Mark gives us a rundown of his team sponsors and shows us what it looks like to be on a pro team. A little “getting to know you” if you will.
Mark gives us a rundown of his team sponsors and shows us what it looks like to be on a pro team. A little “getting to know you” if you will.
Joan shows us how to make Quinoa Blueberry Pancakes- her preferred race day breakfast.
For whatever reason, I always pick a recipe for Sunday dinner that is more complicated than I want to make on a weekday and I often pick one I haven’t tried before. This last Sunday was no exception. I had found a recipe for a vegan pot roast. Ok, I know now how ridiculous that sounds. I suppose I should have just told my husband what I had planned and he would have promptly laughed and pointed me towards something more likely to taste good. Truth is, I hadn’t ever had pot roast (if memory serves) and I was curious. This recipe used a seitan loaf (made from wheat gluten), loads of veggies and a crock pot. I like seitan and, like any curious cat, my curiosity lead me down a disastrous path.
After I got this creation and it’s vegetables into the crock pot, I started having doubts. It smelled like something I wouldn’t like to eat and I had bought ingredients that I don’t ever use (read: A-1 sauce). Those are bad signs right there. Hours later, I’m still thinking, “This smells weird, I don’t want this for dinner.” After 4 hours of cooking, with one more to go, I start digging into it to see how the “pot roast” part tastes. Let’s just say if it was meat, it would have still been bloody. Ok, so now I have this pot of vegetables and broth (the “pot roast” hit the garbage can immediately) and I’m trying to think of how I can save these veggies and still come up with a dinner before my husband gets home. Two words sprung to mind “Pot Pie.” I don’t know the history of a pot pie, but in my mind it sounds like something that was born out of just this sort of situation—leftover vegetables, meats and gravy.
Since we’re vegetarian in this house, I just left out the meat and made a vegetarian pot pie. I didn’t have any interest in making a pie crust, but I remembered these tasty little biscuits from our website and I just happened to have coconut flour on hand. I doubled the recipe to cover my gigantic pot pie. These were just the thing to save my Sunday dinner. Lessons learned: “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” and “pot roast is a dish better left for meat-eaters.”
Coconut Country Biscuits
Preheat oven to 450°F. Combine dry ingredients. Cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles small peas. Stir in buttermilk to form soft dough. Place mixture on top of wax paper and press to 1 inch thickness. Cut with a 2 inch biscuit cutter and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Makes 9 biscuits.
P.S. Since we are able to eat gluten and I didn’t have any rice flour, I subbed plain white flour into this recipe and it turned out just fine.
Thank you to everyone who entered our giveaway and told me what kitchen gadget they simply cannot live without. Congratulations to Kim Philpot who was chosen at random from the 13 who entered. She wins a beautiful rolling pin, set of dish towels and classic whisk. Congrats, Kim!
This recipe is definitely on my menu tonight. Cousous, mushrooms and zesty tomatoes? Yes, please! While this recipe sounds amazing and I’m going to give it a shot, I’ve never heard of Snap E Tom tomato juice and I’ve never used fennel bulb, but always wanted to try it. I did some quick research here and if I can’t find the Snap E Tom product, I’ll use spicy V8 and add a little extra habanero sauce. If you want to make this vegan, just leave out the cheese- I’m sure it will still be delicious!
Here’s to another successful Meatless Monday!
Couscous & Wild Mushroom Casserole
from chef Roy Pingo
Place couscous in a heatproof bowl and add 2 cups boiling water; mix, cover and let stand for at least 10 minutes. Reserve at room temperature.
In a small bowl, soak sun-dried tomatoes in 1/4 cup boiling water. Let stand for 10 minutes. Drain and reserve.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a 13 x 9 – inch baking dish with cooking spray, set aside.
In a large skillet, heat oil. Using medium heat, sauté tomatoes, onion, mushrooms, garlic and fennel for 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
In a large bowl, combine tomato-onion mixture, Snap E Tom, basil, tarragon, vinegar, salt, pepper and the couscous. Spread mixture into baking dish.
Bake for 25 minutes. Sprinkle top with cheese and paprika. Bake for 5 minutes more. Serve hot.
Makes 6 servings.
Racing for 13 years means one thing—I have logged countless training hours on my bike. Racing as a professional for the last 9 years means that many of those hours have been structured and demanding as I have very specific goals that are important to my own performance and to the success of my team. If you are like me, I train to race. I don’t race to train. Don’t get me wrong—I love to ride my bike, but sometimes training can become mundane. Over the years I have learned to incorporate key elements in my training to keep it fresh and exciting and to help me continually improve even when I think I might have hit my peak.
