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Skratch offers new take on sports food

Published April 17, 2012

BOULDER, CO (BRAIN) Tuesday April 17 2012 10:36 AM MT—When it comes to sports nutritionals, you can almost hear Allen Lim put quote marks around the phrase every time he utters it. Although his new company, Skratch Labs, is firmly in the sports nutritionals market, Lim's message to athletes is that they should eat food, not highly processed products.


Lim, who has a Ph.D in physiology, is well known for his work with the Garmin-Slipstream team, Team RadioShack and (somewhat more controversially) Floyd Landis's Phonak team. For years he's advised top pros on nutrition and cooked for them at major events. Last year Lim and chef Biju Thomas coauthored a popular VeloPress cookbook, The FeedZone Cookbook, which suggests strategies and recipes for endurance athletes who want to eat simple homemade food instead of sports nutritional products.

Skratch Labs offers two drink mixes that are made with a short list of natural ingredients. One mix is intended for everyday hydration and the other for exercise. Each has a clean, not-too-sweet taste that athletes can drink during a long day in the saddle.

In Boulder's huge cycling community, however, Lim is becoming best known for his rice cakes, which are made with sticky sushi rice and ingredients ranging from bacon and sausage to chocolate, cashews or peanut butter. Lim wraps the little cakes in foil for riders to eat as alternatives to energy bars.

In recent weeks, Lim has set up shop in Boulder at a spot where hundreds of cyclists head out for weekend rides. He offers to fill bottles with his mix, or gives packets of his mix for riders to use later. And he offers handfuls of his rice cakes to riders. Some of the riders are highly dubious of the cakes, while others eagerly fill their pockets and ask Lim for preparation tips.

Bicycle Retailer hung out with Lim at the corner on Saturday and prepared the audio slideshow below. A few hours later, Boulder police asked Lim to leave the spot; he's pursuing a permit to continue the program. In the meantime, Lim will be offering his products and food at the Sea Otter Classic later this week. After that, he'll work exclusively with Omega Pharma-QuickStep's Levi Leipheimer for a few weeks to help prepare him for the Amgen Tour of California.

Steve Frothingham

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