Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
I just don't know what to think this time of the year. Christmas is here. I was in the Christmas spirit a couple weeks ago. Diane and I attended "A Christmas Carol" at the Guthrie. We go to it every few years, I always leave feeling in the Christmas spirit. The following week, on a Sunday, I had to work. Coming home, Diane told me our Christmas tree, which really looked beautiful this year had fallen into the window! Not tipped completely over she said, I figured the stand needed adjusting. I got home and looked at it, and the bottom of the tree had become water logged and twisted in the stand. We tried to get it right, but to no avail. Finally, with much cursing, I decided we had to completly un-decorate the tree and re-cut the stump. And we did. Both of us had all kinds of work planned to do that day (and watch the Vikings). We spent over 2 hours taking the tree down, cutting and trimming the branches out on the deck. We made a complete mess on our new carpeting, and my arms and hands were full of sap. (note: glycerin based mechanic's hand cleaners take the sap off!) Both of us were so frustrated. We got the tree back in the stand, but we both realized something was lost. It was like all of our planning for Christmas, instead of being joyful, became a pain in the ass. We didn't even re-decorate the tree till the following Friday. Neither of us had time. This Christmas Eve, for only the 2nd time in nearly 30 years, I will not be at my in-laws. I have to work at 2 AM on the 25th, so, WTF.
This time of the year is always tough on us fair weather folk. I enjoy spinning and even running the track, but, it doesn't allow the freedom of being outdoors on the bike. We amigos, with all the common love we have in summer head different directions in the winter to get the fix we need. I get into cooking. Bill, as much as we give him SF crap, loves the cold and being out in it. Bob becomes an uber XC skier. Matt, well, he's just short. I have to say, the best thing I've done this year is to go to Jody's total conditioning class. It got me out of the box, as they say. I have noticed an increase in stamina. My New Year's resolution is to attend the class all summer too.
The photo above is of Elvis's Beach Bar in Anguilla. The latest issue of Carribean Travel & Life featured Anguilla. There were pictures of several places and people we know, including Elvis's. This helped get me in better spirits!
So, my thoughts are now turning towards Anguilla. In two months we will take off for 2 weeks of no socks. Arriving on the island takes a little decompression. 5 hours on a plane to get to St Maarten. Luggage that always takes forever to get at the St Maarten airport. Going through customs in 2 countries in less then 2 hours. Taking the ferry or private boat across from St. Maarten, having that first Heineken once you land. You are so busy the first few hours. And once you get to the Pumphouse, greeting and hugging all the friends you haven't seen in a year. The adrenaline is unbelievable. The first night is dangerous, because adrenaline LOVES alcohol! The next day is Sunday, which is a big party day on the island. Lasy year we did something different, we went to Elvis's. We ran into Rollins, who is pictured above with Diane. We've known him from our first trip to Anguilla 11 years ago. He's a great guy. We just relaxed for a few hours with him before we went back to the beach by our place and joined the party.
We plan on doing it again this year. There is also a Sunday jazz thing at another bar just down the beach from Elvis.
The link below is to a Youtube video filmed mostly in Anguilla. A lot of the scenes are from Elvis's. Click on the "high quality" option below the video window and then click on full screen to see it at it's best.
Friday, December 5, 2008
See story at: http://billsmagicalmysterytour.blogspot.com/
I put up Christmas lights too, and you don't see me bragging all about it. Put some of those toe warmers in your shorts Bill.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Not monster numbers, but it is the most miles I've ever done for a year. I think my previous best was in the 3200 neighborhood. Next year's goal is 4000!
Always the best part of the ride, the finish!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
They finally arrived, my new SIDI Genius 5 road shoes! Only one problem, FWK keeps waiting for a 40+ degree day with sunshine and a slight breeze. None to be had. I guess I'll just have to admire my new shoes and think spring. When they first came, my child bride and I were watching TV downstairs and I was wearing them the whole time. She didn't even make fun of me. Now that, my friends, is true love. Or tolerance. WTF.
