Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Guest Post - Sam Waples

Sam on two individual podiums, a team podium and with the secret to his success.

Sam Waples is a rider for the WWU Racing Team.  They just finished an excellent season capped by a couple of race wins a week ago.  Sam will moonlight this summer racing with the River City Red team, but here are some comments and pictures from the last weekend of racing.

From Sam:

The end of the collegiate season has FINALLY arrived!  It was an awesome season varying from 65 degree sunny days to 27 degrees and snowing! This weekend was successful for all of us, however. 

On Saturday's RR, there was a lead group 3 minutes out and unfortunately we didn't have any riders in it. So with 25 miles left my teammate and I attacked and began the bridge in a headwind. With 7 miles left in the race we caught the break away and passed them on the hill climb where were continued on. In the end we took 1st AND 2nd and had a 2 minute gap in front of the closest chasing group.

The Afternoon TTT was FAST. We had a tailwind, crosswind and of course the dreaded headwind. We set the fastest time on the course by 20 seconds, which confirms our undefeated season.  [Editor's Note - Wow!  Undefeated Season!  That's impressive!  It warranted three consecutive exclamation points! Oops, now four and counting!]

The next morning was the 45 minute University of Idaho Criterium. Right off the bat on the 3rd lap there was a prime sprint and that split the group. I sprinted for it and set myself out in a lone break. I decided to just stay out there until someone bridged to me. Eventually we were up to a 6 man break which stayed together until the final 5 laps when both teams started playing team tactics. Both other teams in the break (UO and UW) let a man go off the front of the break. After 3 chasing laps I pulled them in on the final lap and took the final sprint.

That is either intensity, or pain, or both.
It was a crazy fun weekend and I feel 100% ready for the summer season with RCR now! I look forward to the next tour everyone is doing and plan on being there! 

*Something to be noted... Saturday night I had a River City Red at the Moscow Ale House. I think there is a direct correlation between winning and drinking River City Red.

SAM - While we MAY be prohibited by federal law from agreeing that drinking River City Red will lead directly to wining bike races, your experience is powerful evidence to the effect.  We may pass this along to Dr. Spalm for further scientific (not medical) studies.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Meet the Brewery - Gage Edition

Those of us at the brewery enjoyed the introductions last week, but one person got a bit shorted in the process.  Gage was in charge of writing his own introduction, just as everyone had contributed to their own pages, but he turned his into an overview of the whole family.  Truth be told, Gage has a lot more involvement than the rest of the family in every step of the way as we make and sell beer every week.

The other thing about Gage is that he likes to be involved in lots of things, but doesn't have an interest in being in the spotlight.  So, the rest of us decided to sit down and try to piece together a bit more of Gage's story to fill in some details of his life.  One problem is that he also has a tendency to say things that are supposed to be funny, but the deadpan way he says them, it's sometimes hard to know what is true or not true.  With that caveat, here is our best shot at Gage's bio.

Gage was born in either the Panama Canal Zone or Utah.  It seems odd that we can't say which, but we have heard both.  After birth, he appears to have lived in 8 cities and 15 different places by the time is was 22 years old.  This seems like it can't be true, but we think it is.

We know that he went to high school in both Moscow, Idaho and in Spokane at Gonzaga Prep.  After that, he was at UW and then GU for law school.  We confirmed these things from reading the diplomas on his wall when he wasn't in the office.

We know that he has been married to the same woman for nearly 24 years.  We also know that this woman is a high school teacher and we surmise from what we know about Gage that she must be the most tolerant woman to ever walk the face of the earth.  Hopefully there are sides to Gage that makes this worthwhile.  We aren't saying that he isn't a good boss.  We would never say that in public where we know he is going to see it.  We are just saying that we are glad we don't have to live with Gage all of the time.  Maybe that's why his wife is happy to have him at work so much.  Not that we want to speculate on that topic.

The other thing we know about Gage's personal life is that he has two kids, both in high school.  Some parents like to talk about every single thing that their kids do, but Gage tends to limit his statements to things like "My kids are great," "My kids are sweethearts," and "Thank god their mother raised them well."  We do know for sure, however, that his kids really are nice guys and do really well in school.

