Margaret and Dick   

     

    
Atlanta to Austin - Food! 2003
Observations after the 400-km brevet (May 3-4), with 13,000 calories burned:  Surely nobody was ever meant to eat 20 PowerBars in a day.  The task of eating 300-500 calories per hour, primarily carbs, becomes daunting when the ride is 24 hours long, and it can be a challenge to face one more bite.  Great energy bar alternatives include PayDay and Milky Way candy bars (king-size).  Ensure drink is great when you can find it:  tastes like a milk shake if you use some imagination.  Peanut-butter-and-honey sandwiches tucked in a back pocket become valuable treasures.

Observations after the 600-km brevet (May 24-25), with 22,000 calories burned:  Don't talk to me about energy bars, or anything sweet for that matter.  I reached my capacity for Rice Krispies Treats pretty early in the ride.  We stopped for a real meal at the halfway point, midnight, eggs/grits/country ham at a Waffle House, and it might be the best meal I've ever had.  After the ride I was guzzling Ensure, then home for a feast of Dick's couscous, extra salt.  Now the big challenge is to ignore this enormous appetite so I don't blimp out before next month's race.

July:  Okay, I'm on a diet.  A real weigh-your-food, count-grams-of-carbs/protein/fat and count-calories diet.  Use the the same obsessive approach that I usually reserve for training.  The source of the problem becomes immediately obvious ("So that's what 2,500 calories feel like!"). 

September:  Okay, it worked.

October:  Showtime!  I got some great advice from a food scientist at PacificHealth Labs (the folks who bring us Accelerade energy drink and EnduroxR4 recovery drink).  Both drinks helps the body absorb carbohydrates faster by combining them 4:1 with protein.  Accelerade is very acidic, however, and vast quantities on long bike rides can irritate the esophagus.  After several unsuccessful attempts to neutralize Accelerade with baking soda (a disaster I don't recommend -- I'm still cleaning the kitchen ceiling), I called for help.  Dr. Food recommended that I switch to EnduroxR4 (at half concentration) for long rides, since it's contains more glutamine, which muscles crave when placed under prolonged stress.  It's rumored to help you win the Tour de France  :-).

Reflections after the ride to Austin:  We know why Americans are so fat.  The simple task of finding a simple, nutritious dinner proved impossible in most of the towns where we stayed.  On one occasion our best choices were a fish restaurant (all fried, veto) and a Mexican restaurant (an obvious choice).  Scanning the menu for likely carb-rich dishes, I ordered a bean burrito.  It arrived covered by two cups of cheese sauce.  I scooped the sauce onto another plate...then found the filling was fat-loaded refritos.  I ate half, then ordered a platter of rice and went back to the hotel to scrounge among the energy bars.  Argh!  After this disaster Dick started cooking magnificent dinners in the hotel room:  couscous with salmon, pasta with smoked oysters, ...

Great stuff!