Friday, March 22, 2013

Buttered Coffee and Coconut Cream Pie

I hitched a ride with Rafal and Lucas to last week's Tour De Husker Road Race. That was probably the best part of that race. The car ride. No. Let me clarify. The car ride home. The car ride to the race was almost as bad as the race itself.

It's not because Rafal was a poor driver. Nah, he's silky smooth. Drives like a pro. Five speed stick-shift even. Clutches effortlessly.

And his car is neat and comfy, too. Who knew that a Toyota Matrix was so roomy? He had three bikes on a rack up top and three sets of wheels in the hatch. Plus all of our gear.

Outside it was cold and clammy. A humid, 28 F degree with a stiff north wind was not ideal conditions for a road race. Welcome to spring bike racing in Nebraska.

But it was warm inside Rafal's car. I had the backseat to myself. I tried to nod off a little because I didn't sleep very well the night before. I didn't sleep well because my dog Emmy has hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism has something to do with her not being able to digest her food very well. I give her pills that fakes what her failing thyroid gland is supposed to do, but it's not perfect. About once every three to four weeks, she has acute pain for about 12-24 hours. This pain is especially pronounced when she gets up after laying down for a bout. Unfortunately, she's also a somewhat of a nervous dog. This makes it worse. When a loud sound like the furnace kicks on, she stirs. The stirring causes pain. Pain causes her to yelp. And, poor dog, the yelping causes me to wake up. That's what was going on the night before the race.

So as I was saying, I tried to get some sleep in the car. But how could I sleep when Rafal and Lucas were talking about rad stuff like fake iPhone car chargers that may or may not work?

After the small talk faded, Lucas started running his trap about how windy it was, and how cold it was, and how he rode all winter long outside, but on that day he didn't have the sense to pack any winter-weighted gear for a road race around a lake in blustery winds gusting above 20 MPH.

Unh.  That's when my heart rate started climbing. I tried to plug my ears and think of other stuff.

I remember thinking of an episode of Gilligan's Island where Gilligan tried to think of Mary Ann's coconut creme pie to distract him. That worked for a few seconds. But then, thinking of Mary Ann made me think of the movie star, Ginger. Of course, thinking of Ginger brought me back to Lucas, who's red beard has earned him a nickname of ginger. This was very unfortunate, as it simultaneously ruined my budding fantasy of Gilligan's Ginger while returning me to Lucas' incessant gibbering about how awfully cold the race was going to be.

"Three hours! Look at the wind! You can feel it pushing the car across the road," the bearded ginger exclaimed.  Three hours -- why didn't I pack my winter weight booties? It's gonna be awful. Just awful."

Now I like Lucas. And he's my teammate, after all. But dammit, he was getting in my dome and everything. I was starting to get psyched out about racing in the cold.

I started chewing the ends of my fingers off. I told myself to get a grip. Coconut pie. There, that's better. Mary Ann's coconut cream pie. Ginger. Lucas. Ah!!

"HTFU, HTFU, HTFU," I began muttering to myself, mantra-style.

"And that lake it going to make it even worse," Lucas said. "I mean, it won't be so bad going over the reservoir's dam this year because we'll probably have a tail wind on it, but once we get out of the shelter of the trees the back side of the course we'll be totally exposed to that north wind. It's gonna be awful. Rafal, do you have any heavy gloves I can borrow?"

I started shivering in the backseat. I looked out the window, at the depressing grey skies and thought, just what in the hell was I doing racing a bike on a day like this.

"You know what I'd be doing right now if I were at home?" Lucas said as if he read my mind. "I'd light a fire and just veg out in front of it with a hot cup of buttered coffee."

Buttered coffee? That's a new one. If you're like me, you'd never heard of it. So I found myself asking Lucas what it was about.

"Oh it's reaaaally good. Extremely smooth and of course, buttery. The chemical process also helps deliver the caffeine to your system more efficiently," Lucas said. "Here's how I do it -- in place of creamer, take a couple tablespoons butter and emulsify it in your hand blender--

Wa-wa-wait a second. Buttered coffee? Crackling fires? It's a trap.


In a few minutes, we'd be pinning numbers on jerseys while the wind blew the life out of our trembling hands.


Needless to say, I was a wreck before the whistle blew.

The car ride home was awesome, though. I got the full dig on buttered coffee.


1 comment:

  1. I dunno. To me, it sounds like Lucas was perfectly applying a classic BCM pep talk. Yeah - buttery coffee. No thanks. Although at Kimson on 78th they have what I think they call vietnamese coffee or something. There's a big chunk of cream in the cup that you stir into the otherwise hot bitter coffee. Mmm. So maybe Ginger is right.