Luckily, the folks behind Kona Kase, a service that will send 8-10 endurance nutrition samples to you for $15/month, offered to send me a box to try out.
Inside, it was an assortment of various nutrition products – bars, gels, and even some emergency pain relief powder.
Some of these products – like the Cliff Shot Blocks – are things I’ve used before and like. Others were things I’d tried and hated – yes, I’m looking at you, HEED. But the best part, of course, were the products that were new to me, offering me a chance to train with something that might work its way into my race nutrition strategy.
Of course, since I don’t eat wheat and I’m supposed to be limiting my carbohydrate intake, I wouldn’t be able to try everything in there.
Still, it’s not like I’m stuck eating nothing but hay and grass.
Instead, I checked out the gluten-free, low-carb PR Bar before my brick on Saturday.
It tasted much like a chocolate balance bar – cocoa flavored with a hint of an artificial bite – but it’s a lower carbohydrate nutrition bar, so palatable is about the best you can expect. And after eating half of this, I only made an 11 gram dent against my 100 gram/day carbohydrate intake limit, but felt un-hungry enough to start the brick.
Since the brick was going to take over 2 hours, I needed a little bit of mid-brick fuel, but wanted something that wasn’t pure carbohydrate, like a gel, and opted for a few bites of a Picky Bar, which is a product I’d been considering trying before the Kona Kase even showed up.
About a third of that bar kept me alive during the brick, and had a subtle peanut butter flavor. Cool.
While I’m definitely in a special situation with my diet, the one drawback of the Kona Kase is that I won’t be able to try at least 1/3 of the products in there. However, they say that they’ll be starting a gluten-free and a low-carb option in the near future, so that would alleviate that issue. In the meantime, I’ve discovered that the Picky Bars could provide a good source of nutrition during rides, and the PR bars could be a good pre-race alternative to hard boiled egg whites. Two discoveries I’d have never made on my own.
As for the remainder of the box, I’ll try a few other things, and give away the products I can’t use myself to friends.
The HEED? I’ll give some of that to an enemy.
If you’d like to try Kona Kase for yourself, you’re in luck! Go here to enter for a chance to win your own!