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Honey Stinger Strawberry Organic Waffles

I would not normally write a review for a nutritional product just because the company that makes it came out with a new flavor. However, I am going to make an exception because the new Honey Stinger Strawberry Waffles are simply awesome.

Honey Stinger Strawberry Organic Waffles

Honey Stinger Strawberry Organic Waffles

I’ve taken Honey Stinger Waffles with me on nearly every bike ride I’ve taken this year and can’t imagine cycling without them. Honey Stinger introduced their original honey flavored waffles a little over a year ago and they instantly became my favorite source of carbs on bike rides. Earlier this year they came out with a vanilla waffle, and more recently they started selling the strawberry waffles. To call these waffles addictive would be a gross understatement.

Each one-ounce strawberry waffle has 160 calories, 21 grams of carbohydrates, and 7 grams of fat. Two packages of waffles take up about the same amount of room in your jersey pocket as a single Clif Bar.

These waffles contain 100% USDA Certified Organic Ingredients and are also certified Kosher. If you are interested in the ingredients list, here it is: organic wheat flour, organic palm fruit oil, organic rice syrup, organic cane sugar, organic whole wheat flour, organic soy flour, sea salt, natural flavor, organic soy lecithin, organic spices, and baking soda.

As the outside temperature drops these waffles become brittle. The best way to keep the waffles soft is to put them in a jersey pocket under your cycling jacket. When the temperature drops to below 20 degrees (which is most of the time in the winter) I put these waffles in my jacket pocket along with a chemical hand warmer. These waffles taste great at room temperature, but when you are riding on a snowy day and pull one out of your jacket that has been warmed up, well, you have a treat fit for a king!

Honey Stinger Waffles are available at Amazon.com for around $26 for a pack of 16 (that’s about $1.62 per waffle). I have noticed that a lot of bike shops have started selling these waffles as well, but buying them by the box will save you a lot of money.

 

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2nd Surge Ultra Energy Gel

Hopefully you’ve gotten the word by now that on long rides you need to consume protein in addition to carbohydrates if you want to avoid muscle and brain fatigue (better known to cyclists as bonking). To paraphrase a familiar verse of the Bible, “Cyclists do not live by carbohydrates alone.” One of the easiest ways to get the needed protein is to buy a carbohydrate gel with protein already in it (or make you own gel for use in a HomeGOO flask). Unfortunately, most energy gels that include protein taste rather dreadful. PacificHealth Laboratories (the creators of Accelerade) recently introduced 2nd Surge Ultra Energy Gel and it not only tastes great, but has carbohydrates, electrolytes, proteins, caffeine and antioxidants.

2nd Surge Ultra Energy Gel

2nd Surge Ultra Energy Gel

Last month I purchased a box (an 8 pack) of 2nd Surge and have used the gel on some of my longer bike rides. I was hooked when I tried the first package! The chocolate gel is very smooth and has a rich chocolate flavor. Most of the other chocolate gels I’ve tried over the years tasted like artificial chocolate, but 2nd Surge is the real deal. Each package of 2nd Surge has 90 calories and includes 18g of carbohydrate, 3g of protein and 100mg of caffeine.

2nd Surge is an all-natural energy gel. I hate giving a long list of ingredients in a product review, but the ingredient list in 2nd Surge is rather impressive. The ingredients include: Agave Syrup, Brown Rice Syrup, Evaporated Cane Sugar, Water, Whey Protein Isolate, Glycerin, Pea Protein Isolate, Cocoa, Natural Flavors, Green Tea Extract, d-alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Salt, Grape, Pomegranate, Mangosteen, Goji Berry, Blueberry, Chokeberry, Cranberry, Apple and Bilberry Extracts.

At the moment this product is only available in two flavors: Chocolate and Double Expresso. I loved the chocolate gel and have already ordered another box. For the record, I did not try the Double Expresso, mainly because I have never been a fan of any food product that has the word expresso (or espresso) in the title. I hope PacificHealth Laboratories adds a few new flavors before long.

A box of eight packages of 2nd Surge retails for $16 and is available on the PacificHealth Laboratories Website. The best price online I’ve been able to find is at Performance Bike—they have it listed at $13 a box.  However, if you “Like” the PacificHealth Laboratories Facebook page you can get a 20% discount on your next order (I don’t know how long this offer is going to last).

 

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Five Seed Warm-Cool Muscle Rub

Five Seed Warm-Cool Muscle Rub

Five Seed Warm-Cool Muscle Rub

One of the reasons many people don’t ride their bikes as much as they would like to is because of “sore muscles.” Their problems really start before they even get on the bike—most newbies forget to stretch before they ride. They often add to their pain by having their saddle at the wrong height and when they get home they are too tired to stretch after the ride, let alone pay attention to eating the proper food for recovery. If you don’t properly recover from a bike ride one day you really don’t feel riding the next.

