Anyone who has ridden too far or too fast, or both, and then come home, shelled, bedraggled and way off the caloric deep end, knows the sublime joy of discovering some leftover pizza that, without being reheated, serves as a pathway back to humanity, a cold, cheesy salvation that can be scarfed on the way to the shower as bits of Lycra and wool trail behind you.
This is not on-bike cuisine, although I have seen it done.
It boggles my mind that there is not some foil-wrapped, jersey pocket equivalent to cold pizza. Oh, we’ve had all the fruits and nuts and berries spackled together with glucose and oats, but what brave purveyor of cycling sustenance will step forward with a pepperoni energy bar? Is this really so outre, so strange an idea? And once Pandora’s pizza box is open, well, the possibilities are endless? Hawaiian pizza bars anyone?
No. Just kidding. That’s gross.
My wife has looked at me askance many times as I stand in the cool, glow of the open refrigerator, forcing triangles of coagulated Friday night takeout into my mouth. “Is that really what you ought to be eating?” she asks. It is hard to say “No” definitively, while you are also trying to masticate a cold pizza crust, but you know how these moments are. Phrases like “ought to” and “a good idea” aren’t admissible in the court of caloric law, when you have bonked, dehydrated, died, and gone to a salt-caked hell out on your bicycle.
Revisiting the idea of pizza as jersey snack, the triangular shape isn’t the worst, especially if two slices are tessellated into a middle jersey pocket. It could work. Or, hear me out, this is possibly the only good reason for the “Sicilian slice,” unwieldy and hard to eat the rest of the time. I can acknowledge that the temperature of the pocket slice is problematic. You really either want your pizza hot or cold. There is a reason none of the galactic pizza giants serves a tepid pie.
How hard would it be to engineer some sort of narrow, rectangular, chemical oven to serve up a hot slice at mile 45? You laugh, but I know a guy who works on exactly that sort of nonsense. Where there’s a budget, there’s a solution.
OK, what SHOULD you be eating when you wash back up on hypoglycemia’s distant shore? I have been told that our systems, in this post exertion state, can make extra-good use of nutrient rich foods like fruits and vegetables. It’s the perfect time for a kale smoothie or an acai bowl or some sort of ancient, super grain protein bowl with fresh fish and some avocado. These things can be especially helpful if what you want is to be homicidally hangry.
No. I highly recommend last night’s meat lover’s special. Personally, I get mine with some sort of olive or spicy pepper, because I find the acid plays nicely against all that fat. The protein soothes. The doughiness of the crust fills the howling emptiness inside you, and if you can live all that down and make it to the shower, you might just manage to walk upright through the rest of your day.