Happy Sunday – I hope your weekend is relaxing, fun, and healthy! I have lots to talk about today, including a recap of yesterday’s Tour de Cure and an opportunity for YOU to win one of my favorite products! Because this is a monster post, I’ve divided it into 4 sections – Motivation to Ride, The Ride Itself, Fueling During the Ride, and Chia Bar Giveaway. Of course, I hope you read them all, but just in case, this will make it a little easier to find what you want!
Motivation to Ride
Yesterday, I rode in a metric century (100K, or 61.5 miles) bike ride called the “Tour de Cure.” Although my first love is running, I also really enjoy cycling … my road bike ends up collecting dust for a lot of the year, and once I get back on it I always regret not using it more often! But this ride (it’s specifically not called a race) inspires me to get back in the saddle every year, so if you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen pictures of my rides for the past several weeks, gearing up to this event.
So why do I participate in the ride? It’s definitely a personal challenge, because 61.5 miles is no joke, and you know I love pushing my body whenever possible. Plus, like I said, I really enjoy cycling! But there’s one real reason I participate …
My younger sister Lindsey was diagnosed with Type I diabetes in 2003, just as I headed off to college. I remember getting that call and not really knowing what it meant for Lindsey’s future. Sure, diabetes didn’t sound too great, but I was sure a strong girl like Lindsey could get through it. Little did I know at that time what a burden diabetes would be on Lindsey’s every day life … not only does she have to give herself insulin shots several times a day (or wear a “pump” that helps administer insulin), but she constantly has to check her blood sugar levels, think about what she is eating and the impact it will have on her body, and worry about maintaining her health in a way that most of us don’t have to deal with. She is a true champion and handles this all with grace and composure, but not a day goes by when I don’t wish that we would find a cure for this frustrating, awful disease. Clearly, I know that going on a bike ride or donating a small sum of money will not actually find the cure to diabetes, but I believe that every little step we can take to fund research or show support for those with diabetes is a step in the right direction. (picture source)
The Ride Itself
So yesterday, I hopped in my car bright and early, and drove to the starting line, where I got my number and geared up for the start. I’m pretty comfortable biking on my own, but the idea of starting in a pack of hundreds of riders still makes me a little nervous, so I decided to give them a few minutes’ head start and take off on my own (incidentally, I missed a turn right at the beginning since I wasn’t with the pack, so I ended up riding 62.3 total miles – oops!).
Within a few miles, I caught up to a bunch of riders, and was so impressed by how friendly everyone was on the road. There were so many riders with diabetes, and yelling out “Go Red Rider!” to them made me smile every time. I passed several packs since I started a few minutes late, and eventually settled into a nice groove. I spoke with a nice guy named Ferdy for almost 10 miles, but mostly enjoyed zoning out by myself. When I wasn’t talking to others, I tried to think of something I was grateful for each time my Garmin clicked off one more mile – a fun exercise!
The course was an out-and-back, and I had forgotten how hilly the middle half of the course (miles 15-46) was! The roads were pretty rough at this point, too, but in general it was a great course. I got to see lots of Texas farmland, horses, and cows, and had to deal with very few cars. Of course, it was HOT – “felt like” 99 degrees when I finally got back to my car.
Like I said, this wasn’t a race, and even though I’ve been cycling 40+ miles the past few weekends, I’ve really only gotten in 5 or so rides since the Tour de Cure last year (sad, I know). I knew my running endurance, leg strength, and general fitness would carry me through the ride, but I wanted to maintain a pace that was slow enough to be manageable for the whole distance without “crashing and burning.” Due to the hills, I was going anywhere between 6 mph (steeeeep hill!) and 32 mph (same hill!), but my goal was to finish the 61.5 miles in 4 hours. Well, I’m nothing if not determined, and look at my final finish time … 3:59:48! That’s 15.6 mph … pretty slow relative to my times when I cycled more frequently, but given the hills, heat, and road conditions, I’ll take it! My legs were getting tired towards the end, but the biggest trouble was my neck – so sore from the bent over road bike position that I’m just not used to anymore! Overall, it was a wonderful way to spend a Saturday morning – motivating, fun, and sweaty :).
Fueling During the Ride
Because it was so hot, I knew I’d have to focus on hydration. I have two big water bottles on my bike, and I refilled them each three times. I used one packet of Hammer Heed (a more natural electrolyte powder that I use frequently), and the rest was straight water. Aside from the few pretzels and 1/4 of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich I snagged from the fuel tents, my main source of energy was Health Warrior Chia Bars.
You know about my love for chia seeds, so it should be no surprise that one of my go-to energy bars lists them as the #1 ingredient. These bars provide a steady source of energy, taste great, and are really easy on my sensitive stomach, so I tucked a few in my jersey pockets, and consumed two on the ride. (Note: I probably consumed about 400-450 calories total throughout the 4 hours. I’ve seen many people argue that you should consume up to 800 calories per hour on the bike, which seems like major overkill to me! I believe that each person’s body is different, and we can find the right fueling balance for ourselves through experimentation. I’m happy to answer questions on this if you have them!)
So now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for! I want to give YOU an opportunity to try some Chia Bars for yourself! I mentioned on Facebook last weekend that I was going to reach out to a few companies to see if they’d be interested in sponsoring giveaways. Because I’m a new blogger, I only want to promote and give away products that I really do believe in and use myself, so Health Warrior was one of the first companies I asked. Luckily for me – and for you! – they offered to send four boxes of Chia Bars – one for me to review, and three to give away!
I’ve mentioned that I love the taste of Chia Bars, and the way they give me long-lasting energy with a nutrition label I can feel good about. And get this – Health Warrior let me know that chia seeds (pound for pound) provide more Omega-3 fatty acids than salmon, more fiber than oatmeal, more protein than tofu, and more magnesium than broccoli! The bars are all natural, vegan, dairy- and soy-free, and just 100 calories each (with 1000mg Omega-3s and only 5g sugar). Until yesterday I hadn’t tried the new flavors, and they are delicious!! I was given a box of Coconut, Banana Nut, Apple Cinnamon, and Coffee flavors, but I want the winners to be able to try them all! So I’m going to mix up the flavors and send three winners a box of Chia Bars with all four flavors represented!! (Don’t worry, the bars are individually wrapped). There are several ways to enter – just use the Rafflecopter widget below to get started. You have until Wednesday at 11:59pm CT to enter, and I’ll announce the winner on Friday. If you have trouble, feel free to email me, and note that if you’re reading this by email, you’ll have to click through to the post, and the widget may not work with Internet Explorer. And check out Health Warrior on Facebook and Twitter!
click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!
So tell me in the comments …What is your favorite way to use chia seeds? Which of the new flavors of Chia Bars sound best to you? What health/ wellness/ nutrition question would you like to see answered on the blog?