Tuesday, March 5, 2013

I Dope

    I thought before Oprah called, before USADA found me, I would just come out and admit it....I dope.  If there is one thing I learned last season, I can't race without it.  I need it like I need my helmet to walk through transition....It's the rules, without it, I am a sure DNF.   I have to have my coffee.  It wakes me up, calms my nerves, and gives me the courage to not pee my pants....well until I get my wetsuit on that is.  My Pleasant Prairie experience was a huge example of how important it was to me.  I remember driving around for hours the night before looking for a Starbucks, so I would not be stuck with gas station junk.  In the end, I ended up with no coffee.  I had the worst swim of the season and I mentally lost it on the run.  What would it have looked like with my drug of choice?  I won't be able to retry it this year because I will be at a training camp for Ironman Racine that weekend, but I will find out the next year.   After that race I made it my mission to be prepared for how I was going to get my drug.  Every race though after that was issue after issue though.  

     So as I prepare and ramp up for this race season, I have decided that I was going to find something I could make myself.  It hasn't been easy though.  I have tried several small companies.  Local is always my first choice.  As a former small business owner, I am a firm believer in staying local and ditching the big box stuff.  Unfortunately, the local stuff just didn't wow me.  I love my craft beer.  I have 1 or 2 a week, and I mean I love it!  I wanted the same to be with my coffee.  However, recently I have decided that coffee must just be.....coffee.  To get a good flavor out of it you have to get the darkest roast and cross your fingers.  I wanted to still keep and eye out for a good option though and once again I tried a couple folks out.  Then somehow I came upon a company called Grimpeur Brothers.   As a guy who worked in Social Media I was impressed how they used hashtags on Instagram to be able to link themselves with CX Racing.   I don't know much about them personally  but it sounds like they love coffee, but love cycle racing also.  It's like we were besties or something.   I stalked them for awhile, never really taking the plunge   Truth be told, I have made many costly mistakes in the past...trust me, I have a box full of bike parts that I thought would be the next best thing.  Their coffee is not cheap.  On average I would say $18 a pound.  That could equal a costly mistake.  No matter the case though, the order happened.  Thanks to some Norco supplied to me after my recent hospital stay, I made the order.  I repented to my wife he next day. 

     The next Friday it arrived in the mail.  I ordered 2 different kinds, once again, I would never do that if I was not high at the time.  Upon opening the envelope I began to drool.  The smell eminatting from this postal envelope was amazing.  I wanted to make a cup immediately...however I had just finished a cup of coffee and even though I dope, I don't over dope.  The entire night though I sat and imagined how good this coffee would be.  In reality though I was intentionally psyching myself out because I was sure it was going to be sub par burnt water.  The next morning I woke up and the wife made breakfast for the kids, so I could concentrate on my coffee.  There was no way I was going to put this through a standard coffee maker.  The one my wife uses makes everything taste burnt because she leaves the warmer on for 4 hours.  So I ran it through a Clever Dripper.  Now I wasn't messing around, I took this serious.  Everything I did, I did like it was race morning.  So it was going straight into my stainless steel tumbler that I would take in a Transition Bag to a race. 

     I began with some 9 Dub Espresso  It is marked as a medium roast and the CX Racer was a light roast.  I don't really like light roasts, so I wanted my first taste to be of a coffee I traditionally would like.  Once again, we were going for a wow factor and this had the best chance of WOW.  So I ground the beans, put in a filter and began the 5 minute slow process of making this coffee.  I got it all ready and sat down in my comfy chair, kicked my feet up and brought the mug to my lips.  In an instant my life changed.  I cannot fully explain the thoughts that were going through my head, but let's say, I was bummed the kids were awake.  So I just winked at the wife letting her know, we missed an opportunity.   Ok, seriously  let me try to explain this.  I thought coffee was coffee.  It either has a light, medium, or bold flavor.  The flavor was burnt water and you add milk and a syrup if you want flavor.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE coffee, but I never had an experience like drinking an IPA or a good Porter.  Coffee was more like a Bud Light or Miller Lite.  Both crap water that tastes good enough to get you drunk, but not something you drink for enjoyment.  When I drink a good beer, there is an experience, a moment if you will.  Never that with a cup of joe.  This, however, was a thing a pure beauty.  This was single handed the best cup of coffee that I had EVER tasted!  Cue scene of Will Farrell in "Elf" busting in the door saying, "Congratulations, You did it, world's best coffee."  Every sip left me searching for words to express how good this was.  It was like the moment my wife walked down the aisle and I realized, how much I loved her.  I was realizing that I didn't have to spend $5 a day to buy coffee from someone in a green apron.  There was a chocolaty  spicy flavor to it, was that possible?  I searched to find the burnt flavor, but I just couldn't.  When I was done, I waited to come off my high...then I had to do it again.  I made a second cup, I never do that!

     2 days later I decided it was time to try the CX Racer.  To be honest, I was not excited about this.  I really don't like light roasts.  However, I was going to give it a try.  At first I was disappointed.   Not because it was bad coffee, no no, not at all.  It was actually great.  I just felt like a was cheating on my wife.  I could see the bag of 9 Dub looking at me wondering why.  The thing I liked about the CX Racer though, is that it was a completely different cup of coffee!  Literally like going from a Stout to a Triple IPA in beer terms.  It was fruity more than anything.  It had a sweetness, with a floral taste.  As I sit here now I am drinking a cup. It's great, and while it may not be my "Go To"  for race season, I will definitely keep it on the list for an afternoon delight. 

     So I did it, I found the perfect coffee that I will race with this season.  Since I am not going for my pro card this year, I am not worried that they will bust me for doping.  I highly suggest you do the same.  These guys take coffee seriously.  They recently posted a picture of 2 different beans that they rejected.  They said they were good, but not good enough.  That is dedication. 

     By the way, I am going to start blogging more on things I get for race season.  My number one question I get emailed to me or asked by friends thinking about racing, is what stuff do I suggest buying.  So as I find things that I am 100% sold on, I will blog.  If you have suggestions or questions email me at cstaley39@gmail.com.  

     By the way, I am not sponsored by Grimpeur Brothers.  I also paid for my coffee.  Many.....well almost all bloggers get their stuff for free.  I don't want to be that way.  While I will talk in the future about UR and I am sponsored by them, I believe in integrity first.  For instance I think Marathon bars are the most foul things on the market.  If Marathon sent me 7 cases of their junk to blog about, they would hate the blog I posted about their product.  I will never suggest something to my friends and readers, just for the fact of having a sponsor. With that being said though, if a company wants to sponsor me after the fact, then we can talk :) haha.

Click on the link to check out Grimpeur Brothers.