Ode to Scrambled Eggs

01.10.2008 | 9:28 pm

Think about this for a moment: out of all your favorite comfort foods in the world, which is the only one you can be 95% confident you’ve always got the ingredients for?

Yes, that’s right. Scrambled eggs. They’re delicious. They’re high-protein. They’re relatively low fat (as long as you do a three whites / one yolk ratio). And as long as you’ve got eggs and something else — or, screw it, nothing else — in your fridge, you can make them.

Furthermore, scrambled eggs are one of very few foods that are completely foolproof. I do not know how it could be possible to make scrambled eggs badly. Crack, stir, heat, eat.

Last Night
Last night I made scrambled eggs for Susan and me — currently, Susan really likes soft warm food (lots of stew). Here’s what went into it:

  • Sauteed onion and green peppers
  • 4 eggs plus an additional 4 egg whites
  • An avocado
  • Provolone cheese
  • 1 Roma tomato
  • Sea salt (I only very recently started using sea salt, having until now thought it was a gimmick. Turns out I was wrong. It actually is discernibly tastier)
  • Black pepper
  • Cholula (but only on my part of the eggs)
  • A little bit of skim milk

Guess how much of it was just sitting in the fridge (or in the pantry)? All of it.

And it was so delicious. The onion, peppers, tomatoes and — especially — avocado made it extra-good.

My wife said I’m a terrific cook, which, while true, was not demonstrated last night. I just combined and heated ingredients until the eggs turned semi-solid.

But you know what? If we had had nothing but eggs and cheese, they still wouldn’t have been half bad.

The Best of All Possible Scrambled Eggs
My Grandma was an excellent cook. And I don’t just say that because all grandsons love the way their grandmas cook. My Grandma was known for her cooking throughout Raleigh, NC, which is home to some seriously good comfort cooks.

One of the things my Grandma was particularly known for — by her grandkids, anyway — was her scrambled eggs. When visiting, we’d always ask for them. And we assumed that her eggs — like everything she made — were good because of some special artist’s touch she had.

It wasn’t until I was an adult that I asked her if I could watch how she made scrambled eggs. Of course I could, she said.

To my surprise, she made them exactly the way I did, with one exception: she added a big hunk of Velveeta cheese.

My sisters, who until then had also loved my Grandma’s scrambled eggs, were horrified when I told them this. Unwittingly, we had been tricked into having Velveeta be the magic ingredient in one of our favorite foods.

To people who use "Velveeta" as a food punchline roughly equivalent to "Spam," it was one hell of a revelation.

But it makes sense, really. Like Velveeta, scrambled eggs get no respect. Too lowbrow. But you know that if scrambled eggs had a fancy name and demanded dozens of ingredients, formal training, and required skillful measuring and a watchful eye — and then tasted just like they do now — they’d be regarded as a culinary masterpiece.

So I say, it’s time we give scrambled eggs the respect they deserve:

Scrambled eggs, in all your elegant simplicity, I adore you.

PS: Susan tells me, "You make it sound like I eat nothing but stew. ‘Stew’ is a gross word, and that’s not all I eat." So, to be clear: My wife does not eat just stew. She also eats gruel.

PPS: Even though I love my Grandma’s scrambled eggs, I never buy Velveeta "cheese," for three reasons: I’ve seen the nutritional information, I’d be embarrassed to be seen with it at the supermarket, and Velveeta was always the kind of cheese my Dad bought to use as fish bait — it shapes so easily around the fish hooks — resulting in my inability to think of Velveeta as anything but fish bait. I’m pretty sure that contributed to my shock at finding my Grandma used Velveeta in her scrambled eggs: "You mean people can eat Velveeta, too?!"

PPPS: Is Velveeta even available outside the United States? I have a hard time imagining, for example, that you could easily buy Velveeta in Italy. And it would be kind of sad if you could.

PPPPS: I plan to start my 100 Miles of Going Nowhere tonight around 9pm, after I get the twins in bed. I should finish around 2:30am or so. Which means I’ll sleep in on Saturday and therefore wake up about the same time everyone else in the family does (my wife and children are, apparently, vampires).


Fight Cancer, Win a 29″ Singlespeed Townie / MTB

01.10.2008 | 1:22 pm

I have never raced the Frozen Hog — an early February mountain bike race close to where I live. It’s too cold. I’m out of shape. Any other excuse I can think of.

This year, though, it looks like I have no choice. Why? Because UtahMountainBiking.com and Racer’s Cycle Service are doing something so cool I’d have to be the ultimate jerk to miss it.

