Ross DiFalco

February 8th, 2023 by Athletic Mentors Staff
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Jared’s Race at Iceman Cometh’s 2022

December 15th, 2022 by JoAnn Cranson

By Jared Dunham

The Iceman Cometh is a hallmark of Michigan mountain bike and bike racing. In 2021 I didn’t compete; however, I was fortunate enough to be a part of this year’s event. By the numbers, this course was 29 miles in length with 1,453 ft of elevation. The race begins at the Kalkaska Airport and ends at the Timber Ridge campground in Traverse City. This route uses mostly forest roads and the official VASA trails with portions of singlet rack added intermittently. It’s known for the final 3k of the course being setup like a cyclocross event. In terms of weather, leading up to Saturday, it was looking like we were going to get another “mud man”. This was reinforced by the fact that it had downpoured most of the previous night. However, lining up in the Pro/Cat 1 wave, the temperatures were in the low 60’s and while it was overcast, there was no rain for the time being.

We started the race like a “bat out of hell”. Riders were jostling for positions as we made our way out of the Airport and into the first two-track of the course. Nearing this initial two-track, racers ahead of me slowed to get around a giant mud puddle in the middle of the road. I was in the wrong spot of the group and lost several positions due to this, then had to regain my momentum. Generally, there is a good portion of sandy two-track in this event, however between the rain and the 3,400 sum-odd riders that came before us, almost all loose sections were packed down. Entering the first single track at 2 miles, my turns were smooth, and I was able to hang with a group relatively easily. Post-single track was when things split up drastically. People were able to put the power down on the sections of well-ridden forest road and the race officially began.

For a good portion of this race, I was chasing solo riders or small groups of racers that had fallen off the main pack. I’d catch up to a racer/group, find our paces didn’t match, then rinse and repeat. At 5 miles we were on the Brown Fire Lane straightaway, looking back there was a group of riders who were set to eliminate the gap I had. Ahead of me, there was a larger group of cyclists. I put in another dig and managed to hook onto the group ahead of me as we neared the next portion of single track. However, not long after, the group split apart, and I was in the caboose at the time. Re-entering gravel roads at what I believe was mile 11, I was yet again being chased by a group in the distance behind me. However, three riders were forming a peloton ahead of me.

Making a right onto Broomhead Rd, I tucked into an aero position, grabbed the center of the bars, and burned some more diesel fuel trying to catch the riders ahead of me. Avg speed was 21.3 mph through this section. Making a left back onto some forest road, I was only a few bike lengths away from a group of three. Finally at 15 miles, I slipped into one of the rider’s drafts and began to get some recovery in. Our peloton was made up of; Justin Morris, Ben Kailis, Barry Dykstra, and Myself (sorry if I got someone’s name wrong). At 15.7 miles, there was a portion of winding single track, I was still in 4th position, getting some recovery where I could. On one of the sweeping left turns, a small log was positioned at the outer edge of the trail. Noticing it too late, Ben and Barry rode over the log, but were able to clear it again to get back onto the trail. I wasn’t as lucky. My rear tire slipped on the wet log, and I was down on the ground.

Thankfully I had no major injuries, aside from some scrapes and bruises, and neither did the bike. Getting back on my feet, I spent some time pulling the chain out from under my chain ring. I lost a few positions but eventually got back onto the bike. However, that zen-like, flow-state mentality that you need to navigate single track fast was gone. Thankfully, the remaining course is more suited for a rider of better fitness than handling ability, as the most significant climbs were yet to come. 21.4 miles in, I arrived at the Boonenberg climb, which was one of the major climbs and at 23 miles, I was treated to Anita’s hill. It was here that I set a new highest heart rate, at 200 bpm. Shortly after this, the lead group of Women riders caught and passed me; Alexis Skarda, Savilia Blunk, and Rose Grant.