As for Gage's life prior to the brewery, that is a bit sketchy.  He claims to have worked in several places and done lots of different things.  We know that he has an enormous shoe in his office that he says came from the staff at Mobius when he left there after a stint as the Executive Director.  We can't verify that, but it's possible.

Now THAT is a big shoe.
We know that Gage likes most things on two-wheels, spending time on his bicycle and motorcycle when he can, including to and from work.  He has asked more than one about getting kegs fitted to these two-wheeled modes of transport.

He really rode his bike to work this way one day.
Outside of that, we also know for sure that Gage is really picky about some things and totally oblivious to others.  Other things that may or may not be true about Gage - his favorite book is Pride and Prejudice and his favorite living author is Jess Walter; he likes oddly varied music so that it's impossible to guess what will be playing in his car; it is not possible to have a conversation with Gage in which he does not say, "I read this article . . .", or, "I read in the paper . . ."; he won a Pac-10 championship in college; he once tried a diet entitled "Soup and Alcohol"; he and his wife went on their honeymoon two years after getting married; he used to live in a haunted house but convinced the ghosts to stop bothering the family; he had his picture taken with a man known only as "Symptomatic Nerve Gas guy" on Red Square; at one time he was the youngest member of the North-South Ski Bowl National Ski Patrol; he held the unofficial record for the fastest drive from Moscow to Troy in 1982; two of his three closest childhood friends are dead; he has ridden his bicycle more than 200 miles in a single day at least eight times; he once rode his motorcycle more than 1,000 miles in a single day; he attended Madonna's first live concert; he hasn't paid for a haircut in two decades; and he has two pair of shoes that he still wears that are more than 30 years old, although he is the third owner of one of those pair. After seeing that list, it could be that there is more of that deadpan humor than we originally suspected.  Either that, or it's hard to guess what might be added to that list next.

Gage did refuse to confirm which of these things are true and which are not, but when asked about the whole bio, his only response was to say that the only thing that needed to be said here is that he loves being involved in the brewery.  I guess we know that is true.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Saturday Music - Campy Edition

Soul Train made stops at this station the last two weeks, so we might as well stay in the same era, but the other end of the spectrum.  Pop music has a place in the world and this piece of 60's camp assures us that pop has been around for a long time now.  The outfits are fabulous, the dancers look like it was an audience participation number and you have to love the lyrics.  Let this ear worm settle into your auditory canal and fester a bit.

You keep saying, you got something for me
Something you call love but confess
You've been messin' where you shouldn't have been messin'
And now someone else is getting all your best

These boots are made for walking
And that's just what they'll do
One of these days these boots
Are gonna walk all over you

Yeah, you keep lyin' when you oughta be truthin'
And you keep losing when you oughta not bet
You keep samin' when you oughta be changin'
Now, what's right is right but you ain't been right yet

These boots are made for walking
And that's just what they'll do
One of these days these boots
Are gonna walk all over you

You keep playin' where you shouldn't be playin'
And you keep thinkin' that you'll never get burnt
Ah, I've just found me a brand new box of matches, yeah
And what he knows you ain't had time to learn

These boots are made for walking
And that's just what they'll do
One of these days these boots
Are gonna walk all over you

Are you ready, boots?
Start walking

Friday, April 26, 2013

Meet the Brewery - Owner Edition

This week we met the folks who work at the brewery.  Left to their own devices, they would make beer, sell beer, pay the bills and maybe tip back a pint or two now and then.  They are trustworthy, dependable and a surprising amount of fun to work with every day.  There are, however, a few others involved in the brewery with more amorphous duties, but clear titles - the owners.  Let's take a quick look at those folks.

Ron and Julie Wells - The Wells are not well known as brewery owners, but have a reasonably high profile in the real estate development world and more specifically in the renovation of historic buildings around Spokane.  We have joked as a family that they didn't start Wells and Company with a business plan, but rather just a mission to save old buildings.  They have been doing just that, and creating communities around them, since joining forces in 1980.  Their path into brewery ownership is related because it was the renovation of a building that just demanded a brewery that started them down the trail.

