Given how much I fret over exactly which parts I put on my bike, you might think I’d be at least as picky about what I put in my body. Nope. For better or worse, that’s never really mattered. I don’t tend to suffer any consequences for going too big and greasy for breakfast, and I’ve never found any difference in my rate of recovery based on how healthily or unhealthily I refuel after a long day. I’m sure this will all catch up with me eventually, but that’s a problem for Future Travis to worry about.
And while some people swear by a specific brand’s drink mix or energy gel, it’s all the same to me. I just need sodium, calories and carbs. But I do still have a favorite. Even though what I eat isn’t of much concern, how I eat it definitely is. I need it to be simple, convenient, and scalable. So, ever since the Clif Shot Bloks adopted their current packaging configuration of six neatly stacked cubes (they used to be loose in a small bag like Famous Amos cookies), it’s all I’ve needed for quick, easy-access essential nutrients.
Gu Energy Gels first hit the market in the mid-90s, they revolutionized endurance sports. They also were yet another reason for the rest of the world to continue believing that cyclists are kooks. And maybe for good reason. Sucking down little pouches of warm gelatinous sugar is sort of an acquired taste. Once your body starts asking for it, it’s no big deal, but I still wouldn’t call it pleasant. They’re usually a bit over one fluid ounce, which is a lot to swallow when we’re talking about something that viscous. It usually takes me two pulls to get through a whole “shot,” and sometimes it’s a bit too much. Of course, it can also be a bit too little. If I’m being good, and refueling just before I need to, I may want a little less than a shot. And if I’m being bad, which is more common, I’ve waited too long and I want a shot and a half. But neither is an option because of the other thing I don’t like about energy gels is that they’re messy. You really have to get every last drop out of them, then roll them up from the top down, and they still end up depositing some snot wherever you stow them.
So, the gummy has long been my favorite state of matter in this sort of thing. For most brands, a serving size is 3 gummies, but there’s no harm in popping one more or one less. And the way Clif packages them makes it as easy as using a Pez dispenser. It’d be nice if they could work out something like the Litter Leash feature that they worked out for their Clif Shots energy gels, but with a little care, you can pull a packet out of your pocket, open it, chew down your desired dose, and then pack them away, all with one hand and maybe the help of your upper left and lower left canines.
Pictured here are the Salted Watermelon, which I’ve switched to after getting a little tired of the Margarita flavor. Both have extra sodium, which is a must for my climate and my chemistry.
So, not as fancy as a EXT suspension or as controversial as Cane Creek eeWings, but that’s exactly what makes Shot Bloks my go-to. I don’t even have to think about them. Which is good, because I don’t think about anything else I eat either.
Photos: Anthony Smith