Missed connections, and sometimes not

This evening, the Ironman store in Tampa hosted a clinic on race-day nutrition featuring professional triathlete Leanda Cave, or at least I think/hope they did. I arrived at the store a few minutes before the appointed starting time, made a few circles around the store (while totally ogling the new Scotts, Blues, and QRs – I think/hope it’s time for a new bike!), and left after about twnety minutes with no start in sight. It’s not that I wasn’t looking forward to the presentation, but there were two reasons for my premature exit:

  1. I really wanted to ride tonight and there are only so many hours in a day, or at least before the Marriage Ref starts.
  2. Race-day nutrition, much like nutrition in general, pretty much boils down to one thing – common sense, so I was pretty sure that nothing groundbreaking would be presented, although it may have been entertaining.

As to the first reason, I really, really like riding my bike so my weekly rides are something I really look forward to, much like new special episodes of Oprah. Skipping rides will usually leave me depressed, listless, and listening to the Smiths (and I hate the Smiths). During a usual Tampa summer when the torrential rain and explosive lightning makes weeknight riding a crapshoot, I’m a complete mess, usually to be found in the dark of my apartment listening to goth-rock and watching Intervention on mute – it’s not good.

Why won't it stop raining?

As to the second reason, good, proper nutrition is common sense, even as every newspaper, magazine, television show or infomercial, and nutrition “guru” may tell you that they have uncovered the secret to a healthy diet, dramatic and safe weight loss, and faster races. For every three people who need or want a nutritional make-over, there’s another book, article, email, or infomercial telling us how to eat better, live longer, and lose more weight more quickly. However, it’s all so really simple, and we’ve all known what the foundations of a healthy diet are, and it usually begins with putting the Big Mac down.

Do it for the Gipper

If I had to guess the content of Leanda’s presentation (with gun to head of course, I wouldn’t want to be presumptuous), I would guess that she said at least four of the following:

  • Drink as much as you sweat, which means that you should do a sweat test on yourself.
  • Drink a sports drink, preferably Accelerade since it’s her sponsor, to avoid hyponatremia. (There was a table set up at the presentation with plenty of Acceleradde for everyone to try.)
  • During a race, eat so many grams of carbs per pound of body weight. I forget the ratio at the moment, but it’s readily available on the Interweb, so your homework is to look this up.
  • If you’re having “problems” during the race, let your stomach settle and resume your nutrition plan as scheduled.
  • The harder you race, the less you’ll be able to digest, so don’t go out too fast if you plan to finish an Ironman under your own power.
  • Use salt tabs to replace the electrolytes you’ve lost during the race. The efficacy of this one is a bit controversial, but some extra salt won’t hurt you, so go ahead and take some.
  • Try out your nutrition plan during training, and make sure to do some of that training at race pace to see what your gut can handle.  As one of the most common idioms in endurance sport goes – don’t try anything new on race day.

Of course, I’ve screwed up enough races because of poor nutrition, so please take everything above as gospel truth. My daily nutrition is also not that great (or at least until beer and cake are added as their own categories in the food pyramid), and I’ve been trying to lose those last couple of pounds since the first day I donned the Speedo and headed to the shallow end of the pool, so please don’t hire an Ask Gary lawyer and sue if what you’ve read above doesn’t work for you. My only earthly possessions are my bikes, and I’ve already told you what happens to me when I can’t ride – it ain’t good.

I hope the presentation went great, and Ms.  Cave dazzled the crowd with the new guaranteed nutritional formula that will launch all the attendees to Kona glory, and hopefully that secret revolves around beer and cake, and hopefully someone will let me in on the secret real soon.

As I said earlier, I went for a bike ride this evening instead of attending the clinic. The ride was mostly uninspiring; however the post-ride excitement deserves a little attention. Two friends of mine (one who you may know as Dr. Killjoy from the recent May is the Cruelest Month post) went for a ride and then a short (although blazing fast) run. As Dr. Killjoy lives near Flatwoods, she stored her bike in her training partner’s car on top of his bike while they ran. Both of these bikes – a Trek TTX and a Specialized Tansition – are only a few years old, so basically they’re both teenagers as a bike’s age is a human’s age times four (a little known fact, Google it). Well, we all know what happens when two teenagers of the opposite sex are together, alone with the parents away, in the back seat of an SUV (if you don’t know, rent Porky’s, Porky’s 2, and Porky’s Revenge right now). Let’s just say that when DR. Kiiljoy opened the back door, a used latex tube fell to the ground and both bikes were covered with grease from each other’s chain. The owners are both shamed and will be sending their bikes to live with cousins in the country until the new “bundle of joy” arrives which should be in about six months, the average gestation period for a triathlon bike.  


As the parents’ pedigrees are both remarkable (What do you get when you cross a Trek with a Specialized? Probably a LeMond), anyone looking to adopt a new, and certainly fast, bike, should contact the New Tampa chapter of Planned Parenthood for further details.

This post – and all its dashes and parentheses – is dedicated to Kat, fellow grammar nerd and budding triathlete.


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