Allen has been serving fresh from scratch beet juice to his athletes for years - it's time for you to try it too! You can find Allen and Chef Biju's favorite juicer here.
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.
The Amgen Tour of California starts tomorrow and Skratch Labs is there. In fact, we're not just there, we're there working for the Omega-Pharma Quickstep team of three time winner of the event, Levi Leipheimer.
Dr. Allen Lim and Chef Biju Thomas are in California with the Skratch Labs Mobile Kitchen powered by Nissan and will take care of all the nutritional needs of the team's riders and staff during the eight day event.
We'll post a new video every single day of all the behind the scenes work that goes into fueling some of the top athletes in the world, so be sure to check back and see how the Skratch is made!
When I was in high school and through college, Dr. Wig Sy was my cycling coach. Wig was a former Olympian from the Philippines with an MD and PhD in physiology. He also happened to be Chinese and spoke the same dialect (Fujian) that my parents spoke to me. Without a doubt, my career has been strongly shaped by Wig’s mentoring. He not only taught me the science and rationale behind my training, he kept me on track in school and was a huge role model for me amidst all of the cultural “in between-ness,” temptation, and distraction I experienced growing up.
While at UC Davis, I would drive to Wig’s house in Sacramento each week with one of my best friends, Shannon Sovndal, who was also coached by Wig. I would sit with Shannon at Wig’s kitchen table while Wig lectured to us about training ideas and workouts for the upcoming week. We would frantically jot ideas down as Wig talked, then write our own training from the scribbled notes. Almost always, Wig’s youngest daughter, Jolene, who was about 10 years old when Shannon and I first started coming over to the house would sit quietly at the table with us and just listen. She’d never say a word. She just sat there in silence.
More than twenty years later, I found myself thinking a lot about Wig, while driving a little red Yamaha scooter with a bent chassis around Sonoma county as Levi Leipheimer, one of the strongest cyclists in the world drafted behind me, yelling at me (in a voice that sometimes sounded like a wildebeest being mauled by a pack of wolves) to slow down or speed up while I barreled around blind corners or down the Pacific Coast Highway at speeds ranging from 25 to 55 mph trying not to kill either myself or him in the process.
As a point of reference, motor pacing or “scooter-pacing,” is one of the most effective ways to simulate the high speeds and extreme fluctuations in power output that cyclists experience while racing in a pack or peloton. What I, Levi and countless pro cyclists know, is that there’s no better way to prepare for racing than to do a big block of training while chasing a scooter at Mach speed. But what a lot of people don’t talk about is what a pain in the ass it is, both literally and figuratively, to ride a scooter at precise speeds for 200 km every day for a week. The experience is a paradoxical and painful combination of pure fear and boredom – like robotically stabbing yourself in the back with a dull rusty butter knife all day or driving cross-country in the snow on bald tires while someone is tailgating you and yelling from behind.
This paradox – something that F. Scott Fitzgerald described as “the ability to hold two opposing ideas in one’s mind and still retain the ability to function,” is what got me thinking about Wig. As difficult as it is for both myself and Levi to get through a day, let alone a week of scooter-pacing, it’s fundamentally a simple test of will and patience, which is at the heart of the sacrifice and success that Wig, my parents, and every great mentor, athlete, or friend has always modeled for me. It’s the battle between “smaller sooner or larger later” – a battle that has spawned an entire field of behavioral psychology examining delayed gratification or delayed consequences *. It’s asking yourself how hard you’re willing to work and how long you’re willing to wait for your reward. More importantly, it’s figuring out how to bridge the delay or gap between where you are and where you want to be.
This last week, I found myself adopting a wide range of coping strategies for bridging the gap during the long sessions on the scooter. They ranged the gamut from thinking about Wig and other people I admire, singing or humming mindless pop songs to myself like “Super Bass” by Nicki Minaj, visualizing Levi winning Paris Nice, and repeating ad nauseam little mantras in my head like, “keep it cool, keep it cool, keep it cool.” Periodically, however, I would crack and let out an audible “frack me,” or get pre-occupied with how bad my hand was cramping (from holding the accelerator) or how my cotton jeans were chafing my package of liquid genes (from sitting on the scooter). But mostly, I just sat there in silence simply because the effort was worth it and because there was no way that I was going to stop scootering until Levi stopped pedaling.
That silence is something that Wig’s daughter, now Dr. Jolene Sy, had figured out at a very early age and something she now helps myself and others with as a doctoral level board certified behavioral analyst, assistant professor, and the director of the Applied Behavioral Analysis Program at Saint Louis University. It’s also something that my old training partner, now Dr. Shannon Sovndal, reminds me of as a friend and as the team doctor for the Garmin Professional cycling team. Finally, it's what every team member here at Skratch Labs embodies and I am so grateful and thankful for their daily effort and work to grow this little company. So if you’re out there in the middle of a wide-open gap, asking yourself how you’re going to bridge, just remember that it’s going to be worth it, that you probably have more people who are willing to lend you an extra hand (or finger) than who are going to try and run you over in a huge ass pick up, and that in the end it’s really not about the reward – sometimes the simple silence will do.
Allen Lim, PhD