Running on 9Bars…

On 26/07/2012 by GaryLake

Only 9 days until Gary Rides WC2C…
Gary is fundraising for the Cots for Tots appeal on Just Giving, any donations are appreciated!

This is a guest blog by key Gary Rides WC2C crew member and planner, Stephen Dolphin…

9Bar

As we know from previous rides, one of the many things that we have to try and get right on endurance events is nutrition: you can’t afford to run out of energy half way through an event because by that point you’ll never get back to where you should be. From the moment you start riding you need to be taking fuel on in the right quantities.

Gary’s done metabolic testing before and we know that as a general rule of thumb you can aim for your 1 gram of carbohydrate per 1 kilogram of body weight (i.e. if you weigh 60 kilos; eat 60g of carbs per hour). Obviously in the grand scheme of things it’s more complicated than that, but this works well enough for the performance level Gary rides at.

That may not sound like a great chore but it actually requires quite a bit of planning. This is especially the case with the WC2C  because you know you’re going to need to carry enough fuel for 3-4 hours, not 1 hours like a lap-based race. You also need to be strict about actually eating it all before the next stop (you can lose focus very easily in these longer stints), and it needs to be in the right ratios too.

One of the issues we had with the Oktoberfest event last year is that we just couldn’t get any protein into Gary, which in that particular event didn’t matter, it was relatively short (at eight hours) and minor issues with nutrition can be ignored without massively affecting the overall outcome. By the time he was a total wreck in this race he was on the last lap anyway.

With a 12 hour event (such as Bikefest) this becomes more of an issue, and with a 24 (or more) hour event then it’s really noticeable as realistically we want to be getting about 13% of Gary’s total intake as protein, if we don’t then he won’t be absorbing all the carefully planned carbohydrates that we send him off with each time we meet.

The issue isn’t that you can’t get protein bars, many exist on the market which are packed full of the important proteins, it’s just that up until now we’d not found one that could be enjoyably consumed once every few hours, they all got boring or had almost “too much” flavouring to make them suitable for longer rides. The challenge was finding good protein sources that Gary would actually tolerate and put up with, and hopefully enjoy even, for more than a few hours.

Nuts and seeds are something that fit that bill, but they can be a bit of a faff and not very practical out on the trail. Luckily, just before the Ritchey Bikefest Gary discovered a great seed bar in the form of 9Bar (a recommendation by Cyclist No.1 editor and For Goodness Shakes racer Fi Spotswood) , not only did it also contain the carbs we wanted from a given fuel source, but it contained a proportionally high amount of protein compared to other bars on the market (as well as the “good” fats you need!)

Due to the blend of seeds and an added bit of Carob topping (which we didn’t realise wasn’t an actual chocolate topping!), when we first experienced the “original” bar we found that were neither too sweet nor too plain; the perfect balance of nutrition and flavour we’d been looking for. Each time Gary stopped at Bikefest and I offered him a variety of foods, he nearly always asked for the 9Bar. It was at that point that we knew we had to have them for the WC2C.

We’re very excited to say that 9Bar makers Wholebake have agreed to help Gary out on his WC2C ride in a few weeks by supplying 9Bars to help see him through his fundraising adventure, they’ve also been kind enough to ship an extra box so the support crew don’t eat them all while Gary’s off riding. Our boxes arrived today (rather fittingly on the back of a cycle courier!)…

Find out more about 9Bar, and buy them online, on their website at http://www.9-bar.co.uk/

2 Responses to “Running on 9Bars…”

  • A great choice. 9bars are my find of the year, I manage to get through more than my fair share, tasty, consistency works in both hot and cold weathers and don’t need too much chewing if your stomach’s giving you jip. Enjoy!

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