Sunday, June 14, 2015

Is That a Potato in Your Pocket?

My 97-year-old Grampy still laughs his ass off when he tells his favorite joke. Two Frenchmen, Francois and Pierre, are at a beach on the Riveria. 

"Francois," Pierre said, "Look! I take your advice and put zee potato in my swim suit, but zee women, zey still do not talk to me."

"Pierre!" replied Francois. "Quel idiot! You must put zee potato in zee FRONT!"

(Cue old man's uncontrollable giggling.)

Grampy first told me this on a beach on the Riviera, when I was 15 years old, as if I weren't horrified enough being on a topless beach with my grandfather and also needed a penis joke to ensure the emotional scarring.

This was what came to mind today, and stayed through my 3-hour bike ride, as I experimented with a new nutrition option for the race—the mighty spud. I'm sick of sugary, engineered foods made for this sort of thing, the Clif bars and the gels and the chews and the bars. I have high-quality products and even my own delicious homemade balls, but they're all sweet, and I'm left craving something savory, something with some tooth. 

Last year's Ironman was fueled in large part by these high quality gels by EFS. They offer a 4:1 carb to protein ratio, ideal for extended endurance, plus electrolytes and I don't know what other goodness. Problem is, I associate these gels with the powerful nausea I experienced during the last 5 or 6 hours of my race. I don't think they caused it, but in my mind and body, they are inextricably linked. My tummy is doing a little dance just talking about it now.

So I'm leaving the giant leftover bottles alone and playing with new options. Today I pulled out the delicious Yukon Gold potatoes from Freedom Village Farm that I've overwintered in paper bags in the back of the fridge. I'm partial to this particular variety, with its firm flesh and buttery flavor. I boiled them up with a generous measure of salt, let them cool, and tucked them into a Ziploc in my bike jersey.

Such a treat! The pleasant texture gave me a little bit to chew on but went down effortlessly. Best of all was the salty, savory flavor, a tasty counterpoint to my sweet electrolyte drink. And the nutritional value is right on point, with loads of healthy carbs, a little bit of protein, some vitamin C, and key minerals like potassium and magnesium. 

Frankly, I don't really care where Pierre's got his potato, mine's in my bike back pocket, and baby, I'm loving it.

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