By: Michael Moats
Two years ago I suffered a destroyed ACL, split both meniscus, and chipped my tibia riding dirt bikes. After surgery as I started rehab, I set some goals to stay focused on healing and strengthening my knee. And as a recreational mountain biker, I decided to commit to a few races to keep that focus. I chose a local race series that was a 3-hour format and spread races throughout the year.
I faced some challenges as I started the 2015 series: first, I had only been back on the bike two months prior to the first race and wasn’t quite in “race shape;” and second, as I would near the 2.5 hour mark of the race, cramps would start to set in. As the season went on, my endurance and speed picked up through more calculated training, but the cramps still prevailed. I tried everything – pickle juice, mustard packets, salt tablets, you name it — but nothing worked. And while I had a few podium finishes and finished 1st overall in the Singlespeed division, I was still frustrated with cramps. I knew I had the endurance and speed to place better if I could only get past the cramps.
As the season ended, I started looking to 2016 and setting bigger goals. I committed to myself to step up to the 6-hour endurance format for the same series. But the one thing that loomed over me was how I was going to be able to deal with cramping after the 3-hour mark. As I started to research different nutritional options, I came across the introduction to HOTSHOT that was just coming on the market. I read everything I could and it all made sense – I had to give it a try. During the off-season, I incorporated it into a few of my training sessions and pushed myself harder than I did during previous races, but the cramps never showed up!
Fast forward to the first race of the season: I took a HOTSHOT before I hit the pits, but it happened….cramps. They happened in the second race, too! I couldn’t figure it out, so I reached out to the HOTSHOT team to get some advice and we figured it out. As part of my racing nutrition, I was using gels, and in later laps of the race, as I came through the pits, I would shoot a gel followed by a bottle of HOTSHOT. It was the gel that would coat my mouth and not allow HOTSHOT to fully absorb and calm my nerves. For my next race, I timed my gel intake well in advance or after HOTSHOT so that it could go to work on the nervous system. And it worked! The rest of the race season was cramp free and so much more enjoyable knowing I could push myself to my limits.
HOTSHOT helped me claim second overall in the 6-hour Singlespeed division for the 2016 season and I know I couldn’t have made it through the later hours and laps of the race without it. It is now an integral part of my nutrition plan, and as a husband and father working full-time and traveling with limited training time, I’m glad HOTSHOT exists to help an average Joe amateur racer achieve his goals and stay competitive.
MORE ON THE HOTSHOT BLOG
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’tis the Season for Cyclocross: Read about the US Open of Cyclocross and how HOTSHOT is helping racers.
MTB Cyclist Glen Bruemmer: “HOTSHOT helped me get through to the finish line.” Read Glen’s full story here.