Well, it finally happened. We got our first snow of the year here in Boulder and, try as I might, there’s apparently no amount of denial that can convince me that summer is not truly over. I suppose it had to happen eventually. And while I know the colder days and longer nights will make it a bit tougher to keep putting in the miles, I’m determined to not let it stop me entirely. Who knows, with winter coming, maybe we’ll even slow down a bit here at the offices and get a chance to catch our breath. But if the past nine months are any indication, I probably shouldn’t count on that.
A couple folks I know for sure won’t be getting a break any time soon are our founder, Allen, and Ian, our CEO. Allen’s been jetting around the country doing super cool stuff as per usual as you'll see below, so no rest for him, and Ian happens to be in his final semester of engineering school while also running our company, so I’m guessing there won’t be much respite in the near future for him either. Talk about having a full plate...
Allen took a quick trip to Chicago to meet Michaela Kiersch, one of our new ambassadors earlier in the week. He spent the day getting to know her, watching in awe as she displayed her unique version of urban “rock” climbing by conquering all sorts of structures on the south side of Chicago, and, if this was the same Allen I’ve known for twenty years, waxing philosophic about life, love and everything in between. We’ll share more about Michaela and let her tell you her story in the months to come. We’re all very proud to have her as one of our first ambassadors and we’re excited for you to meet her.
After that stopover in Chicago, Allen met Biju in Atlanta to help hydrate and feed the Dempsey Racing Team and their crew at the Le Petit Le Mans auto race. They clearly passed over into the Bizarro world because Patrick was asking to take pictures with them. Is it me or does that seem a little backwards?
After that, Allen was off to North Carolina to consult with the gang at Joe Gibbs Racing. And if you think auto racing is just about driving really fast in a circle, well, Al can tell you there is heck of a lot more to it than that. The British Cycling Team has McClaren for research and development? Fine. We’ve got NASCAR. Sounds nuts, right? We’ll see.
Back at home it was business as usual for the most part. Orders came in, orders went out. We do our very best to get everything out the same day it comes in so you don’t have to wait any longer than necessary for your Skratch. (Quick tip- if you can have your order shipped to a commercial address, you’ll save as much as 25% on shipping via FEDEX Ground.) Our events manager Jon brought his new puppy, Penny, in. She is, what’s the word I’m looking for… adorable. We had our daily Knockout games on the basketball court out back which are typically won by order packing expert Julian and, sadly and as usual, Jason kept clobbering me at Ping Pong. Just another day at the Skratch Labs office.
Remember up top how I said I’m determined to not let the cold and the dark stop me from getting my miles in? So far, so good. I’ve been taking the long way to and from work a few days a week on my cyclocross bike. Here’s the thing about the CX bike: Funnest. Thing. Ever. A straight shot on the bike path would be about three miles each way, but I usually rack up between fifteen and twenty as I explore as many different routes as I can find. Dirt trails, levees, alleys- all are fair game on the CX bike. My rule is that I never take the same way twice. And now that I'm riding home in the dark, even the same old routes seem completely different.
And look, if Tim Johnson is going to leave his Sweet Ride (Cannondale SuperX Hi-Mod Disc!!!) at the Skratch Shop for two weeks while he’s in Europe, then I'll just have to assume it’s because he knows it’s my size. But that’s a story for another day. Ok, I gotta get ready to ride to work in the snow tomorrow. Please don’t tell Tim.
How sweet is this ride?
Rice cakes. They're the new black. At least in the world of nutrition conscious athletes they are. Our cookbook, The FEED Zone, has recipes for a variety of delicious rice cakes to suit every
pallete. We've put together this simple post to help answer some of the most common questions and even give you a new recipe to try for yourself.
Allen whipped up a batch of these
at the shop a few weeks ago and they disappeared in a hurry. They're
great for vegetarians or anyone who just wants a little variety in their
rice cake arsenal. The flavor is somewhere between apple pie and
apple-cinammon oatmeal and we're pretty sure this new super-secret rice
cake recipe isn't going to be a secret for long. And we're just fine
with that. Let us know what you think after you've tried them.
Super Secret Apple/Cinnamon Rice Cakes
Time ~30 minutes
2 cups uncooked Calrose or other medium-grain “sticky” rice
3-3.5 cups water
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1. Combine rice and water in a rice cooker.
2. While rice is cooking, peel, core, and dice the apples.
3. Toss them in a bowl with the cinnamon. Add brown sugar. Add salt to taste.
4. Combine the apple mixture with the rice.
5. Press mixture into an 8 or 9 inch square pan to about 1 1/2 inch thickness.
Cut and wrap the individual cakes. Makes about 10 rice cakes. Enjoy!
How long will the Rice Cakes stay good?
We get this question a few times a week. While the answer varies from recipe to recipe, we can tell you that some of the Skratch Team has tested the limits of rice cake stability without any problems. From purely a taste perspective, obviously the fresher they are, the better they will be. From an "are they safe to eat?" perspective, here's what we know:
In the name of research Chef Biju recently ate a few rice cake laden with eggs, chicken apple sausage and related fixins. The rice cakes were made early in the morning, stuffed into a ziploc bag, thrown in the back of a pick up truck and brought along for a day of training. It may have even spent some time in the back pocket of one of the riders and/or on the floor in the truck. After the ride, this ziploc bag was carried into house, and forgotten on a countertop. The next morning, 24 hours later, Biju thought it would be fantastic to eat that rice cake while Allen watched. It was as delicious as when he first hand crafted it, and he suffered no ill effects.
Aaron, another member of our team here, has frequently made rice cakes in his hotel rooms the night before races and never had a problem eating them late the following afternoon after carrying them around all day in his jersey pocket. He says he's gone so far as to ride and race on three or four day old rice cakes. "They definitely lose some of the taste the older they are, but I've never had any other issues with them." Aaron also loves to use them for more than just racing and training and can frequently be seen enjoying a savory rice cake at airport terminals around the country.
We've also heard mixed reviews from people who have tried freezing them. it seems to work for some but not others so that one you may have to do your own testing on. Let us know how it goes if you give it a try!
Dr. Allen Lim and Chef Biju Thomas both wear a lot of different hats here at Skratch Labs, but no one ever thought "Fire Fighter" would be one of them. After a long day at Skratch Camp where they rode in the high mountains to avoid the smoke from the High Park fire, they hustled out to Granby for a presentation at Ride the Rockies. While returning home, they passed a small but quickly growing roadside fire and did their best to hold it at bay until the real firefighters arrived.
A huge thanks to all the firefighters out there keeping us safe, both in High Park and across the US.
Here is how Allen made these rice cakes this morning...let us know how they work for you!
5 Cups sushi rice, rinsed and cleaned
7.5 cups water
2.5 small boxes of Blackberries (you know the little square boxes from the supermarket)
1 box of fresh mint (yeah, almost the same little box from the supermarket but not square this time, more rectangular)
1/4-1/2 cup sugar (but we're not really sure how much b/c we just poured it on until it tasted good)
1 cup chocolate chips
Directions: cook the rice, julienne the mint, squeeze the lemon on top of the mint in a large bowl and then add the sugar, mix the sugar, rice, mint and blackberries, take half of this mixture and press into the bottom of a cookie pan, put the choc chips on top of this layer, add the rest of the mixture on top of the now melting choc chips, cut and serve just like the video below!
During the 2012 Tour of California Dr. Allen Lim & Chef Biju are cooking everything the Omega Pharma-Quickstep riders and staff will be eating from our Skratch Labs kitchen trailer. Check back each day for a new video providing an inside view of what they are actually eating.