I ride my bike a lot. I ride about 250 miles per week, in fact. That’s enough that I should not have to worry about weight at all. And if I ate like a normal person, I probably wouldn’t.
But I don’t eat like a normal person. My appetite is enormous, and my taste in food is lowbrow, as well as occasionally bizarre. Which means I like cheap, bad food, I like lots of it, and I like some odd combinations.
If you were me, then, here would be your favorite foods.
- Cold cereal. I am entirely serious when I say that I could happily live on nothing but cold cereal and milk. Honey Bunches of Oats. Cap’n Crunch, in all its incarnations. Honey Nut Cheerios. Count Chocula. Reeses Puffs. Fiber One (yes, really). Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
- Tortillas. As you will see below, tortillas play a prominent role in many of my other favorite foods. However, let it be said: I like tortillas just plain, too. Warm in the microwave for 20 seconds and serve with Cholula hot sauce. Yum.
- Peanut Butter and Honey Sandwiches. I have thought — more than once — to myself, that if I had to eat just one thing for every meal for the rest of my life, it would be peanut butter and honey sandwiches. But that’s only true if the bread is from Great Harvest. The white bread, I mean. Don’t pollute my bread with whole grains or sunflower seeds.
- Burritos: From El Azteca in Provo, UT. Specifically, the Chicken Chipotle burrito. You know, it’s very difficult to have one of your favorite foods be location-based.
- Peanut Butter, Banana, and Mayonnaise Sandwiches: Everyone wrinkles their noses at this one, and I don’t try to convince anyone to try it. My mom made these for me when I was a kid; I liked them then, I like them now. I can’t get my own kids to try them, though. I think, though, my mom used Miracle Whip instead of mayonnaise. My tastes have since matured and I am confident in asserting that Miracle Whip would more appropriately be named Abomination Whip. This is good with a tortilla instead of bread, too.
- Spaghetti: I eat spaghetti at least three times per week. I make it in enormous batches. For a long time, angel hair was my favorite pasta, but I’ve been favoring bowtie pasta lately. Served with a big spoonful of cottage cheese on top, and more black pepper shaken on it than you would think healthy.
- Spaghetti Sauce Burrito: Take a tortilla, spread some spaghetti sauce on it, add several dollops of cottage cheese, microwave for 25 seconds, wrap, and try to eat without it spilling all over yourself. Really, is there anything that isn’t good with a tortilla?
- Bananas. Bananas are the fast food of the fruit and vegetable world. While most fruits have skins, bananas have packaging. They have no hard hidden objects inside you can bite into. And while they don’t have an expiration date per se printed on them, a quick glance tells you when a banana is not yet ripe, when it’s too ripe, and when it’s perfect. Bananas have a mild flavor and soft texture that make them perfect for toddlers, octogenarians, and triathletes. Bananas are good alone, good on cereal, good with ice cream, good in pie. When they get old, they’re good as a baking ingredient. Really, the only thing a banana needs to be perfect is a creamy filling. Bonus banana fact: Most people peel bananas the wrong way, starting at the stem and peeling down. If you try peeling from the other end, you’ll find two things. First, you can now use the stem as a handle. Second, it’s easier to start peeling at this end. I promise you, your life will be 3% easier if you use this technique.
- Golden Delicious Apples: Most people think of apples in a very general sense. This is wrongheaded thinking, and must stop immediately. Granny Smith apples are so hard and tart they are generally only eaten on a bet (good in apple cobbler, though). Fuji apples are nice and crisp, but have no more flavor than paper. Golden Delicious apples, however, are both golden and delicious. And while bananas have their own removable packaging, Golden Delicious apples let you eat the packaging. Just polish the apple on the leg of your pants — this is a very effective way of ridding the apple of any germs and pesticides — and enjoy.
- Scrambled Egg Burrito: I’m proud of the technique I’ve developed in making this. Spray Pam into a cereal bowl, crack a couple eggs into the bowl, pour in a tiny bit of milk, sprinkle salt and pepper in, whip with a fork, and microwave for 2 minutes (1 minute per egg). Flop onto a tortilla (of course) with a little cheese sprinkled on top, microwave for another 10 seconds, add lots of Cholula, wrap and enjoy. My 11-year-old believes this is the best food in the world.
- Mayonnaise: I may as well admit it: I love mayonnaise. It’s good on everything, and not half bad by itself. I apologize to everyone I just creeped out.
Special Instructions on Eating Like the Fat Cyclist After a Really Big Ride
Eat everything, in any combination. Do not worry about taste. Just fill the void.
The following statements are all true:
- Ordinarily, I dwell on my blog entries. What will I write about? What do I have to say? Will it be funny? Will it be topical? Will I use more em-dashes than are allowed by law? Usually, I write them at night, when I have time to write.
- Last night, I intended to write a clever little piece for Cyclingnews, after which I would write a clever blog entry for today. However, the clever little Cyclingnews piece turned out to be, um, longish. It was well past midnight before I finished it.
