Friday, February 29, 2008

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Thursday, Thirsty Monk

Just a note on a packing list. I created one in 2004 when I went to the Tour de France. It has been a great learning experience. I still pack TOO much for any trips. Since then I have modified it for my vacations. It has been very useful, especially when I would forget something. If I did not have it on the list, it was forgotten. For example, for this trip, I did not list "flat kit" for the rides and I forgot mine. Grrrr. Also, I relied on Brad to pack extra tires and tubes and well, anal me would have like to have more tubes on hand and definitely tires, just in case. As I had flatted the first day we rode/raced and I just might have needed a tire.

Dinner at Carmel's, Imperial Stoudt and Green Man Porter at the Jack of the Woods and more drinks at the Thirsty Monk. It has been opened since January. I wish lots of luck as I loved the place.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Yosemite Sam

Of course it looks nice from the inside of a warm house. I ventured outside to enjoy some fresh, freakin', cold air while I worked on a silly, long video of our last ride from Monday - up to Craggy Gardens. The videos are too amateur so I will just post this silly one from Sunday as it is only under a minute long.

Snowy Wednesday

Fine. It is colder here than in Lancaster, PA. But the view was fabulous (look at those mountains in the background) even with snow. We had our 70 degrees and will get some warmer weather before we end our vacation in Asheville.

I feel like at home as the schools in the area closed for a dusting of snow. It's good to be forced not to ride by the weather. Recovery is all part of the equation. I am thinking about that sampler platter again.

I have decided I like rocking chairs. When I have to relax, watching the bustling city of Asheville, I can still be moving, rocking in my chair.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Lazy Day Tuesday

A rainy day and Brad feeling a little bit under the weather, we took the day off from riding. We had breakfast at the Early Girl Eatery; we each ordered an egg, bacon and cheese biscuit with stone-ground grits and home fries. We came back to the house for a nap and blogging and out again for driving around town.

I was jonesy for a sampler platter of beer from Dirty Jack's Brewing Co./Green Man Ale and eventually wore Brad down to take me out for a drink (or five). We brought a growler from the French Broad Brewery for our neighbor taking care of our little guys (cats), shopped at the Chocolate Fetish and 4 p.m. came around and off we went to Dirty Jack's for "taste testing" from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Being the small world that it is, Brad ran into someone he knew from Lancaster way back from the opening of Marion Court days. We (I) enjoyed some awesome beer as Brad was nursing a sore throat. Someone at the bar told us tonight is the night for Dine to be Kind night at about 50+ restaurants in Asheville.

Dirty Jack's is the brewery for Green Man Ales. It is in a garage/warehouse with a tap bar. Tonight was Dirty Divas (Women's night out/alter ego of "Dirty Jack's") but after our adventure at dinner, we did not go back out-the old fogies we are.

We decided on Barley's Taproom for the best pizza in town and they were on the list for Dine to be Kind, too. They also had another fundraiser going on - for the owner's son's elementary school. Within fifteen minutes, the place was filled with 30 - seven year-olds or less. Luckily I ordered a seasonal, Foothills Brewing Sexual Chocolate and was well into a mellow mood.

We did enjoy ourselves even with the overwhelming little people and noise. Our home had a couple dozen DVDs and movie channels so we zoned out on "Employee of the Month" and "Belle Epoque".

Climbing to Mt. Mitchell

Monday has been the warmest day in Asheville so far so we ventured our way to Mt. Mitchell. Brian met up with us again, riding until Craggy Gardens, leaving us to fend for ourselves to Mt. Mitchell.

The snow covered roads on the other side of Craggy made me nervous so we turned around and headed back to Asheville after about a mile or so. Three plus hours later, at least 17 consistent miles of climbing, we were back for our late afternoon massages.

I would have to say we have stuck to our favorite restaurants from last year. Dinner tonight was at Salsas. I even ordered the same drink; Habanero infused margarita with fresh citrus and Sauza Gold and Licor 13 and the special - Chorizo Enchilada with house made pork chorizo, sour cream, grilled red peppers, pineapple chutney, avocado, adobo sauce and melted cheddar cheese, rolled into a flour tortilla; served with rice, beans, greens and a tamale.

Brad ordered an appetizer; rasta spliff roll with crab, jalapenos, cilantro, saffron-fennel sauce and his dinner was Roasted chicken with wild mushrooms, roasted peppers, grilled onions and annatto-coconut sauce.

