Oatmeal and rain

There is nothing that trumps the feelings of significance and adventure when rolling  out of the house when the weather is lovely, content and excited to spend the next four hours roaming the surrounding area by bicycle. There are, however, lots of things that compare to doing it when it rains POURS the entire time. Seriously, except for the first 2 and last 4 miles. I rode the entire 70 in an utter downpour. Not like “oh man, I need an umbrella” downpour, like a gather two of every animal and proceed to the nearest ark, sort of downpour.

Obviously a ride like that deserves a good meal afterwards, and on hand, I had oatmeal. After a little experimenting I believe I have come up with one of the best, cheapest, pretty decently healthiest meals I’ve ever had.

And it goes like this:

Oats. I like the ‘old fashioned’ variety. (note the only difference between quick oats and old fashioned oats is the size of an individual oat. Old fashioned are larger, and in my opinion tastier, but other than cook time they are nutritionally identical). I made ¾ of a cup of dry oats, for about 250 calories worth, which is a nice, healthy snack, and a good quick recovery meal.

But it gets oh so much better.

To the oatmeal we add:

Sweets!

A tbsp or so of brown sugar per half cup of oats. I have not just one sweet tooth, but a mouth full of sweet teeth, and so I like it sweet. I just happened to have brown sugar. Honey, syrup, normal cane sugar will all work equally well

Spices!

These aren’t measured, and are purely to taste. I like a decent amount of cinnamon, some nutmeg, and the oddball, some cumin. The cumin gives it a nice balance of sweet and savory, and is the one thing that really makes this in my opinion.

Others!

Blueberries are wonderful. Throw a small handful of frozen ones in when the oatmeal is done cooking and stir them in. By the time you eat they are cool but not iced. A little flavor bubble in the otherwise warm oatmeal.

 Butter. This is a personal preference, but it adds a nice bit of fat to the meal, and it takes only a small pad of it to make the whole bowl taste deliciously more complex.

And that friends, is some baller oatmeal

 

2013-07-15 17.19.44

Recipe recap:
Old-fashoned Oats

Brown Sugar

Cinnamon

Nutmeg

Cumin

Blueberries
Butter

BR
All of the ingredients are optional (except the oats I guess, unless you like sweet fruit butter mash)

James Island Sprint Recap or: The story of how I learned to stop worrying and cut the course

Things are different down here in South Carolina. The barbeque is better, the confederate flags are larger, and the grits are grits-ier. The people are friendly, cars let you merge whenever you please, and everyone just meanders down the sidewalk. This is wonderful until you have to pee and are trying to walk down said sidewalk, in which case it’s a reason for justifiable homicide. In general life moves at a slower pace for everyone down here.

So after living the low-country life for a couple months I figured it time to go test the proverbial triathlon waters, wondering if the day-to-day ease of living would carry over to a crop of speedsters at the sport of kings (fyi, triathlon is now called the sport of kings. Says me. Effective now). So with that, I ponied up some serious cash ($50, actually rather reasonable) and signed up for the hometown sprint.

Being the weekend after the fourth, and having a few days off, I went out to check out the race site and course on the day before to see what struggles lay ahead. The swim, run, and start of the bike all took place within a county park that is only a stones throw from my house, so the plan as it were, was to head out to the park, drive at least the bike portion, and hopefully take a look at the swim venue. Of course, things are different in South Carolina… The park has an admission fee, $1 per car to get in, and try as I might to pay with my $.75 in car seat change, they just wouldn’t let me in. Of course this is no problem and I just went out and drove the remaining 10 miles of the bike course that weren’t in the park.

Course Prep

I am becoming a pro at taking pictures out the window while driving.

From this I gathered a good idea of terrain, road condition, sharp turns, sandy corners, possible wind directions etc.

So the rest of the day was Walmart for olive oil and parmesan, bake a pizza, pack up, and early to bed Saturday night for an early start on Sunday. Now with a 7:15 race start, I’d usually like to be parked and unloading by about 5-5:15. That’s plenty of time to set up transition areas, and pick up packets while still having an hour or so to warm up, stretch, hydrate, and worry. This is just my standard pre-race ritual, and in most cases, I’m not alone. The race is up and moving by the time I’m there. Lights on, music playing, freds applying their helmet badges and pumping up the 808’s on their comfort road bike. But of course, things are different in South Carolina. This was what greeted me as I entered the park, sight unseen.

Pre Race

“That one little speck of light was the cigarette of a homeless guy who hangs out at the park because he thinks he’s a goose”

Yup. I was the first person there. Not the first competitor, the first person. Except for the park ranger who opened the gate in front of me, there was nobody! No officials, no volunteers, no event staff, nobody! So after some frantic checking to make sure I had the date, time, and location correct (thankfully I did), I put the seats down in the back of my car, set my watch for 5:45, and took a snooze. Finally, I awoke to the sound of other cars being unloaded, and people filtering in. So packet pickup it was. Nope. Morning-of packet pickup doesn’t start open until 45 minutes before race start. Yup, that makes sense. Either way, it gets picked up and all my other pre-race festivities are undertaken, and it’s off to the start line.

Swim goes well, calm waters, but I came out of the water second and exited T1 in first (quick helmet skillz ftw). So off to the bike course, the latter 80% of which I’ve already seen. Of course, I still have to navigate the foreign 20%. So off I go, rounding the few turns as the volunteers and lead-car are still getting in place. Now you drive in, bike on, and run on this same first part of the course, so there are signs everywhere. Most are pretty straightforward “Run left”, “Bike Right”, but one rather ambiguous one says “Triathlon right ->”.  Of course, this is the part of the course I didn’t look at the day before. At this point I’m going 26mph, and out of breath from swimming, and seeing that the volunteer standing there isn’t trying to change my course, I assume the “Triathlon Right” sign to mean parking for cars or volunteers or something like that. Obviously if it was supposed to be for bikes, it would say “Bikes right” right? Sure whatever, the rest of the bike leg goes smoothly, and at the turnaround, I do a quick estimation that I’m up by about 2:30 on 2nd. Awesome! So it’s on to the run, feeling good and with a clear lead. The run starts and as you come around the first turn, you are right where the ambiguous sign is located. Now as I’m running, I see people making a right. Exactly where I didn’t…. Damn.

“Well at least finish up Ben, maybe you’re wrong as to where you went straight” I say to myself. So I finished, solid lead of 3+ minutes, good run split, feeling good throughout.

And the race director comes up to me, and the look on his face said it all. I was totally supposed to turn there. And I didn’t. So my bike split was .75 miles shorter than it had to be… so welcome to DQvile. Population: Me.

cbrown

And with that the day was done. The crappy thing about stuff like this is that there is no recourse. You can’t appeal, you can’t protest, there is absolutely no place to put blame other than my own aloofness. So like a Metalhead at an folk concert, I was pretty rocking bummed out.

Oh well I guess. Cool consolation was being called an “Elite.” I don’t know why, but that’s always fun! Also doing some quick math, I shorted the course by .75 of a mile, which at the speed I was going (24 mph average), would have taken just under 2 minutes. Still putting me in 1st. Hollow victories, but still nice. Of course, things change when you are actually right in front of someone versus being virtually right in front. There’s a lot of motivation that comes just from having someone in sight, so nothing is for sure, but on paper, still a good day.

Elite Sign

“Triathlon Panache”

-BR