Monday, November 10, 2008
This fine young woman is Jody, one my first spin instructors. Her reputation as a workout queen is well deserved (a nickname she received at another club is "the bilelator"). Jody is a teacher on sabbatical, trying her hand at being a physical trainer and Pilates instructor (along with spinning). She also teaches a class called "Total Conditioning,", which is what has prompted me to write today. Two days ago, she gave me a 40 minute private lesson on total conditioning. I had asked her to give me a profile of sorts so I could have more power when cycling. I suck at hills and would like to improve that aspect of my sport of choice. We met Saturday afternoon at Lifetime in Fridley. We go into a studio and Jody puts down a couple step boards, a pad, and a medicine ball. "Pushups!" she tells me. I'm kinda like, what??
I have gasoline hose arms, haven't done pushups in 30+ years, and what the hell are they going to do to help my legs? I struggled through 15 pushups. I could have done the pushups with my knees on the mat, but, geez-louise, that would not be macho. Then she had me doing lunges to the top of the step, from the top of the step, jumping on one side of the step to the other and then she had me do them with the medicine ball! All this in about 15 minutes. My mouth is dry, my arms no longer work normally, and I'm wondering WTF am I doing here? We take little breaks as she explains each new routine, always reminding me that there aren't breaks in-between the sets (in her class) and that it is constant motion. Hell, if I didn't have those breaks I would be on the floor face down. Then we start doing all sorts of other routines, with dumbells and stretch cords. The 5 lb. dumbells were more than I could handle after a minute or so. I was completely gassed 30 minutes into it, and this was with all the little breaks! Then she showed me several Pilates core exercises, lying on the mat and using a big ball, doing different versions of sit-ups. Finally, after 40 minutes had gone by, Jody asked if I wanted to go have a beer. Sure, I managed to say. I checked my heart monitor, and I burned nearly 500 calories in that short amount of time. When I got into the car, I could hardly lift my arms up to the steering wheel. Lifting a bottle of Newcastle was difficult, but, I managed. The next day, I could barely lift my arms over my chest, my chest hurt like hell, quads and the side of my legs were sore, my shoulders, arms, and elbows were not happy.
Jody has this total conditioning class on Monday mornings at 9:30. I'm usually off on Mondays, so I decided that I will attend this morning. The idea of this class is power. If all the muscle groups are in shape, including the lungs, that will help my overall fitness and climbing on the bike. Class starts in 2 hours. I think I'll be kneeling on the pad during the push-ups.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
The Radiators are a band from New Orleans. I first heard a song of theirs on KQ about 17 years ago, and have been following them ever since. They usually are in town Halloween weekend and Easter weekend, occasionally once during the summer. Diane and I have seen them play at many places over the years, but we had not seen them recently. The last couple times they've been here they've played at Trocadero's in the warehouse district. We'd never been there before, and decided to make a night of it by staying at a hotel downtown. We stayed at a new place called Aloft, located on Washington Ave and 9th St. It's about a mile from Trocadero's. We walked over there from the hotel and took a cab back. Staying at Aloft was a spur of the moment thing and was nice not to have to worry about driving. Trocadero's is set up with mostly standing on the main floor, but a open 2nd level has seating overlooking the floor. We tried to go up there, but were told it was for diners only. We wanted to eat something anyway so we became diners. It was a smart move and we got great seats overlooking the stage. What we hadn't realized what was going on before the show started, was they were having a DFL rally! Mpls Mayor Rybak came on stage and talked politics for a while. There was a woman and a very familiar man next to her standing behind Rybak. The young woman turned out to be Al Franken's daughter. She was energetic and outgoing, but she has one of those high pitched voices that wear after about 2 minutes. I finally figured out who the smiling guy in the bad suit was: Howard Dean!! The former DFL candidate for president who John Kerry beat out for the nomination. I wanted to ask Howard to scream for me, but I didn't. He walked right by me so I had the opportunity!
