'So what do you eat then? Energy bars and stuff I suppose'.
One of the questions that cropped up on a regular basis revolved around the food used to keep those little arms turning all day long. The expected answer (I soon realised that most of the questions along the way had an expected answer) was to involve 'energy bars', 'gels' and all that high tech stuff. Once again my answer rarely matched expectations and I could see the disappointment flit briefly across the face of the inquisitor in question, before manners took over.
I have done a few races in my time, and when people find this out their expectations move towards me being a paragon of culinary virtue. Sorry to disappoint once again, but no not me, I eat pretty much everything I'm not supposed to, and more often than not in fairly large quantities. You see if you eat the 'wrong' things then, well, it's just a motivational tool to go out and train a little harder.
And so the 'Pie and Chips Tour 2012' seemed like a dream on paper. Food (or nutrition as it is more correctly known in modern jargon speech) was planned and prepared for, but to put it simply, calories were king. If those skinny arms were to keep windmilling through all that bad weather they would need a fair amount of fuel, and to keep going the next day they would need some more and the next day, well you can work out the rest...
So the priority was to get those calories in. If it wasn't nailed down there was a good chance I would snaffle it, even small dogs started to keep their distance. But to disappoint yet again, don't ask how many calories I was expending - I haven't a clue. But does it matter? It's not hard to work out if I've got it right - too many calories and trousers get tight, too few and I can breathe again. Let's not over-complicate things here.
And so I was one of the few people checking labels looking for more calories rather than few - a pleasantly liberating feeling.
Obviously you need various 'good things' in your diet, you know vitamins and all that clutter. But they're not as hard as you think to get hold of - something to do with osmosis or something I believe? No, calories were king - pass me that cake, and another, and then stand back in case I explode. Eat more and pull hard could have been the mantra.
So, energy bars and gels then? Well you could do worse than eat things that your Grandma (Great-Grandma?) would have eaten - you know, real food - no need to get all fancy and technical. All you are doing is paying for all that marketing and hype - it's only canoeing after all.
No, pass me another cake, and stand well back...