Author Topic: Food by Mail  (Read 1111 times)

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Offline John Nelson

Re: Food by Mail
« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2014, 11:11:59 am »
Percy, I understand and admire your commitment to quality food. Given that, I think your plan to carry your own is probably your best option. There are many parts of the TransAm where quality food is not available. You can go days in Kentucky and Virginia along that route without finding any source of fresh fruit, vegetables, bread or dairy.

Good luck and I hope your reach your goals.

Offline percy kittens

Re: Food by Mail
« Reply #16 on: May 30, 2014, 12:47:02 am »
John - I was just going to post a reply saying ' you guys are right, it is downright Victorian to worry about food in this day and age. Better to live a little and trust that it will all work out'.

When I deliberate a plan, I rarely seek anyone's counsel beyond my own. I know what works for me. Or do I? Thus, in the process of being shown another way -- iow, learning -- I will argue like a TV lawyer my case. Somewhere around the time when the other side gives up and says, 'fair enough, have it your way' has the pendulum of my decision maker swung well to the other side. The timing of your post and my change of heart exemplifies this process.

I went for a good long ride today and by my fifth clif bar I was like, ugh. At some point in my travels I rode past a number of food places, serving good, hot, meaty, flavorful delights and oh my senses ached! I came this close to buying a wrap of something -- anything that wasn't a damn energy bar -- but the words piled up in my head: chicken= antibiotics, flour = preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, veggies = sauteed to death, canola oil, pesticides. As usual I rode past and thought of the delicious salmon I would eat at home. I did too, and shortly after a tuna salad with salt shaken on it.

I thought of what someone here said: 'your body will revolt [from a diet consisting heavily in energy bars]' and wondered if the mild nausea i was feeling on mile 60 was from the Clif revolt or simply fallout of the stress i had been feeling this morning. I have thus modified my plan.

I realized that originally, the idea was simply to not find my self out in the middle of nowhere with an aching hungry belly at days end and too tired to ride for food. I freak out at being hungry. I was anorexic when i was a teen. The thought now of being completely without food freaks me out, fills me with a panic that pushes all other thoughts out of the way. I suppose it could be said that I am very in tune with my evolutionary survival brain. But that does not mean I have to lay at its feet.

Modified plan: mail smaller boxes of my lovely clif bars; their purpose is now as another member here said: as emergency food. I have a friend who is a raw foodist and who is currently hiking in Nepal.  I read his blog. He has to eat whatever is available, like rice (gasp!). I take great inspiration from him. If he can do it, i can do it. the importance and beauty of this trip is not to be spoiled by fretting over something as comical as not finding food in America.

I will eat the crap and I will enjoy it. Pig hearts, here I come.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2014, 12:49:31 am by percy kittens »

Offline staehpj1

Re: Food by Mail
« Reply #17 on: May 30, 2014, 06:31:44 am »
John - I was just going to post a reply saying ' you guys are right, it is downright Victorian to worry about food in this day and age. Better to live a little and trust that it will all work out'.

I will eat the crap and I will enjoy it. Pig hearts, here I come.

You should do what works for you, and it sounds like you are on track for figuring out what that is for you on this trip.

Sorry, but even given that I can't resist making or restating a few suggestions.  Again I realize you need to do what works for you, but I think these comments are worth considering.
  • There is a middle ground between eating just anything you find and being so selective that you reject eating everything that is available.  I'd suggest that the middle ground is a reasonable choice for most people.
  • If you want to, it is possible to eat very selectively on the road.  We met a guy who was 85% finished the Trans America when we were 15% in going the opposite direction.  He had managed to eat a strict vegan diet the whole way.  He was very fussy about the quality of what he ate.  He said it involved a little effort but wasn't that hard.  It probably helped that he was an excellent cook and also very resourceful and determined.
  • I'd recommend sampling some of the local cuisine where ever you travel.  I don't feel like I have really experienced an area if I haven't eaten the local food.
  • I have to say that I am a little baffled by the whole mailing Cliff Bars thing.  I could see mailing something that would be hard to find on the road, but I really doubt that cliff bars are that hard to find.  A high percentage of places that you are likely to be buying other food or beverages will also have Cliff Bars.  It seems to me that dealing with the vagaries of advance schedule and route planning combined with the short and sometimes strange hours of many post offices, would be more of an effort and problem than finding the bars on the road.

    Given that I'd suggest that if you have someone at home willing to help that you start out with maybe one package of food mailed out and have them mail additional ones at your request.  That would have two advantages.  First, you would be better able to pick towns that you are more sure of arriving on a day and time when the post office is open.  And second, it would allow more flexibility in the size and frequency of the packages.  That flexibility would allow you to adjust to larger quantities, smaller quantities, curtailing the mailings altogether, or changing to a different food item when/if you get completely sick of cliff bars.

Offline percy kittens

Re: Food by Mail
« Reply #18 on: May 30, 2014, 02:50:57 pm »
I have seen energy bars priced as high as $2.99 at some convenience stores. That is a huge difference from .59.