Anyway, after all the political stuff was over, the Radiators took the stage. I tried taking several photo shots, but because of movement was afraid they would be blurry. Something I've never done is take a movie with my camera, but I gave it a shot. The video turned out quite well, considering. I just wish I had taken video of them when they were jamming a little bit more! It's about 40 seconds long. It took over 1/2 hour to upload it onto the blog.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Rachel Ray had one promising recipe on the Food Network. Then I went to Epicurious and found something interesting. Scallops with spinach fettucini and red pepper cream sauce. What made it more interesting was that the red peppers were roasted first. Reading the reviews, several people mentioned that they used 1/2 and 1/2 instead of cream and the results were great. The recipe also included marinating the scallops for several hours which I thought was interesting. That became meal #1.
Putting grocery items into the downstairs freezer on Sunday morning, I came across a ham bone with some meat on it. It was either throw it or use it. Got out the cookbooks. One of my Cooks Illustrated cookbooks had a recipe for Brunswick Stew. That fit the bill for making something that aging 24 hours would improve and be enough to feed us Monday and Tuesday. This became meal #2. I still needed a meat dish for Sunday to go with the scallop pasta dish. Easy. I've got several packages of cut up and seasoned baby back ribs in the freezer. All I have to do is thaw and bake. Meal #3.
These are the baby backs. Seasoned with a rub that I enhanced from Cook's Illustrated. The sauce is Maple Rosemary that is made under the Lund's and Byerly's label. Very tasty! The secret for pork ribs, whether baby backs or country style for tenderness is 3 hours at 300 degrees. Trust me on that.
This is the scallops and pasta dish. I had assorted vegetable pasta radiatore that I used instead of fettucini. The roasted red pepper sauce needed a little zing. I added some red pepper flakes and also some Aleppo peppers that I buy from Penzey's. Another thing I do when I cook with seafood mixed with pasta is to add some sausage for additional flavor. I had one chorizo sausage in the freezer, so I diced it up and added it to the sauce. The recipe also called for pine nuts. I'm not crazy about pine nuts, but I was going to follow the recipe. However, when I went to buy some bulk ones at Byerly's, they were nearly $25 a pound! I decided to use raw pumpkin seeds instead. I toasted them in the oven and added the proper amount to the recipe. When all was said and done, it was great! A very different taste then normal, due to the roasted peppers and the pumpkin seeds. Very enjoyable.
Last on the list was the Brunswick Stew. Ham, chicken, potato, okra, corn, onion, garlic in a chicken stock and tomato base. Tasted good last night, it should even taste better tonight.
All in all, a very satisfying day in the kitchen! I couldn't find the Brunswick stew recipe from Cooks Illustrated online, but the link for the scallop dish is below:
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
Here's the route for TDF 2009. It's clockwise this year, so Bill would struggle with the entire concept of that. (or was it counterclockwise?). Anyway, the 2nd to last stage finishes on Mont Ventoux, a classic mountaintop finish. The same mountain that Lance "conceded" to Pantani several years ago. The idea is to add excitement with a moutain top race at the end and not a time trial as in years past on the 2nd to last stage. After the stage is completed, the riders will take the high speed "TGV" fast train to the start of the final stage into Paris.
I couldn't get the above photo any larger. On the left is Carlos Sastre, the 2008 winner, and Alberto Contador, the 2007 winner on the right. Nice ties, guys.