Home to James Bond and the Asheville skyline.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sunday Ride to Marshall

Sunday we rode with Brian and Nancy Jones, Bud and Dave for a three hour loop along the French Broad River to Marshall, crossed the river and rode over hill and dale back the other side to Asheville, riding back on Old Leicester Hwy. I have a new "helmet camera" but I had it tilted too high and the cloudy skies made my first time footage a bit dark. I may post the 10 minute movie later but I must warn you some of the film is dark and shaking due to my snaking back and forth and rock just a bit with tired legs on the steep climbs to our house - so stay tuned.

Another early dinner at the Laughing Seed had its downside. We could not order any Dinner Specialties as they needed to be prepped for the "5 o'clock dinner" crowd.

Brad wanted the Curried Tempeh Nepoleon (vegan & gluten-free): Eggplant, broccoli, carrots, and marinated tempeh, stir-fried in a lively yellow curry, then heaped between cumin-infused papadam, topped with toasted pistachios and drizzled with cilantro emulsion. Served with coconut-jasmine rice. Instead he had to order from another list and chose a Mercury Not Rising sandwich: (the staff favorite!) Crispy battered house made seitan fillet seasoned with herbs and spices inspired by the sea. Served on a grilled whole grain bun with lettuce, tomato, red onion, and homemade creamy scallion-dill pickle mayo with a side of jalapeno-onion fries (just for me).

I was torn between the dinner specialties I could not order: Mushroom Enchiladas and Wild mushroom Risotto cakes so I ordered: A Asian Fusion Salad. Chilled organic whole wheat udon noodles served on a bed of mixed greens, grated carrots and red cabbage, tossed with our sweet chili peanut sauce. Topped with cucumbers, tri-colored bell peppers, blanched broccoli florets, mung bean sprouts, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds.

Again, lots of fresh food with amazing flavors for a great price. We also each had a Porter from their sister business/brewery: Green Man Brewing Company/Dirty Jack's. Mmmm.

Jeff and Benares - Folk/Country/Traditional Music

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Master's Night Out

After the race on Saturday, we arrived at our Asheville home (we rented a house for the week) around 3:30 p.m. The house has OLN/Versus so we showered and had dinner at the Noodle Shop at 4:30 p.m. Again, wonderful flavors danced in our mouths and filled our bellies as I had to ask for a to go "bowl".

Crispy Squid: breaded and deep fried (ummm!) squid, served with house sweet sauce made with tomato, scallion and cilantro. I must say that I liked yesterday's squid sauce better. I had a Soup Bowl of Tomato & Egg Noodle: Stir-fried tomatoes and eggs served in a vegetable broth with baby bokchoy, cilantro, green onions and Chinese vinegar with your choice of noodles (I choose wide rice noodles). Brad loves Pad-Thai: Stir-fried wide rice noodles with chicken, onions, eggs, green onions, bean sprouts, and basil. Dinner for two under $30 not including a tip and we did not order any drinks. I think this may be the best deal in town; fresh ingredients, fast and friendly service in a small, unassuming space with about eight tables.

We were home by 5:30 p.m. to watch the Tour of California. The waitstaff at the Noodle gave us advise about hot spots on a Saturday night and a copy of the Mountain Xpress. We found out that our Asheville band from last year, Jeff and Benares, would be playing at the Well-Bred Bakery and Cafe in Weaverville at 7 p.m. and we went out again after the Tour.

Weaverville is 10 minutes North of Asheville. I wanted one of each of the desserts (and cookies) and I held back. I ordered an almond-ginger Florentine and an Austrian tea cake (the last two pastries in the dessert case). I love the flavor of ginger. And the powdered sugar on the Austrian tea cake, oh, I wanted to make a mess letting the sugar fall everywhere but I did not. Brad put what was left of the Florentine away as I dusted off the tea cake. While we enjoyed the music and atmosphere, Brad had a beer, a cup of vegetable soup and half a tuna fish sandwich.

I took a few videos again with my camera so I will post a few of them later. Two hours of bluegrass and old traditional tunes, and we were on the rode by 9 p.m. as that was closing time for the Bakery. Woohoo! In bed by 9:30 p.m. Master's Night Out.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Greenville Spring Series

We wake up to a fog-covered Asheville. I crawled out of bed, not wanting to race. I missed racing with my own field as we did not want to leave before sunrise after driving all day yesterday.