Spencer Stromberg - A local attorney with SullivanStromberg, PLLC and son of Ron and Julie, Spencer was willingly drawn into the beer business through his own love for and appreciation of craft beer.  Attending college and law school at the University of Washington, Spencer had a first row view of the birth of craft brewing in Seattle.  An avid participant in original research starting all those years ago, he has helped formulate recipes and direction for the brewery since our involvement began in 1999.  Married to Tracey and with two girls, Spencer is committed to making Spokane a great community in which to live.

Gage Stromberg - Last, but not least, Gage Stromberg is the other member of the owner group and the one most involved in the day-to-day operation of the brewery.  A partner at Powers Stromberg Pension Consulting (formerly known as NAS Pension Consulting), Gage is also an attorney.  Like his younger brother, he was also in Seattle during the mid-to-late 1980's and not only viewed the burgeoning world of craft beer from the vantage point of barstool, but also had some friends in the business and possessed more than a passing interest in reading anything and everything he could find about the brewing world.  Married with two sons, Gage is involved in many civic activities.  He is also known to ride bikes and motorcycles in his spare time.

As owners, we are proud to be a family business and part of the Spokane business community.  We believe not only in the concept of "Drink Local", but also Eat Local, Shop Local, and be thoughtful in doing what you can to support our local economy.  Every dollar you spend at a local bar, restaurant, shop or with another local business or professional generates much more community return on your dollar, which helps all of have a better community and standard of living.

All of us involved believe that making great beer, with consistent quality and flavor, is our first and foremost mission.  We are proud to use almost exclusively local ingredients, with hops from the Yakima Valley, grain grown regionally and water from the Spokane aquifer.  We also all believe that craft beer should be consumed responsibly.  Thank you for your support of River City Brewing. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Meet the Brewery - Brooke Edition

Brooke - The hidden team member
Brooke is both a very long-time member of the team, but also a sometimes hidden part of the brewery.  Brooke was not the first person hired at Coeur d'Alene Brewing Company, but she definitely is the longest lasting.  Before joining us as just a young lass, Brooke was born in Elko, Nevada and then raised in Coeur d'Alene.  She earned a degree in Communications from Lewis-Clark State College, where they not only passed along some good information, but also must have taught her to face most challenges with a smile on her face.

She joined the brewery in 2000 and has had a whole bunch of titles and duties along the way.  At various times, she has been the Marketing Manager, the Manager of the Brewpub, the Payroll Administrator (not only for us, but three restaurants and a construction company) and this year is taking on responsibility for all of the bookkeeping/accounting for the brewery, which includes all of accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll and all of our state and federal reporting.

Why is this last job funny to Brooke?  Her is what she had to say about it, "On my first day as Marketing Manager for the brewery, almost 13 years ago, I remember telling Gage that I could do just about any job as long as it didn’t involve doing math. So, naturally, I’m now in charge of everything that has to do with math and accounting for the company."

Wait, does being in charge of the books for the brewery involve math?  Oops.  My bad.
The gang's all here - Brooke is in white.

What else does Brooke have to say?  Let's ask a few questions and learn a bit more about Brooke.

Which is your favorite beer?  Coeur d'Alene Brewing's VB Stout.

Do you have any guilty pleasures you are willing to share? Real Housewives (of any city) and Dr. Pepper.

What do you like to do outside of life at the brewery?  I spend most of my time outside of work as a taxi driver, cook and maid for my 7 and 10-year-old daughters and my husband, but I try to run whenever possible. I’ll be running my third half marathon in September.

Any other thoughts on the world of beer?  I’m amazed by the difference in attitudes about craft beers between 2000 and today.  It used to be that if a restaurant had five tap handles, four were domestics and one was for rotating micros. Now it is the opposite.  It’s exciting to see how things have changed over the years.

Brooke may be behind the scenes, but things would quickly grind to halt without her.  Brooke can always be counted on to give honest, reasoned and thoughtful input and her years in the trenches continue to be a benefit to the whole team as we make our plans (and hopefully pay all our bills).

