Long Ride Sustenance
For short rides, a bag of nuts and chocolate will provide enough fuel to get home and make a nutritious meal. They will even provide enough calories to ride from coffee shop to coffee shop on most rides. But on long snow-bike rides, traversing back-roads and getting away from civilization for entire days, or multiple days in the case of winter bikepacking or ultra-racing, a better caloric balance is needed than nuts with sugar can provide.
For higher quality carbohydrates, sweet potato chips, either homemade in a food dehydrator or store bought are an excellent source of carbohydrates. Chips in general freeze well and contain a substantial number of calories. They can either be preserved in a plastic baggie in their original shape and size, or crushed up and eaten as a powder. For more carbohydrates, dried fruit also packs and freezes well.
Protein sources are often hard to come by in a frozen state and jerky is a common fallback. Otherwise, I recommend a homemade approach to well balanced frozen snacks.
While I have no set recipe for a cold-weather snack, they are all variations on the same theme: food-process a bunch of ingredients together with some eggs for protein, spread thin on a baking sheet, bake at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes, freeze, enjoy. As long as the ‘mush’ is baked thin enough and doesn’t contain too many high water content ingredients, it can be cut into bars, frozen and eaten at any temperature.
There are no standard recipes for this, but below is an example. Some of my favorite ingredients include sweet potatoes, flax seeds, chia seeds, coconut flakes, dates, chocolate chips, almonds, walnuts, dried cranberries, and ground espresso beans.
A word of warning: nut butters do not freeze well so add nuts to the food processor at the end of the mixing cycle to avoid them getting chopped too finely.
Homemade Sweet Potato Frozen Bars
1 sweet potato
3 tbsp flax seeds, ground
3 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp honey
Any other low water content ingredients: Nuts, dried fruit, ground espresso beans, etc.
1. Bake sweet potato and remove skin
2. Add all ingredients to food processor and blend until smooth
3. Spread thinly on a well-greased (I use coconut oil) cookie sheet.
4. Bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes until edges start to turn brown.
5. Let cool. Slice into individual bars and freeze in plastic bags.
Cinnamon Pecans (Recipe from my sister-in-law, Courtney Sterling)
1 lb. pecan halves
1 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 egg white
1 tbsp water
1. Mix sugar, salt and cinnamon in small bowl. Set aside.
2. Whip egg white and water in large mixing bowl until frothy.
3. Gently toss pecans in egg white mixture, until all pecans are well covered.
4. Pour cinnamon sugar mixture over pecans, tossing gently until pecans are evening coated.
5. Spread pecans evenly in one layer on an ungreased 9×11 cookie sheet.
6. Bake at 300° for 15 minutes. Gently turn all pecans and bake another 15 minutes.
7. Let cool completely.
Eszter Horanyi lives and mountain bikes in Crested Butte, CO. She has dabbled in road racing, cyclocross racing, and cross country mountain bike racing, but has gravitated towards ultra endurance and multi day self supported racing in the more recent past. She firmly believes that nothing tops a good ride with good friends on good trails, thus she spends her life in search of all of the above. All articles by Eszter.