In preparation for our trip to Chattanooga for the Ironman, we spent more time studying the bike and run courses than we did mapping out where to eat. We knew Chattanooga was a destination for climbers and other outdoor sports enthusiasts, but we didn't there would be so much Athlete Food there. Here are a few of the places we were fortunate to stumble upon during our 2 days in Chattanooga.
1. Local Juice - We were sold on this place before we even tried the juice. The shop is designed impeccably and the owner Trent Bockie (a former triathlete from Clermont!) was wearing a Cervelo t-shirt. I had the Tumeric Ginger Carrot juice and it was hands down the best fresh pressed juice I've had.
2. Grocery Bar - Our mom and dad discovered this grocery store/restaurant combo first and ordered us to go there after the race. On the shelves are perfectly curated groceries and a huge selection of beers. The back of the store is a restaurant where you can order food, do your shopping and then go back to eat when it's ready. I got a pulled pork dinner with cheese grits, kale and coleslaw for $9. It was more food than a starving (almost) Ironman could eat and really tasty.
3. Mean Mug Coffeehouse - Laurel and I wanted coffee with taste after experiencing one too many gas station "coffee waters" on our drive down from New York. Our wish was granted with Mean Mug's house brew, fittingly called Velo blend. If we weren't in pre-Ironman mode, we would have joined along with the rest of the crowd who were lingering over breakfast and laptops.
4. Holiday Inn Express Free Hot Breakfast - Ok, so this may not fit with the first three. A huge chain of hotels vs. locally owned small businesses serving organic locally sourced foods. BUT this breakfast blew us away when we stumbled down to the lobby the morning after the Ironman. Hot Cinnabon-like sticky rolls, eggs, turkey sausage, bacon...foods that people who spent 144 miles racing the day before NEED to eat. I was particularly happy with their selection of Udi's Gluten Free products. Those things aren't cheap! For triathletes racing Chattanooga next year, I'd recommend this hotel because it is really close to the transition and you just might get a sign from the staff like this...