Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Now that cycling season is in full swing my rides are starting to get
longer and longer which has me grinning from ear to ear. Honestly, I've
been waiting for these rides for the last 6 months. These longer rides
require the intake of calories in order maintain your energy. As I was
packing my bike with goodies for my last ride I noticed that I had quite
the assortment of food in my bag. Some of them I really like and other
items we have just acquired one way or another but they aren't my
favorites. Here's my take on some of the cycling food that I've packed
with me over the years.  

One of the big advantages of these bars are they are moldable into just
about any shape. Only have room for a powerbar in between your spare
tube and tire levers? Simply wrap your power bar around your tire
levers and your good to go. I seriously think Stretch Armstrong's were
filled with this substance in the late 70s. Yep, they are that
moldable. Have you ever worked out and woke up the next day swearing
that you have sore muscles you didn't even know you had. When I eat
powerbars muscles ache in my head I didn't even know I had. It's quite
the workout just get one of these down. On the bright side the cookies
and cream, chocolate, and peanut butter bars are pretty darn tasty and
if you're strong enough to get one down they will keep you going for a
couple hours. Warning, stay away from the vanilla flavored powerbars.
I'm not quite sure what the flavor of the vanilla bars are but they
certainly aren't vanilla.

These are as essential to pack on a long trip as a spare tube. I try to
keep a gel in my seat bag at all times just in case I run out of gas.
I'm not sure what is in a gel but they are the elixir of cycling life.
I've been out in the middle of nowhere on a ride feeling really run down
and once I power one of these gels down I feel good as new. They are a
great emergency energy boost. The only disadvantage to gels are the
mess. For some reason I just can't eat one without getting stickiness
on my fingers. Maybe it's something I never got over as a kid. Also,
if you put the empty wrapper in your bag it tends to make other things
sticky. The good thing about a gel is they taste like pudding in a
small pouch. You just can't go wrong there. I could eat these things
by the handful but I limit myself to one because they are expensive.

Shot blocks
My first couple of attempts at eating shot blocks were not a good
experience. We had received some free shot blocks at a bike expo but
the flavors were lemon lime and orange. Now I know why they were free
because both of these flavors were nasty. I had a hard time even
getting down one block of each of these flavors. That was last year and
I swore that shot blocks weren't for me. Last week I tried strawberry
shot blocks fully expecting to have a hard time getting through one
block but to my surprise they were really good. In fact, strawberry
shot blocks taste just like a big bite of jam. Bonus! I liked them so
much I polished off the entire bag at one rest stop. I would have eaten
more if I had packed more. I did resist digging into Jenny's shot
blocks but it was a struggle.

Cliff Bars
For some reason I haven't had many of these bars before but the ones
that I've had are really good. They are like eating a healthy cookie if
there is such a thing. I really need to get more of these.

Homemade Energy Bars
I've seen recipes for these floating around but I've never tried one
out. I'm kind of intrigued by them just because I don't like paying for
energy bars. If you know of a recipe that is the best thing since
integrated shifters I'd love to try it out. Please share.

Vitamin I
I know this isn't an energy bar but a couple of Ibuprofen have really
saved me from a painful ride home in the past. I always carry them in
my bag. Vitamin I, don't leave home without them.

Over the next couple of months I plan on consuming "in moderation" a lot
of the items above. If you see me on the side of the road munching away
be sure to stop. I'll dig through my bag and find something for you.


Jayson said...

Clif bars are really pretty good. Just be sure to stay away from the carrot cake ones. It was almost an un-energy bar for me.

Jenny-Jenny said...

Oh yeah, gels are definitely the elixir of cycling life, I don't love them but they do my body good. Also, Gatorade.

Linda said...

I just bought a pack of grape Shot Blocks last week at the LBS but since reading Fatty's column a while back on them I haven't had the guts to try them. Now that I read your review Mike, I want to know one thing-does keeping them in the refrigerator help any? 'Cause that's where they've been living so far.

331 Miles said...

I love Shot Bloks! Clif Bars are great too. On the other hand, I can't believe enough people are buying Power Bars that they're still making them. Nasty.

Anonymous said...

Cookies and Cream Powerbar all the way (oh, and orange shot bloks too)

Dawn said...

Do you have a one-track mind, or what!!

jeff said...

I like Powerbars and Clif bars, and a GU gel has given me a nice boost from time to time. It's good to have something along when you hit the wall.

Mike J said...

Linda - we don't refrigerate the shot blocks and they keep pretty well. I would eat them before they get a year old though. I'm thinking they would be rock hard by then.

Jayson - Thanks for the tip on the carrot cake clif bars. They sound good but I'll stay away on your advice.

331 - I'm with you on the powerbars they aren't very good but they do the trick.

Lizzylou - glad to see you back. Orange shot blocks really?

Rob said...

I love cliff bars! They are much better than Powerbars, and less messy. If I put a part-eaten Powerbar back in my jersey, it makes a mess of my jersey.

Second to vitamin I, Gel is the elixer of life. You really ought to try a flask. If holds 4 oz of gel, and you can mix the flavors if you want. Here's a link to a flask:
My favorite is mixing vanilla and rasberry (Hammergel brand). At 1 oz an hour, it gets me through long rides. The top of the flask is like a water bottle, so your hands never get sticky, your jersey pocket doesn't get messy, you can take the gel as you're riding, and you're not carrying around empty gel wrappers.
I like Hammergel best for a couple of reasons, the taste is good, and I don't get staomach cramps if I overdose on them. I've over-carbed before and got stomach aches from it.