When I announced to the BNA team members competing in the Mont24, 24 hour mountain bike race just north of Canberra, that Winners Bars would be looking after our nutrition and energy needs for the event, the unanimous response was positive. The energy bars and gels featuring Cadel Evans on the front were already crowd pleasers with the ‘BNA crew’ but it was also a guinea pig trial of some brand new flavours.
Winners Sport Nutrition was founded in 2005 in Australia and world champion Aussie cyclist Cadel Evans is the face of the the cycling range. The Australian made Winners range are available in supermarkets such as Coles and Woolworths, which is fairly convenient.
Cadel Evans, in his rainbow world champion jersey, adorns the packaging
Winners Bar Sticky Date Pudding
Winners Bar Dark Choc, Nuts & Sea Salt
Added to the range of three flavours of Enegy bars are two new flavours: “Dark Choc, Nuts & Sea Salt” and “Sticky Date Pudding”. For the 24 hour MTB event, which saw our four-member team riding in shifts, we took the bars in advance of each lap and even through the night and early morning when fatigue set in. In practical terms, we didn’t face problems with hunger, appetite or energy; our lap times were consistent. The Sticky Date Pudding flavour proved to be the most popular flavour with the team, while both fulfilled my own criteria of good taste, easy to eat and no nausea.
The new Tropical flavour and Esspresso flavour energy gels increase the range of Winners gels to four. The ‘energy gel’ strategy was to take a gel while riding a 19km lap. It was only after my first lap, and realising how difficult it was to take energy gels, let alone drink, that I changed tactics to riding with a hydration pack and taking the energy before starting my lap. This was a good thing for another reason; the packaging has sharpish edges, rather than the rounded edges which I prefer, since I have on occasion cut my lips on the sharp edges of other energy gels.
Espresso and Tropical packs of four gels
Stubby 45 gram Winners Energy Gels
The two non-scientific criteria I used for evaluating the effectiveness of the gels were judging my concentration and my physical fatigue. Even without any sleep, I fell quickly into stride and maintained fairly consistent lap-times. As expected with a caffeine shock, the Espresso flavour was a little harsh on the taste buds, but for my taste much better than the very common GU gels; the Winners gels having a more natural flavour. The Tropical was nicer, though experience tells me that the existing flavours “Lemon and Lime” and “Berry Burst” will suit my tastes better.
If found that my stomach was slightly unsettled for a few minutes of riding after taking a gel. I accidentally took a different brand before one lap and the effect was no different, it was my body adjusting to the shock and getting into rhythm.
Nitpicking aside, the bars and gels have a good taste and work well. The nutritional details do vary, so it’s worth taking a closer look if you have a strict diet; the “Dark Chock, Nuts & Sea Salt” is sodium rich, while the Espress Gel has a healthy 80mg dose of caffeine.
Nutritional Information: Winners Energy Gels
|Tropical Gel (45 g)
|Espresso Gel (45 g)
|Fat, total (g)
|– Sugar (g)
Nutritional Information: Winners Energy Bars
|Dark Choc, Nuts & Sea Salt (55 g)
|Sticky Date Pudding (55 g)
|Fat, total (g)
|– Saturated (g)
|– Sugar (g)
For ingredients, checkout the website: winnersbars.com.au
The Winners gels and bars are sold in multi-packs. 24 Gels cost $43.50 (around $1.80 each) and a box of 12 bars costs $24.30 (just on $2 per bar). On price, the Winners bars and gels are cheaper than the RRP of many other brands such as Clif, Endura and GU. Make sure you compare the nutritional information to ensure that these are right for you. In my book, the Winners Bars get the thumbs up.