I started riding long (3-4hrs) in May. Everytime around the 2.5hr mark, I’d get tired. I kept attributing every bonk to my lack of bike strength – I had only just started riding (on the the trainer at first) since mid-January. After all, everyone keeps talking about just pushing through and not whining. So when I bonked, I didn’t complain.
But 5 bonks in 7 rides (one of the non-bonk rides was the Chattanooga Olympic Triathlon of only 26miles and the other was a misery fest that started as a bonk from mile 1) was too many and after I learnt that I had to eat during the bike (really?!!), I started exploring options for fuel. Since I’ve been using UCan, I have not used any gels and I had no desire to turn back to them. So I started looking for options.
There was the bonk breakers that many triathletes took with UCan. I liked the taste and the fact that I could easily buy them. I tried them on the Ironman 70.3 Augusta bike course preview and they weren’t too bad. I don’t think I bonked that day – the heat just got to me and drained me out.
Joy gave me some ideas of bike nutrition from Feed Zone Portables. She’s an overall awesome cook/baker mixed in with a bit of ultra runner craziness and has tried out plenty of real food on the run and ride. I had to go shopping for sticky rice and so that was out for now.
Carrie told me about sweet potatoes, baked and put into a ziploc baggie that you squeeze into your mouth. Way too messy for me, I decided!
Angela from Team Endured turned me to on to these “Salty Balls”. Since I had all the ingredients on hand and I’d made something similar as energy balls before, I decided to give these a go. And they were a winner! Now I drink 2 scoops of UCan + some simple carbs (UCan bar or banana or smoothie) before the ride and drink 1 scoop UCan every hour. I supplement with these balls as bike nutrition every 30minutes and it’s been working out good so far!
- 1/2 cup Nut Butter (I use almond butter)
- 1/4 cup Honey/Brown rice syrup
- 1 scoop protein powder (I use whatever I have on hand)
- 1 scoop UCan powder (I use the chocolate flavor which has additional protein)
- 1/2 cup oats (or Rice Krispies if you need gluten free or if oats is too much fiber for you)
- Coconut as needed
- Base salt as needed
- Microwave the nut butter and honey for 30 seconds so they are easy to mix.
- Add the other ingredients except coconut and salt and mix together.
- Roll into small balls and roll it in coconut and base salt. (You can also sprinkle base salt instead of rolling in it).
- Keep it in the fridge to make it harden slightly so it doesn't get smashed inside a ziploc baggie.
You can make plenty of variations on these -
Holly said she added dark chocolate to it.
Barbara Blackford of Fitter After 50 subbed coconut butter for a bit of almond butter.
Another triathlete added in flax seeds and other omega3 binding agents.
Mr. FauxTriathlete prefered it with coconut mixed inside so that the balls were a little less dry, and rolled out – because he loves coconuts.
Someone else used agave as the sweetener.
Lia Kaplan is Gluten Free and used the following: almond butter, honey, Publix Greenwise chocolate protein powder, coconut flakes, coconut flour and a pinch of Himalayan pink salt on top.
Angela of Team Endured puts Base salt on the top of her like I did. She uses almond butter, vanilla whey, brown rice syrup, rolled oats, rice crisps, and cranberries. She adds in part rolled oats and parr rice crisps – gives it some crunch and less fiber.
How do you carry them?
I put them all in a sandwich size ziploc baggie and stuff it down my tiny little bike bento box.
I like Angela’s idea better – she puts them in individual pill bags (found at CVS, etc) and writes motivational messages on them! Super neat!
How does it taste and stay in the heat?
I love the taste and did not mind the slight dryness – nothing that a sip of water didn’t help. Angela recommended adding less protein powder if the dryness was too much.
They stayed GREAT during the heat of Augusta and Atlanta training rides. No melting/mushing/breaking apart. I’ve taken a bite and held the rest in my hand and it has maintained its shape without breaking up.
Have you used UCan to fuel your workouts? What do you use for nutrition on the bike?
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