Sugar on a stick (of butter)

Cyclists are really weird about food.

In case you hadn’t noticed.

Like the time I went on the kimchee diet. Weird as that was, it was NOTHING. A friend of mine once confided that for a period of years he lived on Cheez-Its, which he thought was odd until he went to a pro cyclist training camp.

This was many years after he’d kicked the Cheez-It habit and had fallen into the even more bizarre, unhealthy, fringe behavior of veganism. “Isn’t it better to die at age 28 from a massive heart attack, corpulent, arteries swollen with Cheez-Its, than to live until 100, fit as a fiddle, and to never eat anything that tastes better than shredded paper?” I once asked him.

“No,” he said. “It isn’t.”

But anyway, back to his pro cyclist training camp that he had been invited to, not as a pro, but as a pro-hanger-on. He’d get to do the team rides, and since he was sick fit and crazy fast he’d be able to keep up, but more fascinatingly he’d get to learn all about how pro cyclists really eat. Their diets, their careful balancing of calories, their perfect analysis of each food item’s component, in short, he’d get the detailed, fine-grained equivalent of an invasive rectal exam with regard to a professional cyclist’s diet.

Before the first day’s training ride he had packed his lunch. It was gonna be seven hours in the saddle with more climbing than Annapurna. He’d eaten perfectly the night before and even more perfectly the morning of. He’d metered out exactly the calories he’d need for the ride and had packed the ideal combo of food items, each one carefully composed to fuel his fine-tuned machine while saving Mother Earth from a messy, fat, disgusting, carbon footprint of dead animal protein.

Down in the breakfast area he waited for the pros to arrive. They did, late. “Oh,” he thought, “there goes our schedule.”

But no … everyone skipped breakfast, and to add to his dismay the team’s star scooped up a couple of Snickers bars from the breakfast buffet’s candy tray, and off they went.

It was the hardest seven hours of his life. He barely made it back. He was shattered. And the pros weren’t much better. Everyone had that pasty dead look. “Now,” he said, “I’ll get to see how the pros eat!”

The DS gave everyone $10 to buy dinner at Trader Joe’s. My friend was appalled. “That’s junk food!” he said to himself, trailing the pros as they made random selections of various badly made, unhealthy, slightly wilted, pre-packaged dinners. But not the team’s star, who we’ll call “Geoff Not His Real Name.”

Geoff Not His Real Name simply bought a gallon of milk and drank it on the curb. No one seemed to notice except Friend. “My dog!” he thought. “This isn’t possible! All my dreams are dying outside the Trader Joe’s in Santa Barbara, alongside an almost expired jug of cow juice!”

Friend, who was rooming with Geoff Not His Real Name, awakened at midnight as GNHRN groaned, then vomited up the entire gallon of now-curdled milk. Friend covered his head in the blanket, which was hard because the budget-minded team had put four people in each room, and his bed partner was GNHRN. No one even woke up, least of all GNHRN, who went back to sleep in the puke after stripping off the sheets.

Friend never saw nutrition the same way again.

My point is that a couple of days ago I decided to make some chocolate chip cookies for lunch. And although I know mostly everyone in America has made hundreds if not thousands of CC cookies in their life, it was my first batch, and like Friend in the bed of milk puke, I was blown away.

You will not be.

But … for the one or two people in America who don’t know, here is some facts:

  • Chocolate chip cookies are essentially two sticks of butter smeared with sugar.
  • You have to mix the butter and the sugar with your bare hands, and after that you have to lick your fingers, then your palms, then the backs of your hands, then if you’re lucky, your wrists. It’s obscene, and like most obscenity, delightful.
  • You are supposed to dump the whole bag of chips into the dough even though it says 1/2 bag.
  • Once you finish eating 12 of the 24 cookies, you have eaten an entire stick of butter.
  • Once you have eaten all the cookies you have eaten two sticks of butter but it feels like you have eaten a sandbag.
  • CC cookies are not a good substitute for lunch, but they are an excellent substitute for lunch and dinner and self-respect.
  • Cleaning up means licking everything.
  • The best way to freeze the dough for later is, are you kidding me? If there was leftover dough, your cookies sucked.
  • I need to take a nap now.


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6 thoughts on “Sugar on a stick (of butter)”

  1. The best bike nutrition is whatever you’ll eat when your head’s in the gutter. And I’ll eat cookies. Unbaked preferably!

    1. Unbaked they are not technically cookies. The scientific term is “heaven.”

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