This isn't about our sponsorship. We don't do it for a bunch of reasons, one of which I'll discuss below.
I've been a fan of the "new school" of drink mixes. They just plain work well for me, in that I drink more and get stomach aches less while riding. The problem with them is doping. What? Yup, doping. You see, the face of Brand S was sort of the face of what happens behind the scenes in doping for a long time. I can appreciate that the guy faced a somewhat immovable object in endemic doping as he developed his career, but that doesn't make it all go away. There's at least a very heavy tinge, and as someone (perhaps Mr Brand S himself) said, the prevalence of doping throughout the recent era very heavily marginalized any learning that was done about the training of non-doped athletes. Basically, when you talk about training top-level elite cyclists and training, none of what was learned is directly applicable because doping turned people into machines who could go hard all the time. I remember talking to a friend while he was doing a workout prescribed to him by his then-coach (Pete Cannell), who turned out to be a big doper. Said friend (I would sooner suspect my mother of cheating at her floral design contests than said friend of doping) was clearly brutalized by the workouts, just his decription of them made me want to hurl. He's way better than me, so I kind of said "well, that's what it takes to be a 1" and left it there. On hindsight, I wonder if said friend didn't actually have way more potential that was being quashed by workouts only a doper could survive.
So Brand O made it easy, since their products work just as well for me, and have nice flavors. Then I learn that they're partnering with CTS. Are you freaking kidding me. As I said in the email I sent to them (something I never do - my brother is the big "I'm going to write a letter!" guy), they have a bunch of coaches who I'm sure are good and clean and doing good work (although I can't understand how any of said coaches can continue to be associated with CTS), but that's a fish whose head stinks so badly there's no way any of it can taste good to me. I got a nice, very prompt, response, saying that their partnership was founded on CTS' committment to science, glossing completely over the evidence that Mr C himself is about as rotten as they come. Finally, I was told that the brand I'd be switching to, Nuun, might actually be harmful and I should read their most recent blog post to find out more. For the record, I haven't and won't read said blog post.
I'd rather fill my bottles with cat piss (and Mike's got plenty of cats to supply same) than use a product that, knowing what's now known, chooses to associate with these people. It just doesn't make sense. If Mr Brand S was reluctantly riding in the back seat of the car, Mr C was driving it, honking the horm, screaming out the window about how cool the car is. CoolCar(tm).
It's pretty hard to avoid products that benefitted from and were complicit with doping. I have a pair of Oakleys that I guess I should burn, and some Nike gym shorts that ought to go out too I guess. The particular galling thing about Brand O is that they could have been COMPLETELY CLEAN, so easily. There are SO MANY red flags around CTS, how they could choose that association is beyond me.