Wednesday, February 23, 2011

2010 Callville Bay Classic Bike Race Photos

Tomorrow is the start of the 2011 Callville Bay Classic bike race. The four-day stage race kicks off with a star stage (for some), time trial on Friday, road race on Saturday, and criterium on Sunday. The rider with the fastest time after the third event wins the overall general category in their classification. More on this later!
Last year I took tons of photos I did not get a chance to share until now. There are 200+ additional photos that are currently being uploaded to this album of last year's time trail (so please check back).
2010-02-26_Callville Bay Classic TT
Unfortunately I didn't take many photos of the road race the next day. It is hard to because the course spans many miles and maneuvering a car along the narrow and windy one-way road can be risky.
2010-02-27_Callville Bay Classic RR web album

The criterium on the last day is always a fun event to watch. Since the course is a short loop that the riders repeat, the view is a little more friendly to spectators.
2010-02-28_Callville Bay Classic CR web album
Best of luck to everyone--especially our friends!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

In Good Company

If it weren't for my friend Kaelin, I wouldn't have ridden my bike today. The weather was icky--cold, windy with clouds threatening to pour rain...again. In the shelter of her garage, we rode our bikes on our trainers (an activity if done solo can be mighty boring). For a while we had the garage door open to let in fresh air and sunshine when the weather had cleared. She has a really nice setup in the garage with music and a big t.v. but we had each other and our conversations to keep us company. An hour and a half went by before we had to part so I could get home and prepare for dinner.
When evening came, John and I met our friends at Republic Kitchen & Bar just after 6:30 p.m.. We had not seen Theresa and Mickey since two Christmas past so there was much to catch up on. Naturally conversing with folks who are so down to earth and easy to talk to came effortlessly. We shared the tuna nachos and everything about our meal from the main course to dessert was just fabulous. John and Theresa ordered the meatloaf dinner served in t.v. dinner tray--I thought it was such cute a presentation, LOL. I had seared ahi tuna and Mickey ate short ribs. Before we knew it, the clock clicked past 10 p.m. - later than all of our bed times.
When training indoors and dinner goes by way too fast...that's how I know I was in good company!
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Thursday, February 17, 2011

What's For Dinner Tonight?

From Martha Stewart Living - Everyday Food
This is a question we are always asking in our household. Since I started subscribing to Everyday Food's Dinner Tonight where I get daily dinner idea texts to my phone, I almost always have an answer. This is how it works:
  1. Subscribe to get Dinner Tonight by text (and e-mail)
  2. You will receive an SMS message each day with a recipe idea. For example, Today's recipe is: Pork Chops with Oranges and Parsley (one of the many quick, easy recipes.)
  3. If you like the dinner idea, reply to the text with the word "cook" and you'll receive a shopping list SMS text to your phone and the corresponding recipe to your e-mail. This way you can review the shopping list to find out what you have in stock and what you need to pick up from the grocery store on the way home.
  4. When you get home, check your e-mail for the recipe and start cooking!
You can also get Dinner Tonight on your iPhone or skip the texting and get daily recipes in your e-mail Inbox: http://www.marthastewart.com/everyday-food. It works for me and our schedule so if you try it, I hope it also works well for you.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Spanish Chicken with Saffron Rice

Since John felt guilty about the hamburger and fries he ate for lunch instead of the healthier fare he packed, I made this Spanish Chicken with Saffron Rice dish to detoxify him (recipe below). Actually I don't know anything about detoxifying nor am I an expert on eating healthy. John and I just try to eat plenty of vegetables and fruits and make meals that are tasty but easy to cook up.

Yesterday I noticed this recipe in the March issue of Bicycling magazine (which by the way is a great magazine). I usually try to stick to simple recipes that call for few ingredients but I just happen to have all of them at hand so I decided to give it a whirl. It is actually pretty good! With a little help from spices, the flavors come from all of the vegetables--and there are plenty: red onions, carrots, bell peppers, diced tomatoes, green olives, parsley, peas, and lemon juice). According to the recipe, this serves 4 (most likely very hungry cyclists) but this could probably feed six to eight people. We will surely have leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

(Click to enlarge photo. Sorry for the oil spatters, LOL.)
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Not in My Mouth