An important part of anyone’s recovery after a long ride is muscle massage. If you stretch after a ride you can delay and/or prevent muscles stiffness and if you can massage the muscles you can help break down lactic acid in your legs which will get you back on the bike a sooner.

After a long ride I like to spend a few minutes massaging my calves, quadriceps and hamstring muscles. Muscle massage is a lot easier if you use a good massage oil. I recently started using the Five Seed Warm-Cool Muscle Rub and am very happy with it. This product has oils that both warm and cool the muscles, but it does not have the harsh smell of products like Tiger Balm. When you first rub this on your skin you will feel the ginger begin to warm up a bit (but not too much). After the massage is finished you can feel the peppermint, eucalyptus and rosemary oils gently cool things down. In addition to the ingredients already mentioned, this rub contains olive oil, arnica, chamomile, cocoa butter, and beeswax.

The Five Seed Warm-Cool Muscle Rub comes in a reusable 1-ounce metal tin and retails for $8.80. The price is in line with products like Tiger Balm, but I think you will like this muscle rub a lot more (and you won’t smell like a medicine cabinet either). Five Seed has the most reasonable shipping rates I’ve ever seen, so look at some of their other products before you place your order and you can save some money in the process.

 

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HomeGOO Flexible Reusable GOO Flask

Distance cycling and other endurance sports burn large amounts of carbohydrates, and for most of us that means ingesting a lot of carbohydrate gels or blocks. Prepackaged carbohydrate gels are manufactured by several companies and I actually enjoy several different brands (like Clif and Honey Stinger), but most gels contain a lot of chemicals that I try to avoid. Until recently I had never considered making my own carbohydrate gel, but when Brian Dinkins, president of HomeGOO, sent me a couple of goo flasks I decided to give it a shot.

HomeGOO Flexible Reusable GOO Flask

HomeGOO Flexible Reusable GOO Flasks

HomeGOO sells two different reusable flasks. The five-ounce Goo Flask is a 5.5 inch tall BPA free plastic container with a leak proof, push-pull valve. The flexible six-ounce Goo Flask is made from ultra-lightweight BPA free plastic and collapses as you consume the gel. It also has a push/pull drink spout with removable cap, though the cap really isn’t necessary. These bottles are easy to wash by hand and are dishwasher safe.

A small tag on each bottle has a great recipe for making your own carbohydrate gel. The recipe calls for four ounces of raw honey, one tablespoon organic blackstrap molasses, 1/8 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt, and one or two tablespoons of water. Honey is a perfect source of carbohydrates for cyclists since it has both fructose and sucrose and provides a “slow and steady” release of energy. In case you are unaware, raw honey is not the same thing as the filtered and pasteurized honey that comes in a plastic bear-shaped container at the grocery store (for more information see “What Is Raw Honey?”). Blackstrap molasses not only adds flavor to this recipe, but is a good source of potassium as well. I have found that using warm water when making this recipe helps the ingredients mix smoothly.

In my area of the country raw honey sells for around fifty cents an ounce, which is about half the price of prepackaged gels. In addition, raw honey has nearly twice as many calories per ounce as prepackaged gels, so you will not need as much of it to get the same effect. As an added benefit, homemade gels are all organic and contain no artificial ingredients. Because homemade gels are made of honey and molasses they never have to be refrigerated and they won’t go bad while sitting on the shelf. Whatever you don’t use on one ride can be saved for the next without any problem.

Now let’s go back to the HomeGOO flasks. I’ve used prepackaged carbohydrate gels for about 10 years and wasn’t sure how using a flask would work out. On the first ride I realized these flasks are fantastic! You can pop open the valve with your thumb and get a quick shot of the gel faster than with the prepackaged variety, then close the valve with your thumb and put it back in your jersey pocket. Among my many known weaknesses is the fact that I normally slow down a bit when I consume gels on my bike, but with the HomeGOO flask my cadence didn’t change a bit and I was able to keep one hand on the handlebar (and I didn’t have to use my teeth to open the flask!).

HomeGOO sells the five ounce flask for $3, which means that if you only used in one time you still saved money over the cost of buying prepackaged gels. The six-ounce flask sells for $9 and should last a very long time. If you are into endurance sports you owe it to yourself to try these flasks!

 

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Gatorade vs. Clif Shot Electrolyte Replacement Drink

About ten years ago I quit consuming any product that contained high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and as a result I had to give up products like Gatorade. Since I couldn’t drink Gatorade I started drinking Clif Shot Electrolyte Replacement Drink while cycling and was very happy with it. Last year Gatorade dropped the use of HFCS and is now sweetened with a sucrose-dextrose combination. Since Gatorade is a lot cheaper than the Clif Shot Electrolyte Drink I decided to do a little comparison shopping and thought you might like to know the results.