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Meet the Brewery - Greg Edition

Greg is next up in our hit parade of folks that make up River City Brewing.  Greg is officially the Assistant Brewer, but sometimes we joke about calling him the chief technical officer.  Maybe part MacGyver and part Scottie from Star Trek, when he isn't doing all the "normal" stuff at the brewery (like brewing, filtering, kegging, cleaning, etc., etc.) he is figuring out how to make our equipment work better, solve a problem, be more efficient or, and this is also well appreciated, help us save a buck or two.

That's Greg with the paddle.
Cody and Greg really work as a team on most things, including solving the various operational and equipment needs, so I don't want to over-emphasize one over the other too much, but together they make a great team and we are lucky to have them.

Like Cody, Greg was raised in Hayden, Idaho.  He also started as a homebrewer, taking up the hobby in 1994, and started brewing commercially in 1996 as a partner in Hollister Mountain Brewing.  He has also taken courses at UC Davis.  He has had stints in a few other areas and brings a wide range of mechanical and technical knowledge to his job.  So, without further delay, let's let Greg answer a few questions about himself.

What attracted you to brewing as work, rather than a hobby? I started making home brew and it tasted better than any beer I could buy.  Later on I decided I might be able to make some money at it.

Greg eyeing an instrument, probably thinking about how to improve it.
What is your favorite beer that you have made?  The 2009 Coeur d'Alene Brewing Octoberfest. That was a kick ass beer.

What is your favorite non-brewing aspect of your job? I like the projects and engineering around the brewery, making something out of nothing.

Greg, eying an instrument.  Probably thinking about how to improve it.
Can you tell us a TV show that you either love or hate?  I hate all game shows.

What do you like to do when you aren’t at the brewery?  Lots of fishing, hunting and camping. Sometimes I'm kind of a gentleman rancher, but not quite since I’m out of livestock now.

Cody and Greg mashing in (Greg on the right)
What else do you like about the beer business?I love how much there is to know about beer and beer brewing and how you’re never standing still. Styles keep evolving and everyone keeps trying new things.  I also like trying to anticipate what the beer drinking public will want, making new beers and seeing how it is received. 

Greg is a valued member of the team.  Incredibly dependable and always thinking about how to make our processes a bit better or more efficient.  Glad to have him aboard.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Meet the Brewery - Emily Edition

Emily adding hops to VB Stout.

Next up in Round Two of Meet the Brewery is Emily.  Emily is, by far, the newest member of the brewery since she is still noting her time in weeks or months, compared the several years that the rest of us have been around.  That, however, has not stopped her from making a big impact in her short time.

Despite the pictures here, Emily is not a brewer.  She spent a day last week in the brewery helping to brew a batch of VB Stout because that is the kind of enthusiasm that she shows every day and she wants to learn everything she can.  And that is important, because her job covers a wide range of duties, from helping to support operations by ordering supplies, helping with marketing/advertising/promotion decisions, and single-handedly making up the sales department.  Thankfully, Emily is up to it all.

But rather than a Q&A, let's let Emily introduce herself.  Last year was a big one for her, but ultimately led to her to her job with the brewery in 2013.

I was born and raised in the small town of Florence, Montana.  I moved to Cheney to attend EWU, where I graduated with Human Resources Management in 2010. After graduation, I started work as a Recruiting Assistant with a local staffing agency. Within four months on the job, I had been promoted to Head Recruiter, had a team of 3 that worked under me, and was personally responsible for 200+ stores in 5 states working with 10 Area Sales Managers for a particular account we had. Things were going wonderful and I was gaining a plethora of information and experience. Life was good.

Then in February of 2012 (the beginning of a major roller coaster of a year), almost our entire office was laid off due to the loss of a major account.  I was devastated and didn’t know what I was going to do next.  Fortunately for me, in the middle of my “What now?” period, I had a trip planned to visit my brother in Italy for two weeks in May.  I just decided to enjoy the break that had been forced upon me.  I started riding my bike a ton around town, I was up to nearly 25 miles a day before my trip, swimming, and just generally enjoying my time.

After I got back from Italy, I decided to go visit my parents in Montana for a weekend.  While I was there, I was unfortunately a passenger in a car that left the highway at high speed in a one-car accident.  I was thrown through the sunroof while the car rolled over repeatedly.  I broke my back, my neck, a rib, the base of my left thumb and had to have 19 staples put into my head. I had surgery and had two titanium rods and four screws placed into my back to fix my broken vertebrae.  Amazingly, I was lucky to start recovering like a champ.  I spent three months in a back and neck brace, and another month recovering at home before I was released to go back to normal life.  