I am glad these hot pink horse pills screamed "don't swallow me" because I am allergic to them. John's prescription bottles were intermingled with mine and I didn't look at the label prior to opening this one. During absent-minded times like this, I appreciate the effort put in to the manufacturing of medicine in order to distinguish these pink oblong tablets from the peach round ones I'm taking. The colors and number imprints serve not only as check and balance for the pharmacy but for the consumer as well. Yuck...I don't like taking prescribed medications let alone daily vitamins.
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Monday, February 14, 2011

Taco Soup and Cranberry Pineapple Fizzle Recipe

I get asked for grandma's Taco Soup recipe quite often so I thought I would post this for the ease of sharing. Enjoy!
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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunny Day Taunting Me to Play

Elgy must be thinking what I'm thinking--what a beautiful sunny day it is to go out and play in. Like plastic grocery bags and curling ribbons taunting Havi to eat them, the clear sunny day beckons me to go outside and ride my bike.
If Havi didn't learn lessons from throwing up each time she eats things she shouldn't eat, I haven't learned my lesson from going out when I don't feel good either. I thought I would be okay taking a little bike ride around the neighborhood with my friend Wendy. We met at Starbucks on Green Valley and rode down Wigwam, Lake Mead Parkway to the River Mountains Trail and back. We rode just over 31 miles and stopped at Brooklyn Bagels for coffee and a snack when we were done.
Afterward I was ready to crash on the couch. My sinus paid the price from the wind blowing dust and particles up my nose. That was yesterday. Today is a new day, and thank goodness for meds -- I feel better and...just maybe, I just might suit up and get out there. Sunday is only here but once a week!
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Pain and Suffering

I think I am starting to understand why our cat, Havi, repeatedly eats the handles off plastic grocery bags and curling ribbons even though she always hacks it up moments later. Why (when I use to drink) we swear never to drink again after a night of binging only to turn back to the bottle a week later...or even the very same day. The reason behind pushing ourselves on the bike beyond our lungs burning and legs screaming for relief.

(pausing at Blue Diamond for refreshments)
Do we do it for the end result of pain and suffering or is it because we desire to be our best, the pleasure from alcohol, or chewiness of plastic bags and curling ribbons that lead us to this end? Havi might say pleasure before pain and I would say pain before pleasure (a tough bike ride is always fun after it's over). Especially after the ride I went on last weekend, Sufferfest, where I wanted to turn back before it even started.

(descending from Mountain Springs and view of the Strip)
The ride was something like two loops around the Red Rock Scenic route, up to the peak of Mountain Springs (Potosi Pines) and back to do one or two more loops around the Red Rock Scenic loop, totaling 92 miles. The first group left from Starbucks on Charleston. I joined the second group leaving from Dunkin' Donuts. We took the Red Rock Loop, stopped at Blue Diamond, and then headed up towards Potosi.

I struggled the entire time and despite the helpful pushes I was given, I kept falling behind. I watched the group slowly pedal away from me; I couldn't keep up with the pace but I didn't want them to slow down for me either. My legs couldn't pedal faster, my lungs couldn't take in any more air. At one point, I was ready to crack. If I stopped I was too far away from the car. If I rode back I would battle the windy day alone. A knot formed in my throat...I had nothing left to do but cry from the pressure mounting inside and feel sorry for myself. The week of disappointments had taken its toll on me.

Then my friend Kaelin must have read my mind. She soft pedaled and slowed down from the group until I caught up with her. She also wanted to stop and I was relieved to hear I was not alone. Whether she truly wanted to stop or not, I felt encouraged to have her to ride alongside so we continued on, climbing slowly up Route 160 to Potosi Pines. We chatted along the way during which she shared one of the basics of Buddhism - the cause of suffering.

(view of Red Rock area during the long descent from Potosi Pines)
She reminded me of when I first started riding, every increase in the road's grade was "a hill" to me, and I desired to be where I was at...riding over them like it was nothing. I am that person I wanted to be and I had forgotten how far I have come. But most of us always want more and desire more even after we've achieved our goals, and in doing so leads to suffering. We can stop the pain, even if for a moment, by recognizing and rewarding ourselves for what we have accomplished. Until the next time we are out there pushing ourselves again or eating plastic bags until we upchuck.

