August Gear Review: Gu Brew Tablets

For those of you in the Northern Hemisphere, the days and indeed nights have been a steady parade of 100 degree highs. The heat has been record-breaking for much of the country. For cyclists, this means extra attention must be paid during rides to avoid dehydration and the accompanying muscle cramps.

As a younger and perhaps stupider rider, I was able to get by with plain old water in my bottles. Water was an economical beverage choice for a college student on the edge of penury in addition to being “readymade” and easily found in a variety of taps and spigots. As I have aged and found myself with a little more disposable income, I have grown to enjoy putting things into my formerly “plain” water to keep my muscles from locking up like a pair of brakes on interstate 26. Although powders work adequately, I have found the ease of hydration tablets to be more my speed.

Gu introduced their Brew tablets earlier this year and I can’t stop using them. Although Peach Tea and Lemon Lime are palatable, Orange is the flavor that comes closest to embodying its appellation. It’s got a subtle citrus taste and unlike Nuun hydration tablets, it doesn’t have a fizz or bite to it (for those with finicky stomachs). I have been using them on rides during June and July and have found the results surprising to say the least. In addition to riding cramp free, the fructose/maltodextrin combination gave my muscles a little boost on some super steep climbing sections.

A hydration supplement that keeps you feeling normal during extreme heat is a plus, but one that gives you a little something extra is an invaluable bonus. While tablets might not meet the needs of serious racer types, they’re excellent for casual or training riders to prepare bottles quickly but with the knowledge that everything their muscles need for a ride will be provided, including large amounts of sodium which will leave lovely, decorative white stains on your jersey. Fashionistas take warning!

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