One of the unintended effects of the long country commute during the work week is that we’re often less energetic and enthused about a leisurely weekend ride, which used to be the regular time for the 40+ milers. After a week of commutes of over 2 hours on the bike on top of work, weekends have become days to catch up with all the other things we want to do when we’re not working, like not work. A related consideration is that, if we do go out for extended weekend rides, we are unable to recuperate for the long rides to work during the week. The balance to strike is getting great rides in, while not getting too tired and therefore cranky.
Looking back on that opening paragraph, life doesn’t seem too bad – the problem is the embarrassment of riches of incredible year-round cycling here in the North Carolina Piedmont. That is, it’s not really a problem at all. This Sunday, we did in fact go out for a long tandem ride. And today, we were in fact too tired to bike all the way in to work. We could have done it, but it would have done harm to the positive attitudes so necessary for navigating work-a-day life.
Another richness of this part of North Carolina, what I like to call the Tri-Boro region – Carrboro, Hillsborough, Pittsboro (though that hardly does it justice because Durham county has to figure in there somehow) – is that it’s experiencing an incredible local food renaissance. The ingredients for this renaissance are just right – it’s an accommodating climate for agriculture, there’s ample farmland despite a high and expanding population, and mostly important, the movement is driven by enthusiastic people -dedicated producers and conscientious consumers – who know and care about food, how it tastes, and where it comes from.
Brunch was prepared by no less than ten people, among whom were people who have/do subsist/ed entirely on farms, teach urban gardening practices, have baked for a living, raise high quality pork, duck, and chickens, contribute to CSAs, buy from CSAs and the plethora of farmers markets around here, and have worked for Dunkin’ Donuts (that last one was me). I also met a fellow bike blogger/commuter.
The final menu –
-French toast with local blueberry compote
-Peach cobbler (with a surprisingly satisfying gluten-free topping made of almond flour, arrow-root starch, and butter)
-Collard greens that received some flavorful help from local shitake mushrooms
-Local bacon and sun-dried tomato sausage, raised and prepared by a farmer in attendance at the brunch, who’d also procured the above shitake mushrooms by bartering some of her pork for them
-Baked duck eggs with chives, a ridiculously creamy platter that sent me back to some medieval French village
-iron skillet corn bread
-Mimosas of champagne and freshly juiced carrot, orange, and grapefruit juice (us honkers had the juice, but not the mimosa version, lest we had not been able to leave this idyllic homestead tucked away in Duke Forest)
-plenty of coffee, and home-spiced chai (of which we honkers partook aplenty, and is perhaps the main reason we were able to power our full bellies home).
When we returned home, after an afternoon of feasting and more than 50 miles riding, I can say I was tired, but not hungry at all. I also arrived home full of ideas for the next brunch.