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If my memory serves me correctly, I made these protein balls for my first attempt at Dirty Kanza in 2016. It was also my first year of racing/riding gravel, and I really knew very little about nutrition AND hydration. I received the entry to DK for free, so I guess you could say I did not have much invested in the event and may have not planned or trained enough for it.

Ironically, I did not eat or drink much at this event, which is what did me in. Who knows? If I had stayed on top of eating one ball or so per hour and drank a good drink (I won’t even share what I thought I should be drinking, but let’s just say I probably only drank about 5 bottles over 166 miles or 11.5 hours of elapsed time). I made it to the third and final checkpoint in Madison in not-so-good shape, and Rick Moseley came over to check in on me. He had already pulled out of the race and is the first known person to try my protein balls (I shared with him because he asked what I was eating (or more accurately, not eating)). He liked how they tasted, as well!

So now, I’m sharing this easy peasy recipe with everyone. I’ve already shared it with countless others who have asked for it. I did not finish my first attempt at DK, but I did set a PR for personal mileage, so maybe these protein balls helped me set a new PR, with what little I ate of them.😊 I put quite a bit of salt in them to help with loss of electrolytes, plus it helps give it a savory flavor … sweet and salty! I usually pop one of these each hour, or a couple, if I’ve done a significant effort or know I’m coming up to a significant effort or towards the end of a ride/race. They travel well, and I will also eat a couple of balls and a banana for breakfast ahead of an event or a big ride. I absolutely love them, and I think you will, too. Enjoy!

The Recipe

In a large bowl, put seven packets of Quaker instant oatmeal (or generic of it, for savings). I’ve been using maple and brown sugar. You can use whatever flavor you like (I like sugar in these packets, but some people use rolled oats, etc. instead for a healthier version – I want carbs, sugar, and salt!). Put one scoop of vanilla protein powder (I’ve been using cookies and cream protein powder recently from Muscle Pharm), about 60 grams, in. Put 8 turns (salt grinder) of pink Himalayan salt in dry ingredients (recent addition, salt to your taste – I’m going for a sweet and salty flavor which tastes good and gets you some sodium back). Mix all of the dry ingredients together.

In a microwaveable bowl, put 1 cup of peanut butter, 18 turns of pink Himalayan salt, and 1/2 cup of real maple syrup (I’ll put well in peanut butter and then pour maple in center, with salt on top of maple syrup). Microwave 60 seconds until you’re able to stir it together to a smooth consistency. Pour that into dry ingredients and mix up until it’s like cookie dough. If consistency isn’t right, add another packet of oatmeal or a bit more protein powder (not too wet, not too dry). You want the consistency to be at a level where you can form the balls, and they are not too wet or do not fall apart.

Form the balls and refrigerate until hard. Then pack them up. I eat them as snacks around the home. I’ll also typically eat a couple with a banana for breakfast on race day – good combo!


  • 7 packets Quaker instant oatmeal, maple or brown sugar or your preferred flavor
  • 60 grams protein powder
  • 1 C creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 C real maple syrup
  • Himalayan pink salt, to your liking – go with less salt if not losing electrolytes


You’re welcome. monGO

Kent Woermann

Kent Woermann is the owner/operator of Move Up Endurance Coaching. He is currently a certified personal trainer through the National Strength and Conditioning Association and holds a category 1 license in road, mountain bike, and cyclocross disciplines.

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