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Daily Archives: June 24, 2012

The Best Sunday A Guy Could Ask For

Yesterday was about as good as they get. I slept in till about 6 am, read a few blog posts, wrote one of my own and started getting our normal Sunday breakfast together: Scrambled eggs with ham, toast with homemade blackberry jam and bacon (of course). While that was cooking I remembered to tell my wife that my running buddy Tim had asked yesterday if we all wanted to go riding out at the Island Lake State park. Mrs. BDJ agreed so I let Tim know we were in – the cool thing about Island Lake is that it’s huge and 100% bike friendly. We’ve got miles of paved trails, roads and a 13 mile double loop of highly intense mountain bike trail…

After breakfast I started loading everything up, the girl’s bikes in the back of my Escape, and put the rack on the back for mine and the misses bikes. We hit the road just after 12:30. Tim was supposed to bring his girlfriend so the ladies were going to ride the paved trails while Tim and I hit the trails. The backup plan, if Tim’s girlfriend didn’t show, would have me hanging with my girls while Tim hit the trails.

We got to the park right on time and I started getting the bikes ready. Tim and his girlfriend showed up shortly thereafter. A quick Snickers and we were ready to go.

We hit the trail hard right out of the gate. This was only my second time actually on trails and the last time I hit the dirt twice in the first three miles trying to keep up with Tim – he’s some kind of awesome on a mountain bike.

I wish I could have snapped a few pictures, but we were going too fast (imagine that). The last time I rode that trail I went down on two downhills – trying to keep up with Tim – the roots and rocks, and bouncing associated with each on a hard tail prove to be a lot of trouble for me. That was last August, I had only been riding seriously for three months, since I was a kid, about 27 years ago. This time around I was in much better shape and I’m A LOT more fundamentally sound when it comes to shift timing and I’m more comfortable throwing a bike around. Tim’s normal time around the trail is around 1:06, his fastest is around 58 minutes. Last August we did it in 1:29. This time around was an absolute blast, and FAST. On the hard tail so navigating the downhills was still a touch ugly (and slow), but this time I was a lot stronger and about ten pounds lighter – I caught back up on every climb. We made it through the 13 mile trail in 1:08. I knocked 21 minutes off of my first attempt (and didn’t fall down LOL).

On finishing, we headed down the paved trail to meet up with the ladies who had stopped by one of the lakes for a dip in the water. After about a mile and a half I came around a corner to see my youngest, a grin from ear to ear. We rode back the rest of the way together, both my daughters and my wife telling me about what a great time they had. They got in a little more than 5 miles – not bad for a five year-old…and Isabella, my oldest, stuck with Tim for the last mile, who proudly informed me on our arriving back at the car park that (according to Tim’s computer) she’d hit 16 mph on the flat – with a 20″ 6 speed mountain bike.

I have no doubt we’ll be heading back again soon, though next time I’ll be hanging with my wife and girls.  I feel a need to be a part of that and the fact that we didn’t have more ride time together was the only negative of the trip.

We got home at about 4:30 and Mrs. BgddyJim got dinner together while I unpacked the bikes and all of our gear. On the menu was a fresh garden salad and slow cooker barbecue chicken quesadillas. Oh my, they were GOOD!

It just doesn’t get any better than that for a Sunday.

Oh, This Is Going To Be A Fun Topic…

On my hunting buddy Bill’s iron deficiency, I decided to take a look at some research rather than rely on common sense.  Sure enough, it’s pretty much just like you’d figure – and it gets better…  For those of use who are considered “athletes” or “endurance athletes” (a group of which I would finally place myself in), iron is even more important because it is required in blood to transfer oxygen to muscles.  In addition, a lack of iron has serious side effects:

“According to the World Health Organization, iron deficiency anemia is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the world.  It can be caused by a low dietary intake of iron, poor iron absorption, or excessive blood loss.  Signs of anemia include: constantly feeling weak and tired; short attention span; irritability; decreased performance at work or school; delayed cognitive development in infants and young children; decreased immune function leading to increased illness; swollen and red tongue (glossitis), and difficulty maintaining body temperature.  Several groups are at an increased risk for iron deficiency including children and adolescents, pregnant women, women of child-bearing age, athletes,  and older adults.”

There’s more:  “An active female athlete involved in a rigorous training program has an increased risk for iron deficiency anemia. Iron deficiency is common with or without anemia, decreases performance for the athlete, and often is not detected on a standard blood test. The capacity to transport oxygen to the cells of the muscle via myoglobin is impaired (energy production is limited), which is vital for competition.  Male endurance athletes and vegetarian athletes may also be at an increased risk for iron deficiency.  To ensure optimum iron stores, athletes should eat meals or snacks that contain adequate quantities of iron-rich foods and, in some cases, see a physician for a recommended iron supplement.”

Now, Bill eats venison, but only when he’s got the time to cook it himself (his wife refuses to “handle it”).  One would assume (as all of us fellas did at the running club) that this would cover any iron needs – even taking into account.  I mentioned that first and foremost during his explanation of what was going on, but according to his doctor, venison is too lean to rely on as a decent supply of iron and that he should therefore rely more on beef (cow).

Going back to the linked article:  “There are two forms of iron – heme and non-heme. The iron in meat is about 40 percent heme and 60 percent non-heme. Much of the iron in the diet, however, is in the non-heme form. This is the form found in plant sources such as fruits, vegetables, grain products, and in iron fortified foods. About 25 percent to 35 percent of heme iron is absorbed, yet this percentage drops to 3 percent for non-heme iron. This difference is important because heme iron is found only in animal flesh. Vegetarians in particular need to be aware of the low absorption of non-heme iron.”  The article does mention that for vegetarians to absorb more non-heme iron, eating fruits and veggies high in vitamin C in the same meal as the iron rich foods will increase iron absorption.

And one of the few knocks on coffee:  “Other factors may decrease the availability of iron. Coffee and tea consumption at the time of a meal can significantly decrease iron absorption. Tea can cause iron absorption to drop by 60 percent and coffee can cause a 50 percent decrease in iron uptake. The tannins in both tea and coffee adversely affect iron availability. Phytates in some legumes and grains, phosphates in cola drinks, some proteins in soybeans, and possibly calcium and fiber may interfere with iron absorption. These may be important factors if the diet already is low in iron.”

So, how much is enough?  From the supplemental for endurance athletes:

“After carbohydrates and fats, protein provides energy for the body. Exercise may increase an athlete’s need for protein, depending on the type and frequency of exercise. Extra protein consumed is stored as fat. In the fully grown athlete, it is training that builds muscle, not protein per se. The ADA reports that a protein intake of 10 to 12 percent of total calories is         sufficient. Most authorities recommend that endurance athletes eat between 1.2-1.4 grams protein per kg of body weight per day; resistance and strength-trained athletes may need as much as 1.6-1.7 grams protein per kg of body weight. (A kilogram equals 2.2 pounds.)

Japanese researchers demonstrated that “sports anemia” may appear in the early stages of training with intakes of less than 1 gram/kg of body weight per day of high quality protein. To calculate your protein needs, divide your ideal weight by 2.2 pounds to obtain your weight in kilograms. Then multiply kilograms by the grams of protein recommended.”

Other important articles that discuss the benefits of eating red meat are here, and here.

Fortunately for me (and my kids), I took care of my daily requirements at dinner last night…  mmm Burgers…


UPDATE:  This post was not produced to point to a glaring deficiency in a vegetarian diet.  I have no problem with people living such a lifestyle, unlike the vegetarian lobby that continually attacks meat consumption.