Gatorade vs. Clif Shot Electrolyte Replacement Drink

Gatorade vs. Clif Shot Electrolyte Replacement Drink

In this post I am going to compare Gatorade powder mix (not the far more expensive bottles) against Clif Shot Electrolyte powder. Since I do not work in a laboratory I am going to have to round off a few numbers, but I think I’ll be close enough for you to draw some reasonable conclusions on your own. Gatorade powder sells for $4 for an 18.4-ounce tub and will make about thirteen 20-ounce bottles. Clif Shot Electrolyte powder comes in 2-pound containers and will make about fourteen 20-ounce bottles.

A 20-ounce bottle of Gatorade has 130 calories and 34 grams of carbohydrates. Each bottle also has 270mg of sodium and 80mg of potassium. When made from powder Gatorade costs only .31¢ for a 20-ounce bottle.

A 20-ounce bottle of Clif Shot Electrolyte has 260 calories and 62 grams of carbohydrates. Each bottle also has 650mg of sodium and 162mg of potassium. The cost for this 20-ounce bottle is $1.57.

Aside from the differences in price, there are a couple other things to consider. Every cyclist is different, but based upon my size and average speed I burn around 1050 calories an hour while riding and I like to consume between 250 and 300 calories per hour. If I drink a 20-ounce bottle of Clif Shot Electrolyte every hour while cycling I would not need to consume anything else to meet my needed intake of calories. This is not a bad thing, but I like to consume a bit of food while on the bike. However, on days when the heat index is over 100 I don’t usually feel like eating anyway and the extra sodium and potassium in Clif Shot Electrolyte is really needed.

In my opinion Gatorade and Clif Shot Electrolyte taste a lot alike. In fact, I don’t think I could tell the difference between them in a blind taste test. I like both of these products (and both companies) so I will probably continue to use both of them.

 

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Gorge Delights JustFruit Bars

During long rides on the country roads of southern Wisconsin I sometimes feel like I am carrying a small grocery store in my bike jersey. There are not many places to pick up food along the way and, since I am a Clydesdale, I burn around 1,000 calories an hour while cycling. On a four-hour ride I need to ingest around 1200 calories and I get easily bored with most prepackaged sports food. Last fall I found Gorge Delights JustFruit All Natural Fruit Snack Bars and these have added a bit of variety to my on-bike meals.

Gorge Delights JustFruit bars

Gorge Delights JustFruit Bars

While cycling I have found that the fewer ingredients in a food product the easier it is for me to digest. Some carbohydrate and protein bars have so many chemicals in them it would take a degree in chemistry just to understand what is inside. The JustFruit bars by George Delights not only taste great, but, as the box claims, they are “just fruit.” Their apple-blueberry bar has just three ingredients: apple puree, apple concentrate and blueberry concentrate. You are never going to confuse these bars with the sawdust-like flavor of a PowerBar.

These bars are perfect for cyclists! The apple-blueberry bar has just 90 calories and provides 22 grams of carbohydrates. They are also wheat, dairy, nut and gluten-free. The bars have a two-year shelf life and do not need to be refrigerated.

I have purchased eight boxes of these bars from Amazon.com and the price comes out to about $1.00 a bar. You really should try a box or two of these bars—I am certain you will enjoy them on your next long ride.

 

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Honey Stinger Organic Stinger Waffles

Last year I increased my mileage on the bike from my usual 3,000 per year to over 4,650 miles. Increasing mileage also means increasing the amount of carbohydrate gels and protein bars you have to eat. Last September Honey Stinger introduced an exciting new product, the Stinger Waffle. If you have not tasted a Stinger Waffle your life is sad and lacking. Without the slightest bit of exaggeration, these are the best tasting items you will ever consume on a bike!

Honey Stinger Waffles

Honey Stinger Waffles

If you have ever been to Amsterdam you might have had a stroopwafel at the airport or coffee shop, and the Stinger Waffles will bring back fond memories of that delightful treat. On several occasions I’ve gone for a bike ride just so I could have a Stinger Waffle with a clean conscience (I wouldn’t need extra carbs otherwise).

Aside from the fact they taste awesome, you probably need to know the following: Each waffle has 160 calories, offers up 21 grams of carbohydrates, are all organic and certified Kosher. Two packages of waffles take up about the same amount of room in your jersey pocket as a single Clif Bar. I have purchased 8 boxes of Stinger Waffles (so far) from Amazon.com and the price is around $25.00 for a box of 16.

If you ride in below freezing temperatures the Stinger Waffles do get a bit brittle. My solution all winter was to put a disposable chemical hand warmer in my jacket pocket and put the Stinger Waffles next to it. This will not only keep the waffles from getting brittle, but it will also warm up the honey a bit and make the flavor even more delightful (it that is even possible).

 

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