Weekend Reading: Fuel Up for Big Adventures with Powerful Oatmeal Pancakes with Blueberry and Banana

Every event you do is an end unto itself and a prelude to your next adventure. Last week I was in France, riding several stages of the Tour de France route with a great group of cyclists. Next week I’m racing the Power of Four mountain bike race in Aspen, CO. The two are completely unrelated but for me they are part of progression that enables me to achieve my goals.

During that private camp in France we rode more than 450 miles and climbed just shy of 60,000 feet. We rode the Tour’s iconic passes through the Alps, and rode the entire Alpe d’Huez stage, from the start. Getting to the summit of the Alpe for the first time was an eye-opening experience for several riders, not just because of the insane crowds or the difficulty of the climb itself, but because they’d experienced all the miles before the Alpe.

One of the things I love about taking riders on the full course of a big race, like we also do with the USA Pro Challenge and Tour of California, is that it gives athletes a real appreciation for what professional cyclists can do. Climbing the Alpe, or Independence Pass, or Mount Diablo is hard when you’re fresh, but it’s a completely different experience when you have 4+ hours in your legs already.

A week removed from the Tour camp, having rested well and eaten thoughtfully, I’m feeling quite good. And now I shift my eyes forward to next week, where I hope to leverage this bump in my fitness to achieve a good result – or at least a fun ride – at the Power of Four.

Go big. Rest. Go big again, only faster.

That’s the pattern I’ve been utilizing in recent summers. In the winter and spring, I ride more frequently and use shorter, harder workouts (essentially Time-Crunched Cyclist-style training) to gain fitness. Once I get to the Tour of California Race Experience, I transition into a schedule dominated by big-stimulus events and training blocks. Just look at this year, at least through August: ATOC in May, Dirty Kanza 200 on June 1, Epic MTB Camp in June, TDF Camp in July, Power of Four and USA Pro Challenge in August.


The bigger the stimulus, the more rest you need afterward, and if you plan it well you also see significant bumps in fitness. But to successfully progress through a schedule like this, you have to have patience. You have to take enough rest following big hits like 800 miles in 8 days at the ATOC so you get the positive adaptation; if you return to heavy training too early you just cook yourself. Then you go to the next big event fatigued. You struggle through it, and you’re so broken down that you don’t really achieve a positive training adaptation from it. And pretty soon you’re sick, or injured, or just mentally fried.

Me? I’m still raring to go! I’ve done a lot of events already this year, but I’m ready and excited for more. And the Power of Four on August 8 should be just the training stimulus I need to be ready for the US Pro Challenge from August 19-25. Po4 has 9,000 feet of climbing in just 36 miles of singletrack, which should make for quite a challenging day! And since it’s a relatively early start, I’ve been thinking about the pre-race breakfast I’m going to make before Power of Four, and I’ve included the recipe for awesome Oatmeal Pancakes with Blueberries and Banana below. These are some powerful pancakes!

Oatmeal Pancakes with Blueberries and Banana

I make a big batch of the dry ingredients in this recipe to cut down on the time and effort in the morning. One of the biggest differences between this recipe and typical pancake mix is the fact that it’s sweetened by blueberries and banana instead of relying on added sugar in the dry ingredients. You can use regular milk if you don’t have buttermilk on hand, and frozen, unsweetened blueberries work in the winter.

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Yield: 8 pancakes, two 4-pancake servings

3/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 egg
1 small banana, mashed with a fork (1/3 cup)
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 cup blueberries
Nonstick cooking spray


  1. Stir together oatmeal, buttermilk, egg and banana in a medium bowl, until oatmeal is well coated. In another bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Whisk flour mixture into buttermilk mixture until combined. Add blueberries, and stir gently to incorporate.
  2. Lightly coat a non-stick skillet with nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. When skillet is hot, drop batter by 1/4-cupfulls and reduce heat to medium. Cook until pancake is golden brown, and holding together well, about 3 minutes.  Flip and cook until bottom is golden and pancake cooked through, about 2 minutes more. Serve hot with maple syrup or a squeeze of lemon juice.

Nutritional Information

Total Calories per serving: 337kcal
Carbohydrate: 60g
Protein: 13g
Fat: 5g


Have  a Great Weekend,
Chris Carmichael
CEO/Head Coach
Carmichael Training Systems

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