Here at Skratch Labs there’s a lot of talk about how important proper hydration is during exercise. We talk about how your power output will drop significantly if you become even slightly dehydrated. About how many calories, how much salt, and exact amounts of fluid you should be taking in per hour. About the differences between our sports drink and our competitors. And those things are important and those differences are real, but there are times when proper hydration is much more important than just helping you have a great race or day of training.
Those of you who follow Skratch closely may have noticed that I’ve started writing a weekly blog for our site. I’m doing it to keep you up to date with all the goings on here as we continue to grow and expand thanks to all of your support. Hopefully it will serve as way for us to keep you informed and, if I do my job well, at least slightly entertained from time to time. We’ve experienced plenty of growing pains this year but we’d like to think that we’re taking a lot more steps forward than back these days. I hope you’ll follow along and take this journey with us.
OK, all that being said, it’s going to be tough for me to write about what happened at Skratch Labs this week because I honestly have no idea. Seriously. As I mentioned previously, I split town last weekend, hooked up with a few old friends from college and rode my bike from San Francisco to Santa Barbara. Good times were had by all. Except perhaps me on Day Two when I started cracking with nearly 100kms still to go in our planned 200km day from Santa Cruz to Big Sur. No idea what happened- it may have been the heat (my first ride in 90+ temps in months), the early pace on the climbs trying to keep up with two guys a lot faster than me, or more likely just an overall lack of fitness in general. Regardless of the reason, it was a hard ride but I lived to fight another day and the rest of the trip was a blast. I’ve started playing with a couple of GoPros we have lying around the office and put together a little vid of the trip.
I was back in the office by Thursday so even though I was kind of in a daze after putting in some 400 miles in four days and then flying straight out of SB Wednesday night and not getting home til after 2am, I’m not completely in the dark about what happened here this week. I was very happy to see that little Lexi was in the office on Thursday as she is always a source of great entertainment for everyone. Here she is as the Queen of Skratch Mountain.
Lexi comes in about once a week and helps us pick and pack orders in between naps and playing with the now as many as five dogs we have in the office at any one time. Lucy, Mahari, Penny, Ozzie, and Shona.
Several of the gang made another trip to consult with Joe Gibbs Racing. Allen, Ian, and our newest Skratcher, Lauren, all went out to Charlotte to get their NASCAR on this week. I’m counting on them for a full report from the field this time so stay tuned for that. Here they are, excited about escaping all the snow we had this weekend here in the Colorado Front Range. Nice shirts, kids.
As out of touch with the office as I was this week, there is one thing I know for sure: The Skratch Team is made up of some very kind and generous people. After all, while we have grown a lot this year, the reality is that we are still pretty darn small so when any one person is out for a few days, it puts a heavier burden on those still at the office and I'm grateful they were willing to pick up the slack created when I took a few days off. I know I am very lucky to have such a great team to work with. Hopefully, they’ll all get their own version of the Coast Ride soon and I can repay the favor by being here while they get to play for a few days. It’s the least I can do. So huge thanks to those who were in the office this week so that I didn’t have to be- I owe you one.
Thanks for reading.
Last week it was Winter here in Boulder and I made the mistake of trying to ride through it. I got in some great miles but perhaps a little too many in retrospect, because this week it’s suddenly Fall again and my legs are so cooked I haven’t been able to enjoy it much. It’s a bummer, man. It’s been a great week for the Skratch gang though, as the outdoor basketball games resumed in full force and we’re back to being able to eat lunch outside for at least a little bit longer. So we’ve got that going for us.
On a similar note, something very cool happened here today. What might that be, you ask? Is it a new flavor of drink mix? Nope. A chicken fried rice flavored recovery drink? Don’t be silly. We added a real Dealer Locator to our site. Ok, so maybe it’s not as cool as the other side of the pillow, but we’re excited about it. Now, instead of the poorly updated, and even more poorly formatted, all-text version we’ve had since we launched, our site now has a fully interactive dealer locator that will show you all the Skratch Retailers around the country.
Ok, so it's probably not the most exciting video in the world, but watching that map populate with all of our shops made us smile here at the office. Check it out on our site and find the two dealers closest to you- keep in mind, they may be behind you
No surprise for Allen this week, another trip. This time I was lucky enough to go along for the ride. We took a quick day trip to Wisconsin to check in with our friends at the Saris Cycling Group. Allen has been working with them for years on their Power Taps and we’re looking to partner on some new ideas in 2013. They were hosting their annual gala event to raise money for bicycle access and Jeff and Jesse made us feel right at home. Thanks guys and we look forward to teaming up on some projects next year. And those cheese things we had at lunch were crazy good.
As I said at the top, the weather in Boulder has been great this week. It won’t last, of course. Winter, beaten for the moment, will no doubt be back with a vengeance soon enough. With that in mind, I’m off for one Last Hurrah. The fitness is fading fast and the days are getting short, but this will be the third year I do this trip and I’m expecting it to be just as epic as it has been in the past. Saturday, I fly to California for a ride from San Francisco to Santa Barbara. Four days and about four hundred miles down one of the most beautiful stretches of road in the world, HWY 1, with nothing but a small bag on my back and a couple of old friends from college. Should be fun. Check in with Skratch on Facebook and Twitter starting Sunday morning for updates from the road. And if you're in San Luis Obispo and can put up a couple of tired cyclists next Tuesday night who would be happy to cook you something delicious out of the FEED Zone Cookbook, let me know. Seriously, I make some pretty mean Buffalo tacos, among other things.
Thanks for reading.
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.