Waistlines not Pacelines

Gaumenkitzel food
Oktoberfest training

Whatever illusions you might harbor about being able to Consume Mass Quantities because you cycle your pretty ass off, the truth of the matter is that bad eating habits are just that regardless of how praiseworthy your Strava KOMs/QOMs might be. There are a lot of cyclists (and runners and triathletes and swimmers and…) who regard their exercise as carte blanche to indulge in uninhibited voracity. For some Spokers having discovered they like to ride bikes is like a second Coming Out. But instead of the bathhouses it’s the nearest Burger King. And lord knows there are a lot more BKs and KFCs out there than there are saunas. Cycling might do wonders for your cardiovascular system. But weight? I’m not so sure. Cycling’s ugly secret is that riding often means more hunger and that means more eating with little effect on your waistline. You didn’t know cycling is a zero sum game, did you?

You know how those pro racers stay so trim? It isn’t just mega miles—it’s also adhering to very restricted diets. You know, the kind of diets you used to try and you absolutely hated. As in: being hungry all the time! Those low body fat numbers come from serious pushing back from the table and that takes real will power. Which is why cycling with the goal of becoming fabulously thin is elusive. Somehow the effort of cycling is supposed to supplant the effort of not eating while hungry. Hmm.

Which brings us to how we ended up at Gaumenkitzel last weekend for Oktoberfest. There are no illusions on Social A rides that your butch quotient is going to go up nor is there the sense that you’ll be able to throw giant wads of spaeztle or potato salad down your gullet without consequences. On Social A rides hedonism isn’t given an excuse, it’s a fact of life! No need to do penance for sin—we just sin with abandon. Our inclinations are distinctly Dionysian rather than Catholic. And that supermodel who claimed that “Nothing tastes as good as the way thin feels” is laughably disproved every time we eat at Gaumenkitzel: thin doesn’t stand a chance against the delicacies from the kitchen there! German food is the new thin.

The ride to Gaumenkitzel started with a single pedal stroke. And given the lack of hills—well, there were two actually—it didn’t take a whole lot more than that to get there. There’s the hill over St. Stephens between Lafayette and Orinda and then the short, nasty hill in El Sobrante just before the Starbucks hovers into sight. The ride was an exercise in herding cats, with one person after another missing the start and then missing the meet-up point. When all was said and done Roger and I were eventually joined by Suzan, Thomas, and David Goldsmith, with Roy and Bill just giving up and not making it. David’s husband Chris met us at Gaumenkitzel. He’s obviously a very bright person because he figured out that absolutely no cycling was necessary to enjoy Gaumenkitzel. The ride down the Ohlone Greenway didn’t take long—it’s a straight shot being underneath the elevated BART tracks. It’s a corridor well used by cyclists and pedestrians to get around the East Bay suburbs, not unlike the Iron Horse or the Contra Costa Canal trails. It’s perfect for leisurely cycling but you’re not going to set any speed records on it nor should you given its mixed use.

At Gaumenkitzel our table was waiting. The menu had a few Oktoberfest specials. Roger and I had to indulge in their German potato salad with pickled carrots and pork patties (it tasted much better than it sounds!). Chris had their delicious Jagerschnitzel. David had a plate piled with sausages. Others were more restrained. The food was delicious and filling. It was the kind of food you lingered over and definitely not something to dine and then dash off. Fortunately it was a short, flat roll from there to Rockridge BART requiring just enough effort to forestall food-induced lassitude. It was miles ahead of Burger King in taste but in calories probably not any less. Too bad Strava doesn’t have food KOMs!