I started looking around for a job and was thrilled to find a posting for a job with a brewery under construction but looking for someone to help with office administration.  Coming from Montana with a great craft beer scene and being the daughter of a certified beer snob, I was really thrilled to have a chance to work in a brewery, but in a continuation of my year of ups and downs, I got a follow-up e-mail after I submitted my resume letting me know that they had filled the position internally.  The e-mail went on to say that he wasn't sure if it made it better or worse, but I had been on the list to interview.  Well shoot.  I replied by asking to keep me in mind for future available positions and to be sure that if he made it in to Missoula to stop in and see a few brewery owners that I knew and tell them I said to come say hello.  After that I accepted a position doing recruiting for another local company. 

Emily cleaning the Mash Tun. Always with a smile.
Again, fast forward three months. I was working one day and got an email that caught my eye. It was from the brewery again. This time saying that they had another position available and asked if I was still looking. Now, even though I was working and thoroughly enjoyed the job and the people I was working for, this was not something I wanted to pass up, so I went in for an interview. Then another interview. A few weeks passed and a few emails went back and forth saying they still hadn’t decided what to do. And then, at last, I finally got an email saying that he wanted to offer me a full time position with the brewery starting in January.  I was more excited to get that news than I had been in a year.  I may or may not have screamed like a little girl at an octave that probably made dogs howl.  Let just say I did a victory dance that would have put the top five NFL victory dances to shame. 

The year 2012 was a massive roller coaster of ups and down for me personally but lead to me having this amazing position with the brewery where I literally handle or am a part of every aspect of the operation. I do marketing, sales, inventory, ordering supplies and merchandise, help decide what to brew next, run errands for the brewers, help out with the cycling team we sponsor, and thirteen thousand other miscellaneous tasks. Its a whirlwind of activities and professional experience that I am loving.  I honestly am not sure how I got this job, but then I remind myself, it’s because I’m awesome (yes, I'm kidding, but I always say that).  I can honestly say that I love my job more every day than the day before. You can spend five minutes talking to me about it and can feel the enthusiasm that I have for it radiating from me.

Losing a great job, taking a great trip to Italy, being in a horrible accident followed by three months in a back and neck brace, recovering amazingly well, not getting a job you wanted and then getting a job you want - that would fill up more than a year for most people, but Emily likes to pack a lot into her time.  We also think she is amazing and are very glad to have her on the team.  If you have a bar or restaurant, hopefully you will see Emily soon stopping in to talk about River City Brewing and drinking local.  

Monday, April 22, 2013

Meet the Brewery - Cody Edition

Cody and Emily (Cody is the one on the left)
This week, let's meet the people who are bringing YOU beer from River City Brewing and Coeur d'Alene Brewing Company.  First, a quick comment about that dual identity - we operated in Coeur d'Alene from 1999 to 2010.  We lost our space there and eventually relocated the brewery to Spokane.  Since it wouldn't be authentic to operate the Coeur d'Alene Brewing Company in downtown Spokane, we decided we needed a new identity and became River City Brewing.  Despite the new name and location, we had a couple of beers so closely associated with Coeur d'Alene that it just didn't seem right to not keep the names of those beers - Coeur d'Alene Brewing Company's Huckleberry and VB Stout.  Hence, the split personality.

Our new location has more than just the names of those beers to tie us to our heritage, however.  We also brought over all of the equipment and, more importantly, two of the three brewers.  Our original head brewer, Laurie Kraus, was heading towards retirement when we shuttered operations in Coeur d'Alene, but was also injured in the process of moving, so he has not taken up the yoke in Spokane, but thankfully Cody was already sharing some of the lead brewer duties with Laurie before our move and was ready, willing and able to step up to being our Head Brewer.

Let's meet Cody.

Cody grew up in Hayden, Idaho and currently lives in Coeur d'Alene, now with his wife and two young children. Like a lot of brewers, Cody started with home-brewing, but unlike many, he was following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather who both home brewed.

