Monday, November 15, 2010

Coaches' wisdom and an abbey beer that isn't

While I am struggling with a piece of windows software, that like most pieces of windows software isn't really ready for prime-time, I was reminded of the following tidbits I heard at the coaches' clinic in San Diego. In no particular order, here are some gems:

-A large part of your job as a coach is to come up with interesting workouts so your clients don't get bored.
-Many athletes can accurately estimate their perceived level of intensity, if you say do a workout at this power level, they nail it every time.
-Perceived intensity correlates with blood lactate levels
-You can use a power meter to train yourself to get an accurate perceived intensity
-I never use a heart rate monitor anymore, it adds no value
-I haven't looked at a heart rate monitor in years
-Heart rate is always at a max for the entire duration of this workout, it tells you nothing
-When I look at this power profile, I don't need a muscle biopsy, I can tell what the outcome will be
-Quadrant analysis was developed to prove a point
-Crank length does not matter. 165 to 180, it all works equally well.
-Eat normal food as much as you can during an endurance event
-You can only absorb 3-400 calories per hour. Most people can only do 2-300.
-Most people get stomach issues when they try to eat 3-400 calories an hour in just carbohydrate
-Protein has no use in endurance other than to possibly prevent GI issues

And to digest all that, let me propose an abbey beer that isn't. Maredsous, named after the Benedictine Abbey at Denee, near Namur, is brewed by Moortgat Brouwerij NV, makers of Duvel, the best of all Belgian beers. In some sense it is an exquisitely Belgian product, being conceived in Wallonia and crafted in Flanders. The bottle does not carry the hexagonal official Trappist marker, since the brew is not made at the abbey by monks and furthermore, the Benedictines at Maredsous aren't even Trappists.
Maredsous blond 6
Nevertheless the Blond 6 is a wonderful concoction. Not quite as crisp and clean as Duvel, but softer and equally flavorful. The recipe is said to have been developed at the abbey, hence giving the beer its creds.

Maredsous is also the name of a semi-soft artisanal cheese that goes well with this beer. Five varieties exist and all are made at the abbey.  The Tradition and Mi-vieux can be found in most grocery stores and supermarkets all over Belgium and Europe. Unlike the beer, Maredsous cheese is not imported into the US.
Maredsous cheese, to get this you need to visit Belgium

For you lovers of dark brews, Maredsous also comes as Bruin (brown) 8 and a Tripel 10. As the numbers indicate these contain more alcohol (by %) and hence should be savored more slowly.

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