11/30/14

Post Thanksgiving calorie burn...

No need to deny that we joined everyone else in the US by downing 3000 - 4000 calories on Thursday, and then again with the leftovers on Friday.  Ma Nature dialed in a 57 degree day yesterday (which was up from the 2 degrees on Thanksgiving morning) and led to a husband/wife Fall ride out and about to burn 1400 of those calories.

The snow was melting, the pavement was sweating and in various areas there was plenty of moisture to kick up off of the tires.  Tara stopped as we cruised through the Summerset State Park loop...



I was riding the mountain bike today due to all of the moisture, sand, salt and grit on the roads from what they dump around here when it snows...



The ride to Carlisle was fairly easy with a nice tailwind.  Arriving in Carlisle, I realized I was being fueled only by a piece of pumpkin pie that I had eaten about an hour before we headed out.  So I stopped at the Casey's and got a Snickers Almond small bar to chow down to fuel my ride home against the wind.

Turning against the headwind jacked the heart rate up about 12 beats to maintain the same speed, but we tucked down and headed south.  The sun was shining, but was blocked at times by a very thin cloud covering.  Yet it was still Fall temperatures in the 50's and it was nice to be out grinding away.

We stopped at the new icon entitled Beneath the Maples on the Simpson Campus to get a shot of the icon...



Once home, I dived into making my traditional turkey casserole.  While it cooked, I got busy preparing a speech in German for an event in January.  We all dove into the casserole when Tara pointed out I forgot to put the bag of peas I purchased into it.  RATS!  Oh well, maybe next year. Dessert was a bottle of special Eiswein from the Burgenland in Austria that I had been given as a gift. Yum!  Add that to the calories consumed column.

Temperatures are down to 19 this morning with howling winds, which will make the choice of today's calorie burn most likely of the indoor variety.

11/27/14

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing a very Happy Thanksgiving to all family and friends today!



I had planned on attending the 15th Annual Turkey Day Ride at Center Trails this morning at 8 am. However, due to temperatures being 4 degrees, and all the snow we got yesterday along with my mountain bikes all being fitted with XC Renegades at the moment - I decided to stay upright and safe here at home.  Trainer ride in the basement instead.  It will jump from 4 degrees this morning, to 54 on Saturday which should melt the snow and allow me to get out on pavement to burn off the food we are about to enjoy.

My niece is here from California, and two of my college students who did not travel home for Thanksgiving will be joining us to give thanks on this day.  The turkey is about to come out of the honey brine, and will go on the Big Green Egg for a nice smoke at about 11:30 this morning.  Pies are made.  Bread is made.  Sweet potatoes are made.  Everything else is about to commence for the big day.

11/26/14

Trainer Time...

Say what you want about gravel, riding in the snow, strapping on the lights to ride in the dark after work, squeezing in a ride on pavement when the snow is clear or melted - but I'm usually turning to the basement to hop on what has entered this past week or two as trainer time...



Not that I won't be grabbing some miles outside the next 6 weeks as I will be able to thanks to the Holiday Breaks from work with the academic calendar.  Yes, I too, like the off road adventure - be it gravel, dirt, snow, or pavement in the Winter.

I had a window of opportunity yesterday morning to bundle up and ride frozen singletrack before work.  However, rather than loading up the car and driving to Banner Pits, it was just easier to go in the basement, turn on the fans, and ride the LeMond.

"Tis the season.

I have certainly been running up against the conventions of familiarity, and the accompanying resistance to change the past few months as I organize the 2015 IMBCS Race Season.  This is one famous quote I turn to often to keep the inspiration tank full...



11/24/14

Blow, blow, thou winter wind...

I can honestly say that my lapse in posting has not been related to lack of content, but has everything to do with burning the candle at both ends.  No need to play catch up, but suffice it to say that preparing students for NATS on November 7-8, attending NATS, organizing the IMBCS 2015 Race Schedule, meeting with potential sponsors for the IMBCS, preparing lesson plans for Germany, attending concerts, recitals, and the long teaching day is what I have been immersed in the past few weeks.  Throw in a 3 week training block that I just completed - and, well....time just floated on by with the winds that seem to be blowing in the front edge of Winter.

Speaking of winter, I got the winter tires put on my Element last Thursday.  I got a new set of the same tires - thanks to a sale and rebate - for Zack's Element put on this weekend.  Alexa's Mariner gets outfitted with new tires tomorrow.  'Tis the season for winter tires.

Speaking of tires...

On the mountain biking front, I was pleased to hear that Panaracer released a 29 x 2.35 version of one of my all time favorite tires - the Fire XC Pro.



I have not seen the details on the weight for the 29"er version yet, but I'm glad Panaracer came back with this tire and in the new size - and at such a good price point!!!

The teaching week will be short on account of the Thanksgiving Break.  Today and tomorrow will be followed by 5 days off (plenty of prep work to do, so I won't be "off") which will allow me to get some solid base miles in to round out November.  My neice, Rachel is here for the week from Santa Cruz for Thanksgiving, and of course Alexa is home from college for the week - so we have lots of plans to fill out the week.

11/2/14

November wonder...

It has really been a pleasure to enjoy viewing the fall colors the past 5 or 6 weeks.  The colors came later this year than previous years, so it has been nice having a longer period with leaves still on the trees.  I hate the time period when all we have are bare trees for 5 months, so at least we got about 3 extra weeks on this end of the bare season.

A favorite from this fall...

LakeAhquabiFall2014

October ended with the traditional Beggars' Night for Trick or Treating in Indianola on Thursday.  Zack and Hannah dressed up and scared the majority of kids that came to our door between 6-8 pm.  They had a nice playlist of eerie music playing, and even Max was scared by it all.

Zach, Max, Hannah

Thursday and Friday were days off at Simpson as it was Fall Break.  I used the opportunity, along with the weekend, to do some cleaning at home, get things ready for taxes in April, smoke some meat, lift weights, and do some mountain bike rides at Lake Ahquabi, Center Trails, and Banner.  I wrapped up the week of riding nearly 10 hours by doing 3 laps at Banner Pits on the full route.  I want to start "testing" the distance of longer race efforts to see if I have what it takes to uprade next season.  So the process starts now.

I am never a fan of the time change as we lose what little daylight we had after work to squeeze in a ride.   I will have to dig out my lights and charge them up if I want to do any post-work riding for the next 2 months.  The weather is still good, and the trails are in perfect shape - so why not?

The good news for this week is that the silly political ads, phone calls, emails, texts will all end once Tuesday's election takes place.  I'm sure everyone is sick of seeing and hearing them to the point that we are all ready to write in a candidate.  Oy!

Have a good week and don't forget to get out and vote!