Some stats, some juice and lots of pink

So. I’m almost over beetroots. I’ve been eating them, drinking them and peeing them. Everything except for bathing in them, but If I had a bath at home – well, who knows. I’m back on the ‘beet’, all in the name of science. I say that loosely. I’m not collecting qualitative data, and definitely not running a T-Test.

Why? Well, as mentioned in a previous post, I am curious to find out if beetroot dosing would actually increase my performance. There is lots of research to support the benefits of beetroot and the nitrates that they harbour on your muscle efficiency. I’m a bit sceptical. Increased performance could be so many other factors. I’ve dosed before and was not convinced. The opportunity to test if BRJ is all it’s talked up to be came up again… So it was worth a try, again.

How? This time I was able to conduct a better test… by racing the same Lancefield course I could replicate and measure (again, loosely) the before and after BRJ dosing. So. Last weekend I raced the Northern Combine Women’s Series/SKCC Trophy race whilst ‘on’ the BRJ. Two weeks earlier, I raced Stage 1 of the Northern Combine 3DT ‘off’ the BRJ.

I’ve written a report on stage 1 of 3DT look that up here if you want, or don’t. So, here’s how Saturday’s race panned out – in very fast forward so that you can get to the stats.

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Photo credit Jo Upton Photography.

Last Saturday, was almost like déjà vu. Everything was the same. I ate the same food, again there was a thick layer of frost, again my feet were numb, again we waited for ever on the start line, again there were the usual suspects in B grade….Again, we rolled out in a relatively orderly manner.

Again, we started to roll fast turns straight away. We needed to get warm, the air was cold, and so was I, the fact that we spent about a thousand years on the start line was not helpful to my legs. They were feeling heavy. But, I was feeling good. “Race, not ride” was today’s mantra. After an epic fail at the first major corner (half the peloton went straight instead of turning), we hit Dons Rd fast. I hate Dons Rd, just hang on. But, the bunch started to break up. Again, by the time we got to the pinchy sections on Rochford Rd, we were down to eight or so, trying not to be caught. Interesting in that these pinchy sections, the sections that I hate the most usually, felt okay. Again, in no time we were descending, I looked up, and the first lap was almost over.

Not again! Lap two, we continued to rolled turns, well, most of us did. Some were more fatigued than others, and they had a nice ride on the back. Again, we saw some strength with one bridging the gap to get back on. We were still rolling fast. The worst section for me, Dons Rd came and went. Again, the same usual suspects were on the front on Rochford Rd, Oh no…Again, I was starting to fail, just hanging on for dear life and nearly not making my turns. Just before the last climb, I thought it was race over, my mind started to melt and so did my legs. Again, everyone started to dart up the hill and I thought to myself “race, not ride – you’ve got to break your 6th curse”… I pulled something from nothing. We were on the false flat before the finish (on the top of the climb), again Tessa off the front, Simone chasing and 3 of us side by side across the road. Wow, Tessa had already crossed the line by the time we thought about sprinting! That girl is amazing. Simone was close behind. We clicked up a few gears and bang. Harriet 3rd and me, 4th. wow… That was not the same as last time.

So, let’ analyse the results…

Data comparison

3DT SKCC Trophy Race
Beetroot No Yes
Distance 60.8 60.2km
Time 1:46:20 1:45:29
Ave speed 33.9 34.2
Max speed 69.8 67.0
Cadence ave 90 rpm 89 rpm
Heart rate 185bpm N/A
Place 8th 4th

It is pretty much exactly the same. Same distance, same time, same average speed, same cadence…except different end results. I moved up four places. That is an achievement. I’m very happy with the result! I am finally seeing some results and my training looks to be paying off.

But…I’m going to say that I don’t think that the results are entirely because of the BRJ dosing, environmental perhaps? Could it have been that I was more familiar with the course after racing it twice before? Maybe it helped me know where to use my energy and where to conserve it. Maybe I just raced better? Maybe I raced, instead of rode? Maybe I ate and drank more? Maybe I had a better sleep the night before?

Or was it the BRJ? Maybe it was the nitrates in the BRJ made my oxygen transport more efficient, made my muscles fire more efficiently, so that at the end, I still had the power and energy in the legs to do better in the important, final stages…Maybe?

