my parents were never too restrictive when it came to sweets. opposite the primary school was a little tuck shop on the corner, selling all sorts of sugary nonsense designed to make us all hyperactive, fill us up with empty calories and rot our teeth in the process. and yet i was provided with pocket money to buy this rubbish without specific advice to think healthy. in mitigation, there was very little onus on anyone to eat healthily in the late sixties, early seventies.
however, along with a minimal number of alcoholic beverages in the so-called cocktail cabinet, there were few sweets or biscuits in the sweetie cupboard, other than perhaps the occasional box of milk tray kept for saturday and sunday night. on both those evenings, the box would be lifted from its cupboard residence and my brother and i would be offered one each. two if we'd been particularly good that week.
however, at around nine years old, i pretty much lost my appetite for sweets of any nature. that box would still be offered at weekends, but more often than not, after that age, i would politely refuse. and to be honest, ever since then i have very rarely added the occasional sweet to my diet. as a vegetarian, i'd like to think that i do eat more healthily these days, though the rapidly diminishing number of meat-free products in the local average market is making that harder and harder to accomplish. however, even when it's time for coffee of an afternoon in the office, i'm more likely to indulge in an oatcake than anything of a more sugary nature.
every now and again, if mr washingmachinepost is overcome with emotions of love and generosity, she'll bring me home a snickers bar as a treat, but even that ends up being sliced in three equal pieces, because truth be told, i couldn't manage an entire snickers in one fell swoop.
this aversion to sweetness in a wrapper has often extended to those energy bars that you'd stick in a rear pocket for sustenance and carb replacement during a particularly energetic outing on two wheels. even carbo drinks are something of a last resort; i'm keener on simply having a bottle of water on the bike, for i figure i'm at an age and fitness level where there's no sign of redemption; it's probably downhill from here on in.
one of the joys of living on an island that has acquired an attraction for cyclists of all ages, genres, nationalities and abilities is that on occasion one or two of them will join us for the sunday ride. sometimes invited, but more often just turning up on spec. we are nothing if not welcoming, and the more the merrier as far as we're concerned. the downside to this is that more than just a few own velocipedinal abilities well in excess of our own. at those times, either we have to pretend that the rest of the week is spent training at intensities that demand a restful experience on a sunday, or simply mtfu and pedal as hard as we can.
we were joined on sunday past by a very tall german on a mountain bike (replete with knobbly tyres), who opened conversation with a disclaimer; "i hope i can keep up." those are some of the friendliest words you can hear on a sunday morning, because unless he was bluffing (and i think he was), we'd be able to ride in our usual mobile conversation pattern, while appearing to be most welcoming.
those knobbly tyres undoubtedly slowed him down a tad on the climb to storakaig, but i believe i heard him mention in conversation that he was a former racing cyclist; never a good sign. of course, unless of a particularly evil constitution, visiting cyclists rarely have a predilection for showing up their local hosts. it's worth bearing in mind that few of them have any idea of where we're going or, indeed, where they are at any given moment. you don't want to alienate the tour guides.
however, wishing to fulfil the demands of the host with the most, i offered my cycling companions either a pomegranate passion or lime ade organic energy chew from honey stinger, a company who used to offer (and perhaps still do for all i know) rather sickly sweet energy bars in which the honey content was a bit overwhelming. but the organic energy chews are of an entirely different hue; small enough to pop one in the mouth with ease, either to chew or swallow in a one-er. both flavours are pleasant and enjoyable, so much so that several were consumed over the course of the morning (mostly by me).
scientific analysis is rarely an activity that can be accomplished while riding from debbie's to bridgend, or even on the road to mulindry. therefore any perceived benefits have to be measured by more subjective observation, in this case the rate of travel towards the sprint point at bruichladdich. lord carlos was comfortably ahead as we entered the last 500 metres, with our german compatriot only a few bike lengths behind. the mighty dave and myself had decided simply to roll in at the back, before i figured that neither of those leading would expect a crafty spring from behind. so i hit it hard, sneaked up on both and passed the 30mph signs on my own.
though you may think i doth protest too much, i'd generally not think of myself as a competitive spirit. sneaking a victory in the above manner is more down to a developed sense of mischief than any need to be victorious. in this case, however, i'd figure the fact that i had consumed one or two more honey stinger energy chews than the rest of the peloton aided and abetted what, at the time, seemed something of a lost cause of a sprint.
mind you, i did have five peach slices atop my extra porage oats at breakfast as opposed to the more regular sunday morning portion of four.
in a 50 gram packet of chews (and i've no idea how many are in a packet; we ate most of them before i thought to count), there is 39g of carbohydrate, no fat whatsoever and 60mg of vitamin c. there's the obvious disclaimer that your own mileage may vary, but the worst that can happen is that you munch one or two rather pleasant tasting sweeties. one pack of any flavour retails for around £2.99 or they can be purchased in boxes of two dozen for £24.99. a single pack fits in a rear jersey pocket with ease.
monday 25 august 2014