Tuesday, July 24, 2012


I'm in Week 7 of my CSA this year, and I've recieved beets every week.  Last year, we were a bit intimidated by the beets.  Will wasn't much of a fan and the only way I knew to cook them was to roast them in the oven.  This was problematic because a) the last thing you want to do in the summer is turn your oven on, so you can make a roasted beet salad, and b) 400 degrees for 1 hour for 4 tiny beets doesn't seem like the best use of electricity.

As a result, I semi-hoarded the beets last year and cooked them up in large batches.  Only that left us with HUGE amounts of beets, which then went into the freezer, never to be thought of again.  I used some of them, but after freezing the texture was a little off.  (this is the scenario with many things from last year... sigh)

This year, I've resolved to be better about using my CSA produce immediately.  None of this freezer business.  This is pushing me to try different things with my produce, and thusly, I'm discovering new and tasty ways to enjoy it.

Beets - three preparations

Roasted Beet Salad with Wilted Greens
  • Beets
  • greens of some sort (beet greens, spinach, etc)
  • chevre (soft goat cheese)
  • Citrus vinaigarette (lemon/lime/orange, olive oil, salt, pepper, maybe some vinegar if you want)
Roasted Beets:
  1. Cut tops and bottoms off of beets.  Wrap in aluminum foil and bake at 400 degrees for ~1 hr (you want to easily pierce them with a fork)
  2. Allow beets to cool (you can either roast them the day before and put in the fridge, or submerge them in ice water)
  3. Remove the peel from the beets.  It should slide of pretty easily with your fingers.
  4. Slice as you desire.
Wilted Greens:
  1. Wash and dry greens
  2. Heat sautee pan and olive oil
  3. Sautee just enough to wilt, not enough to cook down. 
  4. Add salt to taste, if needed
Make a quick vinaigarette by combining your citrus of choice, olive oil, your choice of vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl.  Let it set while you wilt your greens.

Assemble salad.  Greens on the bottom, then beets, then crumbled goat cheese, then drizzle with the citrus vinaigerette.  Done!

Raw Beet Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette
I know, raw beets.  But trust me!  This is better if as you let it sit.  The acid almost cerviches the veggies.  We brought this with us camping and it was super tasty!

  • beets
  • other crunchy veggie - carrots, jicima, kohlrabi, onion
  • fresh herbs - again, whatever is handy
  • dijon mustard
  • olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • salt/pepper
  • white whine vinegar
  • garlic, minced or crushed.  I love this garlic press - way easier than hand mincing.
  1. Slice veggies into matchsticks (you can peel things, but you don't have to).  You want fairly thin, uniform slices to the acid will penetrate.  (full disclosure, I just bought a mandoline because slicing everything by hand was a bit of a pain.  Doable, but much better with toys).
  2. Chop up herbs and garlic.  I used cilantro and green onion because that's what I had on hand, but nearly anything green will work.
  3. In a small bowl, prepare the vinaigrette.  I would suggest ~2 T olive oil, 1 T vinegar, 2T mustard, salt and pepper to taste.  These are to get you started and doctor as needed.
  4. In a large bowl, combine veggies, herbs, garlic, and vinaigrette.  Toss well to combine.
  5. Store in the fridge and let flavors meld.  Everything will end up beet pink, but that's ok.
Beet Carpaccio
  • Beets (I used chiogga beets because they're SO PRETTY, but any beet will work).
  • Olive oil
  • fresh herbs
  • salt/pepper
  • maybe some citrus or vinegar if you want.
seriously.  these are some cool looking beets

  1. Heat water to boiling in a saucepan.
  2. Slice beets in uniform, fairly thin slices.  The thinner the better (reason #2 I bought a mandoline).  You can peel the beets if you want, but I didn't and it was just fine.
  3. Once the water is boiling, add beets to the water and cook for 2-3 minutes. You want them to be slightly tender, ie cooked enough to take the crunch out of them.
  4. Once cooked, remove the beets and cool in an ice bath.
  5. Once cooled, drain beets and add to large bowl or the pan you boiled them in (to reduce dishes)
  6. Add olive oil, herbs, salt/pepper, and citrus/vinegar to taste. 
  7. Toss and serve.

