Archive for July, 2012

A Tale of 2 Dudes & a Hill

Saturday, July 28th, 2012

Tee hee hee … that was fun.

I was just cruising along Peaceful Glen on my way to Cantelow and these two guys on Cervelos passed me. They asked me if I’d been riding for a while today. I’m pretty sure it was because I was waaay overdressed at that point in my ride. It got hotter than I expected it to. Yeah, I was pretty hot by that point. They rolled on ahead, and turned onto Cantelow Road. I got to Cantelow a few moments later and caught up to them when the road started to climb. As I passed them, I said, “Come on, boys, is that all you got? You’re not going to let a little old overdressed girl pass you, are you?” One of the guys called back, “Ow, my ego!” I thanked them and told them that they made my day, that I rarely get to pass guys like them.

I didn’t time it, but I’m pretty sure that today was my best time ever going up Cantelow. One of the guys caught up to me in the last maybe 1/4 mile or so, the steepest part of the climb, he said something like, “I couldn’t let you beat me to the top!” I laughed, or maybe wheezed, I don’t know. I said, “I wouldn’t crush your ego like that” and something about 2 guys on Cervelos getting passed by girl with an outdated Trek. He tried to strike up a conversation, but at that point, I wasn’t able to really talk so well. I tried, but I had pushed pretty hard riding up and that last 1/4 mile was pretty painful for me today. There was a moment when I thought I might have to get off the bike and walk up the last little turn. He beat me to the top AND was able to converse. He won fair and square.

However, I did beat the second guy by at least a few seconds.

No photos today, just cycling … not quite 70 miles. Davis to Winters to Cantelow to Pena Adobe Park and back Pleasants Valley Road, Winters (rest stop at Steady Eddie’s for a ginger ale, ice water, and shade), then back to Davis. I did discover that Trader Joe’s Sea Salt and Turbinado Sugar Dark Chocolate Almonds and chilled ZICO coconut water are a perfect post-ride pre-shower snack.

Lovely Day for a Ride!

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

It is absolutely perfect out there this morning. I’m very thankful to have had the opportunity to grab a quick ride before work. No photos today, just cycling!

Now, off to work.

Woo Hoo! I Won!

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012
Look what I won!

I entered a drawing at the LIVESTRONG Challenge Davis

Spectacular Sunrise This Morning

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Davis Sunrise

 

 

Here are a few scenes from my pre-work ride this morning …

Davis Sunrise

Davis Sunrise

 

Have a GREAT day!

Hot, hot, hot!

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

... and we were surprised to look down earlier and see 120!!

Did A Little Carbo-Loading Last Night

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

Somebody made me homemade pizza last night …

Italian Sausage, Crimini Mushroom, & Fresh Basil

Another Day In Paradise …

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

Lake Solano, July 21, 2012

Glorious Morning for a Ride!

Friday, July 20th, 2012

Good Morning Sunshine!

Recipe – Honey, Habanero, & Lime Scallops

Friday, July 20th, 2012

To follow-up on a previous post …

The inspiration for this was a habanero honey, from Pure All Natural Honey, which is available locally at the Davis Farmers’ Market. Here’s a little info about them:   (see  http://www.theaggie.org/2012/05/02/farmers-market-vendor-of-the-week-pure-all-natural-honey/).

The scallops were pretty simple to make. We had bought some beautiful, fresh scallops at Nugget Market in Davis. I lightly rinsed them with a little cold water, gently patted them dry with paper towels, then placed the scallops in a large zipper bag.  I whisked together some extra virgin olive oil, habenero honey, and lime juice. Just do this to taste – you want a nice, delicate balance of hot and sweet. Really fresh scallops have a lovely, delicate flavor and texture, so you don’t want to overpower them with too much.  Set these in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest of the meal. You don’t want to marinate these for long – maybe an hour or so.

While the scallops are marinating, slice and salt the eggplant, then lay out on paper towels. This extracts some water from the eggplant, and if there is some bitterness from seeds, this can help to draw the bitterness out. Lay some paper towels on top of the salted eggplant. If you’re using Asian eggplant, you don’t need to peel them, but for some of the larger Italian eggplant, you may want to peel them.

Light and preheat the grill. Start on the bread and salad.

Got a stale baguette? Grill it!

For the grilled bread, day old bread works best. Simply slice it (3/8 to 1/2-inch thick), brush it with a good quality extra virgin olive oil, and sprinkle with a little coarse salt. Lightly grill the bread and set aside. Assemble your salad – make it as simple or as elaborate as you want.

Basic Green Salad - heirloom greens, tomatoes, avocado, fresh basil, homemade croutons, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Rinse the excess salt from the eggplant and blot dry with towels. Brush lightly with extra virgin olive oil, skewer, and grill over medium-low heat. Cook until they are nicely colored and softened, but not overdone.

Skewer the scallops and grill over medium-low heat. You want to get good coloring on the surface and to cook them through, but be cautious because they go from not yet to overdone in a moment. You can see in the picture below that one scallop did get a little dark on the outside, but it was perfect inside. When you’re using a honey-based marinade, it’s especially important to watch for charring.

I usually start out with the grill on high, but when I began to cook, I turned it down to low. I openly admit that I am not an expert griller, but I’ve had pretty good success doing it this way.

Both the eggplant and scallops came out perfect tonight. That was especially important because I was cooking for a fellow foodie, who might even be more of a foodie than I am.

Grilled Asian Eggplant

Grilled Honey, Habanero, & Lime Scallops

 

Napa Valley Century Ride

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

I have this girlfriend who is training for a big, multi-day ride:  http://stihltourdestrees.org/the-event/

She wanted to do a century this weekend, so I suggested a modified Tour de Cure Napa Valley route. We started out on the Silverado Trail, just past the intersection of Silverado Trail and Trancas Boulevard. We got a bit of a late start (9:30 am), but still we expected to be done well before 6:00 pm. Little did we know the adventures that were in store for us.