Stages for the 2009 Tour de France
Stage 1 July 4 - Monaco - Monaco, 15km (individual time-trial) Stage 2 - July 5 - Monaco - Brignoles, 182kmStage 3 - July 6 - Marseille - La Grande-Motte, 196kmStage 4 - July 7 - Montpellier, 38km (team time-trial)Stage 5 - July 8 - Le Cap d'Agde - Perpignan, 197kmStage 6 - July 9 - Girona (Spain) - Barcelona (Spain), 175kmStage 7 - July 10 - Barcelona - Andorra 224kmStage 8 - July 11 - Andorra-la-Vieille - Saint-Girons, 176kmStage 9 - July 12 - Saint Gaudens - Tarbes, 160km● - July 13 - Rest day at LimogesStage 10 - July 14 - Limoges - Issoudun, 193kmStage 11 - July 15 - Vatan – Saint Fargeau, 192kmStage 12 - July 16 - Tonnerre - Vittel, 200kmStage 13 - July 17 - Vittel - Colmar, 200kmStage 14 - July 18 - Colmar - Besanon, 199kmStage 15 - July 19 - Pontarlier - Verbier (Suisse), 207km● - July 20 - Rest day at VerbierStage 16 - July 21 - Martigny (Switzerland) - Bourg-Saint Maurice, 160kmStage 17 - July 22 - Bourg-Saint Maurice - Le Grand Bornand, 169kmStage 18 - July 23 - Annecy - Annecy, 40km (individual time-trial)Stage 19 - July 24 - Bourgoin-Jallieu - Aubenas, 195kmStage 20 - July 25 - Montélimar - Mont Ventoux, 167kmStage 21 - July 26 - Montereau-Fault-Yonne - Paris Champs Elysées, 160km
● 10 flat stages.● 7 mountain stages● 1 medium mountain stage.● 2 individual time-trial stages.● 1 team time-trial stage.Distinctive aspects of the race● 3 mountain finishes.● 2 rest days.● 55 kilometers of individual time-trials.
● 20 Category 1, Category 2 and hors categorie passes will be climbed.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Where did the time go? It just seems like yesterday I was looking at this guys crack.
The amigos riding the 144 route this spring.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
Texas Beef Brisket Chili
8 to 10 servings
Recipe by Bruce Aidells
Photograph by Hans Gissinger
6 large dried ancho chiles* (about 3 ounces), stemmed, seeded, coarsely torn
6 oz bacon, diced
1 1/4 pounds onions, chopped (about 4 cups)
1 5-pound flat-cut (also called first-cut) beef brisket, cut into 2 1/2- to 3-inch cubes
Coarse kosher salt
6 large garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1 1/2 10-ounce cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes with green chiles (1 3/4 cups)
1 12-ounce bottle Mexican beer
1 7-ounce can diced roasted green chiles
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro stems
4 cups 1 1/2- to 2-inch chunks seeded peeled butternut squash (from 3 1/2-pound squash)
Fresh cilantro leaves
Chopped red onion
Shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Warm corn and/or flour tortillas
Place chiles in medium bowl. Pour enough boiling water over to cover. Soak until chiles soften, at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Sauté bacon in heavy large ovenproof pot over medium-high heat until beginning to brown. Add onions. Reduce heat to medium; cover and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle beef all over with coarse salt and pepper. Add to pot; stir to coat. Set aside.
Drain chiles, reserving soaking liquid. Place chiles in blender. Add 1 cup soaking liquid, garlic, chili powder, cumin seeds, oregano, coriander, and 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt; blend to puree, adding more soaking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls if very thick. Pour puree over brisket in pot. Add tomatoes with juices, beer, green chiles, and cilantro stems. Stir to coat evenly.
Bring chili to simmer. Cover and place in oven. Cook 2 hours. Uncover and cook until beef is almost tender, about 1 hour. Add squash; stir to coat. Roast uncovered until beef and squash are tender, adding more soaking liquid if needed to keep meat covered, about 45 minutes longer. Season chili to taste with salt and pepper. Tilt pot and spoon off any fat from surface of sauce. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Cool 1 hour. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled.
Set out garnishes in separate dishes. Rewarm chili over low heat. Ladle chili into bowls and serve.
*Available at many supermarkets and at specialty foods stores and Latin markets
Sunday, September 28, 2008
People have wondered over the years how I managed such a good catch in a woman. Well, the 3 men above are, in order: my brother in law Paul, father in law Pete, and brother in law Mark. Notice any hair on their heads???
