Is that a F#cking Potato?!

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major
Date May 25, 2016

A younger me was a heavier me. Twenty pounds. Maybe more. I lost count. And I was a hungrier me too.

Older, possibly wiser, honestly faster, and with significantly more grizzled (please note I did not say chiseled) features, I now pedal loops in forty five minutes with a half-bottle of water that took younger me three Honey Stinger Waffles, a half a pack of Clif Blocks, and a fully loaded three litre Camelbak. I’m not claiming to be fast, or even moderately quick by anyone’s measure. Just faster.

Wait! is that a 'ing Potato?!

Let’s start with a shot of the finished product. Yum! What you need? Baking Potatoes, Oil, SALT, Butter, and whatever you want to top them with. I’m a fan of Bacon, Cheese, and Green Onions.

The day of discovery was across the border. I was on a large group ride rambling around the hundred acre wood that is Galbraith near Bellingham Washington (Thanks WMBC!). A glorious day. Hot but with a nice breeze blowing. I’d recently started experimenting with a 1x drivetrain, pushing 32t x 11-32 nine-speed on my 33lb full suspension bike. 1:1 ratio is all you need isn’t it? It was a singletrack climbing suffer-fest. Finally we reached our planned resting point, a now overgrown Lake Whatcom lookout.

Time. For FOOD!

Wait! is that a 'ing Potato?!

Don’t have a well stocked kitchen? Hit up your tool box for all you need: scrub brush, tire lever, side cutters, that recently discarded granny ring… I was going to file down the cheese but alas the cheese grater seemed more sanitary. Prep time is less than ten minutes, so you’ll want some beer on hand for reading NSMB.com while you wait for cooking to happen.

Ripping into my pack I remove an energy bar, and I’m mowing down so quickly you couldn’t have captured it in slomo. It’s dry. It has a strong physical resemblance to its eventual end product. The taste is inoffensive at best. I’m not finished number one and I’m already thinking about number two (the energy bar, not the end product).

Next to me, a wizened old man named Todd, who has aged gracefully since then, is industriously unwrapping some aluminum foil.

Wait! Is that a f#cking baked potato?!

Wait! is that a 'ing Potato?!

This is the way we scrub the spuds, scrub the spuds… A little dirt never hurt almost anyone.

Todd eases into a grin that expresses absolute victory as my half-wrapped chunk of dried out turd chew hits the ground. Can he do that? Cheese? Salt? Butter! Bacon bits? Chives? All the f#ckng fixin’s? Years removed I can vividly recall the unholy scream my stomach unleashed at the realization there are alternatives to eating $10 worth of pre-packaged future-sh!t on a ride.

Is THAT really a f#cking baked potato?

Wait! is that a 'ing Potato?!

Preheat the Oven to ~350-degrees. Poke some holes in your spud bud with whatever pointy crap you have kicking around.

Wait! is that a 'ing Potato?!

Yes, that is SALT. Coarse salt suspended in olive oil. You’re going to roll your Potato around in here until it is well and truly coated. Like lubing the foam rings on your suspension fork.

Wait! is that a 'ing Potato?!

One hour and fifteen minutes. That’s 75 minutes in real life, but it’s probably 1:15 on your stove. Because stoves are like the bike industry *cough* 27.5 *cough*. The pan is to catch any drippings in the name of peace on the home front.

A few minutes of prep and then, while your oven is doing its thing, you have an hour to dial in your bike for tomorrow’s ride. It’s SO DELICIOUS. You think you like baked potato at home? Wait until you try it in the middle of nowhere while your friends are all trying to chew through flavoured belt leather.

I eat very little on most rides these days, but it has been a long time since any part of that very little was an energy bar. If it’s a long enough ride for chow it’s a long enough ride for something filling. For real food.

Wait! is that a 'ing Potato?!

Mmmmmmm cheese. Time to grate up whichever is your favourite today! I probably forget to mention we had some bacon in a frying pan bubbling away this whole time. That’s cooking shows for you…

Wait! is that a 'ing Potato?!