All in all, the race felt good, apart from a minor mind melt down before the final climb. I ended up in a good position. Do I think that it was the BRJ? The answer is maybe? I’m racing the Preston Mountain Classic on Sunday… we’ll see because, I’ve bought a new juice to try:

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Get on your bike and ride it. In the cold, with your friends and have a bloody awesome time doing it.

You can follow me on Instagram and Twitter @lowercasev

Get rid of some superfoods put them in a traditional Australian biscuit

Today is ANZAC day. With ANZAC day, comes ANZAC biscuits, among other things.

Read about the other things here, they are important (but not to this recipe).

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Fig. 1. Fresh out of the oven.

The ANZAC biscuit I remember was rock hard and sweet. Not that there is anything wrong with that. There is a long tradition associated with the humble ANZAC. Wives and girlfriends made these biscuits to send to them to their loved ones in WWI, they needed to be rock hard and full of sugar to withstand the long transportation times.

I made ANZAC biscuits today, not because I’m a wife or girlfriend of a soldier. But because I felt unusually patriotic…And had some random amounts superfoods to get rid of, oats and chia.

These days, we don’t need to send them anywhere, so they don’t have to be full of sugar, or rock hard. You can adapt the traditional recipe, make it however you like.

I like mine, not like they’ll last 100 years, and a little more nutritionally acceptable than the traditional kind. You can make them vegan, low-fat, low sugar, gluten-free, add ingredients, subtract ingredients and make them as hipster as you like.
Hipster ANZAC biscuits

Start here by getting together your ingredients.

90-100g low-fat faux butter. I used nuttalex.
3 huge tbs blobs of golden syrup. In Woolworths it is located in the baking isle…and apparently not the same as Maple Syrup.
3/4 tea spoon of bicarb soda
1 tbs hot water. Nan tells me hot water works best
1 cup rolled oats. Gluten free option use quinoa flakes (credit: Jo Hogan, Healthy Cyclist)
1/4 cup chia seeds – or there abouts
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup plain flour
1/4 cup brown sugar, loose

Make them by:

Weighing the faux fat out and place it in a something that will allow you to melt the fat. I got some radiation poisoning and put mine in the microwave. But before you turn iridescent green, blob the golden syrup into chosen receptacle. Microwave till it is runny. Get the sugar and add it. Get the water and bicarb and put it together in something so that it is dissolved. Add it to the radiating sugar – fat mixture.

Get all the dry ingredients and put it in a mixing bowl. Mix together. Get your sugar – fat mix and add it to the dry. Mix. Put the oven on to 180 degrees.

Once combined, get the dough and spoon out balls and put them on a lined baking tray. Lined because you don’t want the biscuits to stick. But if you would rather save a tree, just lightly oil a tray – like I do.

Biscuits now go in the oven. I don’t know for how long, just check them every now and again (refer Fig. 1.). If they’re black, you’ve gone too long. If you are bad at baking, like me. Stay next to the oven. Don’t go and clean your bike. Because charcoal, although good for cleaning teeth, also gives you cancer. Not great.

Turn the kettle on, get a tea bag put it in a cup. Or get your moka, fill it with coffee and put it on the stovetop.

Brown? Get them out, wait for them to cool, or don’t.

Put the water from the kettle into the cup. Steep. Make it how you like. Or do your coffee thing…see Fig. 2.

Get a biscuit or two and eat it, it will change your life.  Enjoy the superfoood benefits of Omega 3, cholesterol lowering fibre and protein, your body will thank you for sure. And your hipster friends will be impressed with your mad baking skills, if you choose to share them.

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Fig. 2. Serving suggestion.

I don’t bake, but this is one exception: Beetroot and Chocolate Cake

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Beetroot & Chocolate Cake
– or cupcakes…whatever is easiest to pour your batter into.
(makes one cake or about 24 cupcakes)

So….I hate baking, I really do. I hate catering for dietary requirements, even my own (I’m a no seafood, no fun vego). I hate the mess and the fiddling around with utensils. But I love chocolate. I love beetroot. And I love cleaning obsessively. If I sound like you, then try this cake.