Cody started working for the brewery in 2004.  Cody started the way most people do in their first brewery job - cleaning kegs.  There is always interest in brewery jobs, but he was hired for a couple of reasons, chief among them, he had a recommendation from one of the other guys on the crew at that time, his brother.  His brother was a hard-working, smart brewer, so we thought we would be lucky to get another guy who shared those attributes and, as it turns out nine years later, we definitely were.

Cody hadn't had any formal brewing training before joining the crew, but he learned quickly and eagerly.  As a result of his grasp of the details, he soon became an important person on the team and has continued to grow as a brewer and manager.  As the Head Brewer, his job is really to be in charge of the whole operation of the brewery, which not only includes brewing beer, but ensuring that all of the supplies are ordered, all the equipment is operational and maintained, and for each phase of making beer - from brewing, to fermenting, to conditioning, filtering, carbonating, kegging and the getting deliveries out the door, along with all of the cleaning, cleaning, cleaning that is a daily part of a brewery.

I don't want you to worry that Cody has to do all of these things by himself, though, as Cody is ably assisted by Greg in all of these duties, and they work as a team on really all aspects, but we will shine a light on Greg in a day or two.

And even though Cody is not the most verbose guy you will run across, let's let him answer a few questions.

What attracted you to brewing as work, rather than a hobby? The variety of the work.  Each day is different.  What we do in the brewery is ever changing; its never the same, and the world of brewing continues to change.  It's always a challenge and interesting.  

What is your favorite beer that you have made? A homebrew Coffee Porter.

What is your favorite non-brewing aspect of your job?  The engineering and projects we do.  With the new location, we are figuring out how to make things work and solve problems that crop up.  Sometimes we know the symptom, but not the cause, but either way we puzzle through the issues and then figure out how to solve it.  Sometimes we buy pieces or parts, but usually fabricate the solution.

What is your favorite music?  Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.  In Coeur d'Alene we had a stereo set-up and listened to a lot of classic rock. 

What do you like to do when you aren’t at the brewery?  Spend time with the wife and the kids, and then anything outdoors, like camping, hiking and biking.  I would like to see the brewery involved in things like the Leadman competition at Silver Mountain. 

Any beer-related story you would like to share?  My worst experience with brewing was one I never want to have again.  While cleaning several years ago I accidentally spilled a cleaning caustic (sodium hydroxide) down my pant legs and it filled my boots.  It instantly blistered and skinned my feet.  Obviously it hurt a lot and I ended up having to have skin grafts, do six weeks of physical therapy and it left me with some really ugly feet!  The long-term result was that our IPA (which we had brewed that day) is known as Hotfoot, and it is a long-term reminder of how careful we have to be with chemicals and everything we do in the brewery.

Anything else to share? One of my favorite things about the job is the camaraderie between brewers which is like a brotherhood. We are all friends and have genuine respect for each other.  It’s awesome.

Those of us at the brewery think Cody is awesome. He is always willing to engage people in a conversation about beer and loves to share his voluminous knowledge with homebrewers.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Saturday Music

Last week we had a bit of Boogie Walk (that is not actually the name from Soul Train, but it should have been), so this week let's stay with Soul Train and one of the all-time greats, Al Green.  Sit back and enjoy this slice of time, when "style" meant something, and the soulful sounds of Mr. Green.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Dr. Spalm - Dietician Edition

Dear Doctoeur Spalm:
As I am riding my bike, the longer I go, the more often I find myself thinking about food.  At some point, all I can think about is food and what I want to eat when I get off the bike.  Even when I think I am eating enough on the ride, this becomes somewhat overwhelming.

I read conflicting advice about how many grams of carbs or protein I should eat before a ride or during a ride based on my body weight, but changing this up doesn't seem to help.  What can I do to stop fixating on food while I am on the bike.
Hungry Rider

Dear Fatso:
You, like all of the other people who write in to this blog are Americans and therefore are fat.  You are also lazy, watch too much TV, have too little education and let your children listen to Justin Bieber or Taylor Swift.  You probably think that this answer is just suggesting that you are a stereotypical American and therefore I hate you.  It is true that I hate you, as that is the way of Dr. Spalm, but there are reasons I am elucidating these items beyond my normal per-word payment scheme.  While the longer and more detailed my answer, the more I get paid, it is not simply this motivation that leads me to detail these specific items.

