I tend to get through a lot of sports nutrition, but not in any systematic or ordered way. If it’s a bike testing day (usually four of my five working days) I’ll be out on a bike for four hours plus, so I know I’ll need some sort of sustenance. I don’t usually favour any particular type, brand or flavour, it’s usually just what I have to hand.
In recent months I’ve really enjoyed OTE’s range, with their crispy Duo bars a particular favourite. However these, like pretty much 99% of sports foods, sit on on the sweet side of the fence. That’s why I was interested in trying Skratch Labs, because their flavour range and combinations have some interesting alternatives to the sugary norms.
The pick of the bunch is the ginger and miso energy bar. The flavour is hard to describe – kind of like having a handful of Japanese rice snacks in one soft bar. The ingredients list includes oats, nut butter, sea salt, brown rice (crisp) and quinoa, with no artificial sweeteners, flavours or colours. It’s also vegan friendly, and dairy and gluten-free.
The flavour is fantastic with the slightly savoury taste a very welcome change. When mixed it with a mouthful of their quite frankly lovely matcha green tea and lemon hydration drink it’s honestly one of the most palatable mid-ride snacks I’ve ever had. The hydration mix has a small shot of naturally occurring caffeine in it too (from the matcha tea) though you needn’t worry that it’s going to make you wired as its only 16mg in a standard sized bottle (a standard coffee has between 70 to 100mg).
When I do fancy something a bit sweeter Skratch’s energy gum sweets with a natural tasting orange flavour (and aroma) are just sweet enough. Like the rest of their range it’s all natural and uses real fruit for flavour. The energy contained within comes from cane sugar and tapioca and, unlike some gum sweets, they aren’t wax coated, which apparently makes them easier to eat. On the downside they do stick together a bit when the bags are stuffed into a warm jersey pocket.
Finally, my once random on-bike fuelling might be getting some order.
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Approaching two decades of testing bikes, Warren can be found on a daily basis riding and exploring the road and off roads of Wiltshire’s Salisbury Plain in the UK. That’s when he’s not travelling the world to test the latest kit, components and bikes.