What’s Your Favorite Cycling Fuel?
Yes, I call it fuel. You can call them Scooby Snacks or Tasty Bits or whatever you like. Because I like to think of myself as a Mack Truck, I choose to use the word fuel.
The Amazing Energy Bars have gotten me thinking. Dan makes these bars because he likes “real food” while he’s riding, which is a noble pursuit. Last Saturday on our way back from Colossal Cave Mountain Park we stopped at a Farmer’s Market and bought some homemade bars that feature chia seeds (which you might recall I’m recently obsessed with). The chia bars, called Mia Chia, taste delicious, but I haven’t been able to test them on the bike yet.
My choice: The Arizona Cocktail
I appreciate the idea behind “real food” on the bike, but my personal favorite way to fuel is a little something I learned last year at The Cycling House. We named it The Arizona Cocktail. Basically, you mix as many scoops of Hammer Perpetuem as you need (I use about one – or 133 cal – per every hour) and then squeeze Chocolate or Espresso Flavored Hammer Gel into the bottle (one or two shots worth). Shake very well, which takes some doing.
Voila! On-bike chocolate milkshake. For a four hour ride I can make an 800+ calorie bottle. I’ve found that eating about 200 calories per hour does me just right. I’ve done entire centuries on liquid nutrition alone, though many people find that they have to have some kind of solid after a certain point. The number one thing I like about liquid fueling is that there’s no messing around with packaging and unwrapping and handling objects – just squirt and go, homie. In a race situation, this is super convenient.
To augment my “calorie bottle”, I carry a rehydration bottle which usually contains electrolyte. I stick with Hammer HEED or Nuun depending on whether or not I need a few additional calories (the HEED has 100 cals per scoop). Sometimes, I just use a few scoops of Hammer’s Endurolyte Powder. As a person who sweats like a beast, I’m always wary of getting a few more electrolytes than the average bear. Then, for backup, I always pack an extra bar and a flask of Gu. I don’t plan to eat these on the ride, but it makes me feel better that they’re back there in my pocket, just in case.
I vary this routine, of course, depending on where I’m riding and what the purpose is. For a casual 1 hour recovery ride I usually carry only water. For a spin to the park for a picnic, it’s PB&J or a reasonable facsimile. The Arizona Cocktail only comes out on really big training days.
After a hard ride, if I can’t eat right away I kill a serving of Hammer Recoverite (slam it, these don’t taste good). Otherwise, its some sort of fantastical smoothie with a little protein powder, pecans, almond milk, greens, frozen fruit, and ground flax seed a la the Kitchen Sink Smoothie.
And no, I have no affiliation with Hammer Nutrition. I just happen to really like their products. They work and they’re not loaded with the sugar that some other products are.
What about you?
So, how do you fuel? What do you eat? What are your favorites? What do you like to eat afterwards (the best part!)?
PS: I’m extending the Haiti donation giveaway by one week, so you still have until Friday to comment and throw your favorite charity into the ring.
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