Gulping the distasting, too sweet and stomach disruptive gels is now belonging to the the past for me. When researching for alternatives for a scoop of energy boosting substance, I came across chia seeds. It grows natively in South America and was known as a sustainable energy source by the Mayans. Nowadays Chia seeds are mainly praised by ultra endurance athletes as a real alternative to energy gels. That fact is what made curious to try them out. My very first experience was at my solo 24-hour race in Rold Skov in Denmark earlier this year. I had packed 24 servings of Chia gels (recipe is to follow) in small plastic bags. I swallowed one serving per hour, along with small servings of rice/chicken/ketchup also prepackaged in small plastic bags. I raced from 12 am to 6.30 am the next morning only with a few refueling stops. At this point I had had a defect on my bike for a couple of hours, only getting worse and not repairable, so I chose to bail it while it was still fun and avoiding a total break down. The difference from my former 24-hour races was, that at this hour I would pass out, probably after puking somewhere along the trail. This year I was actually fresh and annoyed that I had to quit. I had a nice breakfast (what a relief to just give in and eat a full breakfast), slept until 11 pm and woke up fresh and, if it had been required, ready to start racing again. Was it due to the Chia seeds? I don't know and this is not a scientific test. But I am suspicious that the Chia seeds had their role to play. Later this year when crossing Sweden in two days I had the same experience. The energy boost and sustainable energy is remarkable. I have scoured the internet for recipes and settled on a mix of those, one that is easy to prepare from dry seeds making a whole days ration in a soft plastic bottle. The ingredients that is required for the AZT race will add some weight to my pack but I think it is worth the extra effort, and the fact that I can pronounce all of its ingredients is rather nice. I have found that for me 6 servings is a proper amount for a full bike packing day.
Recipe per serving (to be multiplied with the numbers of servings for a day):
1 table spoon Chia seeds
1 table spoon maple sirup
1/3 cup of water
1/8 teaspoon of seasalt
1/8 baking soda, not baking powder
Shake thoroughly. Ready after 15 minutes.