Monday, 28 April 2014

baja bike racing, being nice and better breakfasts

it' been a month. Sorry about that. In my defense I've submitted a chapter of my thesis, done some writing in other places  and pedaled around a bit. I've still been twittering and 'gramming away like nobody's business but sometimes it's cathartic to sit down and share something longer than 140 characters.

So in no particular order here's what I've been up to (is this the point when everyone who isn't my mother stops reading?) : I have entered some bike races, mostly in Baja but with a smattering of (arriba?) California thrown in a well. I managed to distinguish myself in one by falling over, getting angry, catching up, getting angrier when nobody would work in the 30+mph wind (yes it WAS that strong), heading off on my own to try and find co-operative souls. Finding the break uncooperative i headed off on my own again to pursue the leaders and managed to find all but two of them. Thus i managed to make it onto the box for the first time this year, to spend a large majority of the 150k in the wind, to earn Tecate, tacos and a fistful of pesos and of course to get my trophy taken to pieces by the overzealous border guard who thought the sweat, dust, spandex and excessive tamale consumption i was exhibiting were all part of an elaborate ruse. He never actually noticed the fact i DID have syringes, vials and prescription meds in my pocket.
i was standing up here 
and trying not to laugh as these guys played "total eclipse of the heart" in Spanish and all i could think of was this 

(this is the point when my mother stops reading as nobody wants to read my race stories). I've also been experimenting with the Vb6 diet. basically i avoid animal products before 6pm. I like this approach for a number of reasons, not least because it treats food as a pleasure and not a faith. I think labelling oneself by diet is indicative of a less than optimal relationship with food. I try and avoid animal products for most of the day, not because i think that people who don't are the spawn of Satan but because i hope that it help in some way to reduce my environmental impact. If i slip up i'm not going to cry about and feel like i have failed, i'd have eaten animal products later that day anyway. But i have made a commitment to try and so I do try. It seems pretty easy so far. I make a big museli mix of oats and chia and flax seed and all kinds of dried fruit with almond or coconut milk for breakfast. When i am riding i lean on trail mix and peanut butter based sandwiches a lot. I let myself have honey as well because, frankly, agave can bugger off, it's just overpriced hipster HFCS. lunch is easy, hummus, veggies, bread, salad, beans ( i try and avoid too much in the way of soy) , pretzels and raisins have become my go to low snack when teaching and then when i get home i have a nice piece of fish or meat and some yogurt ( i don't need any MORE broken bones!).                                                

powered by peanut butter! 

I have had pretty good control eating like this, not BECAUSE vegan food is better for diabetes or health but mainly because i check the labels on things, don't just grab cookies from the corner of the office and i know what i'm eating. I know everyone will jump down my throat for saying it but i don't feel that i could get out of my own way on a bike without some animal protein each day. Maybe i could if i had the time/ energy to calculate all my macronutrients but the whole point is to eat food that's good for the planet and good for my body and my mind and logging food is far from the latter.
I have a totally healthy relationship with chocolate.....

Writing and researching an article on eating disorders in cyclists has really opened my eyes to how lucky i am to be able to enjoy and appreciate food for what it is which is one of life's great pleasures. It's also taught me that for so many people food is something to be feared. many people who you've heard of have reached out to me to talk. Some anonymously others openly. At this stage I'll just say that it's an issue we should all be aware of and that so many eating disorders stem from low self esteem. The best thing we can do to help people through what is becoming an endemic situation is to let them know we value them as people not just as race winners. I look on twitter and see so much negativity these days, perhaps we could all commit to complementing someone, especially someone who might not be on the receiving end of lots of compliments that day (i.e. not the guy who just won LBL but the dude who went as hard as he could to make it to 50k to go and then got shelled like these peanuts i am munching on) .

As fans of cycling we focus on the idea of a clean sport as if it is a moral end in itself but isn't a lack of doping just a means to an end? Shouldn't we be working towards a healthy, nurturing and safe cycling which doesn't leave riders at 35 with drug issues, depression or disordered eating? All of he above aren't helped by low self esteem and i think we, as fans and commentators CAN help change that culture.

SO until next time, JUST BE NICE. and make this museli, it'll help you start the day in a nice way.

3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup wheat bran

1/3 cup chia seeds
1/3 cup flax seeds

1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried figs (chopped up)
1/2 cup tart dried cherries / unsulphered apricots

a shake of cinnamon (you can use nutmeg, cardamom)
a pinch of salt

Mix all that in a big jar and shake it about. hen place it in a large tupperware or other sealed container and cover it by two inches with either almond milk, kefir, coconut milk, horchata (yup i've done that) or another delicious liquid and stir it to combine. You can add honey here and vanilla essence. you can also add frozen berries the night before and let them defrost.

leave it overnight and then in the morning mix with chopped up fruit, top with toasted almonds and coconut flakes. ENJOY!

obviously you can mix this up a bit, use other grains, add cocoa powder (this works well with darker dried fruit like plums and raisins), use different fruit or different liquid ( i tried milky coffee once and it was pretty good).

and finally, Marlin is the most delicious thing in the sea. so more food pictures