I would like to quickly acknowledge everyone who has helped me and Team Estes for the Courage Classic. The Family Medical Clinic at the Estes Park Medical Center and their generosity took a lot of pressure off of us by covering the cost of team kits. As you can tell from the photo below, they were pretty snazzy this year. The more stuff like this that gets covered, the more we get to put strait into Children’s Hospital Colorado Foundation.
Thanks to Rob and Julie at Mama Rose’s and Poppy’s Pizza, the Estes Valley Farmers’ Market and the Rocky Mountain Health Club who all helped us get to and through the Courage Classic.
Thanks to Steve at Buckwheat’s Organic Grocer and Alex of Weezer’s Nut Butters for their gastronomic assistance. All the goodies were a hit.
Thanks to Specialized Bicycles and their demo bike program which saved my weekend. Thanks to Pactimo for a great job on the jerseys.
And to the people who donated directly to the foundation through me, my wife’s uncle, David Winter, MetX of Estes Park, the Basch family and Scott Thompson.
Thanks to all of our families for letting us take three days away, and especially to my own wife, Kendra, who lets me go each year, even though the event always falls on the weekend of her birthday. I love you, my Honey.
If you haven’t donated, the Children’s Hospital Colorado is a leader in pediatric health and wellness in a state-of-the-art facility in Aurora, Colorado. They also lead in research in pediatric health sciences. Their foundation is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of children and their families.
Please head over to couragetours.com/2013/walthester and make a donation to this fantastic hospital.
And thank you.
I like to make my own riding goodies. I like making and mixing and grinding and bagging to make sure I know what is in my food and powering my ride. This is not always convenient, however. So I will sometimes root out good-tasting treats that won’t hurt my performance. I’ve found this and more.
Steve’s Original Paleo Goods (stevespaleogoods.com) sells packaged foods such as dried fruit, nuts and grass-fed beef jerky. The food is “clean”, no preservatives, no artificial colors or flavors. They also offer their “PaleoKrunch” cereal in several varieties, including nut-free. All are grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free and, I can honestly say, very tasty.
Steve’s depends on fruit juices as sweeteners, various spices for flavor and just nature for the basic ingredients. The stuff is fabulous. There is more to this, however, than just the good feeling in my mouth, stomach and legs. I also get a warm feeling in my heart.
Fifteen percent of profits from Steve’s Paleo Goods go to supporting Steve’s Club, a non-profit organization that brings fitness, nutrition guidance and mentoring to at-risk kids. Steve Liberati started a CrossFit gym in 2007 in a public housing complex in Camden, N.J., geared specifically to help these kids. He wants to give them alternatives to the drugs and gangs that are rampant in what the FBI calls one of the most dangerous cities in America.
In October of 2008, Liberati and his wife began putting together bags of dried fruit, raw nuts and the like, to help kids eat better during their school day. Liberati realized he could sell the concoctions and use the money to buy equipment for his CF gym. The “PaleoKits” were a hit. It also gave Steve and his little CrossFitters more things to do. Liberati hired some of the kids to help him bag and box the PaleoKits and keep track of orders and inventory.
The Steve’s Club National Program began in fall of 2009 when CrossFit affiliates from around the US saw what Liberati was doing and wanted to help their own communities. In May, 2011, over 30 CrossFit Affiliates across the US participated in the Steve’s Club Beat the Streets Fundraiser, a workout that raises funds to open local Steve’s Clubs in cities with a need.
Now there are more than five local Steve’s Clubs help kids get fit and make better life and nutrition decisions. For more on Steve’s Clubs or Steve’s Paleo Goods, visit stevespaleogoods.com or stevesclub.org.
The Tour de France has begun, and at this early point, it’s hard to tell who is in contention. Most of the first week is pretty flat. The first sorting came during the team time trial on Tuesday, when Australia’s Orica GreenEdge surprised the field by taking the stage by mere hundredths of seconds over defending world team time trial champions, Omega Pharma Quickstep. Neither team has a real overall threat. Team Sky finished third, three seconds off of the winning time, keeping their rider Chris Froome in the mix. Alberto Contador’s Saxo/Tinkof team was fourth, Garmin-Sharp was sixth and Tejay Van Garderen’s BMC squad was 26 seconds off the pace, slotting in at ninth.
The TTT, like descending fast, won’t necessarily get you the win in a three-week-long grand tour, but it can surely hand you a loss. The smaller European squads, like Argos-Shimano and Eurocar, were more than a minute down in the finish. Though, these teams don’t really have a GC threat. One could almost argue that French fan favorite, Tommy Voeckler, could be a threat, but he doesn’t really have the team to get him through to Paris with a lead. Certainly not after placing 19 out of the Tour’s 22 teams. Voeckler will have plenty of fans by the road beginning this weekend when the peloton hits the slopes of the Pyrenees, but teams are aware of the little Frenchman and his climbing talent. Strong teams will be able to send domestiques after “Little Tommy” if they feel his lead is getting out of hand. It will still be fun to watch. Voeckler likes to suffer and loves to make others suffer to catch him.
