Last weekend I took part in an unbelievably inspiring event – the Pan-Mass Challenge. It is a 190-mile, 2 day bike ride that raises funds for cancer research at Dana Farber. I was a member of Team Rialto, a group of us affiliated in some way with Rialto restaurant in Cambridge, MA. We ranged in ages from twenties to sixties, and we all completed the ride with energy to spare (although not much!) Many of us had first started ‘serious’ riding as a result of our biking trips to Italy. Jody Adams, her husband Ken Rivard, and team member Ron Goldberg joined Italiaoutdoors in June 2010, and Sean joined Jody on our September trip. All team members trained extraordinarily hard for the ride, and their hard work was evident. Jody committed during the ride that when we first rode together in Sicily, and were challenged by the riding there, who would have thought a few years later we’d be riding over 100 miles in one day? Our team has raised over $50,000 at this point, with more coming in. And we’re already planning for next year. To do something we all love to support such a great cause, surrounded by so many bikers who are really challenging themselves physically, and cheered on by the crowds that line the entire route is truly an inspirational experience.
Completing an endurance event like this requires not only physical strength, but a mindfulness on pacing yourself and making sure your body is properly fueled throughout. For an hour or two bike ride or gym session, you can get by without paying much attention to food and water intake. Biking for 7 to 8 hours, in August, is a different story; we all have learned over the last few months the importance of drinking water – often – before you are actually thirsty. Stopping to eat every hour or so is also critical. I find I don’t feel hungry when I am exercising, but when I don’t properly fuel, I hit a wall. And this is the one time when I find something containing sugar is best, something that my body can immediately convert into fuel. I am not a fan of power
bars or other ‘sports food’. On our biking trips, we try and fuel up on ‘real’ food rather than gorp or processed sports foods. For the PMC, I made up a batch of cookies which I carried in my back pocket, and snacked on throughout the ride. I developed the following recipe, modifying a chocolate chip oatmeal cookie by adding in a few of my favorite ingredients – coconut, flax seed, and cocoa.
Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Power Cookies
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 2/3 cup flour
1/3 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups chocolate chips, preferably dark chocolate
1 cup whole oatmeal (not quick cook)
1/2 cup coconut
1 cup almonds or other nuts
Preheat oven to 375°.
Beat butter, sugar, brown sugar, peanut butter and vanilla in a large mixer bowl until creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, flaxseed, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Gradually beat in the flour mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips, oatmeal, coconut, and almonds.
Drop by rounded tablespoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes.