Saturday, October 30, 2010

Saturday in SLO

Saturday morning was wet from the rain overnight so we didn't get to ride our bikes. A warm breakfast at the Apple Farm Restaurant sounded more fitting for a morning where the low fog hovered over the hills behind us (seems they have trouble climbing like me, LOL). We ate enough carbs to put us in a diabetic coma but the fresh baked muffins and scones were too good to miss! The omelet with a side of hash and biscuit was enough to feed us for the whole day.
After breakfast we met up with our friends and the whole family drove down to Solvang to watch the CycloCross bike race. The competition took place in the beautiful Kylera Winery. By then the bright and shiny sun had peeked through the clouds so it was a pleasant time to be there.
Watching the riders push and sweat through the hills worked up our appetites so we went to the Solvang Restaurant for lunch. Well...to be honest, we were really after the Aebleskivers -- tennis ball shaped Danish waffle-pancake thingies with strawberry jam dribbled on top and dusted with powdered sugar. Oh -- they were SO GOOD!! We purchased our very own pan so we can make some at home.
The town of Solvang itself is a neat place and we plan to visit again when we have more time to explore the shops.  We had so much fun together but it was time to leave.

We headed home to do our own bike riding and cyclocross event! John and I rode just outside of San Luis Obispo for about 24 miles before we needed to head back to the Apple Farm before dark. While our friends got ready for their Halloween party, it was time for us to get ready for dinner.
Dinner was at McPhee's Grill in what I would consider the middle of nowhere (I guess I'm use to the lights of Las Vegas that brighten every street).  But what a beautiful place it was.  Warm, cozy and the food ... THE FOOD was absolutely delicious.  John had rib eye with salsa with a side of jalapeno cheese mashed potatoes and goat cheese stuffed poblano chile peppers.  I had the oak grilled filet mignon with blue cheese butter, bordelaise sauce, and garlic mashed potatoes. SO, SO good!!  We skipped the dessert and opted for coffee.
After all, fresh milled hot apple cider and cookies await us back in our room. We tucked ourselves in and fell asleep to the flickering flames from the fireplace. I have to admit that the cool weather made for a nice day.

Sugar for the Soul

Good advice...
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Friday, October 29, 2010

SLO Time

We are here in San Luis Obispo (SLO) enjoying a quiet morning eating breakfast cooked up by John's long-time friend. Hash browns, Mickey Mouse waffles, and fresh eggs laid by the chickens in the family's back yard. Yum-yum!! Then we drove off in a Pinzgauer to Art's Cyclery. Our friend Aaron needed some bike accessories and I picked up some cool weather gloves for our ride tomorrow if the weather stays dry.
By mid-morning we checked in to our room at the Apple Farm. Hard to believe after the huge breakfast that we were ready to have lunch so we went to High Street Deli. John ordered a meatloaf sandwich and I chose the Fireworks (turkey, avocado, bacon, red onions, jalapeno, smoked cheddar cheese, dijon mustard, and mayo) -- the sandwich was "spicy" and delicious!! I could have used more heat so we sat on the patio while we ate lunch to soak up the day's sun.

Now it was time to visit the Avila Family Barn to check out their pumpkin selection, fresh produce, and the gift and candy store. What a neat place! Check out their website: http://www.avilavalleybarn.com/farm_stand.html
Then John and I wandered down the Port San Luis pier. The afternoon was very still and quiet but sunny. The seals were on the deck bathing in the sun. Some were napping (John could hear them snore, LOL) and once in a while they would stir after waking up from their slumber looking groggy and smacking their lips.
The evening soon came and we made our way to downtown SLO for a little shopping and settle at Mo's Smokehouse BBQ for dinner. We had the BBQ chicken sandwich and BBQ pork sandwich with coleslaw on top and side of BBQ baked beans, sweet potato fries, cornbread, and garden salad.  I think our eyes were larger than our tummy, LOL!! A nice walk after dinner was due after that meal!

Now we are settled in bed with tea and cookies.  Hope the weather is nice tomorrow so we can go riding and after that to Solvang because I have never been and to watch a cyclocross bike race.
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Fog in the Air and Roosters Crowing

It's nice to get out of town and see old friends :-)
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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Good Morning!

Happy Sunday. High of 80s today, breezy, with a chance of napping in the afternoon after this morning's team ride.
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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Ride to Friendly Donut

For the best donuts in town!! ...and coffee.
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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Red Rock Canyon Loop

When my friend Kaelin asked me if I have ever ridden the Red Rock Canyon loop I responded "no, I haven't!".  I have driven it but have never gone through on a bike.  Then I was wary and wondered if I should even ride the scenic route in the first place and would I want to take the same route again if I had done so previously after hearing that there are some climbs (not my favorite activity).  But the adventurous spirit in me couldn't resist exploring new territory on two wheels and though I was in Red Rock for the Goldilocks ride the day before I so wanted to see the beautiful dessert again.
Early Saturday morning, my team met at the Dunkin' Donuts on Charleston. I grabbed a French cruller (sp?) and coffee for some courage. Then we rode off.

