The club that I ride with on Tuesday is fast – super fast…at least for amateurs. I’ve been trying for two years to keep up with the lead pack to no avail, though I’ve come close a few times.
The best way to describe the ride is that it’s an “everybody gets dropped” ride. They start racing at about the 18 mile mark, attacking up hills, down hills, on the flats… The ride gets insane in a hurry. My biggest problem area is a couple of hilly sections that I always have a tough time with. That section is the bane of my existence.
That said, I saw a video a few weeks that has contributed more to my ability to keep up than any one lesson since I’ve started riding. Without further ado, enjoy:
My local bike shop got in a shipment of ERG Natural Energy Bars last week and asked me to try them out. Rather than take a few for free, I paid for mine so I could review them honestly here.
Normally I stick to three things on long, unsupported rides: Gu Roctane, Jelly Belly Energy Beans and Clif Bars, but I figured what the heck… The ERG Bars cost a bit more than I’m used to spending at almost three bucks a piece, but when it comes to on-board nutrition, I’m not one to skimp… Seven bucks for 100 miles of fuel (between a couple of Gu’s, a bag of Energy Beans and a couple of energy bars) seems pretty reasonable to me, especially seeing as a 100 mile trip in my truck would cost almost $15.
This is from their website:
“ERG! is the alternative to the factory-produced extruded plastic products that are being marketed all over the world as “energy bars.” Honestly, I started making my own because I just couldn’t eat another ____?____ bar.”
I tried the Lemon/Blueberry bar first and they’re absolutely unbelievable! None of the nasty aftertaste that come with a lot of the energy bars, no matter how “natural” they claim to be, and they don’t taste like flavorless granola and tree bark. I ate mine after my Saturday ride 36 mile ride. I was at the bike shop to pick up a new long sleeve jersey and a pair of cycling shorts and I was quite hungry anyway… I didn’t want to blow any money on fast food so I figured I’d fire one down to see if it would hold me the three hours until dinner. Not only did it taste great, it took the hungry edge off. I only needed eat a banana in addition to make it to dinner… So I decided to check out the nutrition information and that’s where I got the best news.
My old stand-by favorite energy bar, oatmeal walnut & raisin, contained 240 calories. Each ERG bar is good for between 370 and 400 calories. Not necessarily good if you’re on a diet, but when you’re setting out to burn about 5,000 calories over 100 miles, you need all of the help you can get! This is from the pecan-date bar (the second variety I bought):
Now keep in mind folks, that’s from all natural stuff… The sodium and sugars are high, sure, but that’s the idea when you’re burning through that stuff.
The company is located in Traverse City, Michigan and takes orders online (free shipping for orders over $20).
Oh, and in case you wondered… The ingredient list for the lemon blueberry: Apples, Honey, Roasted Cashews (Peanut Oil, Salt), Almonds, Rolled Oats, Blueberries, Lemon Juice. That’s it! You want natural, that’s as good as it gets.