CLIF SHOT BLOKS MARGARITA
TEST SERIES BY MIKE DAURIO JR.
May 17, 2008
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Mike Daurio Jr.
6' 0" (1.83 m)
183 lb (83.00 kg)
I am quite new to backpacking. My experience lies mostly as a canoe guide. My inspiration to get more into this sport/hobby was a backpack trip to Thailand in 2005. Due to my experience I am fond of lightweight, waterproof quality gear. I backpack in mainly hilly forested areas and of course near rivers and streams. I also do a lot of backpack traveling to other countries. I am a 3-season backpacker. Every year I spend time in the Ozarks in Missouri and in Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota. I'd love to explore Canyonlands National Park in Utah. I am originally from the Midwest, but have recently moved to the Washington DC area and more importantly about 40 miles (64 km) from the Appalachian Trail.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Clif Products
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Manufacturer's Website: www.clifbar.com
MSRP: US$ N/A
Listed Weight: 2.1 oz (60 g) per block (package contents)
Measured Weight: 2.3 oz (65 g) for package of six including packaging
Other details: Available in other flavors.
The CLIF SHOT products come in a sealed plastic package decorated in graphics and nutritional information. The package boasts a Clif logo and a bird like symbol that, from what I can tell by perusing the website, indicates it is part of the SHOT product line. Clearly identified as "SHOT BLOKS organic energy chews", "MARGARITA w/ SALT" flavor, and stamped "USDA ORGANIC". There is a trademarked "CRAMP BUSTER" graphic printed above the declaration "w/ 3x SODIUM" . NET WT. 60 g (2.1 oz) is printed on the bottom and indicates the weight of contents. Clif's website lists each Blok as 10 g (0.35 oz).
The back has a printed testimonial from Gary the Clif Bar founder and owner. It is as follows:
"For 20 years, I dealt with a common problem many athletes experience-CRAMPING! I've had to pull out of bike races and stop running marathons, until a few years ago when I discovered that taking in extra sodium-good old salt-solved the problem. Margarita Bloks, made with Real Salt; combine carbs, electrolytes, and extra sodium into one simple solution for athletes looking to prevent cramping. Check it out and enjoy the moment"
Directions state to consume 3 to 6 Clif Shot Bloks every hour during activity and always follow consumption with water.
Ingredients are listed as Organic brown rice syrup, Organic evaporated cane juice, Organic brown rice syrup solids, Pectin, Sea salt, Citric acid, Natural Flavor, Coconut oil, and Carnauba wax. Below the ingredients it is reaffirmed that the Bloks contain three times the sodium of other Bloks flavors. It is also certified organic by the organization QAI.
Nutritional Facts are as follows:
Serving size: 3 pieces (30 g) (1.05 oz)
Servings per container: 2
Calories per serving: 90
Calories from Fat: 0
Total Fat: 0g
Sodium 210 mg 9%
Potassium 20 mg 1%
Total Carbohydrates: 23 g (0.81 oz) 8%
Sugars 11g (0.39 oz)
Percentages are daily values based on a 2000 calorie diet.
TRYING IT OUT
I tried the Bloks on my way to a morning run. I consumed three Bloks in the car on my way to a County Conservation area. I ate the Bloks about 15 minutes before I started my run.
Chewing up the Bloks was simple enough of a task. The Bloks are a thick jelly texture similar to a fruit snack. The blocks had traces of a crystal of sort in them. While eating them I felt some crunchy sugar or salt crystals embedded in the Blok.
As for taste, the Bloks were recognizable Margarita flavor but there was no mistaking the salt taste. The salt flavor is similar to flavor found in processed foods, not like a spoon full of table salt taste. While eating the second three bloks in the package, I identified a distinct taste I couldn't quite recognize while eating the first three bloks. I associate the flavor with a tomato flavor similar to ketchup and tomato paste. I found no aftertaste and like the directions instructed I downed some more water and started my morning jog.
I usually start to feel strong fatigue in my lower legs about 20 minutes into my run. I surprisingly didn't notice any fatigue until my run was almost over. It seems as though the extra sodium has allowed my muscles to continue farther, on my one hour run, without pain. I will continue to test this and report in my field report.
I will be using the Clif Shot Bloks on all my morning runs which I usually complete about three times a week. We have been getting arctic blasts of frigid air and my running has been limited the last three weeks.
I will also be trying the bloks on long hikes when the weather gets above freezing, and on an overnight winter backpacking trip. I will simply eat the Bloks and comment on how I perform after consumption.
I'd like to thank Clif and BGT for allowing me to test the products. Please stay tuned for a Field report to follow.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I have had an active spring, so far, and the Shot Bloks have helped me with my activities. I have done numerous day hikes, 2 mountain biking trips, and an overnighter in Shenandoah National park. I've also eaten the Bloks before my morning runs. I try to run at least two times a week.
I have found a new favorite day hike. The Billy Goat trail in the Chesapeake and Ohio National Historic Park in Maryland is a rocky trail that winds through mountainous forest, and hops over river carved boulders and rocks. The day we went out, was the first real gorgeous day of spring with the sun shining and temperatures around 75 F (24 C). As the sun descended behind the trees temperatures dropped in to about 60-64 F (15-18 C). The trail is a 5.4 mile (8.7 km) loop that trails the edge of the Potomac river.
