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.
Powerbars 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.
Gels 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.