Saved at Sea Otter by CBD Energy Chews
Wen stuffed my jersey pockets with handfuls of CBD Energy Chews as I was getting on my mountain bike to roll from the Twisted Spoke booth to the start of the Sea Otter Fuego XL.
“I don’t need that many,” I said, figuring there’d be food on course. Turns out I was wrong, but we’ll get to that.
“That’s Ok,” Wen said. “You can give some to the other racers.”
The other guys in corral for the 60+ race had some comments for the Twisted Spoke kit, as is often the case whenever I’m in it, so that gave me a chance to talk up my son’s products and offer up some of the very many chews I had in my pockets.
I understood the skeptical looks I got when I mentioned the CBD. “Won’t get you high,” I said, but when Wen first told me his idea for a CBD-infused energy product, I didn’t get it, either.
“Why would you want the CBD while you’re riding?” I asked him. “Sure, for recovery—I’m all about that, but during?”
I’d be more relaxed in high-pressure situations like racing, he said. There could be some vascular benefit – more dilation for better blood flow. And for long hard rides, the CBD could fight the inflammation while it’s happening, rather than just after the fact.
I didn’t try to explain all that while we were waiting to start, but I had one taker before we got called to the line and headed out for 70 miles of rutted, muddy, sandpit up-and-down singletrack fun.
My bottles were filled with carbohydrate drink, so I didn’t grab an energy chew until about 45 minutes into the race. If I’d known how the race was going to go, I would have started sooner….
That first one was a Blue Raspberry with caffeine, which I figured I’d need. Pushed 3 of the 5 blocks of chew into my mouth. Not too sweet, which I like. Stuck the packet with the remaining chews up my jersey for a minute, washed down the first 3, then finished off the remaining 2.
That was 100 calories in a 60/40 mix of glucose/fructose, with 50mg of caffeine and 25 mg of CBD. I felt the pick-me-up pretty quick. By then, we were getting to the fetid mud bog for the first time. It was large enough that there was no avoiding the black, stinky goo that somehow smelled like a sewer or maybe a dead animal.
Remembering Wen’s advice on staying on top of the nutrition, I ate another packet of energy chews about 20 minutes later. This one was Watermelon, no caffeine -- tasty. I think they’re my favorite, though I came to love the Strawberry by the end. More fluids to wash them down. They work better with water, I’d been told. The day was cool, but I was inclined to take advice.
First aid station was at 25 miles. The course was far more technical than I’d imagined – much harder than Leadville one of the guys I was riding with said – so it took us way longer to get there than I’d calculated. The bottles had been empty for a while. They only had water, but at least they had that. We refilled and I ate another packet of energy chews. I think that was my fourth.
After that, it’s a bit of a blur. More chews, water, try not to crash. Up and down the hills of the old Fort Ord army base (Don’t go off the trails, signs warned us -- you may encounter unexploded ordinance!). Every climb and descent was super rutted from heavy spring rains -- channels 2 and 3 feet deep. And washboard when it wasn’t rutted. Through oak groves, then out toward the ocean and it’s refreshing breeze.
By the time I got back to the start/finish on the Laguna Seca racetrack, it was evident that one water station was it, so I stopped just past the line where they were handing out some sort of designer water and filled my bottles with those, opened another packet of chews, took a deep breath, and pushed off, trying not to think about how long it had taken to do that first 35 miles.
The second lap was about survival. The good news is that I did, with no drama. I kept putting down chews, wondering when my stomach would turn on me, but it didn’t. By the time I rolled back to the Twisted Spoke booth, more than 8 hours had elapsed, but somehow that was still good for a mid-pack finish among the old guys – 26th place out of the 40-odd in our field. Standing there, I pulled a dozen empty energy chew packets out of my dirty, sweat-stained jersey.
Not too many after all.