They’re raffling off two Marin Hamilton 29′ers (a 29″ singlespeed MTB that can be built up as a mountain bike or a townie), with the money from one going to the Lance Armstrong Foundation, and the money from the other going to the Huntsman Cancer Institute. In both cases, they’re donating in honor of Susan.

Check it out :

One for Locals
If you live in Utah, you should seriously consider registering for the race. When you register online, you’ll have a chance to buy a raffle ticket for $10.00. All proceeds from the raffle will go to the Huntsman Cancer Institute, which did an incredible job of taking care of Susan during her recent hip replacement.

By the way, if you wear your pink Fat Cyclist jersey to the race, you get a free second raffle ticket. How’s that for cool?

One for Fat Cyclist Readers
Of course, most of you don’t live anywhere near me, but that doesn’t mean you can’t win one of these bikes. To “buy” a raffle ticket for the second Hamilton 29er, just make a $10 donation to the Lance Armstrong Foundation, then forward me the email confirmation you get. If you donate multiples of $10, I will count that as multiple tickets.

Now, UtahMountainBiking.com and Racer are being generous by donating these bikes, but they don’t have an infinite amount of money. So they’re willing to ship the bike anywhere in the US, but can’t afford the shipping cost and customs of shipping outside the US. So while anyone in the world can buy a raffle ticket, if you live outside the US you’re going to have to come pick the bike up yourself (or have it sent to a stateside friend).

When’s the Drawing?
The Frozen Hog is Saturday, February 2. That’s when they’ll do the drawing for both the bikes.

The winners can then specify what size they want, and Racer will send it out to them.

I’m pretty sure I just heard a bunch of sighs of relief that it’s not up to me to send out the bikes to the winners, since that would mean you wouldn’t be getting them until sometime in 2009.

Thanks Very Much
You know that Susan’s fighting cancer, but I don’t know if I’ve told you that my paternal grandmother, my sister Kellene, my father, my stepmother, and my stepfather have all had cancer.

And today, I just got an email from a reader of this blog — someone who sent a very nice gift to Susan a while back — saying she’s just been diagnosed with breast cancer. It hit me hard.

The fact is, everyone knows someone who has or will have cancer. It’s the meanest equal-opportunity disease out there.

So I appreciate they way all of you understand how I’m going to be doing a lot of contests and talking a lot about cancer this year.

So again: thanks for your help.

PS: I’ve gotten close to $1000 in bets against me riding 100 miles on my rollers this weekend. Thanks!

Cycling Clothes: The Next Generation

01.9.2008 | 4:16 pm

I need to be honest for a moment. I’m not nearly as interested in being a great cyclist as I am in looking like I’m a great cyclist.

The problem is, I do not look — per se — like a great cyclist. I do, on the other hand, look like a big fat puddle of goo.

And my cycling clothes aren’t exactly helping. The tight shorts bind into my waist, creating an appalling “muffin top” effect. My belly protrudes. My calves are the very definition of “lack of definition.”

You get my point.



kinetic to latent to kinetic converter, bib girdles, power socks, geared singlespeed,

Strange Dreams

01.8.2008 | 10:13 pm

A couple days ago, my friend Brad posted about a dream he had about the upcoming 2008 Leadville Trail 100 Race. It’s an excellent story and I don’t want to spoil it by summarizing, so I’ll instead just say: click here to read it. It’s wonderfully surreal.

Hey, check me out: I used “surreal” in a sentence.

Anyway, reading Brad’s post reminded me that I, too, have been plagued over the years by odd dreams about racing in the Leadville 100. These dreams are all strange, and they all have a certain weird thematic undercurrent.

These dreams are as follows:

  • I’m Late: I show up to the race twenty minutes late, because — for some reason — I had a difficult time remembering the combination to the lock on my gym locker, which is where — of course — all my bike clothes are kept. And my tires were flat. And they had moved the starting line.
  • The Race is Different: For some reason, we are all told the day before that the Leadville 100 is now a cyclocross event. And there is a swimming leg. So it’s now a 100-mile cyclocross / swimming duathlon. Both in gear and in training, I feel that I may not be optimally prepared. However, when the race starts I find that it doesn’t really matter what kind of bike I have because by “cyclocross,” the race organizers actually meant that we were not allowed to ride our bikes at all. Rather, we were required to run alongside them, pushing them the entire distance.
  • The Race is Inside: For some reason — which my dream has not been kind enough to provide — the race is not being held on the usual course. Instead of the traditional Leadville-to-Columbine out-and-back, the race is being held entirely within the confines of the old gymnasium — the one where race meetings are held, and which barely contains the thousand or so participants. The race consists of going around the gym floor, going up the stairs to the second-story bleachers, walking the circuit there, coming back down the stairs, and repeating. My dream does not provide how many repetitions of this makes 100 miles.

