Thursday, 31 March 2011

Spandex, sugars, Spain and Sardines

Tonight’s missive is comin ‘atcha from Lauren’s Balcony in Santa Monica – very much “real housewives” territory. I’m sitting outside trying to keep cool after a couple of large days on the bike. These have been the first properly hot days in a while and I managed to maroon myself out on Mulholland without any idea where I was (or where water could be had), it was pretty traumatic. So much so that it clearly affected my mental state; I did the same thing again the next day. I had a pretty pants blood glucose day today; rolled out the door at 150, dropped 50 points in 10 mins and I could feel it! Ate 25g of gel carbs and did some efforts for an hour, ate ½ a bar and cruised the coast, I felt low so I ate the other half and stopped (about 1.45 into my ride to grab some water before I went into the wilderness. Halfway up my first canyon climb my sugars went boom – 130-70 and shaking inside a 15 min effort. My lip went wobbly and I stopped and put away a pack of fig newtons,a chewy bar and few jelly beans – that was enough to get me up to 120 and my sugars cruised downwards slowly for the next 2 hours before making another bid for the bottom about 5 minutes from the house.
Having groveled home via a bakery (amandine – Wilshire blvd) which has received the hypo-cyclist seal of approval I’ve spent the rest of the day prancing about in my boxer shorts and trying to work out why the bloke next door spends quite so much time naked with the blinds open. It’s funny once but seeing the sausage swing whilst he shadow boxes when I’m brushing my teeth is actually quite traumatic.
Anyway all this heat (and some of this nudity) is preparing me for the next leg of my adventure; I’m going (back) to Spain (or to be more accurate to Catalunya) . I rode there a fair bit when I was but a gangly (or ganglier) yoof. I’m pretty excited to be going back, I should be able to get in some quality racing out there and plenty of big days in the Pyrenees. Nothing makes me happier than being within striking distance of Barcelona, it’s my favourite city and I feel at home there. The roads are great for training, there’s always an old man to chase up a climb and outside of the city people take a pretty forgiving attitude to my tendency to descend like I’m on closed roads.
I also love the food, I can list a million places to get espinacs al catalana, tapas, bocadillos de tortilla (a personal favourite), helados, the butteriest pastries and the crispest estrella beer. I could write a whole post on where to eat in Barcelona, maybe when I give up this lycra related segment of my life I’ll set up running gastro-tours of the city. Hopefully I’ll be there for a few festivals as well, I love seeing a community come together in celebration. It’s not really something that happens in the US but the palpable sense of welcome is remarkable.
Obvioulsy this means I’ll be missing out on some of the team diabetes work here but there’s a method to my madness and I will be back soon enough. I’d love to do similar work in Spain and Europe so maybe I can hook something up with our sponsors. I think attitudes in Europe are a little different; type 2 is not so prevalent and thus the media and public don’t have such a negative perception. However general knowledge on the condition is still low and maybe I can help do my little bit to rectify that with spandex, sweat and my multilingual ability to run my mouth.
If you’re wondering why Sardines made it into the title it’s because I just pounded a can of those bad boys. I’ve been living the flat broke dream recently and after a few weeks of letting my diet really slide (pb and “wholewheat” bread do not a complete day’s nutrition make) so I’m learning how to get good food, cheap. If you’re poor (I am right now) and hungry (when am I not?) and looking to stay healthy (I try) it’s a pretty safe bet to throw your greenbacks behind the super-sardine. They are almost as cheap as tuna, come in a tomato sauce so you don’t have to make an effort to make them taste good (see my experiment with wasabi tuna: if you’re wondering it does not taste like sushi it tastes like someone’s resurfacing your nasal cavity) and they pack some of the those Mega omega 3 fatty acids which people who know things about such things seem fond of; so get some. Other good bets are spinach (costco has bags big enough to sleep in for $4) tinned tomato, peanut butter (again costco organic) and cheerios (they have about the best fiber:sugar ratio of any cereal I can find cheaply). As for having to write “I live in my car” on race entry forms, and shaving in a rear view mirror I’m afraid I haven’t got any tips for you – it sucks!
Adeu, and a recipe(http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Catalan-Spinach-1889) and a rock band (http://www.poprockbands.com/sidonie/band/prs.html) to get you in the Catalan frame of mind:

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