every year, around early to mid october, depending on when memory kicks in, mrs washingmachinepost gathers the myriad ingredients to bake a christmas cake. i'm assuming that this cake has need of being baked this early in the year in order to allow the colossal amount of dried fruit to mature till it tastes perfect. it seems also that local tradition would require that a sozzling of single malt be applied at least a couple of times during this maturing process. despite the fact that i don't drink as a rule, and ambience of one of the local malts is not one easily ignored. even if i wanted to.
however, this marvellous delight is destined to be demolished only by yours truly. though neither of my kids were ever particularly interested in christmas cake when they stayed at home, now that they've both moved out, i am the sole consumer. mrs washingmachinepost demurs from even a small slice with her coffee.
i, on the other hand, have been known to make demands for another cake when the original begins to look sparse in the bottom of the cake tin around the end of february. every saturday and sunday morning, i cut an appropriately large chunk, caring not one whit for propriety or my place in polite company, wrapping it in cling-film and popping it in a rear pocket.
i would love to relate that my velocipedinal efforts of a morning are so exhaustive that i have need of pausing mid-ride to consume this tasty source of energy, but in truth it is mostly there to accompany a soya cappuccino after my double-egg roll for lunch. all that dried fruit, and in this case, a complete lack of icing (i don't like icing or marzipan) undoubtedly caters to over exertion and expenditure of multiple calories, but there's no denying it's not the easiest of victuals to eat in the middle of nowhere. which is why things like mule bars exist.
it would be seriously remiss to imagine that a company called mule bars offers only bars. the aptly named mule energy pack features not only five individual energy bars from the mule range, but a matching number of kicks energy gels and a couple of recovery protein bars that are pretty much double the size of each energy bar. slipped in amongst these inviting goodies is an energy guide, advising the recipient of nutritional niceties and building up to a specific event.
as can only be the case in such instances, i pretty much have to take it on spec that the contents of each bar and gel will appease my energy needs, for i have no scientific means of determining otherwise. however, it is a truism that no matter the goodness packed into every bar or gel, if it doesn't taste nice, nobody, least of all me, is going to eat it in the first place. that aspect of nutritional life was, in the first case, somethng of a two-sided coin.
once again i must protest that i'm not entirely sure that i expend sufficient energy on my regular 70-80km bike rides to need a mid-point refuelling stop, but there's every likelihood that i'm quite wrong about such matters. at any rate, expedition number one had one rear pocket filled with a lemon zinger gel and an eastern express energy bar, crammed, as the website states, with 'tasty pistachios, almonds, cashews & pumpkin seeds'augmented by 'a pinch of garam masala, salt, cayenne pepper & nigella seeds'. unfortunately, in at least a partial need for sustenance after my bike ride, this tasted horrible. happily, it's the only one of the five that elicited this response.
the lemon zinger gel was, on the contrary, rather tasty. and opening the top of the sachet in the wilderness was a lot easier than some i've tried, thanks to the partially pre-cut top. in fact, all the gels turned out to be peachy keen, even the cafe cortado which came as something of a surprise because i thought i'd packed the apple strudel flavour.
i'm not a fan of chocolate. i don't mind the odd square of plain or maybe the occasional tunnocks caramel wafer with my green tea in the evening, but for reasons i don't entirely comprehend, almost everybody's protein recovery bars feature chocolate as the principal constituent. purely in the interests of science and hunger, i grabbed the chocolate and date version direct from having stored the cielo in the bike shed.
thankfully, the chocolate flavour was remarkably veiled, though the crunchy bits didn't really taste like dates. however, other than the fact that i scarcely had sufficient energy to chew as hard as its constitution demanded, i scoffed the whole bar in mere minutes. i'd think that counts as a result.
given the wide variety of products and flavours available from mule bar, i'd recommend purchasing the very same energy pack as under review, to find out which of their products is most suitable to your needs and/or tastes. however, you'd need to be particularly difficult to please not to find more than just a few gels or energy bars to repeatedly fill at least one of those back pockets.0