Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Eat Good Stuff and Do Good Things

It is part of the perverse nature of man to fixate upon that which he cannot have. During winter, we yearn for warm summer days. During blistering heat waves, we fantasize about cool winter rides. As children, we counted down the days until our birthdays, where we could open presents, eat cake, and wonder why the clown's breath smelled "funny." As adults, we pine for those birthdays of yore and compare them sadly to the ones we now suffer through, full of blazing black candles and numbers that are almost never prime.

This is why, in Spring most cyclists minds turn to thoughts of ... food.

However, as most basic statistics are, the power-to-weight ratio is a harsh value ... and one that cyclists value very, very much. It is what determines how fast we can climb a hill, and to a lesser degree how fast we can accelerate on the flats. And while this doesn't matter as much to RandoBoy as it might to, say, a racer like Max Watzz, it still matters every time the road my group is on turns skyward, or we see a county line to sprint over.

Just because randonneuring ain't a race doesn't mean that randonneurs ain't egotistical bastards.

Now, power-to-weight is determined by how much power you can produce and how much you weigh. As a human, I am ordinarily "X" strong. I can do things to make myself stronger, but it is very hard work and gains eventually come in only the most meager of increments. As someone who has been cycling an amount that almost anybody would quantify as "a sh-t-load" over the past few years, for me to gain strength I have to put in a lot of training.

Since the power that I have is pretty much the power that I am stuck with, I am forced to attack the other side of the equation: weight. If I weighed as little as either of the Schleck brothers, for example, I would have a very good power-to-weight ratio. Instead, I weigh more like one of the Mario Brothers. Maybe both.

(Nice-ah bibs, eh?)

Alright, I'm exaggerating. I've actually been dieting for the past couple of months and have finally gotten back down to a decent level. And this is why I've been thinking more and more about food, and how you've got to make every calorie and gram of fat count -- both in terms of what it can do for your tastebuds, what it can do to your posterior, and what it means to the world.

So, I'm gonna talk about peanut butter.

No, that ain't no Skippy's label. It's the logo of Team 2012 -- as in the 2012 Olympics. It's a professional women's cycling team whose main sponsor is Peanut Butter & Company. And Nashville's very own Katharine Carroll is on this team.

In February, Shelley Evans of Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY12 won four stages en route to taking the General Classification victory in the Tour of New Zealand. Along with Kat, Mara Abbott is on the team. This is, basically, one of the hottest teams in women's professional cycling today.

And the peanut butter is really, really good. It's got all of these cool funky flavors, like Cinnamon Raisin Swirl, White Chocolate Wonderful, and The Heat is On -- which has peppers and chilli powder.

If it's spicy, it's mine. I mean, can you imagine how a big dollop of The Heat is On would taste on an Everything Bagel from Bruegger's ... maybe with a sliced up banana in there, too? We're talking a nearly perfect breakfast before a slightly cool morning ride. Mmmm ... nom, nom, nom ...

So, now that I've got your mouth watering, here's what I want you to do: Go to the Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY12 site and buy one of their special packages of peanut butter and a t-shirt. I'm sorry that you can't just walk over to the RandoCave and have me fix you a sandwich, but what kind of superhero lair would that be? I mean, imagine Girl Scouts delivering cookies to the Fortress of Solitude. Get real!

And, sure, you could buy some flavors of this peanut butter at local stores, but most of them don't stock the really cool flavors, and they don't come with the neat shirt, and 100% of the proceeds don't go to support this team! If you order one of the special packages from the above site, however, your money will go to help out some American 2012 Olympians, and you'll get great peanut butter and a t-shirt.

That almost sounds like it should be a sandwich. "I'd like a peanut butter and t-shirt on rye."

Or, maybe not.

Anyway, if you're still not sure, come to the 400K in April in Manchester, TN. I'm going to help support the ride, and I'll bring a few jars from my order. You can fix yourself a sandwich with a little Mighty Maple or Dark Chocolate Dreams before you roll out at 6 am. I wouldn't count on there being much left when you get back, unless you ride really fast.

And don't even think about touching my jar of The Heat is On.

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