Category Archives: Random

DIESEL FUEL: Hard Cider Wars

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The suffocating humidity is lifting, some of the leaves are showing color other than green. Marathoners are thinking about their long runs, mountain bikers are oiling their chains, and cyclocrossers are grabbing their drop barred bikes with knobbies instead of the slicks they have been riding all summer.

Most folks love to sit down with a cold beer after a race or training day. The problem is, I am not really a fan of beer. What is one to do in such a case?

Let’s rewind to earlier this summer. To celebrate my mother winning her age group in the Pocono XTerra Trail Run Series, we decided to hit up some wings and cheesesteaks. There was a little ad thingy for Redd’s Ale on our table. Being thirsty and in a celebratory mood, I thought I would order one up to try it out. I ended up really enjoying it.

Where am I going with this? Well, what better time than fall, with the upcoming apple harvest and a glut of racing and woodsy endurance activities, to have a Hard Cider War?

What is best alternative for endurance racing type of folks who aren’t beer fans to sit back and enjoy a manly adult beverage that celebrates the season? I intend to answer that question through a no holds barred, last cider standing taste testing tournament. Check back soon for the first round!

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DIESEL FUEL RECIPE: Baked Oatmeal

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Lance, if you are reading this, you can stop now. Baked oatmeal is not some code word used to describe a pharmaceutical concoction that is injected intravenously. Rather, it is a delicious recipe that can be used as a pre-workout meal, post-workout meal, or delicious snack or dessert. Like shrimp and grits, the baked oatmeal is greater than the sum of it’s parts, and also has a surprising and unique texture. Ground zero for baked oatmeal is the Lancaster, PA area as it’s a popular Pennsylvania Dutch recipe.

Nutritionally, baked oatmeal offers a good mix of complex carbs, simple carbs, and some protein. By adding fruits and nuts to the mix, you can add additional vitamins, antioxidants, healthy fats, etc. For the base recipe, you can also substitute apple sauce for butter, cut down on the brown sugar, or substitute xylitol or splenda. Below is the basic recipe followed by some ideas for variations.

Recipe

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3 cups instant oats
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
Splash of vanilla extract

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Combine all dry ingredients. In another bowl, combine all other ingredients (don’t forget to take the eggs out of their shell!). After wet and dry ingredients are combined separately, combine all the ingredients together. Place in a greased vessel, approximately 9×9 in a preheated oven for about 45 minutes or until it looks done. Your guess is as good as mine.

Once baked, serve warm in a bowl, with some milk poured over (see picture below). Once eating is commenced, the cake-like structure will fall apart like a Schleck brothers’ season and will become a delicious porridge. The leftovers can be eaten for days, just remember to warm up the cake, before you pour on the milk.

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Variations

    Cherry Garcia Baked Oatmeal: add cherries and dark chocolate chips. If you just ran a half marathon or greater, you have earned a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.
    Mother-in-Law Baked Oatmeal: add chopped walnuts and sliced almonds for some excellent Omega 6 fatty acids and a truly nutty experience
    Orchard Baked Oatmeal: Add diced apples, pears, and peaches and you will almost be able to smell the Spring blossoms and pesticides on the trees
    Obama Baked Oatmeal: add nothing because you can’t afford it with higher taxes. In fact, with this variation, you must give half of the recipe output to the guy who was too lazy to make his own.

Lance, I was just kidding. Call me, we will go for a ride.

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Excerpt from “peloton”

“The moment of clarity through the ice cold, crystal clear feel of pain reveals something I’ve been thinking about a lot this year. I’m addicted to riding my bike. I’m a junkie. I need the pain in my legs, the feeling of exhaustion that slowly wells up from your muscles proper and seeps into your bone marrow, and eventually, it floods, and your legs and your body cry, but it’s not a cry of sorrow, it’s the happy release of struggle and hard work and knowing that you’re making your body do things it doesn’t want to do, things it probably shouldn’t do, but exactly what you want it to do.”

~Jered Gruber, March 2013 peloton

peloton is an awesome magazine. The photography and writing is way more Rapha than Nashbar. It’s sister magazine, Switchback, covers the mountain bike side of the sport and is also highly recommended.

“peloton” magazine

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Ode to my Thule Roof Rack

Ode to my Thule Roof Rack

Hail thee, Thule roof rack on my car.
You carry my frame, wheels, and drivetrain far.
I don’t know how to pronounce your name
Because from Sweden, you proudly came.
I take off my front wheel, and lift my bike onto thee.
You gallantly protect my steed from thievery.
O! Bike roof rack, you do your job so brave!
About you, I eternally rave.

Endurance Training, Starvation, and Primitive Survival Cognition

Lately my appetite has been ferocious. I have heard of a method of skipping a few meals to let your body get a chance to clean out any toxin build up and to allow your hypothalamus to recalibrate hormone levels. I thought I would give it a try to test the validity of the process.

Most of the results were pretty expected. I felt hungry and a little tired; not atypical enough to elaborate much more. What was of more interest to me was the mental state achieved during my short fast. I would best describe it as feeling eerily distant to what is going on around me, but at the same time also feeling more alert. I had trouble focusing on some of the menial tasks I perform at work, yet I was inclined to get into deep discussion about strategies of the department.

This paradox reminded me of a recent post I read from Anton Krupicka, the elite Ultramarathoner. When trying to describe what he thinks about on his long runs, he said “I think of nothing and everything. Usually at the same time. Which is just another way of saying that I’m not really thinking. Rather, I’m listening. To myself, in an as unintentional manner as possible.”

Apparently, hunger and endurance training may place us in a similar state in which we think about nothing and everything at the same time? Might this be a subconscious method of perpetuating survival amongst our primitive ancestors that is still programmed deep within our brains? But hunger is not a pleasurable experience, and endurance training places us on a similar mental state, so why do we do knowingly subject ourselves to long runs and difficult rides? Perhaps our body is perversely programmed to enjoy starvation, pain, and boredom. After all, if our ancestors could not psychologically cope with such downers, would I be here writing this today? My Darwinian assertion is masochism was evolutionarily selected for, millennia ago. My theory is that some caveman was walking around without a meal, or chased a deer over a mountain in an anaerobic, glycogen depleted state, and may have some how enjoyed a mental state where he thought about everything and nothing at the same time. Instead of laying down and dying in a depressed state, he instead soldiered on, almost feeling good about feeling badly. He kept on keeping on.

Next Saturday during my half marathon, at some point, my mind will drift away to a paradoxal state. I too will keep on keeping on.