I've said it before, and I'll say it again: if you aren't following Oiselle and their athletes on social media, I recommend you...

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: if you aren't following Oiselle and their athletes on social media, I recommend you start. One of their top athletes, Lauren Fleshman, is also co-founder of Picky Bars.

Early this spring, she posted on Twitter about a new opportunity from Picky Bars: the Feed the Dream project. The idea was to give athletes competing at Olympic Trials some really great nutrition in the months leading up to their big race. Since rowing is a fringe sport, and these opportunities usually specify running, cycling, triathlon, etc, I almost didn't apply.

On a whim, though, I decided to submit the application—and recommend my doubles partner also apply.

Success! We were both accepted into the program, which included a 5-month subscription to the Picky Club, a monthly bar delivery. (It also came with a new cheering club, and awesome notes from Lauren every month.)

Snacking on the run at Olympic Trials.

We have one more month of deliveries left, and before our time comes to an end, I wanted to give the bars a review on the blog.


These are by far the best bars I've tried. They aren't as sickly sweet as LaraBars or as chalky as Builder's Bars. They just taste like real, well-rounded food. I found them a little bit on the greasy side, especially compared to Clif bars, but they were light on the sweetness, which I loved.

I tried all five vegan flavors:

  • Smooth Caffeinator: By far my favorite. Only 25mg of caffeine, so they're safe for PM consumption. Concerns about dried apricots were unfounded.
  • Cookie Doughpness: Surprisingly good. Tastes like a walnut raisin cinnamon cookie.
  • Blueberry Boomdizzle: Also surprisingly good, and I generally don't like cooked blueberries. It was pleasantly fruity, without tasting like fruit leather.
  • Ah Fudge Nuts: Did you know that brownies make good post workout snacks? Yea, this is basically a brownie with big chunks of nuts.
  • All-in-Almond: The most disappointing of the flavors. I thought it tasted mostly like cranberries, and was too fruity for my taste.


Designed to be perfect, Picky Bars hit the nail on the head. By the numbers:
200 calories
7g fat
28g carbs
7g protein

That's the exact recommendation for a post-workout snack to get your muscles refueled as quickly as possible. I can attest that they also work well as a pre-workout snack. Unlike a Clif bar, these didn't sit in my stomach even when I ate one 5 minutes before practice.

More importantly, they are real food. If all I ate all day were Clif bars, I'd wouldn't be super proud of the fuel I put in my body. If all I ate all day were Picky bars, I'd be neutral to positive. It'd be kind of like eating rice, nuts, dried fruit and chocolate all day. Not perfect, but really not bad at all. Seems like a good litmus test for a bar.


On an athlete's budget, these bars are out of my price range. (That was the impetus behind the Feed the Dream project—many of the country's top athletes can't afford top quality fuel.) You can buy them at Trader Joe's for around $2.50 apiece, or join the Picky Club and get 24 bars for $50 (about $2.08 apiece). Seems expensive, right? Especially for a bar that is relatively small. But you get what you pay for.

When I thought about making these on my own, and using rice protein, organic dates, hazelnuts and Stumptown coffee beans, I realized that the actual ingredient cost per bar is probably almost $2. If I were making them myself, I might choose to skimp on some ingredients (e.g. non-organic dates, or soy protein instead of rice) which would bring the cost down. But, if you have the budget and you can afford to be picky about what you put in your body, these are worth every penny.

They might also make their way onto my Christmas/birthday list...

Want to try Picky Bars? (or buy me some for Christmas?)

Not only did they provide me with five months of Picky Club membership, but the fine folks of Picky Bars are also extending a 25% discount to friends, family and my fan club.

Just go to pickybars.com/ftd and enter the coupon code FTDfriends for 25% off through August 31st 2016. (Note: I don't get any credit for this. They just did something cool for me and I like their product. I think you probably will too.)

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Olympic Trials came and went. We trained hard, raced hard, and still missed our goal. It was difficult to process, and is still difficult to...

Olympic Trials came and went. We trained hard, raced hard, and still missed our goal. It was difficult to process, and is still difficult to face.

Photo by US Rowing.
Thanks to GMS and Guenter for the equipment that made our race possible.

Still, I came out of the process in a good place. In two months, I lost 13 pounds, got down to my lightest racing weight ever and still gained fitness. I spent a lot of quality time on the water, learning to move singles and doubles. And I raced, hard.

So now, what's next?

Immediately after Olympic Trials, we began the process of getting a quad together for non-Olympic World Championship Trials. Since not all boat classes go to the Olympics, the World Rowing organization holds a World Championships for all non-Olympic boat classes. For lightweight women, both the single and the quad will be contested at non-Olympic Worlds.

In the U.S., Trials for non-Olympic Worlds will be held July 18-22 in New Jersey.

I was invited to a quad camp at Potomac Boat Club in Washington, DC. That would have entailed several weeks of selection followed by several weeks of training for those athletes that made the boat. I seriously considered that option, and at first it seemed like the obvious choice. I would have the opportunity to race side by side with some of the girls that beat me at Olympic Trials. Making the boat would also have been a big step towards making my first National Team.

But when I thought about it further, and really thought about what was important to me, it stopped making as much sense.

My goal isn't to make national teams, but to be the fastest rower I can be. I moved across the country because GMS is the best place for me to train effectively, and Guenter is the best coach I've ever worked with. Under his guidance, I thrive.

Going to quad camp was probably my best chance at making a national team this cycle. It was very scary to say no to that opportunity and instead choose to race the single this season, knowing I would be going head-to-head with some really fast women. Now that I have committed, though, it feels like the right choice.

I have posted my fastest times ever for 4x500m and 2x1000m in the single. I am listening to my body and adjusting the plan to my needs. I have gotten to put back on some of the weight I lost for Olympic Trials. And I managed to fit in some work, to start refilling the bank accounts!

So, long story short, my next race will in the 1x at Senior non-Olympic World Championship Trials. I will post more information as it becomes available.

Obviously, my A-goal is to win the thing, but that would be quite something. My (more realistic) B-goal is to make the four-boat final—something I have never done at a Trials event with more than four boats entered.

Many thanks to Picky Bars for feeding my dreams. Here's to chasing the next one!

Two dreamers at Olympic Trials. photo thanks to Sydney Taylor

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