Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Hydration and nutrition are two of the most important aspects of cycling. Timing, portion control, and calories become a necessity on any ride longer than 10 miles. Forget Gatorade, Kool-Aid or a Snickers…the science behind proper body fueling is noted by athletes world-wide.

As my training is progressing, I have started the task of hill repeats which is just what it says, repeating a hill with a set amount of trips up and down…up and down…. Within our park system, Louisville is home to many hills, one of which is, Cochran Hill a snake-like hill slap dead in the middle of the park. Repeating it burns your calves, your hamstrings, and your caloric intake.

While proper nutrition guidelines suggest the consumption of appropriate proteins, no sooner than I had finished my seventh trip up and down the hill did I desire one thing….MEAT. In fact, on the 6 mile trip to return to the car, all I could picture in my head was a heaping plate of MEAT. By meat, I mean BBQ…smoked and delicious coated in a sugary sauce thus possibly defeating any restorative powers to my twitching muscle fibers. Combine the heaping plate of meat that I did consume in record time at a local BBQ joint with the sugary goodness known as a “buttermilk pie” and you have a satiated cyclist void of hunger and possibly considering never eating again.

Every cyclist has pre, during, and post-ride foods that are their signature foods. I have seen cyclists consume Big Macs, pizza, and fried chicken (not all at the same time). I have also seen cyclists consume broccoli, baked chicken, and nutritional bars made up of 40 or so chemicals meant to restore muscles and hydrate the body. High end performance foods are always recommended by the pros. However, I am not a pro. I am a girl training to have a successful cross season and when I finish a ride, I am not about to crave a peanut butter soy honey bar and an electrolyte energy water. Hell no! I am craving proteins…heaping, smoking amounts of fatty proteins. Dare I say, I need it slathered in sauce and by sauce, I do not mean a Gu gel, or a HammerGel gravy, I mean, sugary, molasses laced, preserved BBQ sauce. I think it is safe to assume, I probably will not be asked to join some SUPER serious road team anytime soon.


The kick-off to summer is usually Memorial Day weekend which includes one paid day off and a total of three days of cook-outs, friend hopping, and endless snacking. This tradition was not deterred by occassional storms or relentless humidity which kept your clothing constantly "damp."

The weekend became a "new parent weekend" as the boyfriend and I navigated our future parenting skills with one golden retriever who is void of ANY usual adolescent behavior. While I was prepared for furniture climbing, shoe chewing, constant rough housing, carpet "accidents" and incessant begging for all human foods, we were  met with quite opposite behaviors. He prefers the leash, is quite even tempered and rarely barks unless his needs are not being met socially (he likes to greet EVERY dog and EVERY person). Even his separation anxiety is limited to a few minutes of barking and whimpering. He enjoyed a Saturday morning at the farmers market and greeted the locals as if he had been doing this tradition for years.These wonderful absent puppy habits allowed the "new" parents to sleep in Sunday and avoid dressing until the noon hour.

Buddy checking himself out before a walk through the neighborhood

It is important to take a break from parenting and thankfully we summed up the courage for a friend to attempt clipless pedals again while also battling overgrown trails on the mountain bikes. Vines, grasses and thissle bushes seemed dead set on slowing down a quad female bike group but we exceeded our own expectations by plowing through the trails and dodging an onslaught of sweaty runners. No one one dry heaved and this we agreed was a good end to the ride.

Self portrait in HOT sun...

Post bike ride bliss was followed up with the FIRST seasonal dip in the chilly pool. A loaded recyclable bag of tortilla chips, melted chocolate, strawberries and other salty, ooey, gooey snacks provided the post ride food buffet necessary for an afternoon in the sun. The sun, however, hid behind a massive dark cloud which never dumped rain directly on us (whew, thanks!) but aborted our chances for severe sunburn (we are thankful for this). Swim lessons and learning to float in a device that resembled an oversized diaphram provided ample hilarity.

Swimming with a large diaphram-looking device 

Being  new parents, getting used to doggie schedules, discussing optimal food options, treats, and potty breaks made for an exhausting weekend all in all. The best way to shut things down was with a grill, some gin and tonics, and a dog panting with the rythum of a freight train.