I prepared myself mentally after we entered the fee station and soon after we started ascending.  I knew I had to pace myself, not knowing how steep the hills would get.  Let's see...five miles at an incline and speed of X miles per hour--yeah, it was going to take me a while.  I remember at one point I was pedaling 5 miles per hour and I nearly came to a stop.  I wanted to steer left and roll downhill, LOL but my teammate Monique encouraged me on.

Finally there was relief, downhill for several yards and I saw the rest of my teammates waiting at High Point Overlook and I knew the peak was there!  All of a sudden I caught a second wind and found the strength to pedal up hill, a big smile on my face as I reached the top.  I DID IT!!  It was all downhill from there (except for a little kicker of a hill).  The rest was so freakin' fun and by the time the ride was over, I had all but forgotten about the grueling ride up.  We had ridden just over 40 miles.

It was nice to hear one of my teammates voice the same thoughts I had during the really challenging moments riding to the top of the Red Rock Canyon Loop.  He shared a quote about cycling which is also one of John's favorite quotes by Greg Lemond who said, "It never gets easier, you just go faster."  Perhaps one day I will not be the last!
I got a flat tire just after Blue Diamond.  My teammate Chris helped me change the tube and then we met up with everyone at a quick mart.  I saw a "Found Dog" post that was funny.  It reads, "Looks like Papilla...Small...(I can't read the next line but the following was too funny)...4 legs + 1 Tail..." and I thought, that must not be a given thing around here!!  How about a coat color ... or?  Well, I hope the owner reunites with their pet.

Later in the day I saw the sun's rays through a dense cloud and took this photo.
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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hail

...and lightning and lots of rain. Nice!

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Fisher Space Pen

This pen is so neat!  See how the gift box holder looks like the moon with craters?

"Beginning in 1945, Paul Fisher and his Associates have been using their devotion to accuracy, integrity, and fairness to improve the ballpoint pen.

When the astronauts began to fly in outer space, Fisher realized they needed a more dependable pen.  So, in July 1965, he invented the pressurized Space Pens and submitted the first ones to Dr. Robert Gilruth, Director of NASA's Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, Texas.

After rigorous testing, in 1967, NASA selected the Fisher Space Pens for use on the Apollo Missions.  They are now used in all manned space flights - American and Russian.

The Space Pen technology starts with a non-skip textured tungsten-carbide ball encased in a stainless steel ball socket, designed and machined to almost perfect precision.  The sealed ink cartridge is pressurized at about 45 pounds per square inch [that's about half of my bike's tire pressure] and contains a visco-elastic, thixotropic, solid-gel ink.

The result is a ballpoint pen that will write dependably smooth upside down, underwater [great for pool parties], over grease, in extreme cold and hot temperatures [even in extreme heat of Las Vegas], with an estimated shelf-life of 100 years [it could outlast me]."  Read more interesting history here.

The best part is it is made in the U.S.A. -- right here in Boulder City, NV.  If you're passing by, stop into the factory store at 711 Yucca Street which is open weekdays from 8am-4pm.

John's parents gave him this pen years ago and until now, has never been used...and now it is mine!  Writes beautifully and it's small enough to fit in a clutch.  The cap fits on the end of the pen, extending it to full size to write comfortably.  This is one pen I will not be letting others borrow ;-)  They can get their own at http://www.spacepen.com.

Monday, October 18, 2010

This Family Likes to Eat

My sister sent me a belated birthday present with photos and a card from my niece. When I open the card, it greets me with, " I now pronounce you the most beautiful birthday princess in all the land!" In the package was something a wrist, something for my digestion, something for my breathe, snacks (jerky! and sesame crackers), noodles, and a dish sponge (believed to be made from a squash). All had a story behind them :-) and everything was edible except the bracelet and sponge. I certainly feel like it's my birthday again and know I am loved because I know she went through a lot of trouble to ship the package and my niece put some time in the card. Can you tell we like to eat?
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How Did He Know?

