We bikers are a funny lot. We all obsess about the same stuff and one of those things is what we eat on the bike. Obviously, when you’re spending hours in the saddle, riding or racing, you’ve got to take in some water and some calories, the amount and form of the latter are great topics of discussion. Too little of either and you’re going to cramp or bonk. Too much and you’ll feel bloated, generally crappy or worse. I’ve been in races when I ate too much or ate the wrong thing. My gut goes on strike and won’t process what’s already in there and it won’t let me put anything else in. If you’ve still got a significant amount of ground to cover to the finish, it’s a problem.

There are lots of choices out there and I’ve tried a bunch of them and settled on a few options that seem to work for me. I’m a fan of Hammer’s  products, especially Perpetuem. It works well for me on longer endurance stuff. I also like the way you can mix it strong so you can get several hours of calories in a single bottle. That works really well when I’m using a hydration pack. I can run water in my pack and a big chunk of my calories in that one bottle.

For a fast cross country race, it’s tough to beat gels when you need a fast recharge. They give me a really quick hit and go down easy. I like a little caffeine in mine for an extra bump. They can be a challenge to deal with, getting them open and then stashing the empty somewhere, but I always seem to work it out.

IMG_0900My new secret weapon though is my wife’s energy bars. My races keep getting longer so I need something pretty high calorie that goes down easy, tastes good and travels well. When I told her I wanted something with more calories in it than the commercial stuff, she said she thought she could come up with something. I didn’t doubt her. She’s a dietician, does contract recipe development and is pretty up on sports nutrition. I don’t know everything that’s in them but they taste good and they work. They’ve got a little extra protein and I know she used a little cayenne to cut the sweetness of the honey. She ground everything up to make them dense and compact and she’s got a little caffeine in them, for fun. The flavor’s subtle but that’s good because I don’t get burned out on them like some of the commercial versions.


I’ll see if I can get the recipe out of her and post it so you can give the a try, too.