Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sweet Potatoes and Snow Biking

Sweet Potato

In an effort to improve my cycling performance, I've been watching my diet pretty closely, at least during the day at work when I can closely control what I eat. When I get home, it goes downhill as the cupboard is stocked with the likes of Oreos, Dark Chocolate Pomegranate* Toblerone, etc. So, I've been frequently eating at lunch one of the best foods you can eat: sweet potatoes. I used to hate sweet potatoes but now I love them. Here's the deal. This is the number one vegetable you can eat. Why? Here's why:

  • It's packed with vitamins and minerals. Vitamin A or beta carotene (tons of it...4X the daily recommended allowance). Vitamin A is great for proper eye health. Vitamin C equal to 42% of the daily recommended allowance. Vitamin E and B6 too. The sweet potato also is a good source of manganese, copper, potassium and iron.

  • Low on the glycemic index making it a "good carb".

  • Lots of fiber. Be sure to eat the skin and it has more than oatmeal.

  • No fat

  • 26 grams of carbs, including only 5 grams of sugars. As a cyclist, carbs are the fuel you need. In fact I may test these on a long ride.

  • Even some protein (2 grams)

The sweet potato is easy to prepare too. You just poke some holes in it with a fork and toss it in the microwave for 6-8 minutes. I like mine with brown sugar and a little butter. If you don't want butter, it's still tasty with just salt and pepper. Be creative and try it with different toppings. You'll be surprised at how good they taste and how they will satisfy your hunger for longer than normal.

*You've gotta try these. If you love dark chocolate, you'll get addicted. Costco has it.

Snow Biking

Now.....changing topics. If you were to look at the forecast this week, you'd plan on riding the trainer every day. As it turns out, the weather has been quite nice. At least down in Orem, the snow has been falling at night or in the morning and then during the day, or at least at lunch time, the weather has cleared up and it's beautiful. Not too cold either. I've been taking advantage of the light 2-3 inches of daily new snow in the Timp Foothills. Yesterday I was doing laps up the water tank road until my chain broke. I was disappointed as I had one more climb in me. Today, Jonathan from work joined me and we road up the water tank road to the top of Dragon's Back and then dropped down the Alta Aqueduct Road to Timpanogos Park and back to our cars at the shooting range via the Parkway trail and through the streets of Orem.

I'm discovering it's a ton of fun riding in the snow. A whole new experience. I thought I'd get bored, but I actually really enjoyed riding the flats of the water tank road from above the race course to the top of Dragon's Back. The snow gets deeper the further you go, which provides some resistance and makes it a more challenging ride than if there were no snow. The descents are fun too, although you have pay attention and watch out for ice underneath (make sure your tires have low pressure for traction....I think I'm running around 20 psi tubeless).

I should mention I attempted the singletrack last week (Betty) but it wasn't that fun. The snow is too deep and hikers' tracks make the ground too uneven, although maybe with some practice and more tires smoothing out the trails, it may work. So, get up there and ride! It's a good time.

Here's Jonathan descending the Alta Aqueduct Road:

Also, I saw another Bald Eagle today soaring above us while we were on the water tank road. Here's a picture (I know, crappy picture from my Blackberry):

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