Non-nutritive nutrition

Of all the changes I’ve seen in cycling, none is bigger than the stuff we stick in our mouths and call nutrition.

I hate that word, nutrition. It sounds so important and sciency, elevating yet another aspect of pedaling a toy in a clown suit into something that deserves much attention and reflection.

When I was a young man we called it something else. We called it “food.”

Used to be, when you got hungry, you ate food. If you didn’t have any food you were fucked. If you did have food and you were hungry it didn’t matter what it was. One reason it didn’t matter is because there were only four options and you like them all.

  1. Something with peanut butter.
  2. Banana.
  3. Fig Newtons.
  4. Snickers.

Snickers were the best but they melted in the 102-degree heat so you had to pour them out of the wrapper which was always, literally, a hot mess.

With regard to things that you drank, there was no such thing as recovery drinks, electrolytes, and I don’t know what else. You had water and you had coke, and “coke” meant “Dr. Pepper.” Also, you drank coke midway through the ride, you drank it by the liter, you bought it from 7-11, you paid 99 cents, and it came in a Big Gulp.

No one pretended that it was healthy or good for you. It was a fuggin’ coke and the purpose was to overwhelm your system with a sugar shock to get you home.

For over a year now I’ve been getting back to the basics, that is, something with peanut butter on it, that is, bread. Baking my own bread has been the single best food step I’ve ever taken. Not because it’s healthy or skinnifying, but because it’s something I made, warts and all, and like your own children, there’s nothing you love more than the things you make.

Slather a little PB on a dense rind of sourdough break, jam a ‘nanner in your back pocket and top off the water bottle with WATER.


You are good to go.

In more ways than one.



Feed the machine with food, not nutrition. Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!

Burns like plutonium. Add PB for paradise.

4 thoughts on “Non-nutritive nutrition”

  1. Pop Tarts were the first Power Bars and the powdered jello packets were always good for a small, stow-able sugar rush mid ride.

  2. You forgot another great benefit to packing “food”: It’s cheap. I rode 100 km Saturday on an apple, a PB&J, and one water bottle. Total cost was maybe 50 cents.

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