Food is Good

Really really good. The Olympic Training center has a cafeteria that serves a huge selection of healthy foods. It’s open from 7am until 9pm, so pretty much any time I want to eat. I’ve actually decided the only way to do justice to the oasis of culinary goodness that is the training center’s Caf’ is to describe it though a story.

The night I arrived at the OTC I was pretty hungry. I had been traveling for ten hours on nothing but diet sprite and a chef salad. It was 11pm, and the cafeteria was closed. At night there are ample supplies of cereal, instant oat meal and fruit, so I grabbed a bowl of raisin bran before heading to my room. By the time morning came around I was ravenous. I headed to the Caf’ and image grabbed a tray. I started at the entry end of the lineup and grabbed yogurt and fruit, passed the bagels and bread (they have all sorts of stuff to put on it) then poured a small bowl of oatmeal (they always have two kinds of hot cereal, usually steel cut oats and either grits or cream of wheat). Next I grabbed some pancakes with blueberry syrup, plus a couple slices of bacon. My plate was piled up pretty high by the time my eyes fell on the omelette station. I needed to clear space, and quick, so I sat down near a big screen TV and watched the Tour De France coverage.

The omelette station is awesome. Flower is the woman who works there most mornings, and she learned my name after one visit. Now I walk into the Caf’ and she says, “hi Ben, how are you feeling?” (To which I have yet to respond with anything but, “tired”.)

Also on the breakfast menu is a cereal bar (including All-Bran, a few of the Kashi brand cereals, and Low-Fat Granola, which are some of my favorites).

And all that is just the first meal of the day.

Lunch is usually the best meal served. There’s almost always a theme – either Asian or Mexican – plus some standard American and European grub, and the food is always very different. I’ve had chicken Caesar wraps, sushi, tacos, enchiladas, roast pork, bbq ribs, hamburgers, steak, all kinds of grains, fresh veggies, grilled veggies, steamed veggies, and so on.

Dinner is like lunch, but from my experience not quite as good. Always different though.

The two highlights of the Caf’, however, are the grill (slash omelette bar), and the dessert bar. The grill always has grilled cheese, hamburgers (or veggie or turkey or chicken), sweet potato fries (so good), plus a daily special like steak sub sandwich or beef wraps, or stir fry.

The dessert bar is killer. everything baked here is awesome, from the breakfast muffins to the chocolate cake and pie. There’s also low-fat soft serve, yogurt, sorbet and ice cream. I try to limit my dessert intake, but sometimes it’s hard to do. Tonight, for instance, there was coffee cake with blueberries that went really well with my glass of milk, and last night the low-fat chocolate cake and caramel swirl ice cream was begging to be tried.

The last thing I’ll mention is the nutrition labels. They have them on everything in the Caf’. You can make count calories if you want, or make decisions between the beef burger and the turkey burger (the beef is actually lower in fat). Also, when you grab dessert, you know just what the damage is. They even have a sign next to the ice cream that says, “Every athlete has a dream, every choice makes a difference.”

Normally my parents will call me when I’m away from home and tell me about all the wonderful food they’ve had at home. It’s their way of making me a little anxious to come home (and sometimes it works), but on this trip, I could care less. My dad starts describing some salmon dish with veggies, or my mom talks about cookies she bakes and my mind starts wondering. I just don’t care. Food is completely taken care of here. I don’t have to give it a second thought.

(I would totally take pictures of my food and post it if I had a cable for my camera. But I don’t. The picture of the eating area above is all I could find online)

Published by Ben

Ben Collins Professional Triathlete

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  1. I know that this is costing the USOTC at least $200 a week to feed you at a minimum. They will be sure to take that Collins kid off the roster in 09 as they can likely feed the entire US Men’s and Women’s gymnastics team for the same price.

    They should also put up a sign that says “nothing tastes as good as being fast”.

  2. Give me a break, Loren. Ben eats like a sorority girl.

    When I was at the OTC, I sat across from some Greco-Roman wrestling Olympic medalist who was piling his way through three steaks…

    … for lunch.

    During our conversation, he noted that he’s never seen such consistent gluttony as with male swimmers. He said that, yes, he eats a lot, but it’s part of his training. It was an activity he tolerated, not one he particularly enjoyed. The swimmers, he marveled, gorged themselves with gusto, meal after meal.

    I just listened. My mouth was too full to respond.

  3. Think how good those cooks really are. Have any of you tried cooking at altitude? It does take some different strokes. I remember the food stories Ben told when he was, I think, fourteen or fifteen.He loved the place then too.

    While he was there, His sister Susan and I were driving somewhere back east. We were near Idaho Falls, ID when Mom calls and tells us that Ben wants us to stop by Colorado Springs for lunch, the next day. It was a thousand miles, we made it. Was good food too.


    PS Since when is not listening to me new?

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