One final note. When I ride to Mark and Katie's house, I take a shower. I came in today and Katie says to me, "Kenny, are you going to take a shower?" I replied yes, and she said she would get me a towel. A minute later, she hands me a towel and says "I have shampoo for you, too."
The "shampoo" was one of the blue bottles mentioned in my blog last week! Then, I happened to open a drawer in their bathroom, and there was another one of the blue bottles. I mentioned this to Katie. She just looked at me with a smile and said, "we're a very happy family!"
You're the best Katie!
Got out the Talladega, gave her a little lube, and off I went to the party.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
I'm always amazed at all the bikes locked up in the Uptown area. It's great to see that so many people are riding their bikes not for fitness, but for transportaion. So many older bikes, still in use, making an impact on people's lives.
FWK doing what he does best. Newcastle Brown Ale, mmm-good!
Speaking of beautiful, here's shot of my wife at Figlios, where we chose to eat on the sidewalk. We visited several places: Stella's, William's Pub, Chiang Mai Thai, and finally Figlio's.
A very nice Sunday!
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Today, however, when I got home from work, I looked in the cupboard and spotted an open bag of blue chips. And salsa. Paul Newman's pineapple salsa to be exact! Well, when you work in a bakery, salty stuff sounds soooo good. Anyway, I got into about half of the bag of chips with salsa. Then I decided I better eat some good carbs, so I had a bowl of Kashi heart healthy oat flakes with blueberry clusters. Satiated, I then went to bed for my nap. Got up after two hours, had my 1/2 cup of coffee while reading emails, decided I didn't need to eat anything because I was going for an easy ride, got dressed and off I went.
2 1/2 miles later in the park, I had what Bob calls a "stomach bonk." I mean I damn near fell over. I could barely turn over the pedals. I shifted into the granny gear and STILL could barely keep the bike moving. I broke out into a sweat and started to veer all over the trail and thought I was going to tip over. I turned around and thought about sitting down on the side of the trail. I decided to try and make it to this picnic table that is just off of a horse trail. I made it to the table and sat down. I ate a gel and drank the Propel I had in my water bottle. (the Propel, along with 6 bottles of Nevada Sierra Pale Ale, somehow showed up in my cooler after Cheq last weekend!) I sat there for 10-15 minutes, and all I could think about was food! Pizza being in the forefront. I finally felt strong enough to get back on the bike and pedaled home. I was craving salt and carbs. I opened up the cupboard and found a bag of kettle popcorn. This helped the carb part, but not the salt. I went to the freezer, pulled out 2 strips of pre-cooked bacon and nuked them. I finally started to feel better. Took a shower and then had a couple beers.
What can I say, but SF!
Freshly barbered, ready for Christmas.
Yes, he does sleep like this on occasion.
This photo is from the Rin Tin Inn kennel in Elk River, where Charlie stays when we are out of town.
Charlie has a peculier habit. We call it "nukking." Whenever he needs to relax, or is stressed, he will grab one of his stuffed balls and gently bite, like a child's nuk.
Give me a treat!
When you don't have kids, it's amazing how much love you can give to a dog. The devotion they give back to you can't be measured. Charlie always greets us when we come home, tail a wagging. We miss the hell out of him when we are gone. The joy and companionship he has given us for the past 10 years has been fantastic. He knows our habits, our moods, when we're leaving, when we're having company, and, when I take my naps! He loves taking naps with dad.
Happy birthday buddy! I hope we have many more.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Saturday morning, Rob, Bob, and FWK, about an hour before the race. Last year it was 22 degrees. This year, it was 45, but the threat of rain loomed.
Bob rocketing in (#523). Bob finished in 2:40 on a single speed. All those hill repeats paid off!
FWK, Matt, and Bob after the race. They got colder then heck waiting for Bill and myself to finish. It was disappointing not to have the group of Loons and other local riders get together after the race. Understandably so, most everyone headed to where it was warm and dry.