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Archive for June, 2009

Here’s a breakdown of 6 of the most common sources of carbs, nutrients, vitamins, energy, caffeine, calories and/or flavor currently used by cyclists.  I have tried almost all of these recently, and the pictures are the specific brands of each type of product that I have sampled.

Sports Beans:From “Jelly Belly”, these are a pretty neat idea. They have a grood range of carbs and vitamins without too much sugar or calories. The package is pretty easy to open and they are pretty easy to consume while riding. Eating ‘healthy’ jelly beans is an interesting idea, but I feel like it psychs me out. While eating these on a ride I feel like, ‘I’m eating candy, this should make me feel sick because of all the sugar.’ It’s psychosomatic, but I just feel like they should hinder me instead of help.

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Gels:there are tons of these out on the market right now, and they are generally accepted as being pretty dependable for all types of endurance athletics. They are really easy to consume, even though the texture is pretty weird and slimy. They are small and fit well (like tucked into tights in a skin-suit) while combining lots of grood carbs, caffeine, electrolytes etc depeding on the variety you get. I really like these, as I use them the frequently. The ND cycling team got a bunch of free Carb-Boom gels, so those are the only ones I ever take, cause it’s a well known fact that free stuff is way better.  blog4

Bars: The classic. Endurance athletes have been relying on bars for a really long time, and I am no exception. I have switched brands quite often. The little store at ND sells a lot of varieties of Power brand bars, so right now I’m into those, but I’m always open to different varieties. When I was a runner, obviously I didn’t eat while running, so I got into the habit of eating bars before and after races. I haven’t changed much, and usually only eat bars just before or after riding.

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Chews:These things are new, and frighten me. I have only tried them once, so I can’t tell you about how grood they are, but I found one major flaw with them. They get stuck in your teeth like no other! Cycling requires a lot of focus, and that is impossible when you are trying to get a bunch of gunk out of your molars.

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Powders:Even classic-er. While the powder you mix yourself isn’t quite so old, Gatorade revolutionized the way endurance athletes hydrate. I buy jars of powdered Gatorade (regular type) and mix it into my water bottles. That way, I save a ton of money, and I can make it less concentrated than in the bottles. I haven’t tried recovery powders, but I have heard grood things and I’m very interested…

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Energy Products:A few times at school, I mixed sugar free RedBull and Gatorade in water bottles while riding, and I could notice a little more energy with no crash, so that is an area I want to explore more. But what really intrigues me are ‘Energy Shots” like 5-Hour Power. A couple teammates use these during races, and say they work great. They also say they make you feel like the Hulk and you think you are about to rip out of your jersey. I think I’m going to try one before the San Rafael crit, cause I’m gonna get shelled anyways, so why not try?

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Anyone who is familiar with youth sports can tell you that some parents take it way too seriously. In Soccer, football, basketball, baseball are the typical sports that kids participate in. At each of these events one can usually find some parent (or parents) that are taking the game way too seriously. In an attempt to live out their dreams of athletic excellence through their children, these parents push their kids to extremes, argue with refs, lobby coaches to play their kids more, and generally take the fun out of everything. However, as a little kid who wasn’t very good at sports, I always took solace in the thought that the odds of becoming a pro athlete were so dismally small, that none of the kids who were pushed so hard to excel would end up going to the JC (cause they focused on sports instead of grades), they would end up getting menial jobs, never move out of Sonoma, and eventually become a crazy sports parent themselves.

I was right.

The interesting thing is this: I have found that crazy sports parents also apply to cycling! Junior (18 and under) cyclists are rare, as competitive cycling is not a major sport for little kids. Yet they are out there racing! Juniors look so funny on their miniature sized bikes, but some of them are really fast! They also have one thing in common, a crazy mom. These women are typically overweight, unintelligent, and wearing a lot of floral print. I don’t know where they come from, but I can’t imagine that they had dreams of being a competitive cyclist as young girls, and are trying to live that out through their kids.

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Mary’s Pizza Shack, known to locals simply as Mary’s, is a Sonoma culinary landmark.

The original shack opened up in 1959 I believe (as they just had the 50th anniversary). Back then, it really was a little pink and white shack on highway 12 in Agua Caliente. That location is now gone, and there are now a bunch of Marys’ all over northern California. However, my mom still remembers going into the kitchen to stir the sauce for Mary herself, getting made milkshakes, and getting paid a nickle for every piece of silverware she retrieved that had fallen under the porch. Good times.

Marys, it seems, has always been a focal point for Sonoma’s teenagers. This is probably because of the infamous free bread stick basket. Every non-school night you can see many Sonoma teenagers rolling into and out of Mary’s for free bread sticks and to use the bathroom.

I really love Mary’s, and I probably eat there an average of 4 times per week (when I am in Sonoma). What I love so much about it is the familiarity. I know every person on the staff, and they know me (many are high school students). I know everything on the menu. Its just like in that show ‘cheers’. Being a regular can feel really good sometimes.