Monday, July 23, 2012

more bike riding

In an effort to build into a century ride mid-September, I twisted a friend's arm into riding up to Palmer Lake yesterday.
up up up then WHEEEE.  Except that bump at the end hurt.

This ride is so beautiful. And it usually hurts with 2000 ft of climbing straight out of the gate.  On this ride we saw:
  • a huge dead elk on the side of the road.  This thing was as big as a horse.  Oddly enough, it was gone by the time we rode back.  Apparently either a) they're quick to clean up early Sunday morning or b) someone took it home for dinner.  I'm pretty sure it was a fresh kill and it was hit by a car.
  • loads of deer, including some 3-4 point bucks in velvet.  I don't know why, but seeing does never excites me.  Seeing bucks is very much "hey, cool!"
  • random, domesticated llamas, including some alpacas.  Are alpacas different than llamas?  I don't know.
  • donkeys.  They always look out of place in a pasture.
  • cows and baby cows.  The babies were especially young looking, not sure what was up with that.
  • The coolest thing was that we were riding down the road on a false flat and we come upon some buffalo in a field (domesticated).  One buffalo was feeling frisky and ran along with us for a few hundred feet.  WAY COOL.  And then he stopped and head-butted his friend.  Very amusing and not something you see every day.
I took my road bike (90% sure it will be named Billy the Goat) and the hills weren't so awful.  The "attention getting" hill was still done in granny gear, but at no point was there a time on that hill where I thought I was going to tip over from lack of inertia.  My legs also felt pretty fresh.  Although that last bump at the end of the ride about killed me.  I figure it was about Olde Stage steep, but only 1/3 as long, probably 12% grade.  Ick.  We took a small detour to see where the road went.  Turns out it went straight up.  We took it for a few miles, realized it was getting late into the day and decided to head back to the truck.

Also interesting and very random was that there is a brand new tri shop in Palmer Lake.  This is a town of 2,000 people with a 2-block storefront area.  I usually stop at the gas station for a fluid refill.  The gas station usually has someone very cranky behind the counter and its not very clean.  And its expensive.  We rolled up to the new store (I think we saw the coffee place next to it first) and my friend went "hey, a bike store".  I quickly realized it was a tri store.  Very cool.  They had bike racks out front and FREE water inside.  And the owner seemed super happy to have some tri-geeks in there.
Cornerstone Multisport.  All 200 sq feet of it.
We were going to do a 65 mile loop, crossing over I-25 and up to Castle Rock but it was hot out and we just decided to head back downhill and see if we felt like adding miles.  I love this downhill.  I hit 40.5 mph, a new record. 

The new bike and I are getting along ok.  I swapped out saddles and I'm not sure that was a good idea.  I was uncomfortable after only 1 hour, which makes for a bit of a long ride.  The downhill went better, but probably because I could stand up frequently.  I think I will be getting a proper fit shortly, and probably buy another adamo saddle.

I think 2 loops of this sucker will be good training for CDA.  One loop, 53 miles was 2,500 ft of climbing. :)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

4 more weeks

I got the results of my follow up MRI yesterday.  The heel is still broken but "may indicate some healing".  But good news, I have not made the fracure worse. 

No MRI photos to show this time, mainly because the image quality was CRAP.  Really fuzzy and not crystal clear like the first MRI was.  I think I make a pretty good faux-radiologist though, because I could still make out the crack with my own, uneducated eyes.  That, and I could feel the fracture while swimming.  That shouldn't happen.

So all these races over here to the right?  ------->

They're not happening.  Not a single one.

Friday, July 13, 2012

SheRox Sprint Tri - Race Report

This is a bit of a strange race report, given that I only did 2/3 of the race.  I tried to sell my entry but no one wanted it.  Then I was debating about being a swim volunteer for the newbie wave.  Only the race failed to send me specific directions regarding when, where, and what my duties would be.  They contacted me saying "yes, we'd love to have you" but failed in any follow up.  Wouldn't you think that a race would be incredibly happy for a volunteer?  pfft.  So, I decided that I paid my damn money and therefore I was going to do what I could.