I guess I should just be grateful that I’ve never had a dream where I show up to the race in nothing but my underwear. Or that I’ve never dreamed that I realize, at the start line, that I haven’t ridden my bike even once this season.

Your Turn
I have to assume that others of you have had memorable dreams in anticipation of an important ride or race. I’m very interested to find out what they are.

Or, if you feel so inclined, feel free to interpret my dreams.

Going Nowhere for 100 Miles

01.8.2008 | 10:52 am

Back in December, Susan gave me an early Christmas present. And by "Susan gave me an early Christmas present," I of course mean "I bought it for myself, and told Susan what she was giving me."

It was a bike-related present. A really nice bike-related present. In fact, it was the nicest, most expensive bike-related present I got this year. Which brings up the very important question: why haven’t I mentioned it on my blog yet?

The answer is simple: I’ve been embarrassed to.

Here’s what I got:

Yes, I got myself — I mean, Susan got me — Inside Ride’s E-Motion Rollers.

Why I Love These Rollers
There are all kinds of reasons to love these rollers, because they’re totally unlike any other rollers out there. Here’s why:

  • Stand up and attack: The frame for these rollers floats on another base frame, and then there are guard rollers keeping your back wheel from hopping off the drums. Combined, this means you can stand up and make a massive sudden attack effort, just like on the road, and you don’t fly off the front of the rollers. It’s incredible.
  • No Drift off the side: There are inline skate wheels pivoted horizontally on either side of the front drum. Any time you drift off the left or right, you hit those wheels and they act like bumpers, keeping you on the drums, instead of crashing off to the side.
  • Resistance: You can set them up to have no resistance, like regular rollers, or you can choose any of three levels of resistance.

Riding these rollers, I can ride no-handed, I can stand up and make an all-out effort, I can do high cadence training, I can do climb-style training.

In other words, I get all the benefits of both rollers and trainers. These rollers make inside winter training so much nicer.

Why I’m Embarrassed
All that fawning praise aside, I’ve still avoided mentioning that I own these rollers. Why would that be?

Price. I’m  embarrassed that I paid so much for a pair of rollers. I mean, that Susan paid so much for a pair of rollers.

Although I have to say, the more I use these rollers, the more it seems to me that they’re worth it. I mean, if I pay $100 for one set of rollers but hate using them and so don’t, are they a better deal than paying eight times that much for a set that I use — and enjoy — every day?

The above, by the way, is just one of many ways I rationalize the cost of these things to myself. I have many others, each of which I am happy to provide as the situation warrants.

I Think I Can Can Ride for 100 Miles on My Rollers
That was an incredibly long-winded introduction (what’s new?) to my main point: I think I could ride a century on these rollers.

Yes, that’s right. I think I could, in one session, ride 100 miles on these rollers.

And I’m going to try, this Saturday. It should take about six hours.

I Do Not Expect You To Believe Me
I am probably not the first person to attempt to ride rollers for 100 miles, but those of you who have ridden indoors and have nearly lost your mind after 45 minutes know that this is no minor thing I am going to try.

I would go so far, in fact, to expect that most of you will not believe that I can do it.

So Bet Me
So here’s what I’d like to do: I would like to bet anyone and everyone that I can ride 100 miles on my rollers this Saturday.

I don’t want the bet to be idle, however. You — and I — are going to need to put our money where our mouths are. And in doing so, we’re going to make some money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

Here’s how it will work:

  1. Send me an email telling me the amount of money you are willing to bet that I will not be able to ride 100 miles on my rollers this Saturday.
  2. If I succeed: you must send the amount of money you promised to the Lance Armstrong Foundation.
  3. If I fail: Then I will send that amount of money to the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

So, if 100 of you each bet me $25.00 and I succeed, you’d each send in your $25.00. If I fail, I’d have to donate $2500 to the LAF.

Either way, a very good cause benefits.

You may also, if you like, bet for me — how much money you will donate if I succeed. That’s your call.

Caveats and Whatnot
I am going to do this century on rollers honestly. I’m not going to take any hour-long breaks, I’m not going to put the rollers in my car and drive around for 100 miles. I’m not going to tell my odometer that my wheel circumference is ten yards.

I’m going to ride 100 miles pretty much continuously, taking short breaks to eat, refill water bottles, and change DVDs (I plan to watch Deadwood, Season 1, which a number of people have told me is fantastic.

So bet me. If you’re not afraid.

Update: So far, I’ve got $340 $480 $625 $880 $1020 in bets against me. Thanks! (And I really mean the "thanks" — I know you’re really doing the bets because it’s a good cause, not because the bet means anything.)

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