BACON! Bacon, bacon, bacon… For full effect I gave cutting the green onions with side cutters the old college try… but, if I’m being honest, after two chops I got out a knife.

Wait! is that a 'ing Potato?!

Split ’em in the middle and push from either end to open them up. If you can ride without gloves you aren’t allowed to cry about a little burning sensation on your hands… for everyone else — Chris King makes Salt-&-Pepper shakers, why doesn’t TroyLee make Oven Mitts?

In the time it took you to comment on the article, get called out for commenting without reading the article, get defensive, actually read the article, revise your comment, and put some lube on your bike chain, your baked potatoes are ready for tomorrow’s ride. Unfortunately, your brake pads are still metal-backing-plate-on-rotor but what can you do?

Wait! is that a 'ing Potato?!

Butter.

Wait! is that a 'ing Potato?!

I’m a cheese, bacon, and onion (or chives) man. Load ’em up with whatever you like.

Wait! is that a 'ing Potato?!

Aluminum. No longer cool for bikes. Still awesome for wrapping your potato.

It takes the same amount of time to make four potatoes as it does to make one so why not make one for everyone?

Or not. It’s twice as delicious when everyone else watches you enjoy it.


Do you bring real food on the ride? Maybe a steak? Some sushi?

Comments

chantal-felten
0
Chantal Felten  - May 27, 2016, 9:37 a.m.

Looks like the Helmer potato farm needs to sponsor a nimby feed station 🙂

Reply

steve-low
0
steve low  - May 27, 2016, 1:48 a.m.

Now im from Australia so i realize Vegemite is an aquired taste but just a couple of Vegemite sangas through a ride does me. Its high in B group vitamins, folate and sodium. On some wholemeal bread and water in my pack/bottle and im good!!

Reply

drewm
0
DrewM  - May 27, 2016, 1:26 p.m.

Vegemite, an acquired taste like so many things in Australia: being bitten by poisonous snakes and/or spiders, de-limbed by crocodiles, having your small children eaten by dingos, Keith Urban music, un-speakable relations with sheep and/or kangaroos, living 30x people deep in a small cupboard in Whist-La-Beee- Cee… Etc, etc, etc.

Kidding… Kidding… Mostly kidding…

Reply

steve-low
0
steve low  - May 27, 2016, 7:15 p.m.

Pretty much sums up life here really. Only the kiwis tend to prefer the sheep and were more inclined for the native wildlife for our errrr romantic interudes!

I hear a friendly moose can be talked into just about anything?…….hmmm keith urban is a bit iffy tho 😜

Reply

GladePlayboy
0
Rob Gretchen  - May 26, 2016, 8:50 p.m.

Awesome Andrew, just awesome!

Reply

drewm
0
DrewM  - May 27, 2016, 1:18 p.m.

Thanks Rob!

Reply

denomerdano
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Denomerdano  - May 26, 2016, 7:13 p.m.

An ultra marathon running fellow i know claims to make mashed potatoes and pack them into Ziploc bags for quick snack during races. High glycemic index for quick power increase he says. It must work because last time he came 2nd at the race only because he had to take a dump in the woods.

Reply

jonas-dodd
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Jonas Dodd  - May 26, 2016, 5:48 p.m.

Great idea, and great article. Looking forward to trying your recipe out on my next ride although I don't know how well the sour cream will fare.

It would be great to see more writing on food (and drink) and biking on NSMB!

Reply

drewm
0
DrewM  - May 26, 2016, 6:32 p.m.

Yeah, I don't sour cream mine… In terms of dairy the cheese and butter holds up great though.

Thanks!

Reply

blackbird
0
tw  - May 26, 2016, 4:59 p.m.

Drew. Remember brother, the potato goes in the front……

Reply

drewm
0
DrewM  - May 26, 2016, 6:30 p.m.

Oh, for sure! It's in bold & italics at the top of the bike reviewer handbook under the category 'action shots'.

I "heard" a rumour Uncle Dave sticks a 2lb yam down his shorts anytime he's getting photographed riding a bike. You should fire him an Ask Uncle Dave e-mail asking about it!