As usual, I ran around like a wild woman, throwing almost everything into my basket (you may get to see it in a future post with all my bags). Brad took care of the cooler and bottles and off we went at 8 a.m. Within four miles, I remembered I forgot to grab my cycling shoes. Doaph! We turn around for the shoes. Back on the road again, I remembered I forgot to grab my receipt for my USCF racing license. Not turning around again. So we listen to "Where's Your Head At". The race is low key and uses laptops to process registrations and last year I did the same thing and they verified online that I had renewed my license.

The fog had lifted somewhat in Asheville but as we drove into Greenville, it was hanging pretty good at 9:15 a.m. I stood in a windy, cool line for our numbers while Brad did the pre-race ritual of getting the bikes out of the car, dressing, stretching and eating cycling bars and drink.

The women's field was huge and I was jonesing. The 45+ Race was 6, 7 mile laps. I would race lap to lap, working on my savvy, bike racing skills of wheel sucking and staying out of the wind. I did fantastic for the first two laps even with Brad on and off the front for the first lap. Second lap, the pack had settled in and after the first roller into the wind, I rolled up on the right side and tucked into the top third of the pack. I heard, "Do you have any water?" and without losing my line, eyes forward, I grabbed my bottle and handed it back to Brad. Right on. I knew my water would come in handy as he only had one bottle at the start. We had taken off our knee warmers at the last minute so I wondered why he did not grab another bottle. Even though we have been racing over a decade, we have brain farts about how to dress for winter riding, how much to drink, to eat, what to pack for races, when to eat, when to drink while racing, etc. I do it more than he does, for sure (shoes, license, ...)

Lap three, I am still in the pack but the pace had gone up a notch or two. I figured someone was off the front and guys were chasing. I was mid-pack in a boxing match fighting for wheels and trying to get out of the wind as we went up the "not so little" riser anymore. With an open course and traffic was busy in the industrial park, the moto was beeping like mad as we echeloned. (I heard later that guys got DQ'd going over the yellow line in later laps fighting for wheels and shelter.) I eventually got a sweet wheel, stayed to his left out of the wind, and worked on recovering. We hammered down and up a false flat into the wind and I was tapped out. I made the mistake of looking back and I was it. Twisted and growling, I get out of the saddle to get back on and my back wheel fishtails. At least I was able to give away my water that I didn't need. One of the marshalls had a pump so we pump up the back tire as it was squishy but not totally flat. I made it to another marshall station where there were three - and the Dad sent his son, Will, to drive me back to the start finish. (Thanks, Will. And the Mini Cooper is a pretty sweet ride.) Although I was a little bummed, I had quality training for less than half the race and I will take it. It warmed up and was beautiful. I grabbed another wheel to roll around to film Brad in the second breakaway group.

Two guys were off the front. The eventual winner is a world master's time trial champion. The second guy bridged up to him. And Brad thought about going with him. In hindsight, it probably didn't matter. He would have had to work twice as hard with the "three of them pulling". Instead, he eventually ended up in a break of six working pretty well so there was more recovery. The two leaders had a gap of 1 1/2 minutes and would never be caught. Brad played it right and sprinted with 150 meters to go, literally straining his neck, winning his group sprint for third overall.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Viva Ashevegas!

After eight hours in the van with two stops for a bathroom break and gas, we have arrived in Asheville.

We endured car food of apple bread, mixed nuts, jalapeno flavored pretzel pieces, beef jerky, cheese and crackers, fizzy water and a malted vanilla milk shake from one of the scary rest stops. Brad was a trooper as he did ALL of the driving as the weather spit sleet, snow and rain all the way.

We had our mind set on a fabuluous Thai dinner at Thai Basil but we were out of luck as they were under renovations. Like zombies, we walked down Page Avenue checking out the restaurants. Even though it is February, people were dining and drinking outside. We decided on Chorizo - Latin Fare. The owner also owns Salsas, which we ate at last year. And we had a satisfying meal.

Snacking for eight hours made the two mojitos I had very tasty. With fresh ingredients in my drinks and all of our food, we ate well. They change up their menu couple of days. We started with a "Sea of Cortez Wild-Caught Herb Crusted Calamari with saffron-orange sauce".

