Saturday, 18 April 2015

Nutrition Review: MuleBar Nosebags

I've always been a fan of dried fruit, nuts and seed mixes. Whether you're snacking after a hard morning training session, or you need something to break up the monotony of energy bars and gels on a long ride; dried fruit and savoury nuts are an ideal source of energy and protein.

MuleBar have clearly tapped into this idea with their new Nosebag products; handy jersey pocket-sized bags of dried fruit, and savoury nuts and seeds, which provide a great alternative energy source.

There's nothing particularly revolutionary about the contents of MuleBar's Nosebags, but they do taste great.

First up, there is the Fruit Avalanche. This is a mix of raisins, dried apricots, dried cherries, cape gooseberries and goji berries. Much like a good dried fruit mix, it's a riot of flavours, and will certainly add a bit of interest for a palate that has been numbed by sugary energy gels. There's a great mix of textures too, so you can enjoy gently chewing on that goji berry as you battle into a headwind.

Second in the line-up, is the savoury Tamari nuts and seeds Nosebag. This features sunflower kernels, Tamari kernels (apricot kernels with a savoury spicy coating), pumpkin seeds, cashews and almonds. I've always been a fan of savoury "Real Food" when Fuelling for Endurance Riding, and the savoury Nosebag fulfils that need very well. It's a great alternative flavour to add some variety to your energy food on longer rides. The nuts and seeds provide a nice crunch, and the protein and unsaturated fats found in them will help you to keep going for longer, and also repair damaged muscles.

Trail mix and dried fruit mixes are nothing new in themselves, but providing a handy (compostable!) grab-bag that you can stuff in your jersey pocket is very neat. MuleBar have also been clever with ingredient selection, so for example, they've cut out bigger nuts from the savoury bag making it easier to eat than your standard nut mixes.

These are definitely worth a look if you're bored of standard energy food, and looking for something different and tasty to keep you fuelled.

View the MuleBar range at MuleBar.com (Link)

Monday, 13 April 2015

Planning A Mediterranean Marathon - Mallorca 312 / 600


"Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all." Helen Keller

Last year, I rode a number of "endurance rides"; including a 200 mile 'New Forest 200', the 303km Dragon Ride, and a non-stop 483km (300 miles) from Falmouth to London along the Trafalgar Way. Some would call it masochism, some madness; but in all honesty, I just enjoy riding my bike. I enjoy riding my bike, and seeing how far I can push my boundaries; there's no greater feeling than breaking them down and setting a new horizon.

Earlier this year, I heard about the Mallorca312 challenge; a 193 mile sportive around the perimeter of Mallorca. Perhaps it's because I'm an Islander, perhaps it's because I've spent my life-to-date doing laps of an island either in a boat or on a bike; whatever it is, I felt a real urge to take part in this sell-out sportive.

312 kilometers is a challenge in itself, a big challenge; especially when the route features 4000+ metres of elevation gain. It's going to be a 12 hour day in the saddle I expect, and I'm sure my legs will feel empty as bamboo tubes at the end; but, I decided to make it even more of a marathon...

Next week, I will travel to Mallorca to try and ride 600 kilometres in three days.

What is life if not a daring adventure, right?!

I'll be staying in the north of the island, at the Playa de Muro hotel. The plan is to do two popular routes on the first two days: one down into the mountains on the western side of the island, and the other a flatter one in the central and eastern areas. On the third day, I'll ride the Mallorca312 event.

The event looks fantastic and takes in all the highlights of Mallorca, including the Puig Major mountain climb, and the sights of coast roads and vineyards. I know some great people through social media that are also taking part in the event, and it will be fantastic to meet them en-route.

I didn't manage to get away for a warm weather training camp this year, so I'm hoping that this three day block will both be great fun, and also a help to my training. It should also be a great time to test some short sleeve jerseys and bib shorts, and find out what is the hot new kit for 2015!

I'll keep you updated with photos, videos and writing throughout the challenge on Twitter, Instagram and here on the blog. Let's start another adventure!
Route profile of the Mallorca312

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Race Report: Thruxton Spring Classic - 'Solo Flyer'

In the style of Jens Voigt: "breakaways don't often work; but, in order for a breakaway to work, there actually has to be a breakaway!". Bike racing is a numbers game, and today I decided that although breakaways don't often work, neither do my sprints; so, I was better to try and make a break stick, than sit in and wait for the bunch gallop.

An open airfield circuit race, with an uphill section into a Force 6 headwind, probably isn't the best place to try and instigate a solo break, but it seemed worth a shot...

Bike racing is a numbers game; and I knew the more attempts I made at breaking away, the more likely one would come good. Straight from the first lap of the 11 lap course, I tried attacking. One, two, three; I would go off the front, sometimes with others, sometimes on my own, but all three times I got swallowed up by the chasing pack. Finally, on lap five, it came good.

Just after the chicane, and as the bunch had slowed a little, I went... hard.

The following six laps were a bit of a blur of speed (when the wind was from behind), and painful pedal mashing (when the wind was in my face). In short though, I managed to hold off the chasing peloton of 100+ starters. 25 kilometres on a solo flyer.

My first win on the road/circuit racing circuit this year, and a nice result after taking first place at the local time trial yesterday as well. A good start to the season.

P.S. loving being able to race in shorts!

Guess at which point the successful breakaway started!