Recipe: 5-hour Ride Bars

By FAR the most-requested recipe I have ever made. You need these for your ride this weekend!

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Last night, I posted a picture of these bars on the Hungry Cyclists Instagram feed. I have since gotten multiple requests to share the recipe, which pretty much happens every time someone tries these. One friend even refers to them as “Diedre’s Magic Bars.” Obviously this warrants a blog post, so here you have it!

These bars are perfect for long rides – they have enough protein to keep you going, aren’t overly sweet, and have the perfect texture/consistency for on-the-bike food.

These are super customizable to include your favorite nuts/dried fruits/etc. My go-to combo is chocolate chips and walnuts, but Jameson likes dried cranberries in there as well. You could add coconut flakes, flax seeds, or play around with different nut butters: the possibilities are endless!

Added bonus: if you use certified gluten-free oats, they will not contain gluten (I know many riders watch their gluten intake or have gluten intolerance issues).

Hope you enjoy these as much as we do!

-The Hungry Cyclists

Recipe: 5-hour Ride Bars
*adapted slightly from Sally

Makes one 9×13 pan of bars

Ratings:

Prep/2, Leftovers/5, Guilt Factor/5, Overall/5

Click here for an explanation of my recipe rating system

Ingredients:

5 c old-fashioned oats
1/2 c honey
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 tsp cinnamon
1 c almond or dairy milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs, whisked
4 large, ripe bananas, mashed
2/3 c peanut butter
2 c add-ins (chocolate chips, nuts, dried fruit, etc.)

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9×13 pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Set aside.

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl until well-incorporated. Spoon into prepared pan and smooth to an even later.

Bake at 350F for 20-30 minutes, until bars are firm and springy to the touch (be sure to check the center).

Allow to cool completely and cut into 2″x2″ bars. Wrap each bar in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Enjoy on the bike, or any time you need a snack!

“Training the Drift” article – a must read!

Jameson keeps up-to-date with several cycling websites, and occasionally finds an article that he passes along to me. Earlier this month, this one from Velonews landed in my inbox, and he and I both agreed that it really emphasizes a lot that we’ve experienced in our own training.

How can you train to have fresh legs at the end of a long road race? Velonews has some suggestions. Photo of Jameson at the 2013 Tour of Page County; a 1k-to-go attack led to finishing ahead of the pack.

How can you train to have fresh legs at the end of a long road race? Velonews has some suggestions. Photo of Jameson at the 2013 Tour of Page County; a 1k-to-go attack led to finishing ahead of the pack.

I highly recommend this article to anyone who races – it’s a quick read, and the concepts are really well explained. I would love to hear what all of you think about the tips and suggestions the author makes – do you agree? Have you experienced “cardiac drift” in your training or in a race? Do you “train the drift?”

Jameson’s always telling me to spin a higher cadence, go for longer rides, and prescribing me hill repeat intervals, so maybe he sent me this article to prove that he is right, and that I should stop grumbling about my training plan (right, like that’s ever gonna happen). It was nice to read it from someone else’s perspective that I’m on the right track.

I know there’s a lot of different training philosophies out there, but there’s no denying that the physiology of road racing requires us to do specific workouts to make it to the finish line without getting dropped.

 

-The Hungry Cyclists

Recipe: Bean and Cheese Enchiladas

These delicious bean and cheese enchiladas will be a hit at any dinner table!

These delicious bean and cheese enchiladas will be a hit at any dinner table!

When I set foot in a Mexican restaurant, it doesn’t matter what else is on the menu – I am highly likely to end up with a plate of enchiladas in front of me. They’re a classic comfort food that’s full of flavor: corn tortillas melding together with delicious filling, smothered and baked in cheese and sauce. Many enchilada recipes are labor-intensive, due to their slow-cooked fillings, but a simple bean-and-cheese combo is timeless, and easy enough to make for a weeknight meal.

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Recipe: Whole Grain Banana Nut Scones

This is a dangerously easy recipe, friends. In 20 minutes, you can have fresh, hot scones at your fingertips! Read on to learn the secret to making these delicious breakfast goodies.

Super quick, super delicious whole grain banana nut scones! Yum!

Super quick, super delicious whole grain banana nut scones! Yum!

When I go to a coffee shop or bakery, I’m always tempted by the goodies in the case. I mean, who isn’t? It’s great marketing, because these establishments know there’s nothing better than sitting down with a hot coffee and fresh baked goods! Occasionally, I will even order said baked goods (especially if it’s a mid-ride coffee shop and I’m wolfishly hungry), but I have learned to steer clear of the scones. Professionally made scones always disappoint! To me, they are heavy, dry, and flavorless – three good reasons to go for the apple turnover or carrot muffin instead. These scones are none of those things.

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Some thoughts on hiring a coach

Do you pay for coaching services? This is a common practice among cyclists, and one that I thought deserved a closer look here on the blog.

The last time I had a real coach was when I raced with the University of Minnesota Cycling Team as an undergraduate student. The team hired a coach (who is still a great friend of mine) to run indoor sessions and travel with us to races, providing strategy and training tips. As a beginning racer, I learned a lot from my coach, and I think it was a big part of why I decided to stick with cycling. As a former soccer player and cross country runner, I was used to the coach-athlete relationship, and I knew I trained better and harder with that guidance.

Out for a mountain bike ride with our UMCT coach, circa 2008. Go Gophers!