Spam, Eggs, and Toast

Woke up to coffee, spam, eggs, and toast. I am feeling better today :-)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Easy Black Bean Soup

I made this last night and Johnny LOVED it. A great meal for these cold evenings with plenty leftover for lunch.
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Sunday, February 06, 2011

Sunrise

Looks like soft rolling waves in the sky.

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Saturday, February 05, 2011

F is for

FUN time riding from Lake Mead entrance station on Northshore Road past Callville and back for about 43.5 miles. Great group ride!
FRIENDS I am so lucky to have to ride with. Eric gave me several pushes, Dylan encouraged me uphill, Kaelin wouldn't let me give up, and all the new friends I made who gave me a wheel to draft when I struggled.

I met Wendy at the entrance station after my group ride. We rode along Lakeshore Drive/River Mountains Trail. Today was Wendy's second bike ride and she clocked 21 miles. I am so proud of her because I could only do 7 to 12 miles per ride when I started! She also rode up the hills very well.
Of course we were ready to scarf down some good FOOD so we went to Bangkok 9 Thai Restaurant. Had lettuce wraps, panang curry with beef, and chicken and shrimp pad thai! Yum-yum!!

For dinner I drove to Boulder City for dinner at John's parents' home. We had crusty bread with salad, chicken spinach pasta, and pineapple cake with tea. Absolutely delicious and the best part was FAMILY time!!
John is at a bike race in San Diego while I stay home with the kitties. Poor Elgy...perched on a pillow without his lap to settle on.

Several of my teammates are also at the same race. My helmet is off to all of them for their participation because I heard it is a steep and difficult course. Well they will not be the only one suffering.

I will share their pain tomorrow by attempting to ride 92 miles which will be my longest distance yet. It is not a race but a group ride appropriately named Sufferfest! Hope I will still have legs to stand on when I'm done.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Feels Good

I read that leisure spending was the only type of consumption that bumped up bliss levels--so much so that "a $20,000 increase in spending on leisure was roughly equivalent to the happiness boost one gets from marriage," said a professor who conducted a study examining how spending money and/or being married affected happiness. Hmm...maybe that's why buying new cycling stuff feels so good.

While we only spent a fraction of that amount on my road bike, I have to agree that there is some truth to the research. I rode it for the first time today with a permagrin on my face. Perhaps it had nothing to do with spending money and more to do with the fact that I was pedaling down the road, enjoying the sun and fresh air alongside my sweetheart. I have been off the bike since the race last Saturday and I was starting to feel the winter blues with the weather being so cold and dreary.

We cruised around the neighborhood for an hour, stopped at Starbucks for coffee and snacks, and visited the Bike Shop before we rode home logging 20 miles. I like my new two-wheeler.

My faithful bike found a good home. I will miss "Trusty" but I'll always remember our adventures together uphill, downhill, even a couple good crashes, and, of course, a first road race for both of us.

Whether it is tens, hundreds, or thousands of dollars spent, a bicycle is worth every penny. It certainly feels good to be on the road again and so I couldn't help but go out one more time for another hour and a half ride.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Why Continue Training

"We know that the effects of training are temporary. I cannot put fitness in the bank. If inactive, I will detrain faster than it took me to get in shape. And since my entire persona is influenced by my running program, the sedentary life will inexorably reduce my mental and emotional well-being.

So, I run each day to preserve the self I attained the day before. And coupled with this is the desire to secure the self yet to be. There can be no letup. If I do not run, I will eventually lose all I have gained--and my future with it."
Dr. George Sheehan wrote this in his last essay on running and it's a good explanation for why athletes continue training. This was published in Runner's World magazine and reminds me to keep pedaling.

My husband rides almost every day even on his rest days because he feels better physically and psychologically, and he sleeps better. I admire his devotion to training and although I may not always get up off the couch, it motivates me to see his diligence.

The long cold winter has the best of me right now but I am reminded to keep trying in order to preserve all that I've worked so hard to gain--my health and well-being.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Winter Misery

I don't know about you but I am starting to really not like winter. It is a season that typically wreaks havic with my mood but this round has been pretty mild. Thanks to cycling which gets me outside for the fresh air and sunlight. Today it is not only freezing outside but it is just as cold inside. I want to eat, eat, eat and hibernate!