It is now less than a week to go before I depart to Houston and I have finally placed my suitcase on the bed the spare bedroom. The packing ritual is about to begin
Doing an event like the Hotter than Hell Endurance ride is not really like preparing for any other cycle ride.
With temperature promised to be in the 100 f and legendary winds ripping across the North Texas plains, the 100 mile distance is only a secondary consideration.
Food and Hydration is essential to ensure that you have a smile on your face when you cross the finishing line.
Despite the fact there are hundreds of sports gels and bars on the market I have usually gone for natural food products. Bananas, Dried fruit, dates etc but carrying them has often caused problems. The lovely yellow banana that I placed in the rear of my shirt often turns black by the time I come to peel it leaving a mushy pulp to eat. With the other items I place them in sealed bags but they eventually all stick together.
Trying to separate my dates was never a problem in my misspent youth. But with the nutrition type, trying to separate them whilst climbing or descending a 25% gradient can often lead to a departure from the road or prompt curses from the rider following my wheel. I needed something that was natural, nutritious and portable and tried a whole range of products. Then I discovered MuleBars.
They were on display in my brothers shop - Cycle Heaven (York).Andy my brother does not believe in gimmicks when it comes to cycling and that applies to food too. He is also as green as they come. When I enquired about this product I got a massive thumbs up from both him and his staff (all cyclists) The question they came back with was 'Why would we sell something that we did not believe in ? I agree.
The founders of Mule bar take up the story
'It all started on Cerro Aconcagua in the Andes, pretty high up at about 6200m where we had a lot of problems with our stomachs, were unable to find food you can eat and digest easily when you’re really out there. This is the mule and gaucho which inspired our the name of the bars and the icon silhouette we use.
...That was in 2002. We got back to the sunny Wiltshire-Hampshire border in the New Forest, back to our makeshift office, the “Loveshack” and QMFC kitchen, and we got started on cooking up some ideas we’d had on the Andes expedition. The first bars were all over the place and wouldn’t fuel much, let alone an adventure, but they did spur us on. We kept at it most Friday afternoons, skiving off the day job mostly and finally started getting somewhere in about late 2004. Guinea pigs are easy to find when food’s involved with bikers and climbers and so we kept trying out the bars on mates who we were out riding with and after about ten times of turning up to races and being told our bars were better than the ones on sale we thought we’d better do something about it. We formed Fuel for Adventure, because that’s exactly what it is, and started designing wrappers, getting key nutritional help from our now partner Matt Lovell who just happens to be the England RFU nutritional advisor and took the bars off to a great mountain bike race all round Scotland. The bars went down a storm. Since then we’ve been out there spending long hours cooking up prototype after prototype and getting the bars better and better and tastier and tastier and delivering more and more energy. MuleBar has summited Everest, has ridden and now sponsors the incredible Absa Cape Epic mountain bike stage race across South Africa, is the Official Energy Bar of The 2009 Tour of Britain and the list goes on and on. The key thing is it’s Fuel for Adventure, for everybody’s personal adventure.
There is a large void in my suitcase reserved for these pieces of edible energy.
They come in two sizes the MuleBar 65g and MegaBites 30g each with an assortment of different flavours including :-Chocolate Fig Fiesta, Strudel, Liquorice, Summer Pudding, Mango tango, Hunza Nut and Pinacolada.They also do a great ReFuel recovery bar- choc & banana and choc & date, which are naturally high in 20% protein.
You don't have to believe me check them out yourself