We had been camping in the days leading up to the race but got back into town around 2 PM.  I headed over to packet pickup right as it opened.  Pickup was really simple.  I even ran into a few friends.  They had a tiny expo and I got suckered into buying something.  Its a hoodie with a tortise on it, saying I AM RUNNING!  Given my affinity for tortoises, I had to get it.  Then to get the rest of your free swag, you had to go outside to the parking lot and visit the Toyota people.  Ugh.  and gimmicky.  They handed you a flyer, then you had to pick a car, sit inside the car, and stamp the flyer.  And THEN you could finally claim your stuff - a free racebelt.

Then I raced some rain storms home and hung out, waiting on my friend to come over.  The original idea was that myself and 3 other friends from high school would race together.  I found a screaming Schwaggle deal and we all signed up.  Fun!  I had visions of us training together and other fun things.  In reality, I broke my foot, one girl randomly got married (good for her, but still random), and the other two trained on their own (which is fine).  The newly married one went into a black hole and didn't show up for the race. And with my broken foot I was fairly crabby about the whole thing.  But I still had 2 other friends going, so I figured I would just do whatever I could do. 

My Boulder friend ended up crashing at my house, to save her 2 trips to south Denver and an ungodly wakeup time.  And as a bonus, we grilled up elk steaks.   And then stayed up much too late (for me, for a race night) chatting.  And then it was 5 AM and time to race.

The race was at Cherry Creek Reservoir, which isn't my favorite location, but it is easy to get to and centrally located.  They asked that you park at the high school, which was ~1/4 mile (and uphill) from transition.  I had my shiny new State Park Pass and ignored the request and parked in the parking lot right next to transition.  Transition was interesting.... they had traditional bar racks (which I prefer) and the 4-pack rear wheel racks (which I find awkward).  We got there a bit on the late side of things, so it was either be squished up in the bar racks or have some room in the rear wheel racks.  We chose to have room.  The rest of the set up was pretty simple.  Body mark.  Check.  Pit stop.  Check.  Sunscreen.  Check.  Me trying to figure out if I was wearing my wetsuit or my Torque.  Check.  All pretty typical.

D and I headed down to the beach and I somehow managed to run into even more people I knew.  I really can't emphasize how wonderful it is to be racing around people I know.  Its so nice having friendly faces around!
go Eagles!
I opted to wear the Torque and I brought some cushy running shoes for the trek from the swim exit to transition.  Turns out, you had a good long hike up a grassy hill to get to your bike.  Sucky.

So, the swim was an 800 meter skinny rectangle.  All orange buoys, which made it a bit interesting to sight from.  Am I swimming towards the outward line of buoys or the the return set?  Frustrating.  Also frustrating was the fact that my swim was s.l.o.w feeling.  What should I expect.  I took a MONTH off from the pool and my first swim was a race.  Dummy.  I wanted to go faster but my body just wasn't having it.  So, boo.  The swim was pretty clean (water quality and contact).  The wave was maybe 80 people.  I started on the far right and aimed for the farthest buoy, instead of hugging the line the whole time.  Sighthing seemed ok.  My foggle failed me, as my goggles fogged up and I had to quickly come up and defog them.

Not much else to say about the swim, other than maybe next time I will have touched water a bit closer to the race.

Swim time: 17:17
Swim Pace: 2:09
Swim Rank: 10/41 AG, 52/259 OA

Disclaimer: the timing mat was at the top of the hill, literally a step outside of transition.  So, my slightly sucky swim time also included my very dainty "do not step on my heel" walk up the hill.  So I'm thinking the walk was about a minute extra.

Per my disclaimer, my transition started by me putting on my running shoes and very carefully hiking up the hill.  The whole time, onlookers were saying "great job, you can make it up the hill!"  Because it was a women's race and definitely geared for beginners, they were trying to be very encouraging.  I had to be Oscar the Grouch, grumbling about my Stupid Broken Heel. 

Once inside transition, I saw D on her way out and was happy that I wasn't too far behind her.  Transition was a bit slow for me, as I had a hard time getting the Torque off.  Then it was socks on, shoes on, glasses on, helmet on and GO.  Well, a walking speed GO.  I got to tip-toe in my cycling shoes across transition then down a sidewalk and then FINALLY to the bike start time.  Given all that tip-toeing, my transition time wasn't too shabby.

