Now that April is in full swing and we have had our huge snow dumps there is warmer weather just around the corner (sarcasm)! With springtime nearing it means that we will start logging longer miles on the bike, lacing up those runners, and squeezing into a speedo to hop into a chilly pool. So for the next couple reviews I have decided to focus on nutrition. There is abundance of options out there and we will sample a variety of stuff.
During the bike portion of a race is where you will be able to take in the most calories. In the swim the only thing you ingest is lake water. It isn’t the most ideal form of nutrition, but it’ll happen. When you hop onto the bike you have already lost calories and electrolytes, so it is important to make sure you are rehydrating and refueling on the bike. More on that later—
*Make sure you experiment with nutrition during training, not on race day. Find what works for you!*
This review will be on bars. Clif bar, Powerbar, and Honey Stinger Waffles.
First things first: pick the flavors. There are 19 flavors of Clif Bars, 10 flavors of Powerbars, and 5 flavors of Honey Stinger Waffles. I chose coconut chocolate chip Clif, apple cinnamon Powerbar, and strawberry on the Stiniger, respectively.
Here is how I tested this time- I put each bar into my jacket pocket and hopped onto the bike. I went for a long ride. I could have done 3 separate rides, but I wanted to make sure conditions were the same (and this is a good excuse for me to log some much needed miles). The things I am looking for when testing these out are: taste, consistency, how it settles into my stomach, and then see in what ways they would affect (not effect) my ride. I also had about 1 bottle of water per hour.
I set out from my house at 5:00 am. It was incredibly early for me- there is nothing fun about that time of day. I was riding my cyclocross bike and the brisk, biting air woke me up in a hurry.
First bar I ate was the coconut chocolate chip Clif Bar. This bar has the best nutrition of all the items tested, and did not disappoint. It was very delicious. The coconut mixed with chocolate was excellent. Neither flavor too strong. The wrapper is easy to open and the bar is easy to eat. I didn’t spend my whole time chewing and slurping water in order to make it edible. I could have eaten another one, but the Clif Bars are quite filling. I decided to hold off.
1 hour after my Clif Bar my stomach felt perfect. No issues at all. I decided it was about time for some more testing. This time I busted out the strawberry flavor Honey Stinger Waffle. These are flat and easy to carry. I bet I could have put 10 into my jersey pocket. The package was easy to open and handle. Upon eating it I found that the waffle is wicked tasty. I wish I did have 10 in my pocket. The strawberry flavor is not overpowering. It has the hint of strawberry, but you know it is there. They are soft and easy to eat. The only downside is that I didn’t bring more of these!
Another hour after longing for another waffle I decided that I was ready for another test. Powerbar Apple Cinnamon was my final test. This bar is the classic energy bar. I opened it with ease. The apple and cinnamon aromas were pleasing to the senses, and it tasted very good. I found myself drinking more water while I was eating the Powerbar because I needed the extra moisture. I didn’t mind because it made the bar easier to eat. Plus, drinking more water is a good thing. I was pleased with how this bar tasted and how simple it is. It provides everything you need for a long day on the saddle.
In conclusion they all worked well. There are differences in nutrition, texture, and taste. I thought they all excelled in providing energy and replacing calories while on the bike. Clif Bar wins on overall nutrition and texture. Honey Stinger wins on overall taste and how it settles in the stomach. Powerbar wins on overall simplicity and the energy it provides.
Well, the bike ride was great. Biking with friends makes it a whole lot easier to get out in the early, chilly morning. Each bar was different, but not in a bad way. It all depends on what you are looking for and what you want. The best thing to do is to get a few different ones and give them a go. Experiment in training and not in your race. Everyone is different.
Here are the nutritional stats for each item that I reviewed:
Lukas Pederson (pronounced PED-er-son)