Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Review! NOW Bars - Honeycomb with Chia and Raisin!

Solid food. Something I had given up on when it came to longer events, be it training rides in the East Tennessee sun or Ironman (sorry... 140.6 and 70.3 if we're going to be technical about it) races in... well anywhere I can afford to drive myself. (sorry, no flying for this guy if I can help it.) I felt like I had given it the good old college try, I just could never find what "I was looking for." A bar that didn't turn into a sticky pile of goo after twenty minutes, didn't have gluten (a no-no for me) and most importantly, didn't taste like it was made from chocolate, sawdust and road kill.

That was years ago. I've been pretty much "bar free" (well, these kind of bars anyways) since then.

Not the kind of bars we're talking about. But hey, Roadhouse is sweet, right? 
That is, I was. I'm not sure what really caught my attention when I saw the NOW bars (link here!) on the shelf at my LBS a couple of Sunday's ago. We'd just got back from a particularly brutal "recovery" ride, (Yeah right) and for some reason that bright yellow packaging and loud exclamation of "Gluten - Free" just seemed to speak to me. Alright... I'm game, what's one more energy bar on the long list of "no thanks."

Turns out, it's good. Actually, not just good... pretty freakin' awesome.

From the (gluten free) oats and Chia seeds (not pets) to the real raisins to the little nuggets of honey, this bar delivers on the taste front for this guy. Hell, this is one of the few "energy bars" I would go so far as to say I would eat when I had not been sitting on a saddle for two or three hours.

Made from Manuka Honey, Ambrosia, Nectar and the tears of rejoicing angels.*
*Not actual ingredients... other than the Honey.
Of course my suspicions that the bar was actually "good" (and not just "energy bar good") were later verified when I noticed my box of NOW bars rapidly depleting in number, despite the fact that I had only devoured a couple myself on rides. A little further investigation unveiled that my friends AND my girlfriend (can't trust anyone these days...) had been raiding my stash. It seems these things are not just good enough for triathlons and cycling, but also perfectly acceptable for hiking and marathon video game sessions. The problem now has become trying to find creative places to hide my stash.

Here's the stats on the bars in case you were looking to compare, or just so you know what you're getting into. 4/1 Carb/Protein ratio, and not an unbearable amount of fat besides.

As far as how good of a job they do "on the road" I've been enjoying some success with them. I'll be fueling with them (exclusively) for my 100 miler this weekend. That's a pretty big compliment from my perspective, because usually on rides of that length I have to vastly diversify my nutrition to keep my sanity (well... relative sanity) intact. The man who's face is on the package (Phil Keoghan - from Amazing Race fame.) did his pretty enviable 40 day ride across America fueling with the bars... and anything a person can stomach for 40 days has got to be pretty dang good.

The one thing I wanted to put to the test was the "Will not melt" advertisement. So what's the best way to test something like that you might be thinking. I'm sure some of the smarter and fancier guys out there would come up with some scientific test to find the answer, but me... I'm a simple man. So I threw one in my car for 8 hours in the 100+ degree heat with the windows up while I was at work.

Science at work.

The bar on the right has been baking on my dash for the day. The bar on the left has been sitting in my temperate (74 degrees) kitchen all day. I left the package around both so that you could see that the bar stays together totally. No melted gunk stuck to the wrapper. No more having to simple green my bar tape every time I have a snack on the bike!

The only gripe I've got is that finding these bars "around" is a bit tough. Other than my LBS (which had a very limited selection, and was nearly out of those) the only place close to me that sells them is a Smoothie King. If a big chain grocery store (looking at you Kroger / Publix) picked them up, it would be pretty awesome and convenient.  Fortunately, NOW has a store finder on their website that can help you locate somewhere to try them out, or of course you can just take my word for it that they are pretty sweet (see what I did there) and order them straight from the source.

Alright, first "nutrition" review down. Of course nutrition is a very personal thing so you need to do your own testing to see what works for you on your rides and races, but hopefully you'll give these bars a try, I think NOW has hit nail on the head with these guys.

As for me, I've got a 100mile ride this weekend... here's a nice picture of the fun I'll be having :)

You just have to love East Tennessee!

With any luck, I'll make it to the top. (and survive the descent)

Also, Saturday is the first day of the Tour! (In case you've been under a rock) Having no Prologue kind of stinks, but since Fabio is out anyways I guess they didn't want to waste their time :) It looks like it's going to be a battle in the mountains... will Sky dominate the podium again? Or will Contador and Schleck give us a nail biter? Is Cadel still in the conversation? We'll see...

As always, thanks so much for checking out what goes on inside my head. I really appreciate it.

- Christopher Morelock

1 comment:

  1. I will definitely have to try them and see if I can find them here in Memphis! Thanks for the tip!