As we are all very well aware, bike racing is not an inexpensive habit. Between registration fees, license renewals, endless food, gas money, and of course the equipment arms race, there never seems to be an end in sight to the myriad expense. We shell out for items and experiences that come with a story, a history; consumables that speak of the knowledge and passion from which they’re borne. Personally, I put an incredible amount of value in the craft, the how-to, the process. The human heart at the core of the industry.
It’s with that admiration of craft & process in mind that I took up an interest early in this young season in making my own race food. It began simply enough during an early morning recovery ride with my coach/friend Josh. Between us were expressed loose ruminations of what a good, simple bar would consist of. Later that week, we both set to experimenting, and have since ended up each making a healthy handful of flavors. Those that I’ve brought to the table have been apricot/chia, strawberry/coconut, mango/peach, banana/walnut/currant, and the one that I’m going to share here, pear/ginger.
All you really need, in terms of kitchen appliances & supplies, are a food processor, a blender, some parchment or wax paper, and aluminum foil.
The ingredients are just as simple:
1.5 c dates, dried & pitted
1 c dried pear
1 c dried ginger, Australian style
1.5 c raw cashew
You may have a hard time finding dried pear at your local grocer. Thankfully, though, there are a number of online retailers that can supply you with a wide variety. I went for unsulfured, sugar-free Bartlett pears. As for the dried ginger, I struck out on finding any that was completely sugar-free. What you want is Australian-style ginger, which is readily available at Whole Foods and most natural food shops. The difference between Australian & conventional is that the Aussie iteration has more of a true ginger flavor & is much thicker, in comparison with the thin, candied stuff that you’ll find to be more common.
Of course, if you have a dehydrator, you’ll have a much greater degree of control in the whole process.
The procedure is ridiculously simple:
-Put all the ingredients into a food processor. If you should feel so inclined (read: if your processor is on the crappier end of the spectrum), you could pre-dice some of the bigger fruit bits.
-Run the processor until you seem to have a pretty good blend. You’re looking for all of the components to be roughly the same size, I.E. no giant bits of ginger.
-Scoop roughly 1/2c handfuls of the mix out of the processor, forming into bars onto a piece of parchment paper.
-Throw a handful of cashews and/or almonds (I went for AND) into your blender & run until it’s a fine powder.
-Coat the bars in powder on every side. This is to keep them from being too overly sticky; you won’t want them sticking to your tin foil & getting a mouthful of metal mid-race.
-Wrap each bar in tin foil. Maybe you’ll find a better way to do this than I have, and not struggle to get them open when you need to.
So that’s that, pretty simple stuff.