DIY Energy Bars anybody can make!
A competitive cyclist’s relationship with food can be summed up in one word: intense. Our love of food runs deep and plays a role in almost every aspect of cycling. A hearty meal is the reward for a long day in the saddle. Enter DIY Energy Bars!
Even my recovery rides revolve around food, with restaurants being frequent destinations—taco stands in Tucson, falafel joints in New York City, barbecue in North Carolina, and coffee shops everywhere else. I recently ate pizza at 9,000 feet up on top of Mt. Lemmon.
At other times, though, food is an evil temptation, a source of stress and frustration. But above all, food is fuel.
When I got serious about cycling, I’d hit a wall whenever my rides went over three hours. I thought it was simply the upper limit to my endurance, that my fitness went only 180 minutes deep. What I didn’t realize is that while aerobic exercise taps into your body’s stored sugar (glycogen), the fuel available is limited. Your body has only enough stored sugar on hand to sustain one or two hours of vigorous exercise, and my one bottle of Gatorade couldn’t carry me much farther than that.
In other words, if the journey’s long and you don’t fill up your tank, you’ll run out of gas.
The ceiling disappeared as soon as I began paying attention to my food intake and eating deliberately. Suddenly I could charge right through the three-hour mark, so long as I consumed the needed calories.
My recent training rides—typically over 4 hours and 50-60 miles—have been sustained by homemade energy bars. Rather than rely on a single recipe, I follow some basic guidelines and came up with a unique batch each time.