CLIF Shot Bloks
Craig Fellers, May 11, 2015
As an avid cyclist, I have tried to just about every type of energy bar and gel on the market, most of which leave me with a general sense of disgust. Now, I assume that most energy bar companies have done some amount of research and found what they feel is the optimal ratio of carbohydrate, protein, and fat, and I am sure that these products can all deliver appropriate nutrients to a fatigued athlete if consumed. The one variable that seems to get overlooked is that none of this energy will ever be converted into muscle glycogen if it is still in my jersey pocket.
The basic recipe can’t be too complicated: a mixture of simple and complex carbs, electrolytes, and possibly some caffeine, but still CLIF is the first company that has successfully created an energy product that is easy to eat while riding and doesn’t taste like swill. I had all but given up on prepackaged energy foods, reverting back to the old ‘PB and J’ to fuel my long rides until I got my hands on Chocolate Cherry Shot Bloks from CLIF. While I am not entirely convinced that a peanut butter sandwich can ever truly be bested, I will say that Shot Blocks do have quite a few significant advantages.
First off, they are easy to eat. The whole sporting world must have rejoiced upon the invention of Shot Bloks. No longer would we be forced to slurp down an unnaturally viscous flavored gel mid-race to keep from bonking. Now the same fast acting energy is available in an easily digestible ‘chew’ bringing back nostalgic daydreams of indulging on Shark Bites and Flintstone Vitamins as a kid. It didn’t take long for CLIF to realize that Shot Blok accessibility would be drastically improved when packaged in a plastic sleeve. With this design they can easily be pushed out one by one, shared with teammates, or saved for later rather than hidden in a bag that must be ripped open and rummaged through with both hands. Brilliant! Simply Brilliant!
Secondly, they taste good. So much so, that I have to constantly babysit my Shot Bloks to keep them from turning into movie snacks for my teammates. Making energy products delicious would seem like an easy task because they are predominately sugar, however most companies seem to fail miserably on this front. Somehow, ‘other companies’ overlook that while what tastes good at mile 80 on a bike might be slightly different from what I crave on a long car trip, my taste buds are still attached to my tongue and don’t like getting abused by poorly thought out energy products.
Last off, CLIF Bar is company that I am happy to stand behind. It seems like most foods we eat today are all made by the same few mega-companies. CLIF, on the other hand, has never succumbed to the enormous pressure of these giants and is to this day is a local and environmentally friendly company. One must merely set foot in their HQ to understand the positive energy that surrounds CLIF Bar, and I can assure that you will leave with at least a few delicious products in hand. CLIF also is a proud sponsor of many local teams, and gracious host for a wide variety of awesome events. While I won’t ultimately choose my energy products based on the company profile, it does give piece of mind to know I am supporting such an admirable group.
The point of this review is really not to convince you that CLIF Shot Bloks are really better than a peanut butter sandwich (the jury is still out on that one), but to assure you that they are by far the best pre-packaged energy product on the market. If you live in the Berkeley, California area, stop by and say hello at their factory, I’m sure you will be as impressed as I am.
Craig Fellers is based out of Santa Cruz where he is the owner and optometrist at Midtown Optometry.