Platos Fuetes:
Brad ordered "Maxiote Lamb" with bbq onions, poblano potatoes, black beans, grilled vegatables and pineapple piquate. I had "Shrimp and Scallop Kabobs" accompanied by Hector's choice of his favorite preparations. Later we hears a little gossip about Hector. Something about "He's out of jail already? Oh, it's nothing serious, he's just a hot-headed Puerto Rican." "He does cook up an awesome meal." And he sure did. I wanted to make sure I had enough carbs for Saturday's circuit race in Greenville and I got a side of tamale - my favorite! We did not know that the Chorizo owner is the same as Salsas until I had a bite of my tamale. The best tamale, so far. Vegetable fillings, moist and flavorful.

Our sides had grilled eggplant, mixed greens and I had a side of mango salsa made with yucca, Brad had fresh guacamole. Our meals had amazing flavors and so fresh.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Back Pedaling

Well, I must say, If you did read Robin Morgan's article (from my "double standards" post), I thank you and apologize if it offended you, too. I do not subscribe to the point of view of Robin Morgan yet I am open to hearing those views and others.

Initially, I had received one of those fwd emails from a friend and it was fwd from ? and so on. The whole article was not "cut and pasted" in the email so I had only quickly read a few paragraphs. Then someone else's thoughts must have been in the email as I did not read those thoughts in the original article. And of course those comments would not have been in that article from 1971 as it related to the current Democratic primaries.

So I learn from hastily posting too quickly.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Power to the People

A group of us saw U23D last night. Fabulous! The night before Brad and I watched Coldplay's Live 2003 DVD. So my radical, liberal, leftist side of me has bubbled to the surface.

After Sunday World's, I hang the cycling laundry to an old VHS of John Lennon - Live in New York City. I have a few more rants through John Lennon's music and the lyrics to one of my favorites of his songs.

John Lennon - Imagine (1971)
Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Double Standards

I have wondered and questioned. The media and the talk still have double standards. Take the time and ponder how we treat women and men differently.

A poll I had taken in January chose who I would vote for based on my answers to the questions and luckily Mike Huckabee was not on my short list. All three candidates on my "polling" short list have all dropped out.

My vote is still up in the air.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Yea, Baby. Yea!

The big screen, plasma TV is awesome. Saw this commerical on the NFL Network after the game, pretty sweet. Now begins the football withdrawal. Having the NFL Network helps. I love watching the replay games (Super Bowl 42 Wednesday night!), the Scouting Combine and Path to the Draft. One more day of football overdose listening to sports radio. Makes going to work worth it.

Now, prepping for Daytona. I am not a Nascar fan but we will probably be having people over. Great excuse to have friends over and be couch potatoes. The picture is just amazing clear and crisp. And Brad loves to turn up the sound. Daytona will get us pumped for the bike racing season.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Sunday World's

Still in a bit of a bother and denial, I left the house in a deficit. Pulled out the only Gu in half an hour and sucked it dry riding through the rollers in Millersville (where I work). I had a pancake and a mega mug and a half of herbal tea to hydrate. Forty miles. Should be doable.

I love Karen. She is super positive, motivating and inspiring. She meets me to do half of the ride. As usual I ride looking backwards checking for the guys. They catch us way too early (15 minutes from the start of the ride; 45 minutes for me). I had warned Karen that even though my stomach was empty, even after that Gu, I was jumping on. Jumping on gets me farther ahead, faster, gets the ride over quicker.

Mike the cop is on a roll even after blowing everyone away on the r-t-r yesterday. I knew I was crazy but I grabbed his wheel. He said, "hello, I am just going to go steady." Sure no problem. Right! I hang for a few minutes, make a right, and four guys were chasing (Art, Randy, Jim, ?). I don't remember if Mike shifted gears but I unhinged. I hung on for dear life by the Pequea Elementary School, trying to roll up to Mike so the guys who just caught on would not be gapped by my explosion. I ride in limbo until the lolly-gagging pack catches me. I hung again for another few miles until route 222 south. Karen doesn't like to have any of that craziness. Plus, the cold air triggers her asthma pretty quickly when she goes hard. We ride together again and go our separate ways at Strasburg.

I run into Jed Schober who missed all the usual suspects of Sunday worlds. I was WAY behind the guys and planned on taking the shortest, short cut to intersect the guys. Little did I know that I would have to ride hard to help Jed get there, too. We took Ronks Road to I don't know the name road, took a right onto Beechdale Road. Halfway on Beechdale, you can look head at Stumptown Road watching for the guys. 11:51 a.m. we turn left onto Stumptown Road. No guys. I placed my bet and hoped I had won the gamble. Riding with my head turned around, no guys. Two minutes later, I see the swarm with two or three rabbits off the front. Woohoo. I won the bet. Jed's happy, I happy and we jump into the game. Balls to the wall, Mike the cop is on the front towing teammate, Keith Wilson. The blow by me. I hope to jump on the pack and no luck. Fine with me. I found one rider off the back willing to help me get back to Lancaster for the last fifteen minutes.

