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Arepa Cycling Magic, Part 1

October 15, 2011

Arepas on grill (

A door into the magical universe opens when you buy white corn meal flour with the intention of transforming it into arepas.

The urge to cook for pro-cyclists often strikes me – not to fatten them up but to offer them something they might miss during all their traveling, something to help them feel at home. After the Gobernacion de Antioquia-Indeportes Antioquia team, EPM-UNE team, and the Colombian riders on Team Exergy crossed the last USA Pro Cycling Challenge finish line in Denver, I caught myself wishing I had cooked arepas and carried them still warm to the team cars at a stage start. The arepa is a thick pancake that is especially associated with the Colombian Department of Antioquia, birthplace of many of the Colombian cyclists I admire and mention in this blog.

I have never cooked them. Now the off-season – and some magical Colombian force – invites me to practice.

Today I drove to the nearest Latin-American supermarket in Denver, the Avanza market, in search of the main ingredient. At the back of one of the aisles a row of shiny P.A.N. arepa flour bags greeted me. No other flour would do; Cycling Inquisition recommended this brand. I scooped a bag into my arms.

P.A.N. White corn meal for arepas

The magic began as I walked to my car, P.A.N. safely swinging in a white plastic grocery bag. The magic continued for at least seven hours. I write “at least” because there’s a good chance the magic will continue through the night.The magical events of the last seven hours, in order of appearance:

  • A gray baby pony on a lead clacked hooves on the Avanza asphalt behind my car.

Baby pony in Avanza market parking lot, Denver

  • The most glittering, outlandish cowboy hat rested on the head of a man standing on the west side of the Avanza parking lot.

Fanciful Hat in Avanza Parking Lot (Mary Topping)

  • My husband and I changed today’s plan to visit Rocky Mountain National Park to hear the bull elk bugle, an annual tradition I treasure. We hiked in an open-space park in Evergreen instead. I clicked the safety belt in place for the drive home and wondered where I stored the elk bugle CD at home. As we drove away a herd of female elk crossed the road in front of us. Their destination: the one male with a five or six point rack standing in the wheat-colored grass on the other side of the road. He bugled.
  • I feed my husband almost daily. He only knows how to cook hotdogs. Tonight he fixed dinner for us.

Tomorrow I’ll let you know how the first batch turns out. Cycling Inquisition supplied the recipe for a sweet variation of arepa. Save room.

P.S. As I type, I just received an email with answered interview questions that I had started to think would never come. The magic continues, now ten hours.

Continue with part 2 of Arepa Cycling Magic, here.

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  1. Arepa Cycling Magic, Part 2 « ProVéloPassion

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