PS, the food is excellent. While many people hate on the pizza, I love it. The garlic fries are fantastic. They have great hot sandwiches and hamburgers. The soups, salads and bread sticks are also all excellent. You really can’t go wrong with good ‘ol Italian cooking. Most importantly, however, is the crown jewel: Ranch Dressing. I have heard from cooks there that some nasty stuff goes into the ranch, but I don’t care, I put that stuff on everything.

marys

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When my mom was little, her brothers were very close friends with a boy who lived across the street from them. Young Pat McKenna’s mom died when he was little, and his dad was an alcoholic, so he was essentially raised by my mother’s parents. Pat inherited an unknown fortune and a big ranch from his father when he too died. Now, Pat lives on McKennaRanch with his wife and two children. While in no way related to me, they are treated essentially like family. Their ranch was a really fun place to play as a little kid, and eventually i started working there over the summers between school years. Now in my 6th season on the ranch, I have worked from picking up rocks to advanced jobs like irrigation work, pruning, tractor work etc. While the ranch is my place of employment, it still has elements of the magical wilderness that captivated me as a little kid. It seems much smaller now, and I have travelled across it many times, I am amazed to constantly find new things.

Aside from the house, the ranch has the following cool things: Pool, fort, organic farm, vineyard, orchard, pack of dogs, turkey, wildlife, creek, pond, fields, hammock, greenhouse, fountain, croquet course, rock walls. The terrain is extremely varied, and there is a great deal of wildlife to be found. I have seen foxes, coyotes, all sorts of lizards, amphibians, and birds. The house next door has beautiful horses. Inside the house, Pat has set up the dining room withbookshelves, huge cabinets filled with hundreds of awesome old lead toy soldiers, all of his historical reenacting gear (uniforms, guns, swords, accoutrement’s, etc.).

I wish so badly that I lived there. i think that keeping the ranch running would be a very fulfilling life. I could always try to marry Pat’s daughter and inherit the ranch, but I think I’ll settle for working and visiting this amazing place instead.

Rancher

Here’s me at a typical day at work.

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Super Glue

This stuff is my new favorite cure-all. I have discovered that most small cuts are easily remedied by putting super glue on them. The kind of cuts I mean are small, but deep, and can sting like crazy. They take forever to heal for some reason. Showers suck with them. But now, I just clean them out and close them with super glue, BAM, taken care of. I have used super glue in the last few weeks on paper cuts, sharp-metal-related cuts, bad hangnails, opened blisters any many more lacerations. While ineffective against a scrape, a small annoying cut is now a thing of the past.

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One More Thing

I also really really want to hear Anna Dwyer sing! I am told by her family that she is quite good, but the is also secretive about it. On multiple occasions I have just entered a room after she has finished singing, or just left a room as she was about to start. Drat the luck.

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Goals in Life

Certainly I want to be happy, healthy, fall in love, have children and other boring stuff like that. However, I also have some goals in life that some people think are very unique. The list is constantly growing, shrinking, and generally evolving.  Listed below are some of the things I plan on doing before I die:

Push Model Tanks Around on A Big Map: In old war movies a bunch of generals move model soldiers, tanks and planes around on a table with a big map on it. The figures represent real armies I’m sure. While I think that today they use sonar and satellites instead of models, it still looks awesome. I wouldn’t even care if the models correlated to anything real, I just want to be surrounded by serious looking guys in uniforms with tons of medals on them while I do it.

Fanned and Fed Grapes by Beautiful Women: Laying by a pool, being fed grapes and fanned with a palm frond by gorgeous babes in bikinis just has so many things going right with it.

Statue of Me: 10x life size minimum. I want it to be someplace cool like Times Square, next to the Hollywood sign, on top of the Great Wall of China etc. Also, I should be riding a horse and carrying a sword.

Host Royalty: The ultimate display of fanciness, having the Queen over for dinner just sounds like a totally badass thing to do.

Never Pay for Sex: If I can’t earn it, I shouldn’t be having it.

Get in a Fight: This may be something that a lot of people have already done, or something people want to avoid, but I really want to get into a fist fight. I don’t care who it is with, I don’t care if I lose, I just want to land a few good punches on some dude’s face with my bare hands. However, winning would be sweet.

Vanity Fair Photo Shoot: I know it sounds totally gay, but having a photo shoot in Vanity Fair is something that affirms one’s status as a national icon. Plus, Paul Rudd did it, and he is a total pimp. Hopefully, Annie Liebovitz will still be alive and clickin’ by the time I am bestowed this honor. She rules.

Make a Really Tough Decision: Im talking pull the switch, push the button, launch the nukes tough. I want someone to say, “Mr. President, we need those codes now!” and for me to know that millions of lives hang in the balance. There is no one to turn to, no third option, and I have to decide NOW or we are all doomed. I know I will make the right choice, this moment is the entire purpose for my existence. Heavy, I know.

If I think of any more, I’ll add them!

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