Just before we started our Napa Valley Century, July 15, 2012

The ride started out quite chilly. Luckily for me, I always overdress because I cannot stand being cold. My friend overheats easily, so she didn’t have the layers on that I did, so she was pretty chilly at the start of the ride. The fog started clearing and the sun warmed the Valley nicely. The first stretch of our ride was lovely! We rode all the way to Calistoga on the Silverado Trail. I think that’s quite a bit safer and more comfortable than Highway 29, especially as wineries open and wine tasting hours begin. Highway 29 is nice early, early morning, but we started out too late for that.

We rolled in to Calistoga. I wanted to avoid the downtown traffic on Lincoln Avenue, so we took a side street that wrapped around. Little did I know the excitement that would ensue. Maybe 1/4 mile down Lake Street, I heard a tap-tap-tap-BANG!!! Followed by a fast and loud pssht! Aw, no … that can’t be good. Yep. Flat, flat, flat back tire. Dang it! Hopeful that a quick change would get us back on the road, but in looking at the tire … well, see for yourself.

And so the adventure begins ...

 

Fortunately, we were just a few blocks from the Calistoga Bike Shop (http://calistogabikeshop.com/). Not sure if rolling my bike would damage the rim, so I carried my bike part of the way. My friend carried it the rest of the way (OK, most of the way). We have different strengths, what can I say? Almost $90 later for a new tire and tube (they very kindly waived the labor charge), and a snack at the Village Bakery, we were on the road again, headed up towards Healdsburg.

Want some great bread? Try Village Bakery in Calistoga.

Village Bakery Seeded Sourdough Toast

We headed out of town and along Highway 29 until it turned into Highway 128. We then headed up valley, out of Calistoga, up over the hill into the Alexander Valley. This part of the ride was pretty uneventful, just some beautiful weather, a little nice climbing and downhills, a few stretches of flats, and tons of beautiful scenery. We stopped at the Jimtown Store (http://www.jimtown.com/), which I hear is a great place to stop for lunch. I groused about paying $3.10 for a 1.5 liter bottle of water, but was so thankful later in the day that I had made this wise investment. We continued to the end of Highway 128 in Healdsburg, had a brief rest in a nice shady spot, a snack, some conversation with another cyclist – we had seen him earlier at the Jimtown Store. I struck up a conversation with him because his jersey said “Klein” – as in Klein bikes! He told me about a shop in … a town in Southern CA that is still selling brand new Kleins. I’m skeptical, but I’ll look into it. How cool would that be?!

We had a nice chat, then headed back.

Playing "Chase the Jersey"

More than halfway done!

Top of the last climb on the way back to Calistoga

As we descended on that last hill back in to Calistoga, we were greeted near the bottom with a line of stopped traffic. An elderly woman driving a Cadillac had hit (and broken) two utility poles before hitting a third one head on. (See article:  http://napavalleyregister.com/news/local/calistoga-crash-triggers-small-grass-fire/article_93a6e7d6-cf68-11e1-8439-001a4bcf887a.html)  I’m pretty sure she hit a third pole, not a fence as the article says. The good news is that she walked away from the accident and seemed to be OK, shaken up, but OK. Her family came to get her; she did not leave in an ambulance. The bad news is that this delay added about another hour to our ride. The article says the road was closed for about 35 minutes, but it was more like an hour.

Adventure continues ... downed power lines and wildfire!

Cal Fire in action

Cal Fire helicopter

We got to see firefighters in action and that certainly added an element of excitement to our adventure. I grew up around firefighters, so I have an especially healthy appreciation for them. I tried flirting with them when I was a teenager, but they would have nothing to do with me. I think it’s because my brother was Ambulance Captain and it must have been an unspoken rule. At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it; I’m sure it had nothing to do with my teenage nerdiness.

We had an unexpected and lengthy rest stop while the fire crews put out the fire, police & CHP blocked traffic, and then finally PG&E was able to get through to deal safely with the downed wires. The elderly driver of the crashed vehicle kept trying to get out of the car, but police and firefighters would not allow her to because there were live wires down. That’s why they would not let us through, either. So we all waited.

Aaah ... ice water ... The menu looks lovely, too. I'm looking forward to trying this restaurant soon!

We finally got through … and headed back through Calistoga to the Silverado Trail and back towards Napa. At first we were well-rested, but I think we were both getting tired. We made a few quick stops along the way. My friend ran out of water before we reached Rutherford, so we took a little side trip. We stopped briefly at Alex Italian Restaurant (http://www.alexitalianrestaurant.com/Ale/HOME.html) and they very kindly let us fill up with some very refreshing ice water. After a short rest, we headed back to the Silverado Trail and on towards Napa again.

The wind had started to kick up, the sun was going down, and it was getting cool again. I was quite thankful at this point to be slightly overdressed. To keep myself motivated and positive, I kept repeating the mantra, “The wind is an excellent training tool … the wind is an excellent training tool …” and focusing on high cadence and good cycling form. At the end of the ride, I felt great. I was definitely ready to be done with the ride, but I felt great. Lightly salted almonds made for a terrific post-ride snack on the drive home.

It seemed to take forever to ride those last 15 miles or so, but we finally made it back to the car. I don’t think my friend has ever been so happy to see her car. This was her first century ride and it was full of surprises and adventure. She is a very strong rider and is far more prepared for her multi-day ride than she thinks. We finished with about 15-20 minutes of light to spare, more than 2 hours after we expected to be done.

I’m looking forward to my next century ride!