Sunday, November 30, 2008

Cyclocross Saturday #8, Thanksgiving, and Other Stuff

Saturday was my 8th race of the season. It was the toughest/roughest race for me. At the start of the race a few of us were joking around about who was going to lead out the pack. We had about 50 yards of straight, wide road from the start to the first turn and then it funneled down to single track. I wanted to be with the lead group going into the singletrack so I wouldn't get stuck in the pile up. The starter called out the start and before I knew it I was leading us out of the start. I immediately realized my mistake and slowed some and was riding in second place before a third of the way through the first lap. I held my position with the lead group through the first two laps and slowly started to feel the fade coming on. I road strong and stayed with the lead group in about 5th place until lap three. There was one treacherous section with a short hill climb, hairpin turn at the top, and wet leaf covered roots at the bottom.

During the second lap I was behind 4th place going through this turn when he wrecked on the downhill. It slowed me up some as I worked passed him and then had to ride hard to try and catch the leaders. On the third lap I wrecked in the exact same spot. The bad part was the bike started sliding sideways before I wrecked so when I hit the ground my feet didn't come out the pedals. I extricated myself after a few second, hopped back on and started riding. I immediately felt a pain my lower left leg but kept riding anyway. It took me a lap to get my back in the game. By that time it was the last lap and I dropped a lot of positions. Then it was the last lap and I was determined not to drop anymore.

I finished in a demoralizing 17th place for my race division. Valuable lessons were learned and experience gained. My entire left shin was a lumpy, swollen, scratched mess that hurt just sitting there. It almost bruised (I don't bruise very easily). It is just showing a little discoloration. I am guessing when I went down my left slammed into one of the exposed tree roots.

The day wasn't a complete loss though. After each race they do a small raffle of cycling gear for the race participants. I was the second named called and I walked away with a Pearl Izumi Optik Jacket in 'screaming yellow'. It's going to be a great jacket for spring/fall days when the temps are moderate and the winds are blowing.

The last cross race of the season is this coming Saturday. I will admit I will be a little relieved when it's over. I know I know, that may seem a little odd to some because I do love the cyclocross, however, I am ready for ski season to begin for me. I've put off mounting my new skis to avoid all temptation until cross season was over. Fortunately (and unfortunately) Mother Nature decided to withhold the snow and all skiing temptation that accompanies every snowfall.

With that update out of the way we had a great Thanksgiving. We went up to my mom's house in Logan on Thursday for the Thanksgiving feast. I took my first shot at making pumpkin pie, which I might add, turned out delicious! Apparently I used the 'wrong' recipe though. When I told my grandma that I made the pies she said "you used the good recipe right?" I said I used the one on the can of pumpkin. I received a 'look' and I said "someone told me that's what recipe you use". The pies were still delicious but now I know better for next time. Unfortunately I didn't make the pie crust like I said I was going to try and do.

The rest of the weekend was a fantastic array of not doing much and just hanging out with Jessica and Penelope. Saturday we went to eat at California Pizza Kitchen. It was a total let down! We used to love that place but the food wasn't good. They just didn't deliver like they have in the past. After dinner we went to see the lights at Temple Square. We parked by our old apartment downtown and enjoyed the moderate temps and the beautiful night to be out. We reminisced about when we lived downtown, what we liked and didn't like about it, life before Penelope, and how it was close to this same two years ago (December 2nd to be exact) that we went to look at the lights and then Penelope was born the next day!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Made From Scratch Sunday

Lately there have been some things that I've wanted to try making and I kept putting it off for a later time. Yesterday was the culmination of the procrastination. Not quite sure what got into me but yesterday I made the following:

  • Creme Brulee

  • Wheat Bread (new recipe)

  • Kettle Corn

It wasn't anything fancy or special but it was fun to make things I had been wanting to try.

