If avoiding “bonks” is your thing, we have taste and road tested some “Bonk Breaker” bars that could almost pass as real food.
The English language and its various derivations can make for some interesting interpretations of words and their meanings. Australians tend not to “root” for their football team, although occasional footage from Bondi nightclub toilets may indicate otherwise. And while many an Aussie teen may think a quick “bonk” is something to strive for, in sporting parlance, a “bonk” is certainly not something that one should be intentionally pursuing with similar vigour.
“Bonking” or “hitting the wall” can really put a dent in your racing or training and this is why nutrition is such an important part of racing or training for events of any reasonable distance. The advent of readily available calories designed for sporting endeavours has been a double edged sword. Used wisely they provide a great form of sustenance, however especially with gels, the ease of use has anecdotally seen a rise in the amount of athletes suffering gastric distress from incorrect use.
Bars, as an alternative to gels, provide a few advantages. For someone like myself who tends to get hungry during long events, a bar will go some way to filling you up. They are also more difficult to “over feed” on. The downside has often been though, that they don’t often taste like the advertised flavour, or are just plain bad tasting. During a race when things are getting tough, the last thing you feel like doing is trying to down a bar that tastes like socks.
When the Bonk Breaker bars arrived, I needed to wait to get home to take a happy snap, but I will have to admit to being tempted to crack one open when flavours like Apple Pie and Peanut Butter and Jelly were being dangled in front of me.
So after getting them home and taking a photo, under pressure from the kids I opened the Peanut Butter and Jelly (Jam for us Aussies). As you can see in the photo there is a line of “jelly” through the bar. The bar tasted moist and nutty and was even palatable enough for the kids to fight over the remnants.
So with that done I packed them away, and waited till I was to meet “TenPints” for a ride round Sydney’s north to test the remaining bars. Not being a coffee fan I gave the Espresso Chip to “TenPints” and we thought Coffee would go well with Apple Pie. So I was test driving the Blueberry Oat and Coconut Cashew.
Both the bars I was trying were tasty and moist, and were easy to get down with minimal water. The flavours are exactly as listed on the packet with the coconut and blueberry in the respective bars being the main flavour.
“TenPints” reported on his trial bars:
If a moist oat-style bar is your thing, then it's worth giving Bonk Breakers a try in training. I tried eating them whilst putting some effort in on the bike, and found that the bars had a pleasant “mouth-feel”; easy to bite, chew and swallow and didn't demand over-excursion from the jaw, or leave any teeth-clinging residue for your tongue to do battle with, thus avoiding excessive interruption of that crucial oxygen flow.
I am a coffee fan and have therefore experienced various incarnations of coffee flavoured energy snacks, including ones which would turn instant coffee into a connoisseur’s choice. I was pleasantly surprised with the Espresso Chip flavour - they really do mean chips of espresso bean, the flavour was akin to nibbling bits off a coffee bean, not the whole coffee bean, but enough of a nibble for a genuine espresso-bean taste and crunch.
The Apple Pie was also very pleasant, not a heavy apple flavour, but a balanced flavour which you'd expect from a pie as opposed to just the fruit. Personally, I think Apple Crumble would be a more appropriate name, and I liked this Apple Crumble!
Bonk Breakers have between 220 and 270 calories per bar which is twice the calories of most gels and have enough flavours to enable you to keep the taste buds happy on even the longest ride.
So whether you are after something different to gels, are after a “real food” top up to supplement your other nutritional needs, are just thinking some of the Bonk Breaker flavours are something you would enjoy come race day, or as one Transitions member commented, as a testament to their great taste, as a TV snack while lounging at home, then give Bonk Breakers a shot, and hopefully the only “bonk” you will be faced with will be a good old Aussie one!
The Bonk Breaker bars we had are noted as Gluten, Dairy and Soy free; however the next batch will probably not be listed as Gluten Free. According to the guys from Bonk Breaker, the US and Australia apparently have different regulations, and while the US recognise “gluten free oats” Australia does not. So if you are after a gluten free product and it’s only for reasons of choice then the Bonk Breaker should fit the bill. If however, you seek out gluten free products due to allergies, a Bonk Breaker “may” be suitable, but it would still be wise to test them out before chowing down on race day.
Check out the First Endurance website for the full range of flavours, prices and the relevant nutrition tables.