I have also brought along the Shot Bloks on a mountain biking adventure in Schaeffer Farms, part of the Seneca Creek State park in Maryland. Ten miles (16 km) of trails wind through hilly dense forests. The temperature was around 62 F (17 C). Wind speed was noticeably increased and made the air feel cooler.
My first visit to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia was on a day that brought afternoon thunderstorms with hail. After entering the park's gates we hit an afternoon gusty thunderstorm that brought a lightning show, a heavy dousing, and even pea-sized hail. Temperatures were around 80 F (44 C) before the storm and cooled to about 70 F (21 C) before we started out on the trail. We took the Matthew's Arm Loop and gained 600 ft (183 m) of elevation while climbing the Cut Off trail to the Knob Mountain Ridge Trail. The trail head starts in woods abutted to the parking lot and descends down a hill before winding along a gushing stream, swollen by the storm. After crossing the stream over a downed tree trunk, the trail gains elevation for 1 mile (1.6 km) to the ridge trail with a total elevation of 2657 ft (810 m). The trail consists of packed mud, leaf covered earth, and hard bouldered mountain side.
My morning runs have been spent on the streets of my new urban home. Paved concrete and mowed grass line the ways on these journeys. Before my cross country move I have used the Bloks before my trail runs in Glacial Park Part of the McHenry County Conservation District in Illinois. The trail consisted of mowed meadow and gravel path. At one point the trail leads up a giant hill and descends back down through a large rock field. The average sized rock is about the size of a softball.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I must preface by saying I am an active person who spends my day at work on my feet. When out of work, I hike, bike, jog, and play soccer, basketball, and regularly hit the gym. I have been plagued by leg and foot cramps that wake me in the middle of the night. Although I have seen some performance during field use, the number one performance aspect of the Shot Bloks is the less frequent overnight cramps. When using the Bloks during activity I almost never get cramps while performing the activity or at night.
On my trail run in Glacial Park I consumed 3 Bloks and hit the trail. There wasn't any cramping that night. After discovering the relationship between the days using the Bloks and the crampless nights, I had adjusted my intake to try to gauge the effect of the Bloks. The directions state to consume 3 to 6 Clif Shot Bloks every hour during activity and always follow consumption with water. The Bloks come in a package of 6 so I decided to just take one before a run. That night I didn't experience a cramp; however, it was a quick 20 minute run. I tried the same single Blok dose on a heavier run of about an hour and the cramps returned that night. The next week I took 2 Bloks and repeated the hour run and I had no cramping. The trial and error allowed me to determine how many Bloks I'd really need to prevent cramping. For my 6 foot (183 cm), 185 lb (84 kg) frame a short quick run would require 1 Blok, and a hour run would require 2. The results would stay consistent throughout the testing period.
The Bloks came in handy for my mountain biking trip. I ate the prescribed dose of 3 Bloks and hit the trail. It was my first ride of the year and it awoke muscles in my legs that may have laid dormant for the winter. The fatigue in my hamstrings and glutes was very evident. I popped 3 more Bloks on my lunch break and set out for another two hours. My leg muscles, although tired, were quieted by the extra nutrients in my body. Its hard to tell if it was the turkey and muenster on wheat or the Shot Bloks, but after a six hour day, I had no cramping that night. I have also biked to work on paved path and roads for a distance of 16 miles (26 km) and ate 3 Bloks before the start of the ride. My legs may be in better shape but I was impressed with the lack of fatigue in my legs, especially after an 8 hour shift on my feet. Again I had no cramping that night.
On a day hike through The Billy Goat Trail, I consumed 3 Bloks and hit the trail. The Billy goat trail is a challenging loop, that requires a lot of boulder hopping and a couple climbs over giant rocks. The terrain calls for a full body workout and the Bloks helped replenish the grand amount of sweat I had expelled. In Shenandoah I ate a package of Bloks each day (12 total) and slept well, cramp free.
|Terrain on the Billy Goat Trail.|
I usually start out any activity with 16 fl oz (473 ml) of water about a half hour before I start the activity. I continued on the same preactivity water intake on test days; however I did find myself a little thirstier immediately following the consumption of the Bloks. I would have to say my water consumption increased during excercise after taking the Bloks.
I've enjoyed the taste of the Bloks over the course of the test. The margarita flavor is realistic and enjoyable. The taste of the Shot Bloks initially were unexpected. The salty taste of the Bloks is not something you expect out of a jellylike looking fruit snack. After knowing what to expect I actually enjoy the Bloks. The thick jelly like texture does adhere to my teeth and requires some tongue swabbing to free it from the crevices in between my teeth. Being a picky eater I find myself choking down some performance enhancers, but not the Shot Bloks. I'm actually eager to try more flavors.
I am impressed with the results of the test. The Bloks' ability to help curb my leg cramps was a relief, and has earned them a place in my pack. I like the margarita flavor. It makes me dream for hot weather and cool salt rimmed drinks.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
I found myself for the most part eating half or less of the six cube package. My use of the product would have benefited from a two pack of three blocks in each package, instead of the one six pack. It could possibly be done by heat sealing a seam in the same package and then perforating the seam. That way, I could eat the lower dosage of Bloks and not have to worry about them traveling outside the wrapper and around my pack, a potential issue in bear country.
I'd like to thank Clif Products and Backpackgeartest.org for buying me a drink... I mean, allowing me to test the Bloks. This concludes the test of these products.
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Read more gear reviews by Mike Daurio Jr.