- I figured I would write my clever blog entry for today during lunch. And yes — oh, yes — it is a clever blog entry. Oh so clever.
- I just started a new job (same company, though), and was invited to lunch with some of my coworkers today. Barbecued wild boar was on the menu (at Microsoft, we often eat wild boar for lunch); how could I say no?
- OK, toward the end of that last bullet point I stopped telling the truth. It’s a disease, really.
- I have a few minutes right now. I could write my clever blog entry — the one I’ve been thinking of writing since last night — right now.
- If you say the word "blog" five times in a row, you will inevitably be struck by the oddness of the word.
- It is a beautiful, mild day. I could go on a ride right now. Instead of writing a clever blog entry.
- It occurs to me that a bullet list of truths that lead up to an excuse for why I want to go on a ride instead of type makes for a very, very clever blog entry. Maybe even more clever than my original blog entry idea.
Today’s weight: 165.8
* With apologies to Ms. Britney Spears. Sorry, Britney.
When I’m in an endurance race, I’m constantly doing math. How much more time do I have if I want to finish in my goal time? How far do I have to go? How fast do I need to be going to complete that distance? I swear, I have been on some of the most beautiful trails, looking over some of the most incredible vistas in the world, yet finished the ride with my odometer as the prevailing image in my mind.
Hey, when you’re racing, you’ve got to keep track of how fast you’re going.
Except, apparently, you don’t.
Back in August, the day before the Leadville 100, Kenny, Chucky, Bry and I were sitting together in the afternoon sun, talking about the next day’s race. Kenny usually finishes in well under nine hours, Chucky is a semi-pro racer, and Bry had been training hard, hoping that on this try (his fourth, I think), he’d break nine hours.
Naturally enough, Bry wanted some advice from the fast guys.
"What do you have targeted for your split times?" asked Bry, who is, by the way, a veteran of the Kona Ironman.
"I don’t have any," said Chucky.
"I don’t check my splits," said Kenny.
Bry was amazed. So, in truth, was I. "How do you know whether you’re on target to finish at your goal time?" Bry asked.
"I don’t have a goal time," Chucky replied. "I just go out riding as hard as I can for as long as I can. If that means I win, cool. If that means I finish fifth, cool."
"I don’t even wear a watch or ride with a bike computer during races," Kenny added. "Just give it everything you’ve got."
Bry said what I was thinking: "But what if you miss your goal time by just a couple minutes? Won’t you wish you had brought a watch?"
Chucky answered with what I see as the crux of the matter: "Look, a watch will never make you race faster. It can only slow you down. If you’ve got a watch and see you’re dropping behind your target, you accelerate for a minute and fry yourself. Then you lose more time than you would have in the first place. Just race as hard as you think you can all the time, and you’ll get the best time you can get. If you think you could go faster to pick up a couple minutes at the end of a race, you should do it whether it gets you in under nine hours or not."
Bry rode with a watch and a bike computer the next day anyway, and he did in fact finish in under nine hours. Chucky, meanwhile, finished fourth overall, moving up four places in the final 20 miles because he stayed on his bike where everyone else got off to push. Kenny finished in 8:08.
I still rode with a bike computer that day, too. It’s hard to let go of the mindset that if you know how fast you’re going, you can go a little faster. But part of me sees a beautiful logic in just pouring everything I’ve got into a race, without knowing the numbers — and then just dealing with the result.
The other part of me, of course, says, "Yeah, but what if you do that and get a 9:01 next year? You’d kill yourself."
PS: Kenny cleared up a point that merits promotion from comment to postscript. if that’s a promotion. Anyway, Kenny said:
"my point was and still is: that when you ride with a clock you demoralize your self emotionally. Let’s say you’re ahead of schedule and you decide to ease up a bit. That’s going to slow you down. If you’re behind schedule, is knowing it going to speed you up? If it does, you weren’t going fast enough in the first place. I have ridden with a clock and missed my goal. 3/4’s into the race I was having this battle inside my head wether I should go hard and try to make my goal or ease up and stop the pain. By not knowing your time or if your making your splits, you just go as hard as you can for as long as you can. You’ll always do your best on that day. Some days your best will be fast. Some days not so fast."
Kenny’s like Yoda. But really fast on a bike. And not as short. And he doesn’t have that annoying 2nd-half of predicate/object/subject/first-half of predicate syntax thing going on. But he is sage, like Yoda. And he’s bald, too.
PPS: Has anyone else ever got really annoyed watching Yoda, thinking, "his sentence forms are uniformly bad (ie always wrong in the same way). Fifteen minutes with a competent English teacher ought to take care of that problem. Except he’s been around for a mazillion years, so by now someone’s bound to have explained his problem to him. Which means he’s unable to fix the problem (making him a dim bulb indeed) or he’s unwilling to fix the problem, making him willfully annoying."
If Yoda and I ever meet, I predict we will exchange harsh words. But my sentences will be easier to understand, and I won’t sound like a really old Kermit the Frog.