In the Saddle: Sugar shock |

In the Saddle: Sugar shock

Charles AgarAspen, CO Colorado

Forget PowerBars, try maple syrup – or so said my friend Devin when he turned me on to the stuff on a recent ride.He learned the trick from a guy who did long races powered solely on Vermont’s finest and reckoned the stuff super-fuel, he said. So before an all-day ride Monday, I bought a small bottle at City Market for $5.We rode from Aspen via Owl Creek Road to Snowmass Village and up Rim Trail, where I had a solid ride up the mercifully gradual switchbacks and enjoyed the view of the ant-hill construction at Base Village below.And like sneaking sips from a whiskey flask, I hit the maple syrup at the few stops we made and, feeling strong, zipped down the singletrack to the Rodeo Lot. Pretty pooped, I thought the Snowmass Village Recreation Center pool looked far more inviting than more uphill when we pedaled past. But we pushed on and rode partially up Owl Creek Road to meet Tom Blake Trail before Anaerobic Nightmare, a 0.6-mile stretch of technical uphill.That’s where I hit the wall.We took a short break in the shade before the climb, and that’s where I polished-off a small bag of M&Ms and the rest of the maple syrup.Anaerobic Nightmare lived up to it’s name, and about half-way up I just lost it. The syrup that was super-fuel on the earlier part of the ride felt like it filled my veins and I slowed to the pace of sticky molasses.Devin cleaned the tricky stretch – an impressive feat – but by the time I finished my hike-a-bike to where Anaerobic meets the Government Trail I must have looked like a dying man, wheezing, coughing and burping up maple syrup.With the option to turn tail and retreat back to town, I decided to soldier on, punchy and buzzed, for the long technical ride along Government toward Aspen.And after copious amounts of water, I caught my second wind and enjoyed the good downhill stretch.As for maple syrup, I think I’ll save it for pancakes.