T1 time: 1:18

My plan for the bike was to push myself pretty hard since I didn't have to worry about running afterwards.    I kept my heart rate in the uper 160's.  Average HR was 166, max was 181. 

The bike is the same as Chilly Cheeks Duathlon #3.  Its a 10.8 mile out and back, with some slightly rough roads and one hill.  I got passed by a few people on the way out.  I hit the hill hard and passed a TON of people.  And on the way back, I'm pretty sure no one else passed me.  I was going hard but I felt good. 
this doesn't look very aero to me.....
Funny side-note.  Before the race started, I noticed someone wearing my club kit, only I didn't recognize her.  So I'm crusing up a long shallow hill and I come across her.  Because I'm the considerate type, I said "Hey, random club person, I don't know you!  Who are you?  I'm Erin".  Yes, very considerate, especially up a hill as I was passing her.  Anyways she told me her name and she was very nice to me after the race.

Winds weren't bad on race day at all and it was actually a nice little ride.  I came up and over the final hill to the bike dismount and that was it.  Race over.

Bike time: :34:42 <--- I'm pretty sure this included the tip-toe along the sidewalk, because my garmin was stopped at 33:00 even, and I hit it at the mount/dismount line.

Bike speed: 18.5 mph

Bike Rank: 8/41, 79/259 <--- one of the rare times my bike rank was higher than my swim rank.  Can we tell what I've been working on lately?

For comparison, lets refer back to Chilly Cheeks #3, where I biked first:
Bike time: 39:34 / 16.2 mph
142/202 OA, 20/29 AG
Legs felt ok, although I had to granny gear it up some hills.  (I don't know if that was me being out of shape or what)

In hindsight, I can honestly say that I was very much out of shape in February.  I cut 5 minutes or 3 mph off my bike split.

ha, what run?  After I racked my bike I helped some poor woman wrestle her bike into the awkward rack.  Then I handed my chip in (sad panda) and hung out with my friend who had just done IMCDA.

so, I really didn't cross the finish line, but I felt entitled to a medal anyways.

The post-race spread was pretty good.  Burritos, luna bars, muscle milk.  (um, I'm just now remembering that I have a muscle milk somewhere in my race stuff....)  I had a pretty healthy supply of SunRype fruit snacks with me.  I need to start handing these out more, since I have ~300 of them that expire in 1 month.  So I randomly approached people and handed out fruit snacks.  So now I have about 100 fewer of them in my house.  The snacks are crazy tasty so at least its an easy product to endorse!
Overall, I thought the race was well organized (despite poor communication leading up to the race).  The venue was ok.  Race swag was nice: bag, visor, water bottle, race belt.  And with the Schwaggle deal, I think I paid $35.  Definitely a good deal.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Another heel update

Here's the latest on my Stupid Broken Foot (SBF).

I've been in this midevil torture device for 2 weeks.  Yes my foot feels better.  No, the boot isn't any less painful to wear.  I honestly think the point of the boot is to make walking so uncomfortable that you simply choose not to walk.  Fun!

I've had several days in a row with no heel pain.  Cool!  I wasn't wearing my boot when we went camping.  Too awkard, especially with tripping hazards and uneven terrain.  And you can't wear a boot fly fishing.  So I went 5 days w/out the boot.  Yes, those 5 days count as part of my two weeks in the boot.  (ssshh, don't tell my doctor!)  It was a bit sore, but it was more like a reminder of "hey, you broke your foot, take it easy!" instead of the pain I had when it was freshly fractured.

I went to swim team yesterday... first time in over a month.  Swimming felt ok.  Flip turns were ok, as long as I was careful.  Fins were ok.  Freaking backstroke was most definitely NOT ok.  Shit.  Looks like I'll be pulling at swim practice instead of swimming.

Went to the doctor today.  Apparently the boot isn't supposed to be uncomfortable.  I fail to see how something that is a leather calf corset with a carbon fiber "shoe" is comfortable.  She wanted me to head back to the boot fitter and I think I'm going to pass.  I'm tired of using vacation time on this fracture and its a minimum 1.5 hr round trip visit to the foot guy.  I can tolerate this crapola for another week or so.  The doctor poked and prodded my heel.  Not the best diagnostic tool since the poking and proding didn't hurt when it was freshly broken.  I had her poke and prod my non-broken heel for comparison and they didn't feel much different.  Still, she's scheduled me for another MRI.  Its next Tuesday.

