Known for riding off the front of group rides only to be caught in the first mile, CJ got back on a road bike and realized he must win the Donut Derby at least once in his life. Regularly pledging he's "not a climber," he can be found as a regular attendee of Trexlertown's Thursday Night Training Criterium or sitting on the couch watching Paris-Roubaix reruns. CJ has been a constant rider of the Hell of Hunterdon in New Jersey and races the Tour of the Battenkill before going into seasonal hiding on cross-country ski trails.

Review: Untapped Slopeside Syrup

Review: Untapped Slopeside Syrup

 (2015) My following hyperboles will be authentic: This is hands-down the finest tasting fuel on the market. I was extremely excited to see pure maple syrup - from Vermont no less – grace the shelves of a local bike shop. There is a belief that gels should be an endurance sport in and of themselves. Endure the fact that they don’t taste appealing; just focus on their job of replenishment. Until recently, that was what riders had as choices for a quick boost.

Once natural products such as peanut butter in gel pouches started showing up it was only a matter of time before someone came out with a straight shot of maple syrup. Untapped beat everyone to it, and it’s fantastic. They’ve recently come out with maple stroopwafels, which are just as tasty. So if one is running late, Untapped can provide a breakfast on the bike minus the hot coffee.

Comparing numbers to the gels on the market is an important place to focus on Untapped. The pouches are nearly twice the size as gels at nearly a full fluid ounce. They ring in at 100 calories per pouch where gels run on average 80 calories. More bang in the pouch with a natural ingredient.

  The syrup packets come packaged much like energy gels. It is recommended to rip far down the packet to allow for easier consumption.

The syrup packets come packaged much like energy gels. It is recommended to rip far down the packet to allow for easier consumption.

According to the packaging, there is no other ingredient but maple syrup. There is no maltodextrin, no corn or rice syrup, just pure grade A amber/ rich syrup. The richness is dead center on the maple syrup gradient scale. It's not Grade B, nor is it fancy grade.

Consuming the syrup is the greatest part obviously. It comes out of the pouch easily. It tastes great; it even has a slight hint of vanilla. Most importantly it leaves one wanting more. A nutritional supplement that actually makes one want to consume it? That’s worth more than any sales pitch. And since it all comes out of the package there isn’t a second thought to wondering how many calories were left behind because it wasn’t squeezed the right way.

One can get numerous items from the Untapped online store such as cycling caps, cycling socks, CamelBak bottles, and, of course, boxes of syrup and waffles. At 26 grams per shot, these pouches are rocket fuel for a great ride. With fall approaching, it only adds to the feeling that one could actually be riding through Vermont while riding with no hands on the bars. We’ll be squeezing syrup with one hand while holding a stroopwafel in the other. And we'd act like that's completely normal.

Essay: On Bidding Summer Farewell

Essay: On Bidding Summer Farewell

Review: Endura FS260 Aerogel Mitt

Review: Endura FS260 Aerogel Mitt