The over-enthusiastic cyclist

If it involves pedalling then I'm probably into it…

Performance enhancing flapjack

Ok, I know it’s a cycling blog and I have no pretensions of culinary greatness, but I feel the need to share the recipe for my cycling fuel with you. Until two years ago, I used to buy those expensive sports nutrition bars to eat on big rides. Then I realised that it was essentially just posh flapjack, so after some investigative Googling I decided to start making my own. I should tell you up front that I am not especially known for my skills in the kitchen, in fact I’d say that I’m fairly inept. Toast and the occasional pasta dish were the previous extent of my repertoire, so making flapjack was into a whole new area of cooking for me.

I tell you this by way of encouragement: once you get the hang of this, you’ll be in and out of the kitchen in half an hour, from prep to cleaning up afterwards. You’ll also start tweaking the recipe to suit your own tastes. And the results? Rocket fuel! The first time I took this out on a group mountain bike I had some just before the final tough climb at the end of a long ride. I flew up the climb like it was the first of the day. So, if you want to make your own cheap, tasty and high performance cycling fuel then read on.

Equipment needed:
Baking tray (I use one 12″ x 8″ x 1″)
Scales (the same scales that you secretly weigh bike components on)
Bowls (just for weighing ingredients in)
Wok (or half the ingredients if you only have a large frying pan)
Oven (obviously)

Ingredients: 
16oz block of butter
18oz of porridge oats (I’ve recently been using Museli as well)
12oz of dried fruit (the cheapo stuff from the baking aisle in the supermarket works fine)
4oz of castor sugar (or any sugar to be honest)
12oz of golden syrup (using treacle or honey as part of the 12oz can be interesting)

Method:

  1. Put the oven on to 180 degrees, turn on the radio/stereo/iPod.
  2. Thoroughly grease the baking tray with butter.
  3. Cube the butter and start melting it in the wok over a medium heat. Try not to boil it.
  4. Weight out 4oz of sugar and 12oz of syrup into a bowl.
  5. Once the butter’s almost melted, throw the sugar/syrup combo in.
  6. Stir it all in so it’s melted into a sickly mess that looks dangerously unhealthy.
  7. Weigh out and add 18oz of oats and stir in. It’ll seem too much, but keep turning it in until there’s no whiteness in the oats.
  8. Weigh out and add in the fruit. Feel free to add anything else at this point. Seeds are good, if you’re into that kind of thing.
  9. Once it’s all blended in, transfer it to the greased baking tray. I find that the back of a spoon works best to press it in firmly.
  10. Place in the middle of the oven for 12 minutes.

And that’s it. Clean up whilst it’s cooking to avoid getting in trouble, taking care to wipe the syrup tin or it will gunk up the cupboard. After 12 minutes, take it out and leave to cool. It should just be browned round the edges – don’t panic and bake it for longer though, as it will be properly done once it’s cooled. When it is cooled, you can take out and chop up into your preferred shapes/sizes and wrap in cling film or foil. This is my least favourite stage of the whole operation, but if you do it now you’ve got a  convenient stock to grab from on your way out for a ride.

My other advice would be to only eat this stuff when you’re actually out riding.  A decent slice of this fuels a couple of hours in the saddle so don’t be tempted by a slice when you’re just sat on the couch or you’ll notice massive weight gains…

Quality riding fuel

Quality riding tackle, fresh out of the oven

Don't be put off at this stage

Don’t be put off at this stage…

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