I’ve been scratching my head for a while now trying to get a salty snack I can bring on rides with me. And yesterday it hit me: cornbread! It is simple, quick to bake and can easily be made dairy-free and gluten-free.
235ml (1 cup) Rice milk or other non-dairy milk
15gr (3 tablespoons) sunflower oil
175gr (1 cup) medium-grind yellow cornmeal
75gr (½ cup) corn flour
35gr (¼ cup) sweet rice flour
15gr (1 tablespoon) cane sugar
3 pinches (½ teaspoon) salt
11gr (3 teaspoons) baking powder
Coarse salt and fresh rosemary
Preheat oven to 250C.
In a small bowl, whisk together milk, eggs and oil.
In a medium bowl, stir together cornmeal, corn flour, sweet rice flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and whisk until combined.
Pour into lightly greased 9 inch square pan.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until knive comes out clean. After 12 minutes of cooking sprinkle some coarse salt and fresh rosemary on top if you want some extra salty flavor.
Cornbread is versatile and can be paired with sweet (jam, honey cashew butter…) or salty (eggs, bacon, goat cheese…) food.
If you had to sum up this race in 3 words, it would be tough, hot and humid. We had a long day in the saddle with technical stages and tight transition that allowed us only a little time to rest before the clock started. Coming out of the winter from the northern hemisphere to New Zealand was kind of a heat shock, had to that the 100% humidity from the jungle, it was like racing in a turkish bath all day. The course was really fun and technical due to the slick roots everywhere. And the best would be do go stage by stage as each had their own peculiarity. We started off at the Te Puia center that host the Maori Arts and Crafts instute and is located in a geothermal valley. The first 6 stages where in the Whakawerawera forest and the &th and last stages was at Skyline bikepark. Stage 1 was my nemesis: lots of pedaling on the top flat section in the mud to destroy your calf muscles for the rest of the course. Then come the DH bit with muddy off camber turns spiced with slick roots. Lots of heckler populated the jungle in this bit and to keep you on your toes. A nice flatish sprint at the end to finish to kill you. I didn’t stay upright enough on this one. Stage 2 had a really tight transition leading into it, with just a few minutes to spare it didn’t give much time to recover. With lots of pedaling involved at the beginning of that stage, it gave me leg pump and I had hard time at first, then the flowy bit came and it was all fn and giggles. Stage 3 was my fave! A freshly cut track with not too much pedaling. Stage 4 is where I totally fucked up as I forgot to unlock my suspension before it. But once the upper bit was done and my suspensions where unlocked, it was all good. Stage 5, my second nemesis but only in 1 spot where I got hanged up for what seemed forever and it involved a lot of swearing in French. Other than that if you look at timing, it did not go badly apparently. It had a lot of off camber traverse with lots roots and it involved picking up your front wheel a lot. Stage 6: That was one of my favorite during practice, a high speed flow track with lots of drops. I got offered a re-run on it after being diverted due to an injured fellow racer but passed. Would it have been worth taking it? No sure as I was pretty tired at the time. Could have, would have, should have…. we will never know. Stage 7 was way more slick at the top than I remembered and quite treacherous plus being tired didn’t help. But I felt quite good on the bikepark bit even though wooden structures are not to be trusted. So stoked to have made it out alive, in one piece and with just a few bruises all over my body. Finished 24th of a stacked up field of strong women. Good day in the saddle though. Finished the day with a huge smile on my face. GPS track for stages 1 to 6 (forgot to restart it for T7 and stage 7) Official results are: Pro Men 1- Jérôme Clémentz 2- Fabien Barel 3- Wyn Masters 4- justin Leov 5- Florian Nicolai 6- Nico Vouilloz 7- Matt Walker 8- Damien Oton Pro Women 1- Anne Caroline Chausson 2- Tracy Moseley 3- Cécile Ravanel 4- Aneeke Beerten 5- Megghie Bichard 6- Ines Thoma 7- Rosara Joseph Full results here
If you only want to ride long travel bikes. If you only shuttle or ride park. If you smoke like a chimney. If pedaling uphill and hike-a-bike do not do it for you. Then do not even bother reading the rest.