I needed some cheering up today. It matches my blouse exactly!
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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Goldilocks - Three is Company

Just when I thought riding could not be any more enjoyable, the women's only bike ride Goldilocks came to town. There was a 20, 40, and 60 mile route to choose from which toured through west Las Vegas (Summerlin, The Lakes communities, and Red Rock Canyon). My friend Kaelin and I met at Rainbow Family Park where the route started and ended to pick up our registration packet. Inside was a bunch of goodies--the cutest cowbell, a t-shirt, a knitted headband with a flower, notepad, etc. While we waited with the other women for our start time, there was plenty of snacks to eat such as pastries, fruit, yogurt, water, and gatorade while music played in the background. The cute Goldilocks jersey and bike chain bracelets for purchase were available.
Soon enough the 60-mile start time was upon us and our ride started with ten women at a time as to not clog up traffic. Until we could get safely to Charleston, there was police escort at the larger intersections. I was impressed with how well the route was marked. Not only were there signs on the corner pointing out turns, there were markers on the road matching our bracelets (pink = 60-miles, blue=40 miles, green=20 miles). What a clever idea for the women in deep conversation, "those are cute shorts" and "nice bike" -- who didn't have to remember or think about which way to go. It's enough effort for some of us to coordinate clipping in and out, balancing on two wheels, drinking out of our water bottles, and participate in girl-talk let alone keep track of where we need to go ;-P
Off the bat the ride started off well. The day was absolutely gorgeous -- sunny, clear, perfect temperature, just beautiful!! Kaelin and I befriended one of the riders named Tina from Utah (she's wearing the cute Goldilocks jersey). We chatted all the way from the urban area of Las Vegas through Red Rock -- well, the entire time LOL!! Her family rode along the ride, driving by offering health bars and things -- it was so cute LOL.  They also took this photo which I will always remember the day by.  There are also photos in the Goldilocks Las Vegas album on Facebook and some available for purchase on Zazoosh.
When we arrived at Blue Diamond the women of the MS Team were there to greet us. They held our bikes so we could enjoy the snacks and refreshments at the rest stop (this is a fully supported ride so we really didn't have to carry anything on us. There was even a support vehicle in case we had a flat). That was the 20-mile mark so then we turned around to head back to Rainbow Family Park and start the next loop. You can see the details of the route I tracked on Endomondo: http://www.endomondo.com/workouts/3526511. We finished second not too long after the first rider crossed the line.

I know this post does not do the ride justice because we had an ABSOLUTE ball!! The organizer and volunteers did a great job, the route was gorgeous and clearly marked, we enjoyed cruising alongside other women and other times played around with attacks and sprints, the snacks and lunch from Great Harvest was delicious -- I just had a great time. It was a wonderful experience for me on my first event ride and am so glad to have my friend Kaelin to enjoy it with and make a new friend along the way.
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Riding Solo

This past week was the first time I rode alone since I started riding.  John is on a training schedule and is either riding the trainer indoors or going too hard for me to try and keep up so we have to ride separately.

I will miss riding with him because we love sharing our time together on the road and enjoy listening to the breeze in our ears or chatting with each other.  At least there will be recovery days for John when I can ride with him.  Also, I now have teammates I can ride with!

In a way riding solo felt like taking off my training wheels :-)  I have to watch the traffic behind me and be aware of my surroundings.  Without John paving the way in front of me, I have to challenge myself to go up hills and not having a co-pilot meant I had to choose the path to ride.

I must admit I felt like I was in a pick-your-own-adventure book and I wanted to capture every place I rode to, old and new.  Not having to watch the wheel spinning in front of me meant I could look around the neighborhoods.  I cannot describe the feelings I felt but I hope in sharing these photos, you can see what I saw and experience the ride with me.


When I am on a safe open road, I will try to take a video too :-)

Tuscan Harvest Salad in the Rain

Wish I could say I made this followed by a mouth watering recipe but I cannot claim credit for the Tuscan Harvest Salad: mixed greens tossed with grilled chicken, mushrooms, bacon, almonds, Gorgonzola cheese, apples, dried cranberries, crispy lavoush and Tuscan Italian dressing. Super satisfying and the dressing is light.

I had a nice lunch with a friend at Brio Tuscan Grille at Town Square. We sat on the patio underneath an umbrella in the rain and then went shopping afterwards. It was a nice afternoon :-)

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He Loves Me

because he woke up earlier than he needed to make my water bottle and load up my bike for today's group ride through Red Rock with my team.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Gift from China

My friend brought back with her some 6,300 miles, souvenirs for me from her month long vacation to China. A precious Nyokki & Penne notebook with adorable drawings inside and the cutest wristlet (it's denim with sparkly hot pink fabric peeking through, has three compartments for phone, keys--the essentials, and a matching wrist strap). I absolutely love them!!!
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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Pioneers for the Day