The clouds had been sprinkling off and on during the ride, but this was when it really started to rain. Wearing a jersey, finger-less gloves, normal bibs, and shoe covers, I was slightly chilled on the descents but would warm up again when I hit the climbs. Around 26 miles, I could tell that someone was following relatively closely behind. In the straightaways I could look back and make out a blue jersey in the distance, but I wasn’t sure who it was. Determined to hold my position, I sustained the hard effort but wasn’t going to give it the beans until the legendary final 3k. At the summit of Mount Gary (one of the final climbs of the course), I turned down an offer for Pabst Blue Ribbon and kept trucking. Entering the first section single track of the ending to the event, I did what I could to maintain my gap with the rider behind me.

Photo by: Rob Meendering Photography

The trail was muddy, relatively tight in areas, and twisty. I focused on maintaining smoothness over speed, which paid off. After exiting the single track, I didn’t hear the crowd behind me continue to cheer. This was good news; the rider wasn’t very close to me, and the gap was holding. I sent it on Icebreaker hill, with some minor cramps in my quads at this point, went back through Timber Ridge, and after following more single track, was dumped out at the base of Woodchip hill. The turn onto Woodchip was sharp and I had to take it wide, but I stayed upright and was in the correct gear to mash some pedals. After climbing Woodchip, I descended for a bit and then worked my way back into Timber Ridge for the finish. On one of the final hill climbs, I saw Keegan Korienek nearing the top, but my legs were baked at this point. Reentering Timber Ridge, I rode through the final turns, which I had memorized at this point, and put in a sprint on the straightaway to the finish.

My finish time for this year’s Iceman was 1:46:17, by comparison, my 2019 finish time was 2:14:23. So I was able to shave nearly a half an hour off my previous Iceman race. Additionally, in 2019 I was in peak form at the time of Iceman and training specifically for XC mountain bike races. Apart from comparing previous finish times, something that speaks to the caliber of riders that competed at this year’s event was how I placed in the rankings. In 2019, I placed 54th of 94 Pro men and 165 overall. This year I placed 80th of 99 Pro men and 109 Overall. One thing to note however, is that 2019 was a “mud year”, so it may not be easy to compare apples to apples. Concerning afterthoughts, one thing I needed was better positioning going into the first single track at 2 miles in. Riding with a group and catching some draft as opposed to chasing solo for about half the race would’ve saved a lot of my matches.

Thanks again to everyone who helps put on this race, I haven’t done an event quite like Iceman before. If you raced and met the goal you set, great, if you raced and had fun, awesome, if you did both, congratulations. On a final note, all the people cheering us on are what make this event amazing, so thank you for being out there to heckle us. My race plate number was 99 and the highlight of my ride was riding through one of the last bends in the course and some random guy I didn’t know yelling with conviction, “Go ninety nine”!


Strategies for Staying Motivated During Ultra Cycling Events

September 19th, 2022 by JoAnn Cranson

By:  Jared Dunham

Ultra-Cycling is challenging by nature, but in return, these events can be highly rewarding to complete. However, there may be times during an event where your motivation to continue riding is low. It can be very tempting at times to quit but, not finishing an ultra-event can be difficult and occasionally emotional depending on how much time and effort was put into preparation. While most of my experience is with events that are 24 hours or under, here are some tips that I have for staying motivated during the challenging times of an Ultra Event. These are strategies that I’ve followed and are backed by my own experience.

Break the ride down into different sections

This is very similar to goal setting; you will be more successful if you set small goals that are steps to your larger goal. In an ultra-event, you shouldn’t think of the entire route as one long race, but instead break the event down into manageable portions and focus on getting to the next section of the course. Rather than counting down the miles to go on an event, count down the miles to the next portion/section/checkpoint of the course. 

 

Examples:

  • Landscape: Divide a 100-mile course into two portions. Half of the course is in a national forest; the other half is on farmland. Your first goal is to reach the farmland, then your next goal from there can be to finish.
  • Gas Stations / Stores: Create a mental checkpoint for each of the four gas stations on a 200-mile route. This makes the distance 50 miles before starting a new portion of the course.
  • Road Conditions: Take a Bikepacking Route and divide it into different sections based on the type of road/path you’re on.