But if you’re a fan of trails with views. That a ride with at least 80% of singletracks is what you are looking for. If you dig technical descents. If you secretly dreaming of having Graves calves. If your motto is no pain, no gain. Then XMB is for you.
I discovered this new style of racing last fall. I had just moved to Sospel, in southern France, and didn’t know anybody to go ride with. So I bought a local map and began to explore the local trail network. I must admit that coming from the U.S., I’m addicted to Strava. Not only for the pseudo competition but mostly to discover new trails and I use it as a training tool. After uploading a few rides I did in Breil -sur- Roya, in the next valley over. I saw that three of my favorite descents were segments with the name ” XMB – descent”. A quick Google search and I found the XMB challenge website. From February to May, there are 4 events in the Alpes- Maritimes.
To sum it up quickly, each race has at least 1400m of ascent, almost all on singletracks for 35/40km. As Enduro season does not start until the end of April, it seemed like a good plan to get in shape.
The first round took place this weekend in Aspremont, a few kilometers inland from Nice. The day before the race, I suddenly wonder what I got myself into! I was sick all week and go race XC was perhaps not the best idea. In addition, while preparing my racing bag, I find myself packing my XC kit. Something I have a hard time admitting owning and even more wearing in public. And then, I realize there is 1400m of ascent in 29km, it’s going to hurt! So I decided to use my XC/trail bike: a Blur TrC (120mm rear travel) with a Revelation adjustable from 120mm to 150mm and a lockout system. And I also added a pair of shorts to cover my chamy.
On race day, I found out I wasn’t the only undecided one as to what to wear and what equipment to use. You could see everything from semi-rigid to 150mm and even a few freeride bikes. There was XC riders, all club-clad, with matching kits and a bunch of Enduro racers such as Yoann Barelli, Thomas Lapeyrie and Aurélien Giordanengo coming to test their winter training.
The atmosphere was friendly and we all met in the center of the village for the liaison to the start. Just 3km on the road plus a bit of hike-a-bike, not a bad warm up before the race.
The race is pretty brutal and if you go for GC, it is better to have trained all winter and have an XC background. Time is made on the climbs and not descents, even though the latter are awesome in this race format.
It was an interesting experience, although Enduro is definitely more my thing, as I do not have to worry about my time on the climbs. But once I get in better shape to race XC, I will give it a go. And above, just go ride it again as the trails were beautiful.
For the past few weeks as my knee has finally been getting better, I’ve been able to ramp up the mileage and do longer rides. While going on longer rides, it’s also getting colder out here and I need extra calories to fuel my rides. As I don’t digest well processed food and most energy gels/chews/bars – they give me stomach aches – I’ve been bringing homemade marzipan with me on those rides.
Marzipan is ready in a couple minutes: almond meal, sugar, water, mix them up, make a ball of it, wrap in plastic and take with you; but it would be bice to have something with extra taste to bring on the trails.
The acronym came up as I was writung down the recipe: Almond, Banana, Chocolate and Coconut.
25 grams dark chocolate (I use Nestlé Dessert)
300 grams almond meal
210 grams sugar
2.5 cl water
In a ball, mash the banana and grate the chocolate with a cheese grater over it. Mix well and set aside.
In a bigger ball, stir the almond meal and sugar. Add the water, mix with your hands and it form a ball with the dough.
Add the banana/chocolate mix to the dough and keep mixing with your hands, so it forms an homogeneous dough. Form 2 centimeters of diameter balls and place on a chopping board.
Pour the coconut flakes in a plate and roll the newly formed energy balls in them so they are fully covered of them.
A.B.Cs energy balls can be eaten right away or frozen to take along on your next rides.
I was looking for a little treat I could also take on the trails as a snack. This is a really quick recipe for delicious paleo brownies.
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup honey
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 cup chocolate chips or pecan halves (optional)
Preheat oven to 350F.
In medium saucepan melt coconut oil and cocoa powder.
Mix eggs, honey, and vanilla with electric mixer until well combined and fluffy. Add in coconut oil/cocoa powder and keep mixing. Add coconut flour and mix until you have a smooth batter. The batter for these is going to fairly liquid.
Stir in chocolate chips or pecan (or both, if so 1/2 cup of each) if you wish.
Grease 8×8 pan and pour in the batter and bake for 30 minutes.