First Endurance EFS Bar
Most people we know seem to get into food ruts on the bike. It might be a function of buying stuff a case at a time, or deference to a sensitive stomach, or fear of an adverse reaction. Maybe some are just super body chemistry analysts and know that their bodies do best with a very narrow range of particular calories and ingredients.
We like to think we examine most of our bike-related choices pretty carefully. But, as we’ve no doubt written in the past, food and drink that get consumed on the bike needs to be tasty above all. We’ll forgo the perfect blend of calories for something we want to eat. The reason is we’ve found we’re more likely to eat and drink when we like what’s in our bottle and pockets. As we rarely get enough calories on long rides, anything that encourages us to eat more is a good thing.
The First Endurance EFS bar comes in Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip. There are more flavors on the way, but for now this is all they offer. For us peanut butter and chocolate together is a transcendent food combination. They are two flavors we never get bored of, and have together whenever possible. While it’s not like biting into a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup or the sublime Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter, it's still appetizing. There are actual chocolate chips mixed in to the bar, which probably give a good endorphin and sugar kick the moment they hit the palate.
One of First Endurance’s big claims is that they work closely with pro athletes to develop their products. We are not in a position to confirm that statement, but we’ve liked the taste of everything we’ve tried. And everything has gone down easy.
The chocolate chips are a bit of a surprise. As are the whey protein crisps. At first, we thought they were rice. These add taste and some texture as well. The overall appearance of the bar is as something as smooth and formulated as a PowerBar, but a bite reveals that it lacks the sticky, grainy taste that PowerBars are famous for. If you’re an old-skool tri’-geek, you can probably stick the bar to your top tube, but that was never cool. Ever. Biting into a bar does reveal a sense that the mass was taken from a mash, but the flavor and texture is good. You can eat most of the bar without feeling, even on a hot day and a dry mouth that you need to drink a bottle of liquid to wash the thing down.
While there are some similarities to PowerBars, we found that the EFS Bar exceeds the bar that started it all. For example, a problem of PowerBars is that the wrapped bar can be crushed and take on odd shapes in storage. While the EFS Bar has this same affliction, it does much better when we try to unwrap it. For one thing, the wrapper peels off much more easily, for another; the bar doesn’t stick to the wrapper. The bar also doesn’t get gooey in hot weather. The one truly unfortunate parallel is that the bar hardens in cold temperatures. We haven’t had the chance to throw an EFS bar in a jacket pocket for a winter ride, but throwing it into a sub 40-degree refrigerator reveals it can get hard.
So we might not take EFS out during winter rides. In the scheme of things, that’s not a big deal. There’s an expiration date on the bars. This only means that if you eat it past the date, you won’t get the stated fill of vitamin C. Also not a big deal. We don’t ride with Luna bars in the summer; their coating melts on rides between late April and some time in October.
The parallels to PowerBar were no accident. First Endurance found their athletes wanted a bar that was somewhere between PowerBar and the Clif Bar. Their test subjects found Clif too dry and crunchy and Power too dense and grainy. FE’s goal was to be somewhere in between. While we lean heavily toward Clif, we know what they mean. We love the real food-ish taste of Clif, but sometimes find them hard to swallow when racing.
We like the crunch, we like the taste, we like the mechanicals. More importantly, we can eat the bar while riding a hard tempo and only slow down to unpeel the wrapper. It goes down easily and our stomach feels fine afterwards. We can eat it pretty much in one short spell, as opposed to needing to eat half, taking a break, and eating the second half.
There is a lot of stuff in these bars. We have to admit to liking the idea that the bar not only has carbohydrates and protein and fat, but amino acids and electrolytes as well. Knowing that the bar has so much stuff in its 250 calories makes us feel like we’re eating a mini-meal as opposed to eating a snack. We can’t prove that it’s better for us, but so far we’ve had no problems and like the bar enough to keep eating it. We’ve even had it as a snack, not that we generally do or recommend such a thing.
Over the course of a year, we probably have food in our pockets 2-4 days a week. That’s a lot of calories consumed. We want the bars to be good for us, but we need them tasty. We don’t want to get bored with the food, because if we don’t like the food, we won’t eat. While we can eat chocolate and peanut butter for a long time, we’re hoping for some new flavors on this bar from First Endurance so we have more variety to crave.