Sunday, June 20, 2010

Bribery for the Better Man

Bribing My Better Angel with a Date Shake

Yesterday was hot and dry (104F and 4% humidity, according to my weather monitor), and for various work-related reasons I didn't get a chance to think about going for a ride until afternoon. By then, lounging on the couch and resting my tired body and soul with some World Cup action, or whatever TV marathon happened to be available, sounded pretty appealing. But the still small bicycle-addicted voice inside my head wouldn't let me get away with that. So it bubbled up this thought, "If you go for a worthy ride, you shall receive an ice cold date shake upon your return, and wouldn't that taste good?" So I rode out on Bip, letting the shimmering heat waves rising from the concrete island I live on be my guide. 

Last things first, though, when I returned after about three hours out there, I grabbed the blender, pitted a handful of Khadrawy dates from Dateland as pictured above, and threw them in with some chocolate protein drink and several scoops of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. The last ingredient I came up with on the home stretch, as in, as I was really starting to feel the heat, I needed a little extra ooomph to carry me the last couple of miles, so the still small voice attempted to redeem himself and save the larger project by upping the ante with the cookie dough. The Khadrawy dates, by the way, are smaller, not as sweet, and a little dryer, I think, than the ever-popular Medjools. Verdict on the combination as a post-ride recovery drink / worthy bribe for a reluctant rider? I loved it, but I would also observe that chocolate protein drink plus cookie dough ice cream plus Khadrawy date shake is not for everyone. I can't say I've ever tasted anything like it, and I know some people like to stick with the familiar. I like to mix it up a little bit, though, and this really hit the spot after a hot ride, for me.  

 Bip at the Arizona Falls, Just About When the Front Wheel Bearing Lost Its Will to Live

One of the interesting features I ride by sometimes along the canal is the Arizona Falls, a small hydroelectric plant built at a small drop in elevation. Bip's old front wheel bearing started making noises around this point in the ride, which I ended up fixing on Sunday by cleaning out the hub and packing it with new bearings and fresh grease. I don't know that the hub was ever adjusted since it left the factory, and it felt pretty tight and crunchy. Now it's smooth as silk, though.

Arizona Falls. You can walk down to the rail by the waterfall.

 A Dusty, Hot, Peaceful Path

I took this last picture thinking that I could use it to talk about what it felt like to take a good, hot, peaceful ride. At times, it seemed like I could feel the dry wind extracting the water right out of me. I employed the cowboy air conditioner again, a bandanna soaked in water and wrapped around my neck. That makes the high rate of evaporation in the low humidity work to your advantage to cool the neck a bit. I saw the moon hanging there over the canal in the upper right, but it did not make me feel cooler. 

A lot of those plants on the left are invasive species, by the way. I wanted to stop and take some identifying shots. But right at this point I was out of water, and the next water stop is just around the corner up ahead, so I sprinted past the salt ceders or whatever they are to get to it. I drank about 16 oz straight down, then filled up and rode on. My heat adaptations of being able to tank up on water when I find it seem to be improving. When I drank it, at that moment, the cool water went down like a freshly blended chocolate protein cookie dough Khadrawy date shake. Which was good, because it was still about 20 more miles from this point to the actual shake. It was strong motivation to keep riding. But I don't think I'll make that part of my practice. Consider it a non-standard deviation on the path to enlightenment. I don't think that path would be lined with date pits and empty cartons of cookie dough ice cream. Probably more like greasy old ball bearings and the cast-off impediments of stubborn cyclists who keep on riding from one place to wet their bandannas to the next.

Which reminds me. It's so peaceful out there in the summertime, because there's so few other people around. I rode for miles at a time without seeing another person, and when I did have a rare encounter, a lot of them looked like they were in the zone, too, pursuing peace, or solitude, or perhaps a date shake at the end of a long ride. I don't know. Maybe it's the endorphins making me feel all centered and quiet inside. I know it's a fragile quiet, though, because all it takes to challenge it is some crunchy, over-tight front hub bearings. Took care of that, anyway. What's next? Only one way to find out. Get up. Go ride.



  1. your shake sounds rather yummy to me, minus the cookie dough ice-cream (cause I'm dieting). I may just have to try it. dates with soy milk, almond butter, flaxseed & protein powder is another good concoction. oh, and if you can get to ice, try soaking the bandanna, putting some crushed ice (just a small amount) into the fold of it and wrap it around your neck or put it under your helmet. heaven in the heat!

  2. While l don't do date shakes, triple filtered ice water at Starbucks is part of the reward on days such as this.

  3. merider - the ice around the neck trick, I like it. Yet another virtue of a convenience store for a cyclist. And the bandanna is useful for so many other things, too!

    Steve A - Which also has the virtue of being free, IIRC. You might want to add some electrolytes to that Venti Agua Fria, though. :)

  4. I can't imagine 4% humidity. The air is usually pretty soupy here which means your sweat doesn't evaporate. I'm going to pick up a bandana and try the cowboy air conditioner trick if for no other reason than to keep the sun off of my neck.

    B.T.W. I forgot to mention how cool I think that old Trek is.

  5. 14% humidity sounds great after yesterday! I think I'm going to try the cowboy air conditioner as well. I wonder if it will work in soup-tastic Louisville?

    Arizona Falls looks like something out of a dream. It looks a bit surreal, somehow, like rather than being an actual hydroelectric plant, it's somebody's *idea* of one that somehow came to life. Then, I guess everything is somebody's idea to begin with.

    Also, I have to second the 'shake sounds rather yummy' motion currently on the floor. I think I may have to try one. I imagine one must be able to find such things as khadrawy dates around here.

  6. Rat Trap Press - nice steel frames suit me. The old Trek 950 is really fun to ride. I was fortunate to find it, and would probably buy another if I found one in as good a shape. The cowboy air conditioner bandanna relies on exceptionally low humidity to be very effective. People have "evaporative coolers" in their homes here which are only effective inside a certain range of dew points. Outside that and the wet air they put out earns their nickname "swamp cooler".

    Kokorozashi - that was 4%, no teen, which probably is really just indicating off the bottom of the scale of dryness on my electronic weather station. The architects/designers behind the Falls project, Mags Harries and Lajos Héder, may be happy to hear your description. Check out the link to their site, which mentions a couple of features and facts about the Falls that I didn't know, and need to check out next time I ride by.

  7. Oops -- hm. 4% still sounds good after Sunday :D Thanks for the link! I'll check it out.

  8. mmmmmh dates - i think im gonna run a late nite ride rite now, to do some dry fruit shopping :D
    love your b+w photos as well <3

  9. meli - thx! late nite dry fruit run is a most excellent suggestion. some bw fotos of that perhaps? :)


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