Be flexible with your plans & goals

It’s very important to do thorough planning for an ultra-event and having goals can provide something to motivate you. However, it is important to adapt your goals/plans as you ride. If you can’t sustain the average speed you’d like or won’t make it to the next checkpoint at your goal time, then adjust your goal. If you don’t, you might start thinking about how you weren’t able to follow-through with your plans/goals, which can sap motivation. Instead of being disappointed, adapt your goal to one that is obtainable, or continue a less specific version of your original plan.   

Examples:

  • EX: You aren’t going to meet your goal time for reaching the next checkpoint.  New Goal / Plan: Set a time that is close to the original goal, but still obtainable.
  • EX: You were going to ride all grades lower than 8% in the Aerobars, but now are having back pain from that riding position.  New Goal / Plan: Ride in the drops of the handlebars instead if that feels better. Otherwise, stop and move your bike stem higher on the steering tube to raise the handlebars for a more relaxed position.
  • EX: You didn’t drink as much water as you should’ve during a hot portion of the ride.  New Goal / Plan: Drink extra water at every stop that you make.

Know what to do when a Plan Falls Apart

We’ve all had those rides that make you wonder what else could go wrong, hopefully one of those rides isn’t your event. But if it is, you need to know how to handle it. Having the knowledge of how to get out of challenging situations gives you confidence, which will help to keep your morale high. The ability to continue riding despite setbacks is one that requires experience, but this experience can be gained through preparation.    Examples:

  • Know how to repair mechanical issues with your bike
  • Understand how to remedy gut issues that you could have during the event

Focus on the Good

Know how to recover from dehydration during a ride.  Ultra-events are known to have moments of mental “highs” and “lows” for their participants. If you’re in a “low”, then practicing mindfulness may help reclaim motivation for your ride. To practice mindfulness during an event is to not worry about the past or future and focus on the now. Focusing on the now (specifically what’s good right now) will keep your mind off mistakes that were made earlier in the ride or how intimidating the remaining portion of the ride may be. 

 

 

Examples:

  • Taking in your surroundings as you ride
  • Savoring a pop/soda at the next checkpoint rather than downing it quickly
  • Enjoying each pedal up-stroke, where not much work is required

Other things to keep in mind:

  • The midpoint of the race is the hardest, and if you can make it past that then you can finish.
  • Understand that there could be “highs” and “lows” and that these feelings are normal.
  • If temperatures are high during an event, it’s common to experience more dips in motivation as the conditions are difficult.

Reward Yourself for Persevering

If you’re really in a difficult spot during the ride, then it may be a good idea to grant yourself rewards for continuing the event. A reward can be the “light at the end of the tunnel” that keeps you going.   

Examples:

  • Coast the descents of hills: Depending on what the event is, it may not be as efficient to coast the descents. But allowing your legs to rest a bit may grant the motivation needed to continue riding.
  • Give yourself a break off the bike: At the next checkpoint, whatever that may be, take some extra time off the bike. Don’t wait too long though, as you may need to re-warmup your legs again before getting back into a rhythm.
  • Food: Thinking about that Snickers bar or Coke at the next gas station or C-Store can be a great motivator. However, I would caution you to only eat things that you know work for you during a ride. Additionally, if a large portion of your nutrition is coming from candy bars, then your performance is going to reflect that.
  • Slow your pace: If you made it through a particularly difficult section of the course then you could slow your pace for a moment to reward yourself.

Keeping spirits high and remaining disciplined throughout these events is a sure sign that you will be able to complete them. As with most things, you will likely need to discover what exactly works for you. However, I hope this list has sparked some ideas or even allows you to finish your next event.

 

 


Jack Kozlowski

January 29th, 2022 by Athletic Mentors Staff
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Spencer Blaz

January 29th, 2022 by Athletic Mentors Staff
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Night Riding Tips

October 2nd, 2020 by JoAnn Cranson

By Ross DiFalco

As the days get shorter and cooler, you might find yourself coming home from work in the dark without the ability to ride outside. Instead of relegating yourself to the indoor trainer, you do have another option. You can learn to ride in the dark. For the uninitiated, riding in the dark may sound crazy and scary, but it doesn’t have to be.

