I don't know why I'm so obsessed with the chocolate-milk-as-an-energy-drink idea. Perhaps it is because, being cheap, I know that I can buy milk for very little cash. Perhaps it is because I just dropped a ton of bones on my Synapse, and can't justify any other expenses to my wife--yet she wouldn't care if I just drank more milk. Perhaps it is the hilarity of the whole concept.
I remember a commercial put out by the national dairy foundation (or some such entity--I don't know if it even exists, so I elected not to capitalize it). It showed "active" people "on the go". You know, roller-bladers, basketball players and even mountain bikers drinking chocolate (or some other flavored) milk to cool off and re-hydrate. I distinctly remember laughing about it with my wife: "who would drink milk to quench their thirst during intense activity?"
This morning, I got up early for my usual early morning ride-on-the-trainer-which-works-my-legs-but-doesn't-really-count-as-a-ride ride. Normally, I don't eat anything, and I only drink water for such rides. I mean, I only have about 45 min to 1.5 hours before I need to get ready for work, so it really isn't worth it to take in extra calories. On a whim, though, I decided to mix up a water-bottle of chocolate milk. I say "mix up", because I didn't have any chocolate milk in my house. Instead of using chocolate syrup, I opted for Ovaltine because of the extra vitamin content. I did this to see if I could handle exercising while drinking milk, and because I figured it was better to start in the safety of the garage, rather than on an actual ride, where getting sick might mean I didn't make it home.
Trainers are too smooth to keep the Ovaltine mixed with the milk. Also, because it is really cold in my garage, I'd actually rather have tepid water than cold water. The milk was, of course, cold. I also wanted to drink more than usual, because chocolate milk is tastier than tap water.
Surprisingly, it worked. That is, I could tell I was getting hydrated as I should. I did have a bottle of water on the bike, as well, which helped clear my mouth of the sticky milk residue. I don't think this is unique to milk--that is, the need to drink water as well. I always carry water when I carry energy drinks on a ride. My system wasn't in any way adversely affected by the milk, either, as I worried. At the end of the ride, not only was I not exceptionally thirsty, I also wasn't as hungry, which could be seen as a benefit.
For this informal experiment, I used 1% milk mixed with less than the recommended 4 TBS/cup Ovaltine. These results are by no means conclusive. I still don't know how well I'd like it on a hot day, or once the milk was no longer cool. I'll probably try it out later in the season, though, and report back how it works out.