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Fueling our mad dash through four days of Sea Otter is often left to breakfast burritos, dinner burritos, and tacos after hours. The in between time is usually covered by whatever snacks are chopped into bite-size samples (or the occasional piece of fruit, tri-tip, sausage or chicken salad from kind folks like Hayes, KS, Bike Fettis & SRAM – thanks guys!).

Of course, all those samples aren’t just there out of these nutrition companies’ kindness, they’re there to show off the latest, tastiest ways to keep your rides going full steam. Easily the most memorable of the bunch this year was Clif Bar’s new Nut Butter Filled bars. Imagine a Chocolate Brownie bar sliced in half and filled with peanut butter and you get the idea. They’ll have four versions – Peanut Butter, Coconut Almond Butter, Chocolate Hazelnut Butter, and the absolutely amazing Chocolate Peanut Butter. Dear Clif, please go ahead and send a couple cases of these in for, um, review.

No nuts for you? Check out the growing buffet of delicious new bars, drinks and waffles (lots of waffles) below…

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If this doesn’t make you hungry, something’s wrong. Very, very wrong. I ate a lot of these.

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Also recently introduced are new oatmeal based energy food squeezes. Complimenting the savor flavors like sweet potato or pizza margherita and a couple of fruit puree options are two “breakfast” versions – Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal and Banana Maple Oatmeal.

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Love the simple, clean, whole food ingredients.

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Picky Bars, which is another of our favorites, is cooking up a new savory and sweet bar that blends spices, nuts and apricots to create an exotic flavor.

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The sample I tried slightly favored the sweet over the savory, which seemed like the right blend for on-the-bike snacking.

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The last of the new bars comes from Honey Stinger, which actually just announced these new organic, gluten-free, non-GMO energy bars a week after the show. Available in four flavors, it also offers a mix of sweet and savory options to keep your taste buds fresh. Even better, they’re all low in sugar, favoring real whole foods, fats and proteins. But they have honey, of course.

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They also showed off their three new gluten free waffles – Cinnamon, Maple and Salted Caramel.

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They have the same crispy waffle exterior, there’s really no appreciable difference in flavor or texture from their regular waffles.

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Honey Stinger may have created the sports energy stroopwafel category, but new options keep popping up. The latest is from Ted King’s Untapped brand. He started with Maple Syrup gel packs, and now he’s filling the waffle centers with Canadian Vermont Maple Syrup instead of honey. It’s still in development, but should be available soon.

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Rip van Wafels has been around for a couple years, and their latest puts real coconut shreds inside the gooey center for a refreshing tropical flavor.

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GU is getting into the fray, too, with four flavors coming out in July. Two will be gluten free (salted chocolate and wild berry), two won’t (salted caramel and caramel coffee. Click image to enlarge for details and delicious texture. Retail will be $1.45 or $23 for a box of 16.

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Their Octane electrolyte caps get a new, smaller bottle size that’s about $10 retail. Why smaller? They say it’s easier to pack and bring with you.

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Bonk Breaker has two new bar flavors coming -caramel macchiato (about 50mg caffeine) and mint chocolate chip- and now they’ll have something to wash them down.

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Their new hydration sports drink mix uses very clean ingredients – just organic sugars, electrolytes and organic dried fruit powders. The flavors are very light, and very good. They’ll offer a 40 serving bag for $19.99 and 20 double-serving sticks for $34.95 (packaging’s expensive, don’cha know).

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Ryno Power is more of a performance supplement company, offering various powders and pills to give you a boost or aid recovery. Their upcoming sports drink will add branched chain amino acids, which can help spare muscle during extended efforts, and D-ribose, which fuels muscles at the cellular level by giving the body what it needs to produce more ATP (adenosine tri-phosphate).

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Pickle Juice Extra Strength gets twice as many electrolytes as their original formula, equivalent to four 8oz bottles of Gatorade in one 2.5oz shot. Or, like 12x more concentrated. But they say it’s really the Ascetic Acid in the vinegar that works as the neural inhibitor to block the nerve response that causes cramps when electrolytes are too low or there are circulatory issues. So, the vinegar chases away the cramps and then they flood the system with sodium to keep it from happening again. They also removed the food coloring so they could call it all natural. $1.99 each, and it’s more palatable than you’d think.

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For something a little lighter throughout the day, Nuun has replaced Ace-K with monkfruit extract and stevia in all of its flavors and formulas, and replaced polyethylene glycol with avocado oil. The latter is used a s a lubricant to help the tabs get out of the compression equipment that forms them into pellets. They also got rid of sorbitol and replaced it with non-GMO dextrose from corn. That added a gram of sugar, but all of the changes made their products mostly plant based, even the caffeine, which comes from green tea. Now their entire product line is Non-GMO and vegan.

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When the ride is over, you want to kickstart the recovery process as quickly as possible. For that, the new APX recovery drink puts only the basics in their mix -whey protein, sugars, salt- plus cocoa and L-Glutamine. You can feel good about putting that in your body, and feel good knowing that they donate all profits to charitable organizations. They also offer sports drinks.

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If you prefer to nosh on your recovery, then we’ll head back to Honey Stinger’s booth for their new Protein Chews. They use Algan and Pea proteins rather than whey or other milk proteins, making them a good choice for vegans. Three flavors are offered, which honestly taste pretty similar (and good). At just 5g protein per packet, they’re an expensive way to get what you need for a full post-training refill, but could be a good option for on the bike to stave off hunger since there’s also 32g carbs.

Also worth mentioning Fluid’s new vegan cinnamon vanilla recovery drink if you’re looking for animal-product-free muscle rebuilding.

8 COMMENTS

  1. Great to see companies offering more plant based options along with non-gmo ingredients. Good highlights. Looking forward to trying many of these!

    • I’m definitely hoping some of these waffles are vegan. I’ve only seen one vegan stroopenwafel in my 15 years of looking

  2. The jelly-donut Clif Bar looks interesting. I can barely get down gels and blocks when I’m riding, so anything that makes a bar more tolerable, the better.

  3. At the grocery story in the baby food aisle you can find something at half the price compared to the Clif energy food squeezes.

  4. I wish these companies would stay away from stevia. Most people don’t know that stevia is from the ragweed family and triggers a similar allergic reaction. I learned the hard way.

  5. I’m continually amazed at the huge selection of very good products made and sold Stateside and the amazing lack of same in shops here in Europe. Sure, if I buy online I can find Clif, occasionally, Honey Stinger and Nuun… but pretty much none of the rest. Power Bleck (Bar) pretty much has the market wrapped up…. somehow. Almost all of the rest of the products taste and feel like extruded cardboard. Anyway… hope to see much of this end up over here at some point.

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