The Flash:

Island Nectar Roctane; 2x Caffeine
Peanut Butter Energy Gel; no caffeine
Peppermint Stick Gel; no caffeine
100 calories per pack
Consistent texture/mouth feel

Thumbs Up:

One thing that I'm a stickler of is mid-ride nutrition. It's one of those things that you can ignore, but invariably comes back to bite you. And on that note, I tend to enjoy the more refreshing flavors of energy gels/bars/etc. Gu is releasing some new flavors and I was lucky enough to try them out.

First up is their Island Nectar Roctane. I tore open the package and down the hatch it went. The consistency is what you'd expect from Gu, a honey-like texture with a refreshing flash of fruits. I was having a hard time pinpointing what fruit I tasted, but concluded that perhaps a lime and mango mix best summarized the taste. Their website says, "The yum of a (rum-less) mai tai…", and mai tai's do contain lime, so I'm close. After a splash of water to wash it down, I was pleased to report no bad lingering texture or flavor in my mouth. As expected, after a few minutes, the energy level was there, and I felt that I didn't suffer any energy dips while churning the pedals.

Next up was the limited release of this year's Peppermint Stick. I'll admit I wasn't sure what to expect out of this one. As above, the consistency was as expected for Gu, and the peppermint flavor was not at all overbearing (as I had feared); it was actually a nice balanced touch of peppermint. Unlike the Roctane, the energy gels do not have any caffeine, so you don't experience that pronounced caffeine buzz, but rather a steady energy supply in the proverbial tank. So have no fear, you're not going to be trying to force down liquid candy cane; it's a nice easy to swallow shot of energy.

Last, but certainly not least, was the Peanut Butter flavor. This is apparently their most popular, and most requested flavor, but again, I typically don't think of peanut butter as something that would go down easily while grinding along a trail. Anyway, my fears of a spoonful of Jiffy coating the roof of my mouth were quickly washed away with the post 'shot' sip of water. Fortunately such fears were in vain as the mouth-feel/consistency was standard for Gu. The initial flavor was that of peanut butter, but just enough to taste, and not at all over-powering. Like the others tested/tasted, there was no lingering after-taste or layer to try to get down.

For those of you looking for the skinny on the nutritional facts, here you go:

Thumbs Down:

I really couldn't find anything 'wrong' with these new Gu flavors to report. I put that in quotes since, as discussed above, I don't fancy myself the biggest fan of non-fruit flavored gels. Besides taste is a very relative thing- one man's gourmet meal is another's garbage platter and vise versa. That being said, I very well could be converted with these flavors.

Final Thoughts:

Were you to ask me to rank these three in order of favorite to least favorite based on flavor alone, I'd say the Island Nectar first, then Peppermint Stick, then Peanut Butter. On the other hand, if you are someone who does appreciate the flavor of peanut butter flavor, don't give a second thought to picking some of these up.

Although not being a huge fan of the "non-fruit" flavors, I must say that these are all a plus on the taste front. No sense even factoring in the energy boost; Gu has earned a well-deserved reputation for developing products that provide genuine usable energy and these latest flavors are no exception.

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