Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Team Cook-Position Filled

Everyone knows I love two things, cycling and cooking. I cannot do the two at the same time but I love these hobbies equally. The athletic, competitive part of me obviously comes from my dad who enjoyed a youth of various sports and eventually car racing. The cooking gene skipped over my mother and landed on me. Mom's signature dish is Hamburger Helper or a hash of lima beans, corn and tomatoes that to this day, I refuse to eat. I'm a genetic mess of athletics and fine cooking.

Just over a month ago, I was ready for another cyclocross season. The first race was the weekend before the wedding and my nerves were stacked with racing and wedding details. To say the race sucked would be the kindest thing I could say. From the start, I hated it. The course was a rough jagged mesh of pumpkin stems, soured apples and rude officials. My class of women is small and often we are combined with several other groups. The mayhem of juniors, younger women, single speed men made me squirm. As I sliced through the tape, an official yelled at me thinking I was trying to cut the field when in actuality I was just trying to figure out the direction of the course. I walked off. I had a "I want to throw my bike moment."

The truth is, I love racing but doing it alone is no fun. I do not have a ride or training buddy. I get bored riding around by myself. I've done all sorts of team sports but our team is stacked with accomplished riders and accomplished riders do not train others. It's not that anyone on the team is being snide, it's just expected that you will find your own mate. Few women ride or race in this area, so I have no options for training partners. Without the monies to hire a trainer or genetic clone advancements to create a cool training partner, I instantly decided not to race this season. Not wanting to be a deadbeat on the team, I reverted to the only other thing I know, food.

Caramel espresso brownies.
Just two races into the season, our team has not starved. While we wake before dawn and travel some distances, no one has gone hungry. This team does not subsist off peanut butter, gu gels, or protein powders. With some research, I crafted a simple seasonal menu including marinated kabobs, burgers, and pastas. It requires preparation and time spent over a searing hot grill. I do not mind one bit. In fact, it makes me want to operate a food truck (that's another story for later). Other teams definitely notice our set-up of Belgian waffles, burgers with grilled pineapple, and assortment of sweets. We've had a few riders panhandle us for a spare waffle or muffin to hold them over until they reached home and a drive thru.

The morning set-up complete with coffee and espresso.
 There is no worse feeling that starving after a race. Your body constantly craves food. Like many, I am quite cranky when I am hungry as are my team mates. We like to eat and we don't want jersey warmed gu's. Perhaps its an odd contribution and not nearly as glamorous as the racers. My class of racers really do not matter. No one cheers for the Cat 4 women. No one comes to see the Cat 4 women. No one takes pictures of the Cat 4 women. We really don't do anything exciting like the elite men. We're a slower group. So, why waste my time? I may race again but I'm going to need someone to make me excited because doing it alone is not exciting. In the meantime, I will cook until my heart is content and contribute something that I enjoy. None of my team mates are complaining because their mouths are full of food.

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