With Old Selam just a week away, it's time to start meal planning for the one day and two nights I'll spend in the woods outside Idaho City.
Anyone who has tried it can tell you distance riding is much more than lounging around in a saddle for most of a day. It's an athletic endeavor that demands plenty of fuel for the rider, as well as the horse. Some endurance riders swear by PowerBars, Gatorade, and miscellaneous other chemical concoctions marketed as superfoods for athletes. Personally, I'd rather eat superfoods that are actually, you know, foods.
As an expedition whitewater rafter, I'm no stranger to the camp kitchen. I can whip up anything from a gourmet pasta dish with scallops and avocados in a Swiss cheese sauce to Dutch oven cinnamon rolls with nothing more than a propane stove, some charcoal, and the roar of rapids in my ears.
I've learned, however, that my level of intense focus at an endurance ride puts me in no mood to cook. Sometimes, it's all I can do just to settle down and eat. Even after the competition, when Aaruba is safely back in his pen, I'm simply not interested in heating up a bowl of five-pepper chili. I am interested, however, in sticking with my preferred flegan diet while filling up on something tasty, nutritious, and highly portable.
My travel itinerary for Old Selam involves driving the three hours or so to ride camp next Saturday morning, riding 50 miles on Sunday, then returning home Monday morning. Sunday dinner will be a potluck rather than a catered meal provided by ride management. All in all, I'll need 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 1 solo dinner, and 1 potluck dish. Here's what I have in mind:
Saturday late lunch/early dinner: Lentil Salad with Feta Cheese I haven't tried this particular recipe, but I eat a lot of bean, lentil, and grain salads and this looks like a good one.
Breakfasts: Morning Glory Muffins (if I have time to make them ahead of time) or whole grain bagels with peanut butter (if I don't), a banana, and chocolate-covered espresso beans (so I needn't bother with making coffee).
Sunday lunch: Barley "Pasta" Salad. My friend Jennifer, who will be crewing me at Old Selam, is also interested in healthful food and has approved this choice. The dish travels well, but I do recommend packing the spinach separately and stirring it in immediately before serving.
Potluck dish: Corn and Black Bean Salad I've taken this dish to rides before. It's nutritious, filling, quick, easy, flavorful, inexpensive, and holds up well to the rigors of life in a cooler.
Snacks: Raw nuts, grapes, dark chocolate
Beverages: Plenty of water, possibly coffee, some beer, and a decent merlot
Meanwhile, Aaruba will enjoy a smorgasbord of grass-alfalfa mix, pure alfalfa (he doesn't get this at home because too much alfalfa can predispose a horse to azoturia due to nutritional imbalances, but it's a surefire way to get him to eat when he's excited before a ride), soaked beet pulp, and Equine Senior.