Reply

Captain-Snappy
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Merwinn  - May 26, 2016, noon

Advantage: Potato.

Reply

rvoi
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rvoi  - May 26, 2016, 9:28 a.m.

I prefer conventional fuel too… a hunk of cheese, some sliced salami, an apple and a few cookies. It would have to be a full day ride with a planned lunch and nap for me to ruck and chow a baked potato.

Reply

extraspecialandbitter
0
ExtraSpecialandBitter  - May 26, 2016, 9:03 a.m.

Our group of friends always has a "Calzone Party" and we cook up as many calzones as we can make in an evening and then freeze them all. The morning of a big ride, pull it out of the freezer and it will be perfect by snack time (in the winter, pull it out the evening before). Mountain Calzone:

I also really like Feed Zone Portables ( ). They have a lot of cool ideas and a really good section on nutrition. There's also some recipes in there I use for regular meals, like beet juice waffles as the base for some eggs benedict, yum!

Reply

jonathan-harris
0
Jonathan Harris  - May 26, 2016, 9:01 a.m.

No one into boiled eggs? They may not have the carbs but they fill a growling stomach very well.
I have been known to boil baby potatoes and sprinkle with sale and olive oil for longer rides and agree that 'real' food often satisfies way better than an energy bar.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - May 27, 2016, 10:06 a.m.

Lots of protein, though - hard to digest when you're cranking.

Reply

Vikb
0
Vik Banerjee  - May 26, 2016, 8:39 a.m.

Hopefully when I pull my tater out of the bottom of my pack 3 months later for an emergency bonk beating snack it will still be as delicious as these look. 😉

Reply

jprime
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jprime  - May 26, 2016, 8:32 a.m.

That saison tho :/

Reply

drewm
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DrewM  - May 26, 2016, 8:35 a.m.

Bridge Brewing's Lemon Gin Saison is my favourite growler fill at the moment. Mmmmmm.

Throw two growlers in the back of the Chariot and my Toddler naps while I roll to Bridge or Black Kettle.

Reply

CoilAir
0
CoilAir  - May 27, 2016, 9:25 a.m.

It's really awesome. Just tried it last weekend at a BBQ.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
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Pete Roggeman  - May 26, 2016, 8 a.m.

What tool are you going to use to strain the pasta for next week's article, Andrew?

Reply

drewm
0
DrewM  - May 26, 2016, 8:21 a.m.

Hmmm… I have a pair of well loved Sugoi RS bib shorts that are WAY overdue for retirement…

Fettuccini Chamois anyone?

Reply

cooper
0
Cooper Quinn  - May 26, 2016, 9:27 a.m.

I'm going to resist the 'cheese' joke here. As I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.

Reply

Captain-Snappy
0
Merwinn  - May 26, 2016, 9:39 a.m.

Make the bad man stop.

What 'chu gonna eat on Sat during NIMBY?

GT

Reply

drewm
0
DrewM  - May 26, 2016, 9:57 a.m.

Really hoping to do Nimby again next year -- the year I did it for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to ride my singlespeed; Beef Jerky and my friends BrianE and Joe are the only reasons I finished.

Beef Jerky because it helped with the cramps, bonking, and the motivation to find my way back to civilization (beer goes well with jerky).

BrianE and Joe because when I ran into them, separately, in the last 1/4 of the course I realized MY cramps weren't that bad (thanks Brian) and I wasn't that "Fucked" (thanks Joe).

Reply

earleb
0
earle.b  - May 26, 2016, 11:56 p.m.

I had forgotten about that one. That was the worst cramp up I have ever had in 24 years of riding. I have unfinished business with the Nimby.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - May 27, 2016, 10:07 a.m.

I'm sorry I asked.

Funny enough I have some overdue for retirement RS bibs as well. They lasted over 10 years - I can't complain.

Reply

drewm
0
DrewM  - May 27, 2016, 2:50 p.m.

Sounds like a great chance for an Iron Chef style, Andrew vs. Pete, NSMB.com Sugoi RS pasta cook off!

