Meals on WheelsPosted: July 12, 2013
In an earlier blog posting we said cycling works for us, mind, body and soul, providing we eat well. And eat we must – burning a minimum of 3000 calories a day it’s wise to get the full spectrum of nutrients needed for the day’s ride. A daily diet of complex carbohydrates and good sources of protein are necessary. High glycemic foods can be a quick source of energy but if you’re riding six to eight hours you must be careful of your intake of “empty calories” – they don’t stick with you for long. How about
hydration? During our ride to Salt Lake City we’ll need to be vigilant about staying hydrated. Even so, water by itself may not be enough due to the loss of salts from perspiration. To beat the heat we’ve introduced a daily replacement of electrolytes along with our USANA Rev3 Energy drink. It’s a natural health product that contains mainly tea extracts and ginseng. This is the the first major tour we’ve used this product and we’re convinced it helps keep the wheels turning when the going gets hot and tough. Really.
So, all this sounds wonderful when sources of good food are plentiful. Keep in mind, you can’t carry more than 2-3 days worth of supplies in your pantry. Your fridge is an insulated bag 10″ long, 4″ deep and 4″ high. So when it’s available, you can store a frozen piece of protein for a day or cheese and veggies for maybe two days. What about dehydrated food? Yes, you can carry that as well, but typically on a long tour that type of food is reserved for emergencies. The challenge comes when the sources of fresh food dry up and you’re left with either your emergency rations or what you can find in convenience stores. Last year we pulled into a small town that used to boast a full on grocery store – now boarded up. I asked a young guy on a street corner where the grocery store was now and he pointed across the road to the gas station. Inside, it reminded me of an old movie actor named “Slim Pickens”. Lots of chips, Twinkie’s, shriveled hot dogs dizzy from their ferris wheel ride and of course pop or beer. It can be a reoccurring story depending upon your locale.
So we all agree that a healthy diet is the first and best source of nutrition. We also know that we can’t get all the necessary vitamins, minerals and antioxidants from food sources, particularly when cycle touring. It’s just not that easy. In addition, cycling six to eight hours per day can be expected to increase the amount of oxidative stress in our bodies. To even the playing field, we make sure we take our daily supplements. We’ve found a way to take them on tour in convenient packages called My Healthpak that eliminates bulky bottles.
So, what does a typical daily menu look like?
Breakfast: Choice of multigrain bread with peanut butter and banana or cooked oats (not instant) with banana or other fruit if available. Water, coffee.
Mid morning snack: Choice of nuts and dried fruit or good quality snack bar, water
Lunch: Choice of bread with cheese, fruit or vegetable (e.g. carrot) jerky, water.
Mid afternoon snack: Similar to morning snack. Good time for healthy energy drink (Rev3)
Dinner: These meals are easiest when made in one pot. A typical culinary delight would be a Chicken and Vegetable stir fry. (Hint: the secret ingredients are fresh garlic, ginger and peanut butter!) Remember, it’s important to keep protein in the diet. This is where our “fridge” comes in handy.
We’re in Plains Montana as of this post and the tour is going really well! No worries, everything ticking along…. Except yesterday, we pedaled by one of the many unfortunate animals that made it on to the road… For the last time and there was this large dog eyeing the animal. Except it wasn’t a dog! It was a really big black wolf! We swung to the other side of the road and never looked back. And then in today’s paper we were reading about a touring cyclist in the Yukon who was chased by a wolf! Boy were we lucky! Talk about meals on wheels.