The first week of the Tour also tends to be crash week. The flat stages invite high speeds and nervous riders. Invariably, there are crashes. The crash on Stage 1 took out most of the big sprinters in one fell swoop. It also demonstrated just how tough these guys are. Some rode stages two and three with bandages on elbows and knees. Omega Pharma-Quickstep rider Tony Martin finished the first stage, then was packed into an awaiting ambulance. He was diagnosed with a bruised lung. Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas is riding with a hairline fracture in his pelvis. Cannondale’s Ted King is riding with a small brake in his shoulder. These are not guys taking dives on manicured grass, or taking a charge even on wood floors. These are guys hitting the pavement at 25-30 mph, losing skin, breaking bones, and continuing to race. These are hard, hard people.
Eat food, yum!
For much of my life, I’ve had an odd relationship with food. Some of it has to do with a history of addiction, some with having been an athlete of some variety since I was about seven. I can plow through a dozen chocolate-chip cookies in the blink of an eye, but I still see how certain foods work better in my system and in my training, than others. So, it has been a long, difficult road to where I find food that I enjoy and that will help my riding.
My diet changes from summer to autumn, winter to spring. I will adjust the proportion of each macro-nutrient, fat, carbohydrates and protein, as well as the sources of these. Right now, the height of summer, I eat 40-50 percent carbs, depending on if I am training or actually out competing or on a long tour. Fat tends to stay near 30 percent, sometimes a little lower when I’m out. Protein I like to keep pretty close to 30 percent, though it will dip a bit out riding. If you are familiar with recent trends, you may recognize the proportions of the “Zone Diet”. Yeah, I tend to do that.
I also lean more and more toward natural foods, or even the Paleo diet. The shorter the ingredients list, the better. The more processed a product, the more calories tend to be jammed into it. As much as I like them, chili and lime Doritos are just about as processed and unnatural as a food-like product can be. A handful of almonds and raisins are at the other end of the spectrum. This is the end I try to stay close to.
Now the whole rise of processed and pre-packaged foods is based on convenience. It’s easy to pick up a Twinkie at the gas station, though it is difficult to tell, even while eating it, how long that little yellow cream-tube has been around. Real food goes bad, eventually. It can be timer-consuming to pack a steak in a bike jersey, however.
So I have tried to find options. They have shifted and changed over the years. I have eaten my share of PowerBars and Fig Newtons. I have tried more “natural” options, like the Honey Stinger offerings. Now I have come across two or three options that I have not had until recently.
Allen Lim is a Boulder-based sports physiologist. He has worked for Team RadioShack and Garmin. He invented a hydration drink with less sugar that prompted other riders to dump their sponsor’s drinks and secretly fill their bottles with Lim’s “Secret Hydration Mix”, now just called Skratch Labs mix. No artificial colors, no artificial flavors. This approach I the basis for Lim’s new book, “Feed Zone Portables”.
I’ve written about this book before. Now that I’ve tried out the recipes, I’m convinced it’s the best riding food I’ve ever had, and it’s cheaper in the long run because it’s made at home. Little muffin-tin omelets, two-bite pies, pocket-sized sandwiches, all with whole, natural-food ingredients. My body handles the food better and I can perform better. The first fourth of the book explains from a physiological point of view why this works. It’s fantastic.
Now I am in no way perfect in my diet. It’s not all food that I can chase down or pick myself. When I’m out on a ride, I like a good treat. I still prefer when that treat has few artificial ingredients and a short list. With that in mind, let me tell you about the return of the Estes Park Pie Company.
Val and Patrick Thompson opened their little shop on Elkhorn Avenue a few years back and were surprised by the positive reaction. Their pies, muffins and cookies were, in my opinion, heavenly. After problems finding an industrial kitchen, questionable dealings with other retailers, a move to Longmont and Illinois, the couple are back and their shop has reopened, this time in Lower Stanley Village. They have added to their menu, now offering meals, as well as desserts. I look forward to beginning, as well as ending, a few rides at the Estes Park Pie Company.
This weekend marks the start of the 100th Tour de France. Due two a few wars, while the race began in 1903, this year is the 100th edition of Le Grande Boucle. American Tejay Van Garderen of Team BMC has the best shot of bring the yellow jersey back to the US, but he will have his hands full. While last year’s defending champ, Brad Wiggins, is not defending his championship do to injury, the only man who came close to him last season, teammate Chris Froome, will be leading Team Sky, widely regarded as the best team in the pro ranks this year. NBCSports and NBC will carry the US broadcast of the grandest of the grand tours beginning at 5:30 am on Saturday, and running through Sunday, July 21.