M Resort & Casino
This Sunday's team ride (bike adventure) started at the M Resort & Casino. I rode my bike from home and intercepted the Team Fluid on the corner Las Vegas Boulevard South and Industrial Road. We pacelined two riders wide heading south along Las Vegas Boulevard for 15-20 miles to Jean where we stopped at a little gas station on the corner for our own fuel, water and power bars.
Pionner Saloon in Goodsprings, NV
Then we rode about 15 miles west on Nevada State Route 161 which runs along Goodsprings Road from Interstate 15 in Jean to Goodsprings, a small mining town founded in the 1860's with some interesting history. The world famous Pioneer Saloon was where actor Clark Gable drank after receiving news of the death of his wife, Carole Lombard, after her plane crashed on the nearby peaks of Mount Potosi.
Pioneer Saloon in Goodsprings, NV
Built in 1913, the saloon is one of the nation's oldest stamped-metal buildings still standing (the interior and exterior is made of patterned tin, some looking like bricks). Next to the saloon in the General Store which supplies staple foods to the locals of Goodsprings and it also has gourmet foods, grilling supplies, and a souvenir gift shop.

The two establishments were closed around the time our team was there after reading about the history of Goodsprings and the Pioneer Saloon, I look forward to my next ride and perhaps taking a tour of the saloon and town. The surrounding desert is so beautiful this time of the year--I wish I had taken more photos to show you.
By the time our ride was done, we clocked 3 1/2 hours and 60 miles.  Back in the city limits of Las Vegas, the memory of our morning was still vivid in my mind.  We may not have been the first pioneers of the little town back west, I sure felt like one with all the new places explored today!  I had so much fun riding with my teammates and cant' wait to do it again.

Simple Dinner for Sunday

  • Grilled chicken (shredded)
  • Green cabbage (shredded)
  • Red cabbage (shredded)
  • Tomatoes (diced)
  • Cilantro (chopped)
  • Onions - white and green (sliced or diced)
  • Black olives (sliced)
  • Lime (wedges)
  • Salsa (hot)
  • Cheddar cheese (shredded)
  • Hot pepper cheese (shredded)
  • Tabasco
  • Corn tortillas (grilled or warmed)

The cabbage adds a nice crunch to the taco.  I use to use shredded romaine lettuce until we had some at Taco Loco on our 7th day in Cabo.

One of the best things about making tacos, I like that I can dump all of the ingredients in a bowl the next day to make salad for lunch.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Home Already

cat on stairs
We rode through Anthem and had a mechanical failure along Horizon Ridge so our ride was short today. I did get a good time trial ride in!

A groggy Havi met me at the bottom of the stairs; I must have disturbed her nap.

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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Love of Our Lives

My mom gave me a hard time the other day about being childless. I explained to her the ways that our cats are our kids and she came around to understand my point of view even though she may not agree.
I also reminded her of what she told me when I was teenager who had made her hair gray prematurely.  She had warned me that when I have kids of my own, everything would be 10 times worse for me than it was for her.  For that very reason, I chose not to have children ;-P

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Tuesday, October 05, 2010

No Pain No Gain

I've been told that, in cycling, eventually you start to like pain. The pain you feel from the fire in your lungs pushing hard, the pain you feel in your legs when every muscle fiber is burns from pedaling uphill. I guess that's why they call it growing pains. Though I cannot say that I'm at that point where I enjoy self-inflicted pain, I've had my own share of growing pains. The good news is each day gets better and better (warning: you may not want to scroll too far down for there are images that may be too graphic).
at River Mountains Loop trailhead with Team Fluid
The last time I rode with Team Fluid through Boulder City, the climb up Little Italy left me with painful memories. It was hot, my legs and lungs were burning, and even though I was ascending it felt like I was descending in to the underworld. And so this past Sunday, I trained with my team and once again we rode up the steep neighborhood streets of the little town by Hoover Dam.

Going in to the climb I told myself I love hills, I love hills and I can do hard things, I can do hard things. Believe it or not, the second time up that hill was not as painful as I had remembered. I am not sure if it was the chanting, if my tolerance for pain increased, or if I just got better in cardio and strength. Whatever it was, I felt that I had improved from the last time! Even the ride out of Lake Mead area in to Boulder City was getting easier.
riding up US-93 from Lake Mead in to Boulder City
I have also improved in other areas. My skin is healing! The inside of my arm now has new pink skin so I am almost at the point where I can take off the Tegaderm, my second skin to keep out impurities and my skin from scabbing so it can heal from the inside out. My thigh and knee are mere scrapes now and I no longer have to keep them bandaged.
The bottom of my elbow is not quite there so I will have to take care of this road burn for another week. I have learned my lesson through this growing pain 1) don't ride too close behind anyone's wheel when I am tired and 2) crashing is costly--in bike parts and medical supplies, LOL!!
I am lucky to have a caring family. John helps me wrap the dressings each morning and Elgy gives them kisses at night.
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