Where to start

You will need a good set of lights. I recommend getting a helmet mounted headlight with an external battery. If you have a spare helmet, I find it beneficial to keep the light mounted so it’s one less hurdle. Get one with greater than 1000 lumens that can run for a minimum of two hours. When you test a light, it might seem bright, but while you are riding it will seem much less so. Brighter is better, with a long beam distance being very important. You also should have a backup light on your handlebar for a “just in case” moment. There should be two rear facing lights as well. I like a very bright seat post strobe light and a helmet strobe light. The name of the game is being seen and being able to see.

Once you have your lights and have charged them, it’s time to select your bike. If you are like many cyclists, you probably have a bike for every niche around. For night riding I highly recommend using a mountain bike. Having flat wide handlebars, an upright riding position and wide tires/suspension all act as a pothole security policy. Potholes sneak up on you and it would be bad to crash in the middle of the night. If in case you do crash, ride with your phone charged. Before you head out the door, tell someone where you are going and how long you will be gone.

Let’s get riding!

Choose a route that has minimal traffic, and preferably slow traffic. I really like riding through neighborhoods, dirt roads, paths, and rail to trails. I avoid riding on sidewalks and roads with minimal shoulders. It’s very similar to riding in the light, those areas tend to pose the greatest risk to cyclists. Do be aware that a bright helmet mounted light can blind drivers so be cognizant of where you look. Another word of caution, deer are much more active at dawn and dusk. Watch out for deer that might hop out in front of you.

Take it slow, get used to the feeling of riding in the dark, and enjoy the differences. I am a cyclist that loves to get outside and be in nature. If I can ride longer outside and avoid my trainer, I will gladly do so. If you are like me, give riding in the dark a try! It’s an exciting feeling to glide through the night in the chilly fall air.

 


The Sport of Stair Racing

May 5th, 2020 by JoAnn Cranson

By:  Ross DiFalco

To start things off, I am no runner. I have tried my hand at running in the past and it usually ends in injury. Like many of you out there, your friends include endurance athletes. These people, just like most friends, tend to try and convince you to do something stupid from time to time. Racing up buildings is not something I normally choose to do for “fun”! We started this adventure off with some good old fashioned peer pressure.

First off, let’s talk about stair racing. This is a sport (I had no idea it existed) that involves running up sky scrapers and other venues with long staircases. Like other endurance sports, most events offer different length races. The race I participated in had two distances, a single ascent and a power hour. The single time is definitely a sprint. The building is a 28 story structure in Southfield, MI so a single effort is hard, but not crazy. Things get interesting when you contemplate the power hour. The way this race works is that you try and run up the building as many times as you can in an hour. The catch is that you are only timed on your way up and you ride the elevator on the way down. I didn’t fully understand this until afterwards. This piece of information is critical if you want to be competitive. It’s a balancing act of conserving energy between climbs, and not wasting the hour.

So let’s talk about how I got in this situation in the first place. I work with a great guy named David Garcia. David runs a weight loss blog called www.keepitupdavid.com and he is super into stair racing. David had the terrible great idea to make it a work event and get the group I am on to participate. David held a few stair specific workouts to teach us the best technique and to help us prepare. The best tips were to double step (skip a stair with each step) and to use the hand rail when you are exhausted. Come race day, most people opted for the one climb, doing the power hour was completely my fault. Also, considering this was a work event, I had to wear a work t-shirt so I represented Athletic Mentors by wearing one of our hats.

When the race started I learned quickly that stairs are not forgiving to pacing flaws. My heartrate quickly went above 170bpm and I started breathing hard. For those of you that don’t know me, I am a very competitive person and will never enter a race purely to finish. To avoid congestion in the stairwells, racers start about 10 seconds after one another. This means you can hear the person ahead and it makes you chase. Chasing is not what you want to be doing in the beginning. When I reached the top for the first time I had passed numerous people but I also knew this level of exertion wasn’t sustainable. I hopped in an elevator and collapsed to the floor to get 30 seconds of rest. For the next 9 ascents I was able to keep myself more or less together. My heart rate was sky high each time and I longed for the elevator rides. The eleventh time entering the the stairwell, I see the guy in first place. In my head, I am wondering why he is just standing at the bottom chatting with the race organizer. It’s time to make my move and go! I charge as hard as I can up the stairwell and hear him follow after me. I am able to keep him from catching me about half way up the building. By the time he catches me, I am absolutely destroyed and he knows it. We make eye contact as he passes and we both know it’s over. I am not ready to give up so I dig in and go with everything I have. I figured that if I started after him, I might be able to win on time. Cresting the top step was bitter sweet, I took a deep breath and up comes my gels and water. Not the way I wanted to finish this race but I gave it my all.