So..... running is still a good month off. Bad news: Rattlesnake likely won't happen.  RnR half marathon is iffy.  But she did think that a half ironman in November was feasible.  No fun.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Camping for the 4th

Having the 4th of July on a Wednesday was a bit weird, right?  And then you add in the state-wide fire ban and that makes things a bit more strange. 

I have a personal goal to go camping a bunch this year. We only managed to go once last year, which is fairly sad.  This year I'd like to go 2-3 times and explore new parts of the state.  Initially, we wanted to go up to Red Feather Lakes (west of Ft Collins) but with the fires, we adjusted our plans.  Somehow they got adjusted to being smack in the middle of other fires, but hey, fires are all over the place this year.

We settled on going Wed-Friday to a place called Lost Park Campground, which is off of Hwy 285 on the far side of Kenosha Pass and at the end of a ~20 mile long dirt road.  Elevation is 10,000 feet.  And we were hoping that the dirt road and lack of water/electricity would keep the idiots away.

We slept in a bit and finally got on the road by 11 AM.  A short ~1.5 hour drive and we were at the campground.  Since the Park County fire ban included all fires, including campsites, we decided to head up one of the forest service roads and camp at a dispersed campsite. We picked a road that indicated that 2WD was a bad idea (I have 4WD) and went exploring.  The road was rocky and washed out in places, but not bad enough where I needed the 4WD.  About ~30 minutes up the hill we found a nice campsite in a clearing  This was a good option but we continued up the hill... until I chickened out as the road was narrowing and becoming less a road and more like a trail.  So we turned around (with much consternation on my part... I don't like turning around on narrow roads with steep dropoffs!) and headed back to the campsite:
The campsite had a small meadow and was sheltered from the winds by lots of spruce trees.  We had a teensy creek about 300 yards away and some interesting flowers (which I failed to take pictures of).  We didn't have any great scenic vistas to look at (which is usually a priority for me in a campsite) but the remoteness and wind shelter won out over "something pretty".
the view from our tent.... lots of sky and trees
We got camp set up by 3 PM and then took a nice relaxing nap with absolute silence as our background.  The rest of this day was pretty uneventful, just reading a book, cooking dinner, and packing it in as the sun set and things got cold.  Being able to have a fire would have been nice, but with the $1,000 fine, it simply wasn't worth it.  No smores either.  Dessert consisted of leftover rhubarb cobbler.

Thursday was up at at them at 6:30, courtesy of a friendly woodpecker working in very close proximity to our tent.  Also, it turns out our tent faced due east and by 7 AM the sun hit the tent at full intensity, making things pretty toasty in there.  I made our typical camp breakfast (skillet potatoes, eggs, bacon, french press coffee) and by 10 AM we headed down the road to try our hand at fly fishing.
Lost Park Campground Beaver Pond - looking south
pond looking north
This was a small pond with small fish that were jumping like crazy.  We weren't fishing for world class trout.  We just wanted somewhere to practice casting.  I have no idea what I'm doing, so I put some sort of brown-ish fly on my rod and waded down to start fishing.  Almost immediately, I hear "hey, I got one!" out of Will.
if only I managed to take a picture showing the side of the fish.....
I had one strike and saw a ton of jumps, but got nothing.  By noon the flies were starting to bite us and the fish seemed to be sleeping, so we packed it up for the day.  We went over to the campground for a nice lunch and then we drove around on more forest service roads.  We went on road 134, which goes up and over the hill and ends at a meadow with a stream.  This could be a good spot for group camping.  There was also a trailhead which lead into the Colorado Trail.  We met a mountain biker who said he was biking from Denver to Moab.  He only had a medium-sized backpack.  And he took his water straight from the stream (no filter).  Hmmm.

Not being able to hike was a major bummer, but with this stupid broken heel, hiking was definitely off the list.  I'm not a huge fan of driving around, but that was about all there was to do.  After our little driving tour, we headed back to the campsite for more reading and napping.  Same routine as the night previous, early bed and no fire.