Back when Jessica and I were dating I spent a few months working at the Cadillac Grille in Jackson Hole, WY. While working there I had my first exposure to creme brulee. I didn't actually make the custard, I made the presentation by carmelizing the sugar and making it look nice. Cheffie was kind enough to give me the recipe and it took me six years to make it. All in all it turned out pretty good. Of course I need to perfect the making of the custard and brush the rust off the presentation, but it tasted delicious!

For the wheat bread I tried a new recipe. It tastes all right, but I didn't let it raise enough and it is dense! The loaf is squatty and heavy. I think the problem is either I didn't let it raise enough or I didn't activate the yeast correctly. I definitely need to try making it again.

Kettle corn...I love kettle corn. Sometimes I buy a little bag when we go someplace that makes it fresh (last time was at the zoo). Mostly we just eat the microwave variety. I got to thinking that it probably isn't hard to make. I did a couple Google searches and found a recipe worth trying. I must say it turned out quite tasty (Jessica thought so too)! It only took a few minutes, cost a fraction of a microwave bag, and tasted just as good if not better!

It was nice to be in the kitchen again. Lately I've been too busy/lazy to really do anything. Next up I'm trying my hand at pie and pie crust!

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Thing that Shouldn't Happen to Your Bike Tire

I got to my bike this evening only to find a flat rear tire. I remembered I had an old tube in it that might have a leaky patch. I decided to pump it up to see if I could make it home. About two blocks later I got a new hole and enjoyed the loud and fast hissing sound as my tire deflated.

I took my wheel off my bike and decided to use my spare tube instead of patching the tube on the side of the road. I put it in and started pumping it up. I have my old cross tires on the bike and the extra tube was a road tube. Someone recently told me they use road tubes in their cross tires and just pump them up extra. Well I pumping it up and this happened:

(Yes that is a piece of a 'Princess Puzzle' that you see through the spokes. A sign that I have a 2 year old daughter). Sounded like a gun went of next to my ear. Luckily it blew out to the side and not into my face. Please note two things in the picture:

  1. The size of the hole in the tube
  2. Just above the hole in the tube you'll notice the wire bead from the tire. Yup the force blew a hole through my tire! Needless to say I had to call Jessica to come pick me up.

The crazy part is the tire pressure wasn't that high, 50 maybe 60 psi. Lesson learned. Some people say to just use road tubes in your cross tires, I say don't do it!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Cross Saturdays #5 & #6

So I'm a slacker, two cross races have past and I haven't said anything about them.

Two weeks ago the race was out at the Rocky Mountain Raceway. This was my favorite race of the series so far. The race consisted of riding on a course that BMX bikes or dirt bikes would ride on, a short pavement section, a gravel parking lot section, and a short dirt section. The race was awesome. There were a lot of whooptie-woos, rollers, a massive, steep uphill section, and some challenging gravel. The morning started off rough as I crashed twice during my first warm up lap.

What made the race even better is I had dressed up like a Mexican wrestler. People in Utah take cross way too seriously. Look at cross anywhere else in the country and people dress up and have fun.

The race went well. I wrecked twice during the race. The first time wasn't bad but it was about 30 second after the start. I got my foot down and was back up and going without losing a place. The second time was with 2 or 3 laps to go. I wrecked turning from the gravel to the pavement. I must have hit a couple rocks right as I got on the pavement. I went down hard. I got a big raspberry on the back of my right leg (I opted to not take pictures as they would be been a little inappropriate) and I tore my cycling shorts. I rode hard and was fortunate to finish 2nd.

Race number 6 for me was this past Saturday back at the Wasatch Fairgrounds in Heber. This time the course was muddy. In some sections it was probably close to 4 inches deep. I went out hard from the start, was in the lead group through the first lap, I moved into first during the second lap, wrecked on a muddy turn, dropped to second place, then I completely blew up on the third lap and maintained fourth place through the rest of the race. Jessica and Penelope stayed home from this race so I don't have any pictures. I was extremely pleased with my finish. The course was extremely challenging with all the mud.

This weekend is an off weekend as we are going to Lava Hot Springs in southern Idaho for a little family trip. I'll pick right back up the following weekend and will rally the remaining three races of the season.