Home again, making protein shakes and pizza for the guys at the house, I started carbing up with a Hoegaarden. I wish I could take the cap nap, waking the cats so they could make the apple pie and pumpkin cornbread biscuits for the super bowl party.

Oh, who won Stumptown: Mike the Cop. Man, he is on fire. He's coming down to Asheville for our late February vacation (training camp). Yup. We loved Asheville so much we are going back. It has almost been a year since I started this blog based on our time in Asheville last year.


Saturday, I rode one of the three, "hmb" rides we do in the winter, called round the river. Any of the three rides are painful because I am out-of-shape-slow, but I can ride to it and ride home. From Lancaster East, we meet at the Wrightsville Bridge, Columbia-Lancaster County side. We ride along the river, up and down half mile to mile long hills. Up and down. Up and down. The only route numbers I recall are 425 and 74. We ride down and up to one of the few longer climbs that goes down to Otter Creek (video below)

From there we head south on 74 to 372 to cross the Norman Wood Bridge.

For me, I think that is the halfway point. Riding Old Pinnacle Road to River Road to Millersville to Lancaster. Up and down, up and down for 68 miles. It usually takes me 4 1/2 hours. Three weeks ago on my road bike I suffered like any usual suspect on the ride. But I had fun. I could suck wheels when needed.

Yesterday, I felt like crap riding to the Wrightsville Bridge but I felt that way the last time. I contemplated riding home because I was on my cross bike as my road bike was not shifting well. I figured I had some easier gears so I should fair better that the last time I did this ride. I ended up being the only woman again so I rode ahead to get over a few of the hills. I managed the first hour but just did not come around. The guys had gone by in three different groups. I was in denial that I did not eat enough the night before and especially that morning. It wasn't until I was half through the ride I was thinking about asking pick-up trucks to take me home (I'd be dead in the river!) So I kept pedaling, pep-talking all the way. The devil on my shoulder kept telling me to quit. It's not worth it as I thought I would fall over on the hills. After crossing the Norman Wood Bridge and riding on Old Pinnacle Rd, I called my m.i.a. training buddy, Karen. I had hoped she was done with her two 1/2 hour hilly ride and could come get me. Answering machine. I did not leave a message because I did not want to get caught copping out. I finished the last of my cliff blocks (I did eat a GU an hour earlier), took a deep breath and turned left down River Road. As I climbed out towards Tucquan Glen, I see a rider at the top of the hill. It's Karen, all smiles waving so happily. My chest started to heave. I tried to calm myself. I get to the top and she asks how am I doing and I lost it. In a bit of a bother, I unclipped and cried that I was a mess. I could not pedal faster than three miles an hour (I didn't have a computer on the bike but I know it was slow turning). The Amish man at the house waved happily at us. I wipe the tears, gathered myself and waved happily back and thought, can I use your buggy for a ride home? I told Karen that I had called her for a ride. We joked that she was the smart one for not riding with me. We would have both been jumping in a pick-up truck for rides home.

The ride splits at Safe Harbor. The Lancaster crew goes towards Millersville and the Elizabethown/Mt. Joy/Gretna guys continue on River Road (up/down, up/down). Karen's home is on the way and we rode to her house, up and down, up and down. I basically did the whole ride but eight miles. She saved me even though she was on her bike and not in her car. I called Brad leaving a message that he had to pick me up at Karen's. He had an rough ride as his cable broke and he was stuck in his 39-14, walking out of Otter Creek until the second group met up with him. I later found out other guys cracked but not as bad as me. Karen's husband Bob had done the ride and was already in bed with a belly-full of chocolate milk and pb&j. We laughed about the sad sight we were in and I ate everything I could.

Lessons learned: Need to concentrate on good, healthy eating during the week, must eat enough the night before a long ride. Must have breakfast, cannot ride anything other than a road bike (definitely did not have the power with the cross bike), carry more food than I need. I know better. I am always carry lots of food. If I don't need it, someone else might.

I am off to eat pancakes as I do not want to have a ground hog's day again. I do have the ride the cross bike today, though, as we could not fix my shifting on the roadie.