Archive for the ‘Mid-Day Eating’ Category
A little over a week ago Clare, Mike and I met up with a group from MWSC and headed to Europe to get in some real, European biathlon racing. We would fly into Munich, then drive to Bled, Slovenia where we would stay through the first weekend to compete in an Alpen cup race in nearby Pokljuka. From there we’d head to Rosenau Austria where we’d race in the Austrian national championships. Or so we thought… when we got to our hotel in Bled we found out that sometime during our travel the races in Slovenia had been canceled… due to excessive snow. What?! that’s crazy! – we thought as we piled into the hotel elevator with all our stuff. Then the power flickered, the elevator settled a bit, and we noticed the following sign on the wall:
Maybe the race organizers made the right call. Turns out that a huge storm had come through just days before, dumping ice and snow on Bled and higher up at the venue, almost 2 meters of heavy, wet snow! Good news was we were in a four-star hotel with good food.
The next day as we drove up to the venue it was clear that just a day earlier the road up there was impassable due to downed trees (I was having flashbacks to ice storm cleanup in Craftsbury) and the snow banks kept getting higher and higher. Up at the venue they were still digging out, and would be for the duration of our stay. We got another meter or so of snow during our time there, and every morning they would plow snow off the shooting range just so we could see the targets. They’re hosting a biathlon world cup here in march, and boy do they have the work cut out for them. We opted to move up to a sport hotel located right at the venue, and stay there for a few days to train. The other guests at the hotel included some Slovenian, Russian, and Australian junior biathletes, so we were able to get in a couple good time trials with them.
The next surprise came a day or two before our planed departure for Austria: Rosenau had gotten the warm end of the storm, and had no snow whatsoever. The backup site for Austrian nationals was Obertilliach, but they had gotten the cold end with the full 2-3 meters of snow and would be digging out for awhile. Once again our races were canceled. Luckily we got wind of a Czech Cup with two races in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic, where they had no natural snow but a 2.5km man-made loop. So we packed up, dug out the cars, and hit the road. A couple hours later we were driving though green grassy hills.
So, here we are in Czech training and getting ready for a mass start biathlon race on Saturday, followed by an Individual format on Sunday, neither of which have been canceled yet! Hooray for man-made snow!
Train, Eat, Sleep. Train, Eat, Sleep. Thats what people always talk about on training camps. That’s all you do. Sometimes you mix it up, but that’s the basic formula.
We hear a lot about the training, and I won’t get into that now. We don’t hear too much about the eating and sleeping though, so I’m going to try to attack these lesser understood parts of the training camp. I actually won’t talk at all about sleeping either. So really, this is about eating. And that’s good, because we all like to eat, and really, it’s more like eat breakfast, train/eat a powerbar, eat a recovery snack, eat lunch, eat a snack, sleep, eat before you train again, train, eat more recovery stuff, eat dinner, eat dessert, eat a snack, eat before you sleep, and sleep. Thats two for training, two for sleeping, and eleven for eating.
I’ll attack breakfast and dinner some other time. I wouldn’t dare get into snacks or recovery stuff. Here, I’ll discuss the one that’s forgotten the most. The middle child to older brother breakfast (the nerdy overachiever of the meal family) and younger brother dinner (needs all the attention but isn’t even that great all the time). That’s right, here comes lunch. Served hot with a side of sun-chips.
After 22 years on earth, I’m ready to say that I’ve got lunch figured out pretty good. I’ve learned from others, checked into new ideas, kept some, trashed others, and came out on top. And most importantly, I found a teacher; a guru; a sensei in the lunchtime arts. Wyatt Fereday taught me one day that it doesn’t really matter whats in your lunch, but how many things there are. In this case, unlike so many other things, its the quantity that rules supreme while quality takes a back seat.
It was Wyatt that told me to get a big wrap or some nice bread slices and just pile things on. I’ve seen walk into a dining hall, put a wrap on a plate, and on the wrap he piled mayo, cream cheese, mustard, pepper, salt, ham, turkey, salami, tuna, roast beef, lettuce, tomato, carrots, beets, grapes, potato salad, fruit salad, coleslaw, melon slices, steak, thai peanut noodles, french fries, fried chicken, pizza slices, hamburgers, ketchup, cheddar, american, jack and mozzarella cheeses, cheerios, frosted flakes, the contents of a teabag, sour cream, soft serve, moose track ice cream and topped it off with sprinkles and thousand island dressing. By the time he was ready to eat, he had a trail of ingredients from the serving area to the table, and a grin from ear to ear. The wrap would not wrap. He just picked it up, dunked it in a cup of Pepsi, opened wide and wasn’t seen for an hour.
Not really. I’ve never seen him tear open a teabag. That’s gross. But you get the idea. I took that lesson and that example with me here, to Lake Tahoe, land of the 99 cent avocado and leftover lasagna, and have been working to perfect my mid-day excursions to lunch-land. Today, I finally put it all together. I was what you would call in sports “In The Zone.” Nothing was getting in my way and everything I needed was within my limits. If you’ve ever had a race where you just couldn’t tire yourself out, a game where everything is in slow motion for you and you just can’t mess up, a spelling bee where the right letters practically fall out of your mouth, or a day when you need to sign a bunch of credit card receipts and your signature looks like it should be on a baseball glove and the pens are always full of ink and the paper never rips, you know what I’m talking about.
Here’s your spoiler alert. I’m about to describe this sandwich. If you want to try to figure out the perfect lunch by yourself, stop reading. For the rest of you, you’re welcome.
I start with two slices of brown bread. I spread whipped cream cheese, thick, on both slices. Then I put a bunch of pepper on one side. Then 4 slices of turkey on one side, a half an avocado on that, and maybe 25 1cm cubed pieces of tri-tip steak, cooked the night before on a charcoal grill and pre-rubbed in a universal Raley’s Foods steak rub. On the other piece of bread, I put a layer of lasagna down. I do this by cutting a bit off and cutting it into ribbons and spreading it over the bread. Then on top of that is a layer of mashed potatoes (skins on, not my choice, but it worked). I forgot to mention though, there’s a pretty thick layer of mozzarella off the block under the lasagna, over the cream cheese spread. So that’s the ingredients.
Now the next step is complicated. I had an oven and broiler, a toaster, a microwave, and a George Foreman grill as cooking options. I also have the charcoal grill, but there’s no charcoal left and that’s a pretty big hassle. Before any of this goes on though, I needed to turn two big sandwich sides into one tall sandwich. I preferred to flip the cheese/lasagna/potato side because the steak bits are really loose. Good thing the potatoes secure them (premeditated). So I flip it without much trouble and slide it into a shallow bowl because it’s going to get messy. Don’t doubt it. It goes into the microwave for a minute to warm everything up and melt the cheese some, then into the George Foreman. That’s tricky, because the bread is limp, but it needs to get grilled. It maxes out the Foreman, but it works and about a minute to a minute and a half later it’s ready to come out.
I made a mess getting it back into the bowl, but once that happens, I know I only have one more roadblock, and that’s getting this thing airborne and then into the hangar. By hangar, I mean my mouth. I know planes don’t go airborn and then into the hanger, but that’s not my fault. The metaphor just isn’t any good. One it’s up though, it never touches down. So I guess it doesn’t go into the hangar. It’s sort of a kamikaze mission for the sandwich-it has no chance of survival.