Bikepacking Recipe: Great Divide Endurance Bars
With the 2019 Tour Divide underway, we thought we’d share this recipe for homemade Great Divide Endurance Bars, dreamed up to support a 10-day ride along the route from Banff to Yellowstone. They’re organic, gluten-free, and designed to provide sustained energy. Find the ingredients, recipe, and a step-by-step video here…
Words by Eric Aakko
Several years ago, I completed a solo self-supported bikepacking trip from Banff National Park (Alberta, Canada) to Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming, USA). My route followed the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (GDMBR) and took 10 days and about 825 miles (1,328 km). To fuel my training and the ride itself, I wanted an energy bar that was not too sweet or salty, and a bit spicy. I also wanted a bar that would digest easily and that supported recovery. I didn’t like the commercial bars on the market so I decided to make my own, with organic ingredients. After a lot of trial and error, including feeding my kids countless recipe modifications—which they thoroughly enjoyed—my Great Divide Endurance Bar was born.
The bar is gluten-free and contains ingredients that support endurance and recovery, such as toasted oats, puffed millet, honey, almonds, walnuts, and dried tart cherries. The cinnamon and touch of cayenne also balances the sweet and saltiness of the bar—which for me, I can eat all day.
- 1 cup puffed millet
- 1 cup pan toasted rolled oats
- ½ cup honey
- ½ cup dried tart cherries
- ¼ cup chopped raw almonds
- ¼ cup chopped raw walnuts
- 3 tablespoons almond butter
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt (to taste)
- Cayenne pepper (to taste)
Directions (Yields 18 bars)
- Heat a dry skillet to medium high heat.
- Add oats and stir until slightly brown and bloom as fragrant toasted oats (about 3-5 mins)—be careful to not burn!
- Add the toasted oats from the skillet into a mixing bowl, including all remaining ingredients (except the honey, almond butter, and spices).
- Pour honey and almond butter in saucepan and stir on medium heat until combined and runny (about 2-3 minutes).
- Add the salt and spices.
- Combine honey, almond butter, and spice mixture with remaining dry ingredients in a mixing bowl, stirring until all dry ingredients are coated (the mixture will be thick).
- Line an 8″ x 8″ casserole dish with parchment paper that extends over twice the size of the dish (cut each corner by about 3 inches) and fold in the coated oats mixture.
- Using clean wet hands, firmly press the mixture into the dish until smoothly flattened.
- Fold the edges of the parchment paper to cover the mixture.
- Using a can of beans or fruit (or whatever), use the can as a rolling pin to firmly compact the covered mixture.
- Cover the dish and refrigerate for several hours (or overnight).
- Uncover and cut into 1inch by 2inch bars.
- Store bars in airtight container (or wrap in parchment paper and then plastic wrap for bikepacking); will remain edible for several days.
I think part of the draw to endurance backcountry cycling is the scenery and the suffering—countless hours of climbing, hunger, and thirst. At the end of a grueling day, nothing satisfies like a good drink and meal, whether simple campfire fare, or a restaurant smorgasbord. With the balanced flavors, this bar can help take the edge off hunger as an “amuse-bouche” (one or two bite hors d’oeuvre) prior to lunch or supper, or supplement feedbag grub during long days of riding.
Editor’s Note: If you decide to give this recipe a try, we’d love to hear about (and see a photo of) your results in the comments below!
About Eric Aakko
Erik Aakko, MS MCHES, is a graduate from a professional plant-based culinary program and has a certificate in plant-based nutrition from Cornell University. He is also a certified Food for Life cooking instructor with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), and has over 25 years experience as a public health practitioner addressing various population health issues. Find more from Eric on YouTube at Plant-Based Scratch Kitchen or on his website, SpeakingWellness.com.