Friday Group Ride #46

So there’s this yearly battle between my mother and my wife at Thanksgiving time over the sweet potatoes. My wife makes them. She follows a fairly typical recipe that involves lots of butter and brown sugar. The end product is cloyingly sweet and serves, I think, as an excellent counter point to mashed potatoes with gravy. My mother prefers a more esoteric preparation, hewing to her more savory conception of the Thanksgiving Day feast.

I love Thanksgiving, because it’s a food holiday. If you put food in front of me most any day of the year, I will probably eat it, but on Thanksgiving, like most Americans, I take that approach to an extreme. I will eat those sweet potatoes no matter how they’re prepared. I’ll even eat the ones with the marshmallows on top that gourmands turn their noses up at.

I have been known to eat half a pie on the day in question. And that’s only because people are watching. Otherwise, I’d eat more.

This week’s Group Ride is about food. Do you keep it together all season and then go off the rails, a la Jan Ullrich, once the weather turns cold and the wood smoke wafts in the breeze? Most of us go off the rails at some point, whether it’s through caloric debt (I make horrible food choices when I’m famished), or out of sheer boredom with the ascetic lifestyle we cleave to otherwise. Is there a food that, even when you go off the rails, you won’t eat?

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  1. James

    I pretty much eat the same all year…but I’m old and fat so nothing ever changes. Don’t get me wrong, my diet is pretty good as I eat lots of veggies and fruit and not much in the way of animal flesh. But even with all of the bike riding my weight doesn’t really change. I rarely get to do the Thanksgiving food fest as I have to work…but a guy can dream!

  2. Brett

    I go off the rails pretty much anytime I have dinner at home with my family. As someone that only gets to visit these amazing people more than halfway across the country once a year at best, I can eschew any diet I may have to eat drink and be merry with those that I love. Tasting what they taste, sharing the feast, no matter the calories, those are the seconds that matter.

  3. Adam

    I’m always off the rails. Huge calorie consumption and massive amounts of wine are the norm, but I’m 27, ride 15 hours a week and weigh 155. At six foot tall, my lovely girlfriend keeps reminding me that if I lose any more weight and start to resemble Andy Schleck then there will be problems, so I eat with abandon.

  4. Souleur

    I do better in the off season eating department the older I get, I suppose I am getting a bit wiser or conversely have learned how hard it is to not eat smart.

    Thanksgiving is easier for me to be ‘good’ than Xmas. In Souleurs home it is a very surreal setting very much in a parallel universe to that of Clark Griswalds. My grandma, my mom, my in laws make it interesting to say the least and that seems to temper my satiety on Thanksgiving. My weakness however is when my wife makes candies 2 weeks prior to the big day of Xmas. She is Martha Stewarts direct competition when it comes to all things baking as she uses recipes handed down to her by her grandmothers, mafia style, nothing written down but only taught so there will be no evidence to the outsiders. It includes my biggest weakness…Peanut Butter balls encased in dark chocolate, shortbread cookies w/creme-cheese icing in various shapes and sizes and Christmas morning Crepe’s packed w/strawberries or chocolate’ w/homemade whipped cream are just a few things that make me ride many many more miles given the fact I operate a seasonal Quality Assurance department.

  5. Kuzu

    I manage to keep it together for most of the season, but there are a few time I let myself jump off the deep end. Those times would be Thanksgiving and the occasional trip to my girlfriend’s grandmothers house. First off you don’t want to be a rude guest in someone else’s house so you usually eat whatever they put in front of you, but when it’s homestyle german food straight out of the country that brings us Canyon bikes, how dare I not indulge myself. Thanksgiving is just a given for pigging out, sleeping, then playing the traditional family football game in the front yard.

  6. Marco Placero

    Y’know when they put Mr. Spock on that medical sensor table in the infirmary on the Enterprise, his metabolic rate shocks the yeoman intern when the indicator arrows go all different directions? That’s sort of what I’ve morphed into from cycling– no, not a Trekkie– a medical anomaly but in a good way. HR not freaky low but still “brady” (maybe cyclists really are the brady bunch), respiration rate very slow, BP upper end systolic, ultra low diastolic. Sometimes a nurse I’ve never met will listen to my heart and immediately leave the room– with an anguished expression– to retrieve the doctor, because she’s not accustomed to hearing high stroke volume boom– they think I’m near death.

    Medical checkup last month: doctor bursts into the room, exclaims “Thank god! I finally have a healthy one!” When I raised one eyebrow in curiosity, thinking he found copper-based blood, he continued, “You have the best cholesterol level I have ever seen, not just for a middle-aged man, I mean EVER.”

    Yeah, I’m lucky to have a high metabolic rate, although I gotta eat a lot on longer rides. My problem opposes, if I diet for a race I have to watch it or my appetite will shut down and my weight will crash.

    Lookin’ forward to Thanksgiving so I can put on a kilo or so. BTW, lots to be thankful for, despite all the crap.

    Especially the bike.

  7. Lachlan

    Isn’t one of the best things abut cycling that it means we can more or less be off the rails all the time??

    Certainly whenever I was properly getting the miles in I could eat whatever I wanted 24/7 and still weight approximately less than half of one slice of panettone…. ; + )

  8. SinglespeedJarv

    I go off the rails if bored or stressed and I’ve got a horribly sweet tooth. I’ve been bored and stressed alot this year and haven’t been able to ride a bike to do anything about it. Still got nowhere near my peak of 100kg though and the weight is coming off now.

    Only 10kg to go…

  9. db

    I’m with Souleur on this one. I don’t have much of a problem with Thanksgiving (it helps that I’m not a fan of pie), but Christmas kicks my ass and then mocks me. Fudge, cookies, pastries, those peanut butter balls, peanut brittle, etc. Oof.

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