Bike snacks can be tricky. As if finding the right fuel wasn’t tough enough, for the bike you have to find fuel that can sit in your pocket for hours and maintain its “dignity.” A few months ago I cooked for a “Pro Cycling” training camp. But for this camp, instead of the pros coming to train, journalists came to experience what the pros do. Team Sky’s nutritionist was there, as well as Ian Boswell, one of their riders. It was fascinating to see how seriously they take their nutrition. During the camp I cooked “RunOnVeg” meals along with some bike snacks. I made rice cakes for the first time thanks to my sous chef, Mary Miller, who came out and helped me cook. You all know that I am not a fan of added sugar or anything “white” and I think it’s safe to say I NEVER endorse concentrated sweeteners. But I have to concede that when you are on the bike you need easily and quickly digested fuel options and that’s when “white” foods and concentrated sweeteners are useful.Bike snacks should have little fiber (which would slow down the process of digestion) and their sugar hits your blood stream right away, supplying fast fuel. And of course, when you’re on the bike you don’t want foods that weigh you down or sit heavy in your stomach. Team Sky’s nutritionist filled us in on the team’s favorite rice cake: Coconut Mango. And funny enough that was the exact one we made for the camp.I was recently asked to help out with nutrition for a ride that some friends of mine were doing. This would be a 12 hour trainer ride – yes trainer ride, meaning indoors! I planned on joining for a few videos and ended up doing close to 4 hours This was my longest trainer ride to date and before it I had only done 90 minutes max. Suffice it to say, I was pretty sore. This group was riding to raise money for the Davis Phinney foundation, which supports finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease. And we got a big treat during the ride – Davis himself stopped in for a visit to cheer us on.
I knew I wanted to make these rice cakes again after making them at the training camp and I knew I had to share the recipe with all of you. I always opt for eating real food on the bike, especially if I am doing an endurance ride, because gels can upset my stomach. These rice cakes are awesome to take on the ride or to have pre-ride. You can even take them on a run and they travel really well. I happened to have a bunch left over that I just stuck in the waffle maker and it made them so crispy. Yum!
I made two versions of the rice cake – one basic one and one with a little kick. I use Trader Joes chili lime spice in half the batch and it was amazing. Standard chili powder can work as well but remember – just a touch of it goes a long way. I chose to use honey because I prefer it over sugar but if you are a strict vegan, maple syrup works as well. Depending on how sweet you like it you can add more or less to the batch. Happy Riding!
- 5 1/2 cup water
- 2 1/2 cup sushi rice or arborio rice
- pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 cup toasted coconut
- 1 cup chopped dried mango
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
- Place water in a medium/large pot over high heat bring to a boil and then add rice and salt (do not rinse rice)
- Lower the fire to a simmer and let cook uncovered for around 40 minutes until completely cooked.
- Once cooked mix in coconut, mango, coconut oil and honey. You can taste it here and add more honey if you like. Optional add a pinch of chili powder or Trader Joes chili lime spice for a kick.
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper or plastic wrap, which will make it easy to take out of the tray once it’s done. Place rice mixture on the baking tray, spreading it 1-2 inch thick.
- Cover and refrigerate over night or at least 5 hours. Then slice into squares, wrap them in foil and stick them in your pocket! Makes around 20 cakes.
- These will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. If you want them to last longer place them wrapped in the freezer and they will last several months.