After the race you realize the real mistakes that were made! Lots of stairs without training equal very painful knees. Overall, The Gift of Adoption Stair Race is a race with a great cause. It’s fun to push your boundaries and try new things. Best of all, it was with some great people. I may be done with stair racing but you should get out and give it a try! I was able to come in 2nd or 3rd place? They gave me 2nd but  the timing was weird and it says 3rd online so who knows where I placed. Two of my co-workers also were able to do very well.  If I were to sum up this experience, I would say this:  “Stair racing hurts and it hurts real bad!”


My Oatmeal Cookbook

February 9th, 2020 by JoAnn Cranson

By Jared Dunham

As an endurance athlete you may be faced with many early morning or otherwise inconveniently timed workouts to your daily schedule. To fuel for one of said workouts it’s easy to reach for a protein bar, cereal or a similar product, however a better and more holistic option is oatmeal. Oatmeal is an empty canvas as far as food goes, it can be served in many ways and variations. Admittedly I’m an emerging oat addict myself, eating mostly oatmeal for a great deal of my past breakfasts. Nowadays I don’t eat oats nearly as much as I did in the past but still thoroughly enjoy the dish every now and again. With that being said, here are some of my favorite recipes for oatmeal. I hope they help break you out of your daily oat rut or make you take a shot in the dark and try some oats for the first time.

Quick Notes:

  • These oat recipes can be made easily in 15 minutes or less with the caveat that you use a microwave for cooking.
  • Most microwaves have an “Oatmeal’ setting on them, however cooking them for about 3 minutes is a good substitute.
  • Boiling oatmeal on the stove in a cooking pot also works, however this requires a little more time and cleanup, so I usually opt for the microwave if I’m trying to whip up some oats quickly.
  • All my recipes are based on one serving and are a ½ cup of dry oats each.
  • When cooking these oats, I use about ¾ cup of water.
  • Milk is a good substitute, which some of the recipes call for, but I use water most of the time.
  • Lastly, the amounts of ingredients in these recipes are in the eye of the beholder and all these meals are open to editing so if there’s something you wanted to change then go ahead and try it.

Classic Recipes

Pumpkin Spice

While the season for pumpkin spice lattes may be over, you can still enjoy this meal anytime.

Ingredients: Estimated Nutrition Facts:

  • ½ Cup Oats Calories: 268
  • 1/2 tsp Pumpkin Spice Carbs: 38.5g
  • 1/8 Cup Pecans Fat: 10.3g
  • 1/4 Cup Canned Pumpkin Protein: 8g
  • ½ tbsp Brown Sugar

Directions:

  1. Begin cooking oats, about halfway through mix the canned pumpkin in with the water and oats.
  2. Finish cooking.
  3. Mix in brown sugar to be sure it melts while oats are hot. Afterwards stir in other ingredients and enjoy.

Cinnamon Apple

Cinnamon apple is a very simple recipe that is a good option if you are trying to fuel for a workout or day without many bells or whistles attached.

Ingredients: Estimated Nutrition Facts:

  • ½ Cup Oats Calories: 204
  • ½ Finely Chopped Apple Carbs: 41.7g
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon Fat:3.2g

Protein:6.3g

Directions:

  1. Chop up half an apple while aats cook.
  2. When oats finish mix in Cinnamon and Apple.

Cooking Notes: If you’re looking to sweeten up this recipe then add half a tablespoon of brown sugar or maple syrup.

Maple Nut

This recipe was crafted to mimic the taste of the “Maple Nut” glazing that coats a doughnut of the same name. The main difference is this one speeds you up instead of slowing you down.