Your hipster or super healthy or dietary restricted friends/colleagues will appreciate that this cake is full of “superfoods” (google them, they’re not surprising), is healthy and is incredibly delicious (I appreciate the deliciousness the most). It is also almost vegan… and dairy free.. and is/can be gluten free (make sure you buy gluten free products – I will not take blame if your gluten free friend/colleague gets sick and die).

So start here.

I don’t have these ingredients laying about – so I drag myself to the market to get almond meal (it’s way cheaper) and beetroots. Drag yourself there, it is so worth saving $2.50.

Cake Ingredients

  • 100g Dark Chocolate. I like Lindt.
  • 3 medium Eggs. Or whatever eggs you have. Flaxseed egg substitute also works- google the recipe I can’t be bothered typing it (it will be another post)…
  • 250 g brown sugar
  • 220 ml Olive Oil. Other oils are fine, I’m sure.
  • 300 g Cooked beetroots (see method below for how to cook the beetroots because they are hard to cook)
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 30 g ish (1 tbs ish) Cocoa Powder (you can pobably omit this and put in more cholcolate)
  • 300 g Almond meal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (or gluten free baking powder)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (just use salt, don’t waste your 1/4 teaspoon of expensive hymalayan salt, no one will notice/care)

Method

  • Pre heat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  • To cook the beetroots, peel and place in a pot full of cold water. Bring pot to the boil and cook the beetroots until soft when poked with a knife.
  • When cooked, run the beetroots under cold water in the sink. For cooling reasons.
  • Blend or mash the beetroots until slightly smooth. I use a stick mixer. Messy, but fun. Don’t wear white.
  • Melt the chocolate (100 g) over a double boiler or in microwave.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs (or substitute), sugar and oil.
  • Slowly add the cooked beetroot puree, the melted chocolate and vanilla into the egg mixture.
  • Beat just until combined. Don’t over work the mix.
  • Sift the cocoa into the almond meal (or plain flour), baking soda and salt, and then add to the beetroot batter.
  • Fold just until everything is combined. Did I mention not to over mix the batter?
  • Butter/greese or so something to prevent sticking and line a 10 inch cake tin. Pour the cake batter into the cake tin.
  • Bake for approximately 50 minutes. This is just a guide. You might need to poke it a few times.
  • The cake is ready when a tooth pick or skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven and leave to cool in the pan.
  • It will be moist. So don’t think you’ve done something wrong. Unless it is runny. Then you have and put it back in the oven.

Make the icing while the cake is in the oven:

Ingredients for the cream cheese icing

Note: To make vegan,  just use plain old boring icing sugar, or use a substitute like Tofuttibetter than cream cheese“, or google a vegan icing recipe. But if you are vegan and reading this you, probably know what you are doing…and don’t need me. I love cheese too much to be vegan, so I make the cream cheese, cheese version

  • 1 cup cream (omit for vegan version, you know, right!)
  • 1 cup of Cream Cheese
  • ½ cup Icing Sugar or honey (they have different textures, so maybe try one once, then one another time and test the best. I prefer icing sugar)
  • 1 plain chocolate bar for chocolate shaving decorations, two if you have the tendency to eat it on the way home from the supermarket.

Method:

  • Place the cream in a bowl and whip to soft peaks.
  • Add the icing sugar and cream cheese and beat until combined (Add more or less sugar as you want, care). Put the icing aside.
  • Using a potato peeler, hold the chocolate bar in one hand and use the peeler to shave off curls of chocolate. The more time you take, the fancier the curls will look. If your hands are hot, the chocolate will melt and you will end up with chocolate on everything!
  • Now ice the cake like a you are a pastry chef, then sprinkle the shavings on top of the cake to make all pro looking.
  • You want the cake to be decorated in a manner that your friends/colleagues will be truly impressed with your magazine quality cake, they’ll think that you put in soooo much effort, and will never ask you to do it again because it looks as if it took 12 hrs.

So, bam! Your cake is done. Clap your hands. Clean your bench and…

Go forth and take photo’s of it for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ (ha yeah right). Share with friends, or simply don’t. Pretend it is your recipe, like I do, (I actually got it from: The Nutrition Guru and the Chef‘s blog), eat it and revel in your excellence.

Fin