We'll get celebrity judges Cooper, Merwinn, and Cam to try both dishes and pick a winner!

Reply

drewm
0
DrewM  - May 27, 2016, 7:46 p.m.

No doubt! The frustrated furrowing of your sweat laced brow as you desperately tried to reason out which of your useless limbs to massage first was worthy of a painting in Versailles!

Reply

steve-low
0
steve low  - May 27, 2016, 9 p.m.

Spokes?? Or that a bit too obvious? 😄

Reply

brizzy
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Brizzy  - May 26, 2016, 6:38 a.m.

This is brilliant. I bring "climbing burritos" - nut butter, honey, dried fruit, and cereal rolled up in a tortilla. Just as sticky as a power brick, but much tastier/cheaper. The same guy that introduced me to those brings turkey dinner leftovers on a winter mountain summit. He knows how to do it right.

I've been meaning to try Alton Brown's DIY energy bars for some time. They look good too.

CORN DOGS (Rapha parody)!

Reply

hbelly13
0
Raymond Epstein  - May 26, 2016, 6:34 a.m.

As a type one diabetic since I was sixteen, choosing food for riding efforts has always been a challenge. All of the gels/bars/chews always provided too much of a glucose increase resulting in me me feeling like crap. I had the opportunity back in '07 to ride in Switzerland and was blown away at how great I did just eating normal food for lunches and snacks. In the morning before our 6-8hr plus rides we'd stop at the local markets and purchase cheeses, fruit, deli meats, chocolate, etc. Since, then I gave up all the processed junk and my favorite "energy" food I carry are dried organic figs. On longer rides where we'll stop for lunch, I will bring the aforementioned items as well as occasionally a canned beer, espresso and beef jerky. White potatoes as mentioned above are great, but I still use them sparingly, due to their high glycemic index. Instead, I go with sweet potato wedges with salt, cayene and olive oil. Ride on.

Reply

drewm
0
DrewM  - May 26, 2016, 6:37 a.m.

Thanks Raymond!

Reply

litespeed74
0
litespeed74  - May 26, 2016, 6:16 a.m.

As a North Idaho native I'm ashamed I've never thought of this….

Reply

drewm
0
DrewM  - May 26, 2016, 6:39 a.m.

I think you'll have to cater the spuds on your next group ride as penance 🙂

Reply

colin
0
colin  - May 26, 2016, 5:05 a.m.

potatoes are great…i've used mini-potatoes in a ziplock with olive oil, salt, parmesan cheese in multi-hour bike races. great article! i've also dumped power bars et all many years ago. not sure why i felt i needed to buy them.

Reply

drewm
0
DrewM  - May 26, 2016, 6:35 a.m.

Yum. A roasted mini potato / roasted carrot (slightly crunchy) mix would be incredible?!

Reply

colin
0
colin  - May 26, 2016, 7:42 a.m.

next time i'm going to try smashed up potato chips in the mix; yeah i think something crunchy in there would be awesome

Reply

poo-stance
0
Poo Stance  - May 27, 2016, 11:05 p.m.

Or just go straight to dinosaur-ing bags of chips as a mid-ride snack.

An unopened bag of Kettle Crisps in a pack will also act as airbag of sorts during a crash!

Reply

craw
0
Cr4w  - May 26, 2016, 12:43 a.m.

I've been known to rock a peanut butter and nutella sandwich. Though the potato idea is intriguing!

Reply

qduffy
0
qduffy  - May 26, 2016, 12:01 a.m.

I thought about this idea for the Nimby but then realized Pemberton has some kind of potato-free zone around it. Bummer.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - May 26, 2016, 7:15 a.m.

Seed potatoes are welcome though.

Reply

poo-stance
0
Poo Stance  - May 25, 2016, 10:49 p.m.

My mom makes homemade trail-mix and cookies so I sometimes bring that on a ride.

Reply

drewm
0
DrewM  - May 25, 2016, 11:11 p.m.

Your mom is awesome. You should bake her a potato to say thanks.

Reply

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