Ingezonden

Biju Thomas cooking in the early morning hours of Tim Johnson’s Ride on Washington ((Jamie Kripke/Skratch Labs))

Dr. Allen Lim, a former
consultant for both Garmin-Transitions and RadioShack professional road teams,
along with Skratch Labs partner, and
professional chef, Biju Thomas, have just launched the Skratch Labs mobile
performance food trailer, which is supported by Nissan.

The first event for the new Skratch Labs food trailer: feed
the 45 hungry athletes, and staff, participating in Tim
Johnson’s Ride on Washington
, a five day, 500-mile advocacy ride from
Boston, MA to Washington D.C. in support of Bikes Belong national bike advocacy
efforts.

Lim and Thomas provided breakfast, ride food, dinner, and
all of the recovery food for the entire ride; a feat that required the two be
up at 3am and work through until 10pm. “We had a day where we didn’t have to
get up until 4:30, and it was like, ‘sweet, 4:30,’ it’s definitely been a
challenge,” Dr. Lim co-founder of Skratch Labs told BikeRadar.

Lim, like Johnson, and many long-time industry veterans see
the bicycle as more than a tool for social change. That shared belief brought
Lim and Thomas on board for the Ride on Washington. “I think Tim, Biju, and I
share the same value of bicycles,” said Lim. “Not only do we love bicycles
because they’re inspiring, and hard, and an amazing tool for competition — we
also believe that the bicycle serves a greater good as a tool for transportation,
social change, and basic physical activity. So after all these years of pro
cycling, I’ve gotten more and more interested in the bicycle — not as a way to
win — but as a way to make real change in the world.”

Skratch Labs hit the road, to cook

The culinary and nutritional duo just picked up the 20 foot
long  ‘carny style’ kitchen trailer in
South Carolina, their plan: to travel the US cycling circuit providing mobile
food for hire to all kinds of athletes, ranging from event participants to
custom culinary support for professional teams’, and their specific events.

“We
bought it in South Carolina, where they make this kind of stuff,” said Lim.
“Nissan trucks were kind enough to give us a big V8 Titan, so we’re pulling
this thing around with a big old Nissan and we’re going to be hitting different
events to promote Skratch Labs, our exercise hydration mix [Secret
Drink Mix]
, the new book [The Feed Zone Cookbook],
and all things food and drink, as they relate to cycling and sports
performance.”

Lim and Thomas working their new kitchen trailer

Though Lim has an almost iconic reputation among athletes —
one that led Lance Armstrong himself to hire Lim away from Garmin when he came
back with RadioShack — he is no longer working with a single pro road outfit.
Currently Lim and Thomas are working full-time on Skratch Labs, though, Lim
also maintains coaching/consulting relationships with a number of athletes.
“I’m basically a free agent right now,” said Lim. “The idea [for the food
trailer] basically stems from my experience working with the professional
cycling teams, and that experience was that no matter what we tried to do in
terms of getting them information and knowledge about nutrition, and their
diets unless we actually showed them how to do it, and actually cook for them
all of it goes to sh*t; that’s what the cookbook is all about and what the
Secret Drink Mix is all about — real food, less crap.”

Lim and Thomas acknowledge that they’ve just turned onto a
hard road. “We’re a start up company,” he said. “We’re really, really small.
We’re financing this all on our own with what we can sell and what we can make;
and we though how can we promote this concept and what we’re doing in a
different way, and how do we service these athletes that I’m still working
with?”

Lim’s rice cakes have been a staple of his program since his days with
Garmin-Transitions

That’s where the food trailer comes in. Lim says that for
most athletes things go awry when they hit the
road and start eating at restaurants. So his solution is to show them that
‘performance’ eating is relatively easy to do, should they find its reasons
compelling enough; and like with the pros Lim worked with on the teams, he
figured that the easiest way is to show them. And he sees it as a natural
marketing venue.

“Rather than just another tent at an expo, we can draw a crowd
by offering people with great nutritious food at these events, rather than
having them go to the Denny’s,” said Lim.

“The bigger thing though, is that Skratch Labs is about
innovation and education. We’re super interested in better
ways to take care of athletes. It’s about creating a culture that looks at
sports nutrition in a different way. Instead of micro and macro elements and
chemicals, and trying to push the new hot chemical or idea, it’s about getting
back to our basic roots of eating real food, whole foods, and cooking from Skratch.”

Trial done, full season ahead                  

Tim Johnson’s Ride on Washington finished up on 20
March and from there Lim and Thomas packed up their new food trailer and
Titan for the 1,700 mile journey back to headquarters Boulder, CO. The duo has
plans to use the weeklong experience of feeding 40 riders, to further kit the
trailer, before they wrap it in logos: 
‘Performance foods Skratch Labs driven by Nissan,’ and head for
California. “Cooking for that many people, is a lot more than cooking for eight guys at the Tour of California,” he
said. “It’s been a great experience, it’s been worth it, but for Biju and I
it’s definitely been a challenge.”

Surviving 5 days working 3am to 10pm served a true trial by
cooktop for Lim and Thomas

After re-kitting the trailer, Skratch Labs will attend the
Sea Otter Classic, where they will feed the Primal Wear/MapMyRide women’s road
team and offer food for sale to the festivalgoers. From there it’s two weeks
working exclusively for Levi Leipheimer, who, at that point, will be in his
final preparations for the 2012 Amgen Tour of California. For those two weeks,
Thomas will cook, and Lim will pilot a scooter to polish the riders’ form.

“We’re giving these guys not only the nutrition, but the
nourishment they need after these long events,” said Lim. “Nutrition is
thinking that we’re smarter than nature; that there are X, Y, and Z compounds
that we need to get back in the body after a hard event. Nourishment is
thinking about the big picture, and thinking about the whole, and the person,
whether or not they’re happy, whether or not they’re excited about the food,
and thinking about whether or not they feel good after they eat the food we
provide them.”

After their work with Leipheimer, Skratch Labs will hope to
support a team in the Tour of California. “Anyone that’s interested can hire us
out,” said Lim.

From there they’ll jump from event to event, including
charity rides, bike races, triathlons, and marathons. You’ll see them at
Colorado’s USA Pro Cycling Challenge and maybe an event near you. “We’re way
beyond just racing,” said Lim, “and that feels good for me, where I am right
now in my career, to be more socially responsible and to start to be an
advocate for different causes.”

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