UPDATE: I’ve now tried the blueberry (excellent), but my favorite remains black traditional. I’ve also experimented with using Panda licorice on my rides, and it seems to work as well as the “athletic” foods, but it just tastes a lot better. So much better that I have to resist eating too much. This is a good thing if the desire for food diminishes at 9+ hours into a double century.
Licorice, the cyclist’s secret weapon™.
Dr Misner over at Hammer Nutrition will have a heart attack here, but I *love* Panda licorice, and well, ummm... I have been known to scarf a box of it preferentially instead of Perpetuem during the course of a tough mountain bike ride. Works great for me.
My favorite is the black licorice, but the red is really good too, and I’ve never even seen the blueberry flavor in stores. I am a black licorice guy, and my experience is that black licorice is a love it / hate it thing. I don’t mean the fake black licorice or the eye-watering salty ammonia-flavored Norwegian stuff, just a real black licorice extract variety, like Panda.
The inferior licorices (in name only) out there just don’t cut it compared to the Panda stuff, which I’ll buy in preference over any other brand, by far.
Seriously, on a long ride, the stuff tastes so good that as long as you don’t overdo it on intake, what tastes good and goes down the hatch is the Right Choice. I’ve ridden double centuries this year where Hammer stuff has lost its appeal already modest appeal— no desire to eat— what then?
The web site at PandaLicorice.com uses Flash (bad taste there), but it is cute.
Since 1927 Panda has been producing licorice renowned for its unique flavor and softness. Panda Licorice is made from natural ingredients without preservatives, artificial colors, flavors or white sugar.
New and delicious Panda Blueberry Licorice is made with Real Superfruit Blueberries to create a mouth watering blueberry taste sensation.
Ingredients: Molasses, wheat flour, licorice extract, natural flavor (aniseed oil).
Special diets: Does not contain animal products | Does not contain eggs | Does not contain lactose/milk | Does not contain gelatine/ingredients from pork | Does not contain peanuts | Does not contain soy | Does not contain nuts/almonds
Actually, the nutritional info isn’t half bad for candy— it even has about 3% protein.