Two more days of team camp here in southwestern Tuscany. These 48 hours represent two more chances for the most meager breakfast offerings one has ever seen in the modern world, as well as four salads – one lunch, one dinner for both days – so large that a normal person would deem them beyond healthy and well into the realm of grotesque. “Is your skin supposed to turn green when you’ve eaten many many pounds of spinach?”
Following the tail of my last entry, Tips from Ted, the inevitable question of diet arrived to my inbox. It’s wonderfully vague as Dan asks, “Diets tips would be greatly appreciated, Ted!”
Balance, Dan, you need to find balance. That’s my M.O. in this adventure called life, anyway. It extends from family to friends to travel to work to education to lifestyle to business to pleasure… to food. Life is about riding waves so that when you’re having fun, you’re HAVING FUN. Yup, caps-lock, full-gas, fun. And then when you’re deep into business, you’re serious, you’re 100% laser focused, get the job done. When you’re on top of the wave, you’re ON. When you’re in the nadir, you’re traaaaaaanquillo.
Food, namely good food, provides me enormous pleasure. All facets of food in fact, whether it’s sitting at a fine restaurant or standing next to an authentic taco cart, strolling and absorbing the colorful, aromatic, and bustling alleys of a fresh food market, or my time spent in the kitchen which I find tremendously cathartic, food provides incalculable joy to life.
(I recognize that this isn’t the case for everyone. There is a teammate of mine for the past two years whom I have never witnessed eat anything that is not some dull shade of white. He eats bread, pasta bianco, rice, and chicken, as well as such riveting toppings as salt, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese.
NEVER have I seen him consume a single vegetable nor piece of fruit. Ever. Mind you, I spend consecutive days and up to two weeks with my teammates between races, camps, and media escapades. For someone who’s job is critically hinged on the consumption of food as fuel, this is nothing if not mind-bending to me.)
This past year, I’ve had the distinct and delicious pleasure to eat at a variety of pillars of cuisine. In no particular order, America’s greatest chef, Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc, Sam Hayward’s Fore Street in the homey heart of Portland, Chris Cosantino’s always exciting Incanto (I highly recommend his twitter feed, @OffalChris for mouth watering food porn), Michael Chiarello’s Bottega (where I dined, ahem… twice in consecutive days), Tuscan butcher and restauranteur Dario Cecchini’s Antica Macelleria Cecchini, the pillar of Boulder’s fine dining scene, Frasca, and James Beard award winning restaurant Husk in charming Charleston, SC. Indubitably, the icing on the cake – or the pat of fois gras resting delicately atop the seared fois gras – was the final night of my season when Timmy and I gluttonously dined at Au Pied de Cochon.
Food porn to end all food porn: Anthony Bourdain’s “Food Porn” episode of No Reservations at Au Pied de Cochon.
The point being, Dan, you need to thoroughly enjoy the food when you’re enjoying food. If you want dessert, eat dessert. I suppose the “tip” here is just be sure you’ve somehow deserved it or earned it or know you’ll be stream-line-focused the next time you’re on the bicycle. Ride the wave, man. In a similar vain, that means eat the real ice cream; don’t cheat yourself by slurping the chemical rich, low-fat, low-cal, aspartame sweetened garbage. And goodness gracious, I hope you know my feelings on real maple syrup as opposed to the corn syrup supplemented with corn syrup, Log Cabin Bottle of Gross. When you eat, eat. When you work, work. When you’re on top of the wave, ride the wave. When you’re off the wagon, hop off the wagon.
Let’s now bring it full circle and jump right up to the present. We are currently amidst the 2013 Team Cannondale Pro Cycling‘s December training camp for the past week and a half and I’ve seen the weight plummet like, oooh let’s say a hot knife shredding through butter. It’s inevitable because my game-day business face is back on as it’s been since November the first, so even though Italy is world renowned for exquisite yet startlingly simple cuisine, that means salad raised to the power of salad here at camp. Hellooooooo lettuce!
What does a post ride 100g plate of pasta look like? It looks like 29 lonely pieces of penne.
Who wants protein? I want protein! Who wants a feast from the sea? Well actually I do, but instead we will have a small filet of white fish.
Dessert? Ha, yeah right. “Dessert” is a modest apple. Three hour ride food? Creativity be damned, how about that apple again. And there’s always more sparkling water if we’re really hungry.
Now finding ourselves ten days deep into camp, eating like Oliver Twist, racking up hours both on the new steed and in the gym, the body fat percentage is down nearly two full points and the kgs are in the realm of scrawny and again. In fact, it was just this morning I noticed a new rib bonily protruding from my mid section. Great success.
Of course, this is just a simple Tip from Ted, Dan… and everyone else. Take this with a grain or entire bagful of salt. You could always subscribe to another dietician’s advice and blandly eat exclusively from the White food group.