People ask me what my training plan looks like now that I’ve retired from Olympic competition. I tell them that I’m on the Don’t Get Fat Plan. They think I’m kidding.
I’m not kidding.
I am extremely food-motivated. I always have been. From the age of 16, when I set my sights on the Olympics and began training twice a day, I have fantasized about my post-workout coffee and muffin. It was my morning ritual, so ingrained that it wasn’t long before the barista at my neighborhood cafe, The Ithaca Bakery, began making my order in advance so that it was ready and waiting for me by the time I reached the front of the line. I bore my hard-earned prize triumphantly from the counter to a nearby table and blissfully dissected the muffin as I perused the morning paper.
Sometimes the thought of that coffee and muffin was the only thing that got me through a hard workout.
Looking back, I wonder whether I rowed so that I would enjoy breakfast, or enjoyed breakfast so that I would row. I suspect it’s some combination of the two. They’re symbiotic, you see: without the workout, the treat is an unjustified indulgence; and without the treat, the workout is a joyless chore.
These days, I’m wont to combine my workout and my treat into a seamlessly integrated adventure. For example, last week I made a 40-mile pilgrimage to the location of the first Dunkin Donuts store, in Quincy, MA. The donut I had was no different from the one I can get at the Dunkin location just down the street, but the fact that I rode for hours to get there made it that much sweeter. Moreover, now I can say that I’ve been to the original Dunkin.
The epitome of the epicurian adventure is, of course, the Farm to Fork Fondo. If you join me on a ride this year, I guarantee you’ll find that the ride is shorter for the farm-fresh food along the way, and the food is more delicious when it is hard-earned. Whether it’s apple turnovers in Vermont or goat-milk cheesecake in the Finger Lakes, you will have never tasted treats so good.
And the best part? After all that riding, you won’t feel one bit guilty about gorging yourself.
-- Caryn Davies