to go long, some wanted to go fast. As I imbibed the night before, I repeated the mantra, “This is for science. This is for science.*” You’re welcome.

 

The morning of the ride and I filled up my water bottles then tore open the hydration sticks. One bottle got strawberries and the other got passion fruit. I rolled out the door to meet up with fast riders, never getting the chance to sample the flavors immediately. But once we started rolling I reached down for the first bottle and took a swig. The flavor of strawberries lightly danced on my tongue. It made me think of strawberry yogurt with its smoothness. The flavor was mild, not cloyingly sweet like name brand stuff. The strawberry flavor seemed to hang around in the background, paradoxically behind the carrier of water. Another words, it had the right amount of presence. I didn't find myself wanting to throw the bottle over the nearest hedgerow.

 

Through one bottle and I moved onto passion fruit. This flavor felt a bit more present. It fit in perfectly after strawberries because the sweetness differentiated itself from the more subtle strawberries. I had just stumbled on a scientific discovery* that passion fruit came in handy in the second half of the ride because of its sweetness. I found it to be completely agreeable as it hung around briefly after gulping it but nowhere near the point of wanting to scrape it off my tongue like the store bought stuff. I liked this flavor too and returned to it with alacrity.

 

The take-home message is clear. I found myself wanting to go back to my water bottle regularly throughout the ride. It wasn’t an issue of forcing myself to do it; it was an issue that this stuff enabled hydration. When it was taken in, it was enjoyed and savored.

 

Skratch Labs has established itself as a company full of nutritional creations focusing on encouraging athletes to want to eat or drink during a workout. It is immediately apparent strawberries and passion fruit falls in line with this concept. Just like Skratch’s traditional raspberries flavor, strawberries contains the tiny seeds found on the berry. Toward the end of the strawberries bottle it even slightly restricted flow, having the seeds clogging the bite valve. The fact I made it through a two-hour ride with two drained bottles and feeling fresh should stand out. Both drink mixes were so delicious; I wanted to keep coming back. Perhaps the big bag of strawberries or passion fruit may occupy the pantry shortly.

 

 

Skratch Labs sells single-serving sticks, one-pound bags, and select three pound bags. Prices will vary. They can be found at quality community bike shops.

 

 

Since the items are natural, it is advised to immediately wash your water bottle after each ride to avoid mold growth due to neglect.

 

* I am not a scientist.

Review: Mad Alchemy Ultimate Shave Cream

Review: Mad Alchemy Ultimate Shave Cream

Rides We Like: Back to the Thursday Night Thunder Route

Rides We Like: Back to the Thursday Night Thunder Route