Monday, February 15, 2010

French Toast

Yes, the picture from my last post was of a glorious plate of French toast. And yes, I will once again be singing the praises of said French toast in tonight's recap of my four-day weekend.

Today was the third day in row that I have indulged in those scrumptious slices, and the fourth day in a row that my legs have felt like them. It started with last Friday, when my first set of truly challenging interval work of the season was on tap. To that point, I had been logging some pretty steady hours, combined with lots of work in my tempo zone and some "bulking up" in the gym. After those lovely 2.5 hours, the bread was sliced.

Challah French toast -- the king of all French toasts

On Saturday, I set out with some excellent company, riding over to Cafe Fixe in Brighton and then proceeding to take a roundabout route to Harvard, Mass. (no, not the school) and then finally home. My ride topped out at about 5 hours with some fun punching and racing thrown in to keep things interesting, which they absolutely were. Fortunately, I had created plenty of room for three thick slices of my new favorite recovery item, so French toast consumption ensued. In regards to my legs, consider the bread battered.

Sunday, I set out with Kevin, one of my new teammates on Ora presented by IF. (Yes, we have new sponsors. Yes, they rock.) Though today was just 3 hours, we rode a nice steady pace the whole time essentially without stopping, unless you count my demand for a pee-break thanks to my annoyingly small bladder. But with the previous two days piled on top, by the time I was turning home I definitely felt I'd had enough for the day. Fortunately, some fantastic French toast awaited me once again. The bread is in the pan. (Are you picking up on the metaphor yet?)

Today, though, I fried those babies up, lathered on the syrup, and dug in. The plan today was basically whatever I wanted it to be. Get out, start to ride, and just listen to my body. Well, I got out the door and I rode, but I did not exactly listen. The first hour I just felt so-so, riding a decent clip but nothing too hard, and considered just bagging it and making it a 3-hour recovery ride. But as the sun rose higher and the winds died down, I decided I should just man up, test my legs, and see what happened. So that's what I did.

Long story short: today turned out to be the best day yet, and I got in a solid 4 hours on my own, highlighted by hour 2.5-3.5, when I emptied the tank and abused myself until the road basically insisted I stop, though my legs had been asking me to for quite a while already. It's amazing what will happen when you just give it a shot. Listening to your body, it turns out, is not always the best thing to do at first. You might just need a little time and a few hard efforts to get opened up, which is just what I needed today. (Though if you still feel like poo after said efforts, by all means bag it. No one is wining the Stars and Bars in February.)

Oh, and I had more French toast when I got home. YUMMMM!!!

Now, though, it is in fact time to listen to my body. After four days that were absolutely better than I possibly could have hoped for, it's time to put the legs up (which they are at the moment, anti-embolism socks and all) and recover. That means a day or two off the bike and, sadly, no French toast. But fear not, readers and fellow foodies. A little down time means feeling better in just a few days time, or so I hope, and more chances to indulge.

Days until Rutgers Frozen-Toed Season Opener: 19.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Keeping Busy

The title of today's post is both a summary and an explanation. There is no doubt that the semester is back in full swing, and the amount of reading I have on my plate right now is all the evidence I need of that. Between getting through those hundreds (no, I am not exaggerating) of pages every week and logging enough hours on the bike, Blogging has been relegated to B-priority lately. Sorry guys. But with a four-day weekend on the horizon, a nice little window of time just opened up.

To steal a line from my fellow-Blogger Andrew Bernstein, "It seems that winter has gone south for the winter." (Well played, sir.) And yes it has. While places like Maryland, DC, and New Jersey have been getting hammered with the white and fluffy, up here in Boston we got no more than a light dusting, which is just fine by me. I was only locked up indoors for a single day, so I used it to log some gym time and add some weigh to my lack of a frame. Today, Mr. Sunshine was back and I was out and about once again, in nothing more than leg warmers, which was an awesome surprise.

Of course, none of that is at all exciting, though if you hail from one the unlucky snow-packed regions it might be somewhat of a tease. If that is the case, read no further, because I am about to make you spectacularly jealous. One of the beauties of my collegiate life: the three-day weekend. After countless hours pouring over the course list last semester, I was able to construct the best possible schedule to allow me to train as much as I want. That means Thursday skips straight to a double dose of Saturday. I love it.

So last Friday (or Saturday, part 1 as I like to call it), I set out in search of a quality 4 hours. I couldn't find anyone to keep me company, but to be perfectly honest, there is something to be said for riding alone. The silence is absolutely soothing, and there is just no way to match the efficiency that you can achieve when riding alone. With no one to break the wind for you and no one else to dictate the pace, you can do whatever you want the whole time. And that's just what I did. I set out on my favorite extended loop to Harvard and back, with just a brief stop at the country store for some Fig Newtons and Coke to re-energize mid-way. It was a perfect day.

But now I need to make you even more green with envy than you already are. When I said I was riding alone, I may have lied a little. Though I may not have had anyone to talk to for those 70 miles, I did have this image in my mind the entire way, beckoning to me every mile, every pedal stroke, making the day that much easier:

Yup, that is simply the best French toast you have ever seen. Knowing that I would crave breakfast food after a long ride, but that by the time I was back the dining halls would have switched over to lunch, I craftily snagged these during breakfast and popped them in the fridge to save for later. Dubbed "Crunchy Texas Toast," these bad boys are, in short, supremely thick slices of bread, egged, battered, and coated in corn flakes before finally being thrown in the frying pan and served up. With some cinnamon and little jelly on top they were divine...and just what my growling stomach wanted.

If that's not good company, I don't know what is.