Offline percy kittens

Re: Food by Mail
« Reply #19 on: May 31, 2014, 03:03:21 am »
First of all, let me apologize to the OP for hijacking this thread. If it makes any difference, this exchange has given me insights that I did not foresee when I first joined in.

Earlier this evening I was researching foods to eat while on an endurance ride. My long trip down the rabbit hole led me to the Glycemic Index where I discovered that these stupid energy bars that, I am embarrassed to admit, i practically live on, have the highest GI of most foods! Let me back up. I was a sugar junkie as a kid, an alcoholic who starved myself and lived on amphetamine when I was a teen, and a fairly normal eater when I got sober at 20. I discovered energy bars in the late 80s but ate them sparingly. I have always had to watch my blood sugar due to the havoc I put upon my system in the years prior. Through the brilliant mental system of justification and denial, I managed to move energy bars up to the Safe List. To conclude, my present day eating habits are sickening, as much as I boast having a clean diet.

This really freaked me out. I have to watch for insulin dangers. Through the wonders of self-diagnosis, I now attribute my general mental restlessness and anxiety to spikes and dips in my blood sugar. Poor body :-(

I now see cliffies as something I must avoid and other foods, a variety of whole foods, as something to lean into, and enjoy. My energy levels and heart health will benefit greatly but most of the benefits will be mental. Perhaps this constant fear, which shows up as anger and defensiveness, constant anger really, will subside.

I am glad to have found all this out prior to setting out on my journey. And that discovery, I feel, would not have come without the thought-provoking responses by people on this thread. Thank you.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Food by Mail
« Reply #20 on: May 31, 2014, 11:41:19 pm »
I think Michael Pollan said it pretty well, “Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.” Your great-grandmother would not recognize Clif Bars. His other advice is excellent too. He sums it up in seven words: "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants." "Eat food" means to eat real food -- vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and, yes, fish and meat -- and to avoid what Pollan calls "edible food-like substances." He also advises not to eat anything with more than five ingredients, or ingredients you can't pronounce.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Food by Mail
« Reply #21 on: June 10, 2014, 04:34:04 pm »
Anyone know who Percy Kittens is IRL?  I was curious how she (he?) is doing in the race.  Percy is a 47 YO female if I read her post correctly.  There is a 47 YO female on her proposed pace so I am guessing that might be Percy Kittens. 
« Last Edit: June 15, 2014, 01:28:20 am by jsieber »

Offline staehpj1

Re: Food by Mail
« Reply #22 on: June 15, 2014, 06:39:57 am »
First, let me apologize for posting a real name for Percy and thank the mods for removing it.

It looks like Percy scratched after a few days at the proposed pace.  Hundred mile days are pretty tough to maintain especially in the early days of a trip.  I hope Percy is OK and will report back.  It would be interesting to know more about the experience and what went right or wrong on the trip.

Offline percy kittens

Re: Food by Mail
« Reply #23 on: June 22, 2014, 06:41:14 am »
Hi there. First off, no worries about the name thing. I do what I can to maintain this little illusion of net anonymity  ;)

I have been thinking about your question, of how the ride went, and two things come to mind -
1. It should probably be posted elsewhere and not the Food forum, though I don't know where.
2. I could either write 1000 words about the brief experience or come up a total blank, as I am still sorting through it.

In short - I need more training :o

Offline staehpj1

Re: Food by Mail
« Reply #24 on: June 22, 2014, 07:44:45 am »
In short - I need more training :o
I have to wonder how it would have gone if you had taken an easier pace for the first 7-10 days and built the pace from there.  It might have allowed you to train as you go and possibly allowed a better average pace over the long run than you planned.  That approach can work well for a tour, so maybe it would for a race as well.

I am sure it was a learning experience and you will have a better idea of what to expect next time if it didn't kill you desire for this type of race.

Offline percy kittens

Re: Food by Mail
« Reply #25 on: June 22, 2014, 10:06:46 pm »
It probably would have gone a lot better ( I would have lasted longer) had I taken it slower at the start. I am basing that probability on absolutely nothing as I have never done this kind of race. But it sounds reasonable so I will go for it. I learned about the psychological angle of a race. When I ride by myself, I go at my limits. When I encounter someone on my route going a bit faster than me I tend to speed up to keep up - there is a sense of urgency that was not present when I was alone. Now, transfer this phenomenon to 45 people leaving a destination at the same time and all travelling the same route. My sense of 'keep up', or competition if you will, was really triggered. Add to that the spot tracker - knowing that there was a big watchful eye on all of us and that this was no longer my own personal endeavor but somehow my progress would now be measured , or compared, by how others were performing.
So, a new element to race training that I had not foreseen but now have a year to prepare for. I had heard of the importance of mental preparation but I did not know it included  pacing myself against my own -- and only my own -- abilities and limitations by putting mental blinders on.