Ingredients: Estimated Nutrition Facts:

  • ½ Cup Oats Calories: 300
  • 1 tbsp Natural Peanut Butter Carbs: 45.1g
  • 1 tbsp Real Maple Syrup Fat:11g
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract Protein:9.5g

Directions:

  1. Cook oats, then mix all ingredients.

Carb Load

Sweet Potato Oats

Sweet potatoes and oatmeal can be a match made in heaven especially if you’re looking to pack in a few extra all-natural carbs before a ride. This bowl combines the two with a dash of sweetness and salt.

Ingredients: Estimated Nutrition Facts:

  • ½ Cup Oats Calories: 321
  • 1/2 Sweet Potato Carbs: 52g
  • 1 tbsp Brown Sugar Fat: 10g
  • 1/8 Cup Chopped Pecans Protein: 7g

Directions:

  1. Chop up the Sweet Potato while Oats cook.
  2. Stir in Brown Sugar to melt after Oats finish.
  3. Cook Sweet Potato in microwave if you need to.
  4. Mash Potato in with Oats until desired texture is achieved.
  5. Mix in Pecans.

Cooking Notes: The fastest way to make this recipe is to microwave the potato however, if you steam it, that will allow the spud to mix better with the oats. If you’re looking for more carbs add the whole potato.

The Fruit Bowl

Let’s see how many different fruits we can mix in with oatmeal. This is less of a standout than some of the other recipes but still holds true with how great oats taste when your average fruits are mixed in.

Ingredients: Estimated Nutrition Facts:

  • ½ Cup Oats Calories: 259
  • ½ tbsp Honey Carbs: 55g
  • 1 Sliced Strawberry Fat:3.3g
  • 1 Sliced Orange Wedge Protein:7g
  • 1/4 Chopped Apple
  • 1/4 Sliced Banana
  • 6 Grapes

Directions:

  1. If Fruit isn’t already prechopped then do that while Oats cook.
  2. Mix Honey followed by Fruit when Oats are finished.

Cooking Notes: This recipe requires various fruits, but you can use whatever may be at your disposal. If there’s any leftover fruit salad, simply use that or chop up fruit to be used for several servings and then store in the refrigerator.

Beet Oatmeal

Studies have shown that beets can help improve performance in endurance sports when consumed before exercise. It only makes sense that we add them in with oats.

Ingredients: Estimated Nutrition Facts:

  • ½ Cup Oats Calories: 260
  • ¾ Cup Beet Juice Carbs: 54.4g
  • 1/2 Finely Chopped Apple Fat: 3.2g
  • ½ tsp Cinnamon Protein: 6.4g
  • ½ tsp Vanilla
  • 1 tbsp Brown Sugar

Directions:

  1. Add Beet Juice instead of Water to Oatmeal for cooking.
  2. Chop Apple while Oats cook.
  3. Once Oats are finished, mix in: Cinnamon, Vanilla, Brown Sugar and Apple.

Cooking Notes: Unless you have a juicer or direct access to beet juice then mixing dried beet powder in with water will be your best option. That is what I do here.

Protein Packed

Greek Oats and Berries

For this recipe the Greek Yogurt provides a nice contrast to the citrus flavor of the mixed fruit.

Ingredients: Estimated Nutrition Facts:

  • ½ Cup Oats Calories: 210 to 235
  • ½ Cup Frozen Mixed Berries Carbs: 38 to 40g
  • ¼ to ½ Cup Greek Yogurt Fat: 3g

Protein: 10 to 15g

Directions:

  1. Cook Oats.
  2. Cook Berries separately.
  3. Mix warmed Fruit with Oats and Greek yogurt.

Cooking Notes: I prefer to leave the fruit juice that comes with the frozen fruit in when I mix with oats.

Strawberry Dream

I was a little hesitant on mixing cottage cheese in with oatmeal but soon discovered that the pair have a similar flavor that jives perfectly.

