So, several people wrote to ask me what the heck Gu was. Apparently, they were thinking that Gu was something gooey that we did something with, but they didn't know if we ate it or patched our tires.
Back a long time ago, people talked about carb loading. Athletes, the night before a big race, they would eat giant plates of pasta and give themselves huge tummy aches for the cause of putting extra energy in their muscles. These days, most of us don't want to bother with the carb-loading tummy ache, so instead, we practice eating in the middle of events.
Here's a handy glossary:
GU: (N) [Goo] Gu is what's called a gel. Gels are sticky goos about the consistency of runny cake batter or melted ice cream. Designed to get sugar to screaming blood cells about 5 minutes ago. Some athletes = issues with Gu because it's so sicky sweet. Consists of many different fake fruity flavors and some terrible chocolate ones. Root: Goo.
Clif Shots: (V) [Cliff Shahts] The the only flavor of gel liked by Vagabonds. Creators of a super-caffeine mocha chocolate flavor that has a decent bitter edge. Root: Clif Bar, 20th Century.
Powerbars: (N) [POW-ah BAHs] History: Invented by desperate Special Forces guys who were sick and tired of eating bugs for their protein. To chew the original Powerbars, you certainly needed to be exceptionally fit. Original Powerbars were used for jaw strengthening exercises and for patching tires and fighter jets. They were that tough. True story: The newer formulas are easier to chew, but sadly, back when I was a total newbie, I was offered a Powerbar to try. I ate it before 6AM. My tummy hates existence and humans and even puppies before 6AM. Then I jumped into a choppy Long Island Sound for a long swim, and what with the heavier-than-normal waves and the brick-like Powerbar sitting in my rebellious tummy.... well, the bottom feeders in Long Island Sound had a feast that day. And since then, I can't bear to eat anything Powerbar. Root: Please see history note.
Clif Bar: (V) [Cliff Bahs] Athletes with smart brains love Clif Bars, especially their minty chcolate flavors. Bars have a delightful chewy consistency and are marvelously carby. It feels like eating food. Root: Creator, named Cliff.
Honey Stinger Waffle: (V) [HUN-ee STEEN-grr WAFF-euhl] A newcomer to the scene, they are basically this super skinny waffle, with honey sandwiched in between. Lighter than a Clif bar. Root: Stroopwafles, a popular snack on the Continent. (Note: True fact, for once.)
Picky Bars: (V) [PEEK-ee BAHs] How can you not love a name like Picky Bar? Brainchild of Eugene pro triathlete Jesse Thomas and his wife Laura Fleshman, and bearing the subtitle of "It's Freaking Science, Dude", how could you not love them? Small and easy to transport, yet very tasty and easy on the tummy. Essentially, they seem to be mashed up fruit and nuts and some other stuff. Root: One triathlete's petulant tummy, which made him a picky eater.
Luna Bar: (N) [LOON-ah bahs] Luna Bars are bars I have tried to love, but I just never found a flavor I like. Spends their days wishing they COULD be Picky Bars. But they just aren't. Root: Lunatic. As in, I keep going back thinking something will be different, and it keeps on staying the same.
Shot Blox: (V) [sh-ah-t BLOCKS] Square gummy things, like large gummy bears, but without faces or arms or legs. Preferred by some, such as BMC Streetracer riders, over gels because can be chewed more easily. Best flavor right now is super-salty Margarita. Root: Clif Bar. After Clif Bar became invented Clif Shots, they then made Shot Blox. See also:
Gummy Bears: (V) [gumm-ee behs] There are those who swear by gummy bears. Other people insist that Coke is the way to go, best served slightly warm. Still others declare their love for the can of soup, the condensed chicken soup with noodles, slurped straight out of the can. But I hear about that one mostly in the long distance triathlon.
It's different for everyone, and what I like is probably different than everyone else.
Hope that helps!