New sports nutrition brand OTE – On The Edge – has just launched its first range of products. Pete Slater – formerly of Science in Sport – and Matt Harrison from OTE came to visit road.cc yesterday so we thought we’d pass on the important details.
Of course, the sports nutrition market is really busy already so what is it that sets OTE apart from the crowd?
Well, first, they’re trying to make their products as natural as possible. New European legislation limits what manufacturers are able to describe as ‘natural’ but OTE reckon that they’re using high-quality ingredients throughout the range. The flavouring they use is natural. OTE products contain real fruit juice concentrates, extracts and natural cocoa. There are no artificial flavourings, sweeteners, colours or preservatives in their stuff.
Another point that the guys were keen to emphasise is that OTE products are pH neutral. If you’ve ever done a longer event – a few hours – and found that you can’t stomach any more energy drink or gel towards the end, that could be because your body can’t cope with any more acid. The idea of making the products pH neutral is that it’ll reduce the likelihood of gastrointestinal distress by limiting the buildup of acid.
OTE are also trying to keep things straightforward by using a system based on standard sized servings of carbohydrates.
“We’ve tried to design everything around a serving of 20g of carbohydrate,” says Pete. “When you exercise you need between 40 and 90g of carbohydrate an hour depending on your size, the intensity and the duration of the exercise that you’re doing.
“A serving of our energy drinks delivers 40g – that’s two servings – and each gel delivers 20g – one serving – so it’s a modular system of getting your energy.”
So, rather than having to calculate how many calories or grams of carbohydrate you need to be taking on board, you only have to remember to take one serving every 20mins, say (Torq have been doing something similar lately). All of the fuelling info is given clearly on the packaging.
There’s a good explanation on OTE’s website that’s worth checking out. It recommends what fuel you should have based on your build and the intensity of your exercise. There’s nutrition advice on the OTE website for completing a 100-mile sportive too, by the way, which you might find useful, and there will be recipes too.
Although it’s not available just yet, OTE have an energy bar in the works that will follow the same concept.
“The bar will deliver 40g of carbs, and we’re trying to make it in two pieces within one wrapper, a bit like a Bounty bar, so you get 20g of carbs in each piece,” says Pete.
“The idea for the bar has come out of a professional cycling team. We’ve just finalised the spec. It’s something completely new in terms of taste, performance and ingredients.”
Some nutrition brands that we deal with get narky when we talk about flavour, reasoning that it’s all about the science. We figure that it makes no difference how technically advanced an energy drink is if it’s still sitting in the bottle at the end of your ride because you can’t stand the taste. OTE agree.
“We’ve tried to be the brand that delivers both functionality and taste,” says Matt. “That’s the Holy Grail really. No one has cracked that before but we feel we’ve done it.”
The energy drink is available in blackcurrant, orange and vanilla, while the gel is orange and lemon/lime. There’s a caffeine gel in pineapple too. OTE are looking at savoury energy products as well, although they might not be on the market for a while.
The packaging is unusual in that you get two different tear points on all of the sachets. With the gels, this allows you to regulate how much you get in your mouth at a time, and with the energy drink you can pour the powder easily into a narrow necked bottle. It’s a small touch, but it might make life slightly easier.
Refreshingly, OTE aren’t trying to convince you that you need to take sport-specific nutrition whenever you exercise. In contrast to much of the advertising from some brands over the past few years, they point out that you don’t need to refuel during a ride of under an hour if your general nutrition is sound. They also tell you that if you don’t want to take an energy gel, you can get the same amount of carbohydrate from a small banana, for example.
To start with, the key products are the Energy Drink (£1.25 per sachet), Energy Gel (£1.35) and the Caffeine Gel (£1.75) – the caffeine in there coming from Guarana. They’re all reduced by 20% at the moment.
Recovery Drinks will be available very soon at £2 per sachet. There will be a whey version, and a vegan Soya option.
Look out for OTE reviews on road.cc in the coming weeks. In the meantime, go to www.otesports.co.uk for more info and to buy products.
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.