Ingredients: Estimated Nutrition Facts:

  • ½ Cup Oats Calories: 279 to 334
  • 6 Chopped Strawberries Carbs: 48 to 50g
  • ¼ to ½ Cup Cottage Cheese Fat: 5 to 8g
  • 1tbsp Strawberry Jam Protein: 8 to 17g

Directions:

  1. Chop Strawberries while Oats cook.
  2. After Oats are ready; mix in Cottage Cheese and Strawberry Jam.
  3. Lastly, add Strawberries.

Cooking Notes: This recipe can be adapted to any fruit, EX: Chopped Peaches and Peach Jam.

Savory Oat Bowl

Here’s another one you may have to be open minded about. Trust me though, there’s nothing under the sun that doesn’t taste great with bacon and cheese.

Ingredients: Estimated Nutrition Facts:

  • ½ Cup Oats Calories: 361
  • 2 Eggs (Runny) Carbs: 28g
  • 1 Crumbled Slice of Cooked Bacon Fat: 18.3g
  • 1 tbsp Shredded Cheddar Cheese Protein: 22.8g
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Fry Eggs while Oats cook.
  2. Mix Cheddar Cheese in with oats after they’re finished.
  3. Add Bacon to mixture.
  4. Mix in Salt and Pepper to taste, then top with Runny Eggs.

Cooking notes: I prefer using runny eggs for this recipe because the yoke adds more flavor to the bowl, however I have tried mixing scrambled in with oats. Something I haven’t tried is mixing precooked oats in with scrambled eggs as they cook. If you want to make this recipe much faster with less cleanup make sure to pre-fry your bacon and then simply store in the fridge till you need to use it, then microwave to warmup for this recipe.

Indulgent Recipes

Elephant Ear

As the name would suggest, the main objective of this recipe was to have a similar taste with that of an Elephant Ear. This one is surprisingly low calorie compared to a lot of the other recipes that made it onto the “Indulgent” list.

Ingredients: Estimated Nutrition Facts:

  • ½ Cup Oats Calories: 271
  • 1 tbsp Sugar Carbs: 32G
  • ½ tbsp Cinnamon Fat: 14.5G
  • 1 tbsp Melted Butter Protein: 5G

Directions:

  1. Begin cooking Oats
  2. Near the end of their prep add Butter to be melted.
  3. Mix Butter in with Oats and add other ingredients.

Almond Joy

We’re going for an Almond Joy candy bar here, enough said.

Ingredients: Estimated Nutrition Facts:

  • ½ Cup Oats Calories: 577
  • 1/8 Cup Sweetened Coconut Flakes Carbs: 64.6g
  • 1/8 Cup Chocolate Chips Fat: 31g
  • 1/2 Cup Whole Milk Protein: 18.6g
  • 1/8 Cup Sliced Almonds

Directions:

  1. Cook Oats with Milk instead of Water.
  2. After Oats have finished mix in Chocolate Chips till they melt, followed by other ingredients.

Cooking Notes: Obviously if you’re looking for a leaner version of this recipe it can be done. I’d recommend replacing Whole Milk with Almond and lessening the rest of the ingredients.

PB&J

Here’s an idea to shakeup that average, packed lunch, peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Ingredients: Estimated Nutrition Facts:

  • ½ Cup Oats Calories: 397
  • 1 tbsp Natural Peanut Butter Carbs: 49g
  • 1 tbsp Natural Jelly Fat: 17g
  • 1/2 Cup Whole Milk Protein: 15.3g

Directions:

  1. Cook Milk with Oats instead of Water.
  2. After Oats have finished mix in other ingredients.

Cooking Notes: If you’re looking to save a few calories, skimp out on the Whole Milk and replace it with Almond or Skim.

The Usual

The Usual was probably my favorite recipe for quite some time, it capitalizes on the banana and peanut butter combination that works so well with oatmeal. A note however, this recipe has a lot of horsepower so you may want to save this one for a hard workout or race.

