So you've trained. You've eaten healthy. You've stopped drinking. You're at your fittest, fastest best.
Now race day is fast approaching. And whether you're a cyclist or a runner, if it's going to take more than 90 minutes, you'll need to refuel on the hoof (or foot, or bike).
You'll need sugar, to give you an instantaneous energy boost, and slow-release carbs to sustain you in the hours to come. This isn't a good time to stress about your waistline.
Flapjacks are perfect for this - the sugar and golden syrup will give you the sugar high, while jumbo oats will give you the slow-release carbs. Sprinkle in some nuts, pumpkin seeds for protein and soft apricots for flavour and you're good to go.
So when my boyfriend Tom asked me to knock up a batch of something to sustain him on a 100 mile bike race, flapjacks were the obvious answer.
The smell of the golden syrup, brown sugar and butter melting together melted my willpower instantaneously and I had a flapjack with a cup of tea after baking them. I had gone to parkrun that day though.
You will need:
250g whole rolled oats
125g light brown soft sugar
2-3 tbsp golden syrup
handful of soft apricots, roughly chopped
scant handful of pecan nuts, roughly chopped
2-3 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Measure out the golden syrup, sugar and butter into a small saucepan.
2. Heat the mixture over a low flame, stirring frequently, until the butter is melted and the mixture is thick, treacley and smooth. If it has any lumps in it give it a quick whisk.
4. Put the oats, apricots, nuts and pumpkin seeds in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
5. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until fully combined and you have a sticky mixture that clumps together.
6. Grease a rectangular baking tray and line it with greaseproof paper. Also grease the paper to stop the flapjack sticking. Pour the flapjack mixture into the tin and use the back of a spatula to press it down firmly.
7. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and quickly divide into 12 squares while still hot, before the flapjacks harden.
8. Eat or wrap in cling film for your big day!
Tom took two for his ride and said they were the nicest thing he ate during the race. Mind you, I told him to say that.
They are however quite crumbly - probably because I used whole oats. But if you want the slow-release carbs then there's not a whole lot I can do about that.
It shouldn't be a big problem on a bike ride because apparently cyclists stop regularly foer "feed stops". As a runner, I can't relate to this. But it looks like it might be back to the drawing board to find something I can bake myself for my half marathon.
Anything for an excuse to bake!
And here is a picture of Tom himself, relaxing in Hyde Park after a long, tiring ride.
Could you refuse that face flapjacks?