No, the answer to your problem is within these exact items.

In Europe, the professional cyclists and all those that emulate professional cyclists do not have the problem you have.  Instead, they do not worry about their thoughts on food.  No, they expect to be thinking about food two times each day - when they are riding their bikes and when they are not riding their bikes.  They do not however expect to be eating twice a day.  That would be too often for someone who truly wants to be good at riding a bicycle or more specifically racing a bicycle.  So, if the underlying concept of your question relates to the way you can become a better cyclist, then the answer to your question is very simple, straight-forward, and can be summed up in four words - eat less, ride more.  (In order to be a true professional, you have to add one more word "vitamins", by which I mean performance-enhancing-drugs.)

However, as a man of science, I am compelled to offer a fuller and more complete explanation.  I am banned from suggesting that I am man of medicine specifically in several countries, but those jurisdictions have nothing to do with this country and do not clearly prohibit that statement.  But I digress.

The water sources and food preparations in America are distinctly different than those in most of the rest of the world.  You see, despite the attempts of some politicians to return to the days of the Love Canal and the ability to light the Hudson River on fire, for the most part the drinking water in America is cleaner than the rest of the world and the cleanliness standards for food preparation are similarly higher.  You may think that teenagers in prep kitchens are not sanitary, but their bad behavior with regard to the fast food restaurant fryers simply does not compare to the utter disregard for hygiene in most of the rest of the world.  Do you think that the aroma eminating from any Eastern European or Frenchman comes from too much bathing or excellent toileting standards?  I should say not.  It is true that there are areas of under Bavarian influence where similarities to US standards exist, but you will see eerie parallels to American social ways, for instance, in those areas the focus of any Bavarian's day will include primarily beer, strudel and kinky pictures of maidens in lederhosen or ill-fitting dirndls.  And this proves my point.

By "cleaning" the water and reducing or eliminating so much bacteria or fecal contamination from your foods, you allow a process to start that ultimately creates a perfect breeding ground for replacement growths.  Not all of these are other types of bacteria, as some are different types of abnormal growths or viruses.  These colonies of replacement infection have a gaseous discharge that is released from the stomach and, as all gases do, it travels upward where is makes its way to the brain.  At this stage, it interacts at a cellular level to cause mild hallucinations, lack of focus and other small but significant disruptions to the brain wave patterns.  In certain scientific (I didn't say medical) experiments that are alleged to have taken place in the country of my birth, small portions of the skull can be removed and replaced with tiny double-pained, insulated window that permits the "volunteer" to otherwise live a completely normal life (with the exception that they tend to wear hats more often than their neighbors) but it allows the scientists (not doctors) to view the functioning of various portions of the brain. Thusly, as each "volunteer" is subjected to a different diets or conditions than the control subjects, the effect is easily visible to the well-trained eye.  These studies, as I suspected when I, I mean, they, started, each show a persistent creation of the same type of behavior patterns as "volunteers" are treated to an American/Bavarian style sanitation versus pan-Euro style.  In each instance, the result is a marked decrease in activity levels, increased consumption of passive entertainment and a very high threshold tolerance to pop music.  Despite my attempts to reintroduce a more European style lifestyle, the "volunteers" just didn't want to get off the couch or were willing to tolerate vast quantities of television and pop music, even combined into such travesties as American Idol.

And, while my, I mean, "this" research is rejected by mainstream medical personnel, you will find that the American vernacular has adopted a high level recognition of the theory that clean food causes gases to travel to your brain that disrupts, and decreases, function.  That is why they are called "viral" videos.  It is the virus that weakens the cognitive process so that they become compelling.  As a result, Hungry Rider, in order to cure your fixation with food, you will need to embrace rather radical changes to your diet by either dropping your meals on the floor before eating them or by spreading a very slight amount of fecal matter in your food or water.  That, I guarantee, will stop you from constantly thinking about or looking forward to your next meal as most Americans do and therefore will cure your problem.

Yours in Science,
Dr. Spalm