Friday was up again by 6:30 although the woodpecker was nice enough to be quiet.  Zipper has become a pretty good alarm clock, jumping on us at 6:30.  I asked Will if he prefered the woodpecker alarm or the Zipper alarm.  He said Zipper.  Good choice.

Will wanted to head back to Denver early because he failed to tell work he was going camping (WTF Will?).  I managed to talk him into a bit more fishing and then at noon we would head back and check his phone for messages. 

We got the campsite packed up pretty easily.  I think this was the first time we got the tent zipped up on the first try and without wrestling.  After 10 years of owning the tent.  Then we headed back down to the campground pond for more fishing.  I had several more strikes, but no bites.  Will was getting eaten by flies.
I was getting pretty good at landing the fly gently and aiming.  Somehow I ended up getting a blister on the palm of my hand.  Finally around 11 or so, I had enough of getting bit by the flies and we packed it up.  Pretty decent timing as it started to rain within 30 minutes of us leaving.

Overall, I'd say this area is worth coming back to.  It wasn't the most beautiful place, in terms of mountain vistas.  But the valley was very pretty, there was zero pine beetle kill, and the area was pretty remote.  I want to come back when I can hike and see what the trails are like, or maybe bring our mountain bikes along and do some riding.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

New summer goals and busted heel update #2

Busted Heel Update
I have been fitted with what resembles a victorian or midevil torture device:
Its like a corset for my calf!  And about as comfy!  The black piece is carbon fiber, which sounds cool, but it hurts.  Every time I take a step, my heel clunks against the back of the carbon fiber and the ball of my foot squishes up against the hard egde on the bottom of my foot.  The idea is that you secure the boot as tight as you can with your foot ~1 inch off the bottom of the brace.  Then as you take a step, your heel is held up off the brace.

Honestly, I think the goal is to make walking so uncomfortable that you choose to not walk at all.  I have another ~2 weeks in this thing.  UGH.

Revised Summer Goals
In other news...... I have re-focused this summer's plan away from racing and towards climbing monster hills on my bike.  Last fall, I wanted to buy a used roadie but between convincing Will that I needed a 3rd bike (but they each do different things!) and grandma dying right before VeloSwap, I didn't get a roadie.  Now that my summer is askew, I started researching used roadies and settled on a few to try.  And I didn't really get any commentary from Will, because what was he going to say?  No, do not use your own money for a toy to play with while your foot is broken.  Really, this was my chance to get a 3rd toy without any commentary whatsoever. 

So, I present my yet-unnamed roadie:

Its a ~2008 Specialized Allez Pro with Ultegra brakes and Dura-Ace everything else.  Sweet!  I will probably put on aerobars and maybe get a new seat post.  I'm still figuring out the saddle.  It may need to be moved up and back a bit.  Or I may need a new saddle.  Not quite sure yet.

Potential names are Billy or Monty (as in mountain goat).  This bike will be a climber and I want the name to be some sort of ode to mountain climbing.

And now, my summer goals..... I have this nice pretty list of races here off to the right margin.  Most of those races aren't going to happen.  Specifically the three in July.  At this point, I will be lucky if I can run/walk Rattlesnake in August.  I'm downgrading the RnR to a half marathon.  And I'm thinking about doing the Oilman HIM in Conroe, TX (Houston) in early November.  Because I'm still pissed about Boise.

And then my big scary goal..... IMCDA in June 2013.  I knew the bike was challenging but I honestly thought it was a middle of the road bike course.  Some climbing but doable.  Instead, I have this to look forward to:

this is ONE LOOP.  I get to do this twice.
I've found that the hills are rumored to be around a 6% grade and ~5 miles long.  I don't know how accurate that is and it seems a bit steep, considering most Colorado mountain passes are at 6%.  I think its more like 4 or 5 %.  Hopefully.

Regardless, I have 5,000+ feet of climbing in 112 miles.  I need to get my legs used to climbing.

Therefore, my mission is to do loads of climbing this summer.  Get those climbing muscles developed this year so that training next year will be more about fitness instead of "OMG, THE HILLS ARE KILLING ME!"

There are several organized century rides this summer, mostly in Boulder.  And other mountain rides/routes.  This will be my summer of conquering hills, or at least getting lots of practice trying.