I have always loved eating but more recently, food has become one of the most important things in my life. I am sure this is the case with most, if not all, cyclists out there but I can’t get enough of the stuff, writes James Moss.
At home, meal times have become a huge event in our house. Preparing, cooking and eating takes up pretty much all of the evening with big tapas style spreads and homemade bread currently dominating the menu.
Before going to bed I am already genuinely excited about what I will be able to eat the next morning. My poor girlfriend has to put up with me thinking out loud about this on a nightly basis.
She has even taken to planning and listing the week’s meals in advance so she has a quick and easy response to the daily question of ‘What are we having for tea tonight?’
I enjoy fresh and ‘healthy’ food more than anything else and can get far too excitable over the prospect of a plain old bowl of porridge, some sort of ‘adventurous’ salad or the often underrated, ‘everything left in the fridge thrown in a pan’ meal.
It’s probably best I don’t even start on the topic of sandwiches, not enough space for them here.
However, food and eating during a training camp takes on a completely different role: It is simply fuel.
Our table is surrounded by guys whose BMI is almost certainly considered to be unhealthily low, but the amount of food shifted in an impressively short period of time has to be seen to be believed.
As well as the enormous quantities, it also appears that whilst on training camp, all ‘normal’ dinner table etiquette is forgotten.
Firstly, when considering a buffet style setup, riders head straight to the food before even setting eyes on the table.
Scanning what is on offer quickly before piling a plate high with carbs, proteins and any fresh veg’ that can be found – often not a great deal.
Pockets are utilised to the max, freeing up valuable carrying space for anything else that can be grabbed whilst walking to the table.
Wasting as little time as possible from entering the restaurant, until putting food in ones mouth is also critical.
Table service with a platter of food for everyone to share is one of the trickiest situations.
It’s safe to assume that there’s not going to be enough food for everyone, but nobody wants to be the person that finishes everything off before everyone has had a serving.
Very frowned upon.
The’ Table-Service-Platter-Setup’ usually results in the DS going into the kitchen to plead for more carbs.
However, if the ‘Table-Service-Platter-Setup’ provides ample food for everyone (obviously, very rare) then another equally tricky situation arises. Eating becomes a race to see which riders are going to get seconds and which aren’t. First come, first served.
Whilst away, I have taken to reporting back home with what I’ve been eating, sometimes even complete with photos.
This is usually met with a gasp, due to its huge quantity and unfortunately sometimes because of the quality, or lack of… If it hasn’t been the greatest of meals then I tend not to ask what has been made back in sunny England as it’s terrible for morale to hear that a fresh loaf of bread has baked to go with some sort of chorizo stew or homemade soup.
Whatever the quality of the food on a camp, it all gets eaten and I have some very impressive displays of eating in my time – both quantity and speed.
Like I said before, food is simply fuel – but make sure you don’t mix your training camp etiquette and your table manners or there’ll be trouble.
Thanks for reading.
Follow me on Twitter@jimmymoss355
Special thanks go to:
@Node4ProCycling and @YellowLimited
@PaulBFitness for his incredible work with me in the gym and on my nutrition
@RotorbikeUK and @battyriphraph for providing me with their excellent Q-Rings