Ingredients: Estimated Nutrition Facts:

  • ½ Cup Oats Calories: 436
  • 1 tbsp Natural Peanut Butter Carbs: 64.5g
  • 1 tbsp Sliced Almonds or Other Nuts Fat: 15.3g
  • 1 tbsp Natural Maple Syrup Protein: 11.6g
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 Chopped Banana

Directions:

  1. Slice up your Banana while Oats cook.
  2. When Oats are finished mix ingredients in as followed: Maple Syrup, Vanilla Extract, Cinnamon, Natural Peanut Butter, Sliced Almonds, and Banana.

Enjoy your Oats!!


Christina Vipond

January 28th, 2020 by Jim Allan
Posted in:

How “Destiny” Brought Me to Racing

November 7th, 2019 by JoAnn Cranson

By:  Joe Bianchini

My first experience on a longer bike ride of sorts was in 2014, after I had just graduated college. My girlfriend at the time and now wife, had just received a road bike for her birthday and was eager to try it out. We were staying at her parent’s cottage near Bellaire, MI and had spent a lot of time meticulously plotting out how far we were going to go, what speed we wanted to maintain, what clothes to wear and most importantly how long we could afford to stay at The Dockside, a local bar on Torch Lake. When I say afford, I mean both how many beers we could literally afford having just graduated college and how much time we could afford before it got too dark out for our 15-mile return trip. These were the important things at the time that I needed to know before embarking on a ride over 5 miles of flat roads yet alone the 30 miles of rolling hills that we were about to do.

We ended up making it back okay but with about 3 miles left, we had one last climb to the top of a hill before this venture would come to an end. It was a twisty turny climb that I always thought people were crazy for biking up as I rolled past them in my car countless times. Now here I was doing it with a greasy hamburger and several beers sloshing around in my stomach. The biggest challenge however was the fact that I was on a hand me down children’s sized mountain bike from the 1990’s that had “Destiny” emblazoned across the top tube. Prior to getting to the climb, Brooke had very generously offered to ride “Destiny” up the hill and let me ride her bike. Despite the bike being heavy, too small and this being one of the steepest hills around; I was not going to let this challenge defeat me. Eventually, and not in quick fashion I made it to the top, but more importantly I had made up my mind about getting a road bike. 

I grew up playing a variety of sports including football, lacrosse, wrestling and rugby but I never had participated in sports that were more endurance related such as biking, track, cross country, etc. However, the last time I ever participated in any competitive sport was high school. Having that brief period where my mind switched over into that competitive mindset on that hill was so exhilarating and I was hooked. It was such a fulfilling experience to not think about anything else that was going on in my life and only focus on getting to the top of that hill. Although I am sure that I could climb that same hill much faster today, the fact of the matter is that my attitude was the same then as it is now: Get to the top as fast as I possibly can. 

That following winter I bought my first road bike and started going to spinning classes in anticipation of the coming spring. Once spring hit, I started venturing out on various group rides during the week but eventually hooked up with a small group of people who had work and life schedules that provided more opportunity to ride at 5:30 AM rather than the afternoon. We dubbed ourselves the “Morning Cranks” and over time the group began to grow, and the rides began to become faster. This provided me with a group of friends to ride with consistently, compete on Strava segments with, give me confidence to sign up for my first race and overall really made me enjoy the sport. Every time I got on the bike, I was constantly trying to learn from the other people around me to make myself a better rider and having fun doing it. Eventually, I began to partake in cat 4/5 races with varying level of success but knew overall that this was something I wanted to keep getting better at. It wasn’t until earlier this summer when I began talking to Terry Ritter about taking my racing to the next level. At first, I was a little nervous for a magnitude of reasons but eventually became confident that joining Team Athletic Mentors was something I really wanted to do. 

Since joining the team, everyone that I have met has been extremely helpful in a variety of ways. The thing that I look forward to most is being able to race among teammates and doing whatever I need to do to help us win some races. I have had a couple opportunities to do that in 2019 when racing the Summer Waterford Series, Cherry Roubaix, Uncle Johns Dirty Ride and The Lowell 50 and I can honestly say it has been way more fun and fulfilling than getting on the podium myself. Not only is the actual racing fun but all the conversation that is had leading up to the race and after the race is always something that I look forward to. I am very excited to be a part of this team and can’t wait to see how we perform during the 2020 race season.



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