Fueling those long rides

One thing that’s a bit different about my training rides for Bike MS this year is that my stomach is very finicky. I suspect this may have to do with the increased heat and less sleep I’ve been dealing with during this training season. The less sleep part has to do with trying to get out super early to avoid as much of the extreme heat as I can.  During the long rides where I have no choice but to eat during the ride, I find that my stomach tries to tell me that it doesn’t really want to eat. Of course, If I were to ride 50 or more miles without consuming any calories you’d find me passed out on the side of the road somewhere.

From years past, I know that I can’t consume gatorade or any other run of the mill “sports drink”. My stomach immediately turns when I try to drink these things. Just drinking water can get a bit old though. Lately I’ve found that both PureSport and Nuun hydration tabs aren’t too bad. The flavors are a bit lacking in my opinion (and PureSport is hard to find). At some point last year I read a post from someone that whipped up their own all natural sports beverage so lately I’ve been doing this as well. Plus, I’m able to use black tea and rumors have it that caffeine can be beneficial for athletes.

My “au natural” sports drink recipe:

Fill a bike water bottle with the following:

  • 1/3 Brewed black tea, chilled (I prefer to use Earl Grey)
  • 1/3 Lemonade (I’ve been using Santa Cruz Organic Peach Lemonade)
  • 1/3 Water
  • A dollop of honey (We prefer Round Rock Honey, made locally)

Shake vigorously. I like to freeze the mixture overnight and enjoy it in a slushy state during my ride the next morning.

While it’s good that I’m consuming calories through my sports drink, it’s also necessary to eat. Previously, I would usually eat my favorite Clif Bar during a ride (the peanut butter pretzel mojo bar) and maybe some honey stinger energy chews, both organic / natural products. I still eat these but decided to try eating even simpler foods during my ride to help out my stomach. I’ve lately been packing a back of pretzels along with some granola bars I made myself. To make the granola bars, I mixed and matched two recipes, one from gettin’ fresh and another from Kitchen Konfidence.

I made two flavors, raisin and cranberry pistachio.

Very simple chewy granola bars::

  • 2 cups quick cooking oats
  • 3/4 cups honey
  • 1 -1/2 tsp vanilla
  • Cinnamon and ginger to taste (or your other favorite spices)
  • Chopped raisins or cranberries
  • Chopped nuts (Optional – I used pistachios with the cranberry flavor)
  • A dash of salt

Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Bring the honey and vanilla to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add to dry ingredients to combine.

Form the mixture into logs and place on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes. Careful not to over bake, you don’t want the bottom to be overcooked (trust me).

The flavor is rather mellow, which is good when I’m on my bike and dealing with a picky stomach. I’ve been storing these bars in the freezer and just remove one or two the night before my ride. They go down easy and seem to be a decent fuel for my long rides.

Yum, raisins

Oats and spices

Ready to bake

Bake and ready to eat

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