After I graduated, I continued to race, but seeing as I was now a graduate student (grad students are notoriously low on extra income to say, pay someone to coach them), I decided against seeking out a coach. Despite not having an official coach, my husband took it upon himself to do the research and provide both of us with individualized training plans, based largely on information from The Cyclist’s Training Bible. I jokingly told my friends and fellow cyclists that Jameson was my “coach,” which spawned some great humor about how hard it is to be married to the person who makes your training plan. Notably, it is difficult to skip workouts when you live with your coach, and your spouse knows better than anyone how to guilt trip you into doing a set of intervals when you’re feeling lazy.

Not only was I married to my “coach,” but for a while we sported matching sunglasses!

After using this training method for several years, I evolved one step further this year and simply adapted old training plans for myself, essentially becoming my own coach. Part of the motivation for this was that Jameson no longer had time, and the other part was the success of my season last year. I felt like I had really “dialed in” my training plan to the point where I had the best season of my life (the jury is still out on whether this plan will work two years in a row – I’ll let you know in a few months).

To summarize, I don’t feel like I need to pay someone to coach me for three main reasons: 1) I had a good foundation in training from the get-go, due to my UMCT coach; 2) I have developed a solid training plan that achieves the results I want; and 3) I’m highly self-motivated, and will hold myself accountable to hit all my workouts and hours.

Do you need a coach to achieve your training goals, or just a training plan and a lot of self-motivation?

I realize these reasons are not valid for everyone, so I emailed two friends/teammates who both hire (or have hired) coaches to get their take on the value of paying for these services. Both of them said that they liked having a coach, but for different reasons. One of them hired a coach when she “got serious about racing,” because she “didn’t even know what intervals were when [I] started with [my coach].” The other commented that she started with a professional coach “when I decided to start going for my Cat 2 [upgrade], and wanted to start doing some higher level racing.” She said that this decision coincided with a new job, where she knew she would need to decrease her training hours, “making efficiency extra important.” The one thing that both of these women said they appreciated about coaching was having an outside, objective view of your own training. “The extra perspective of a coach was very helpful at one point this past season,” said one. The other said that “[Having a coach] provides structure and guidance on and off the bike, as well as motivation to go after new goals or re-evaluate. Team dynamics can change over time, but having a coach keeps things in perspective for me as an individual rider.”

What do you think? Coach or no coach? I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments, so leave some below!

-The Hungry Cyclists

Healthier Peanut Butter Silk Pie

I will be honest – I ate a LOT of desserts over this past holiday season. My sweet tooth then took a bit of a vacation, and I wasn’t  craving cookies, pies, cakes, etc. I was eating a lot of granola instead, and making a lot of berry smoothies (I’ll post the recipe in due time). Then I saw a pinterest photo of a peanut butter pie, and I was inspired to try my hand at making one myself.

You won't regret making this silky smooth PB pie!

You won’t regret making this silky smooth PB pie!

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Changing It Up With Cross Training

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Happy 2014 everyone! 2013 was a pretty good year on the bike: Jameson and I both really enjoyed our new road teams, and Jameson earned his Cat 1 upgrade. We’ll just ignore the cross season – not the best for either of us ha ha!

Every year it seems like I spend a good month or two being fed up with my bike. I know not everyone is this way, but many other cyclists have similar feelings. The fact is that it is a lot more fun to get in shape than to try and maintain fitness once you have it. Setting goals and watching yourself improve every day feels better than bemoaning the loss of your base miles, along with your cycling tan, during the winter. Yes, there are those cyclists who will keep riding despite the cold, but I am not one of them. There are also those, like Jameson, who seem to be able to keep riding the trainer every day and keep doing their intervals and never get burned out… I am not one of those people, either.

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Jameson on the trainer, always :)

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Honey Chai Granola

Totally been on a home-made granola kick this fall. I love a good bowl of granola at any time of day, but a lot of the store-bought varieties tend to be a) a little boring (honey and raisin, really? come on), b) overly sweet, and c) lacking in the nut/protein department.

Look at all that golden, spicy goodness!

Look at all that golden, spicy goodness!

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Century Addicts, Part II

Jameson and I just can’t resist a good century ride. Earlier this spring, I wrote a post about our 100-mile endeavors, and this fall, with our relatively light cyclocross schedules, we got back out on the road for a few more epic adventures.

A pretty backdrop to finish off the ride.

A pretty backdrop to finish off the ride.

If you recall, Jameson broke his hand while racing on the track in August. He kept up with his riding while he healed, but was going a little stir-crazy being confined to the trainer.

Not exactly following doctor's orders...

Not exactly following doctor’s orders…

Naturally, the proper response to getting his cast off was to embark on a road ride, ASAP, but a century ride? A little crazy. Crazy fun!

Not to be outdone, I began planning my own century ride. I called it my “farewell to Baltimore County” ride, since I wasn’t sure if my free time and the beautiful fall weather would line up many more times before I had to depart for Minnesota. The weekend after my thesis seminar, I celebrated the completion of my PhD by finally embarking on the ride.

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Banana, Date, and Nut Breakfast Cookies

I’m kind of a baking fanatic. It’s relaxing for me to focus on something that isn’t work for a while, and I like baking because it feels productive when you stand back and survey your finished product. Unfortunately, I can’t just fill my kitchen with cookies and cupcakes and bars all the time, because I like eating baked goods just as much as I like baking them! I’m always happy when I find a recipe that satisfies the baking urge and turns out to be actually good for me. These Banana, Date, and Nut Breakfast Cookies are just that!

These cookies are the perfect little sweet treat while still being full of healthy nuts and whole grains.

These cookies are the perfect little sweet treat while still being full of healthy nuts and whole grains.

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