Recently I completed a solo, self-supported bikepacking ride from Banff National Park, Canada, to Yellowstone National Park. My 825-mile route took 10 days and mostly followed the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route—a series of backcountry gravel and forest service roads. To fuel my training and the trip, I wanted a bar that provided energy, but also supported recovery. The bar had to be not too sweet or salty, and a bit spicy. After a lot of experimentation, the Great Divide Bar was born.
Eric Aakko is a certified plant-based chef educator and backcountry cyclist. To connect with his upcoming new cookbook, Clean Endurance: 100 Plant-based Recipes for Culinary Wellness, visit his website, Speaking Wellness.
1 cup puffed millet
1 cup pan toasted organic rolled oats
½ cup honey
½ cup dried tart cherries
¼ cup chopped raw almonds (optional)
¼ cup chopped raw walnuts
3 tablespoons almond butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon sea salt (to taste)
Cayenne pepper (to taste)
• Briefly pan toast the raw oats in a heated skillet for about 2-3 minutes. Stir often, be careful not to burn the oats. Set aside in a bowl.
• Fold honey and almond butter into a saucepan and stir on medium heat until combined and runny (about 1-2 minutes).
• Add the cinnamon, salt, and cayenne pepper and stir.
• Combine all remaining ingredients with the honey and almond butter mixture, including the toasted oats. Stir until all dry ingredients are coated. The mixture will be thick.
• Line an 8 X 8 casserole dish with parchment paper that extends over twice the size of the dish (cut the edges of the paper to help ease the folding).
• Using clean hands or a wetted spoon, firmly press the mixture into the dish until flattened. Fold the edges of the parchment paper on top, to cover the mixture.
• Use a can of beans or other vegetables as a rolling pin to firmly compact the mixture into the casserole dish.
• Cover dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours (or overnight).
• Uncover and cut into 1-inch x 2-inch bars. Store bars in airtight container in the fridge until ready for your adventure.