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  • O-CUPS AND DATE BARS: Haley Smith

    May 8, 2015

    A lot has happened since I last updated the old interweb – and, happily, most of it has been fun! Since I last wrote, I raced the Sea Otter Classic, finished school for the semester, adopted a kitten, and raced (and won!) the first O-Cup of the year. It’s been a great few weeks at home, and I’m looking forward to another one before we head off to Mont Tremblant.

    Sea Otter was a good time as always – but, to be honest, I like the atmosphere better than I like the racing. Let’s be serious: I didn’t sign up to be a mountain biker so that I could descend pavement at 70km/hr during a 2.5hr race! But hanging out with the team, seeing all the new bikes, and getting in the race season spirit are all worth the trip down to Laguna Seca.

    This past weekend (after taking a week to put the nose to the grindstone and pass my exams) was the first Ontario Cup of the season at my home course. The race was a really tough battle with Fudge and Cindy, but I was able to come out with the win. Talk about home ice advantage! Having Lespy take home the W made the day extra special. Extra thanks to Norco, Kenda, SRAM, Stan’s, and Havy for supporting the team all race season long!

    Now, to switch gears: I’ve had a few people in the last couple weeks ask me whether or not I watch what I eat in order to be the right “race weight”. The answer is basically no. I am probably one of the few cyclists who doesn’t know exactly what they weigh and I think it works for me. I eat whole foods as often as possible (meaning lots of fruit and veg, and very little packaged stuff) and I’m lucky in that I LOVE to eat this way. But, I’ll be honest, I have a gigantic sweet tooth (and trust me, I indulge it!).

    On the bike, however, I do struggle a little more. My stomach simply can’t handle packaged bars. I’ve tried every kind under the sun, and they all make me feel wonky. So, I’ve gotten pretty good at creating my own ride food. I thought I’d share my latest creation with you – maybe you can try it out this weekend! I think it’s the perfect combination of sweet and hearty, and it goes down super smooth on the bike (and it’s not too shabby with some vanilla ice cream and a mug of lavender tea, either!). So, without further ado, here it is!!

    Date Cookie Bars – For your next bike date 

    Date Paste:

    3/4 cup pitted dates (pack them in there!)
    1/4 to 1/2 cup water


    1/2 cup melted butter (trust me, it’s worth it)
    1/2 cup brown sugar, less 2 Tbsp
    2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
    1 and 1/2 cups flour
    1/4 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    1/2 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 and 1/2 cups large flake oats
    2 Tbsp water

    To start, melt the pitted dates in a saucepan with 1/4 cup of water over medium heat. They will start to break down and form a paste. Add the extra 1/4 cup of water if you want to thin it out a bit. Once this is done, set it aside!

    Once that’s done, preheat the oven to 350F. Then mix the sugar, butter, and maple syrup together. In a different bowl, mix the dry ingredients together. You can omit the cinnamon and vanilla if you like a simpler taste while on the bike. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and knead it into a dough with your hands. Once it’s mostly mixed, add 2 Tbsp of water to make the dough more doughy (see what I did there?).

    After it’s all mixed together, form it into a ball, sandwich it between two sheets of parchment paper, and roll it out to 1/4 inch thickness.

    Then, divide the rolled-out dough into two and spread one of the pieces with the date paste. Then put the other half of the dough on top, creating a deliciously gooey sandwich. Place the whole thing on a greased baking sheet and bake for 25-35 minutes, depending on how crispy/crunchy you like your cookies. I bake mine for closer to 35 minutes, so they retain their shape in your jersey pocket.

    Once they’re out of the oven, slice them up into bars, put them in a sealed tupperware, and hope they last until your next ride!

    Credits to Lespy for helping me make these delicious snacks!