KEEP IT FUN
Always keep it fun. Sure, there are days when it feels like a chore to ride my bike, especially on days when I’m alone pushing through intervals in the freezing cold, feeling like a slave to my power meter, but then there are days when I would not want to do anything else but ride my bike. Those are the days when I leave my power meter and heart rate monitor at home, meet friends for a casual coffee shop ride, and breathe in the fresh air while my legs feel like they could pedal forever.
Social group rides are naturally fun, but hard group rides can also be fun in a painful sort of way. Instead of staring at a power meter during a hard interval session, you can use a group ride to raise the bar. They’re an opportunity for you to forget the numbers and let the excitement of the group motivate and push you harder and longer than you can go on your own.
QUALITY VERSUS QUANTITY
My philosophy for my own training and for those that I coach is quality versus quantity. I am lucky because I have all day to ride my bike, but I don’t spend unnecessary hours training just because I can. Years ago I had to spend six monotonous, frustrating weeks on a trainer due to an injury. It was mentally challenging to say the least, but because my training was totally dialed for 60-90 minutes each day I was relatively prepared for my first race back—a World Cup nonetheless—immediately after getting off the trainer. This same sort of structure can be taken to the road—make every minute and hour count for something. I’m not saying to never give yourself the freedom to ride as long as you want and enjoy the scenery now and then, but don’t feel as if limited training time means success is out of reach.
REST IS TRAINING
Equally important, if not even more important than quality versus quantity, is getting enough rest. Many people feel that if they take a rest day they are going to lose fitness or they’ve missed an opportunity to train, when in fact it’s quite the opposite. Rest IS training. Not getting enough rest can be detrimental to performance. During a hard workout, we impose a lot of stress on our bodies. In order for our bodies to adapt to that stress, rest is essential. Without the proper rest not only will our bodies not adapt to the stress imposed on them but we won’t be able to continually push our bodies to the same extent time and time again. If training intensity can’t be increased, performance gains will hit a plateau if not even take a step back. Rest doesn’t only mean riding super duper easy (I am talking about 100W and barely above resting heart rate), but taking naps if possible, eating well, staying hydrated, doing yoga, stretching, getting a massage … doing all the things you wouldn’t normally have time to do on a big training day.
There are many different ways to prioritize a training program, but the most basic is usually based around several “build” weeks followed by a rest week. Build weeks can be organized to focus on endurance, speed, power, etc., but typically there should be one major focus for that training block. As mentioned before, finishing the block with a rest week is important for the body to adapt to the stress of the previous strenuous weeks of training before moving on to the next block. With a well-rounded and thought out training program, your body should be ready for whatever is thrown its way and performance will continue to improve.
KEEP IT REAL
Cycling is hard—but don’t let it become a chore. Get the most out of your training. It’s not always how much you do but WHAT you do that counts the most. Give your body the rest it needs when it needs it. Listen to your body, not always your head. Train your weaknesses, build your strengths with a plan that focuses on all the different physiological systems. And above all always remember to keep it real—cycling is supposed to be fun, right?
At the time the gun went off I only had briefly submerged myself into the cold lake water for a few seconds to get acclimatized… it turns out that wasn’t enough! Pretty much anything that could have gone wrong at the swim start went wrong. First off, I had a crazy adrenaline rush which made my heart rate jump like crazy and made it impossible to get into any sort of rhythm. Next, my swim goggles collected a bunch of water since I didn’t have a chance to adjust them properly in the water beforehand. I then ran into some submerged rocks–a side effect of starting off to the side of the main group. This went on and on (2 minutes into the race thoughts of quitting crossed my mind), and I ended up having possibly the worst swim I have ever had in a triathlon. In the end I did finish the swim in 49 minutes, slower than my 2008 time.
Any one who is or has been a cyclist for any appreciable amount of time has run into “THAT guy”, or “that F—-IN’ guy” once or twice. He shows up on group rides, races and sometimes he’s spotted riding solo. I’ve run into him at bars before and after races and I’ve also spotted him in bike shops. You know the guy…
I was on a group ride that was supposed to be a “no drop” friendly ride to acclimate beginning riders to pack riding. Shortly after we left the parking lot of the coffee shop THAT guy went to the front of the ride and began to treat it like a race, proving to the world despite his lack of results in years of Cat 3 races that he really was one of the strongest riders in the state. As the pace got faster and faster, the beginner riders for whom the ride was formed were being shelled off the back while THAT guy was attacking the “no drop” ride through a stop sign!
I saw THAT guy in the bike shop a couple of days later and he was badgering the mechanic about getting a wheel trued like “RIGHT NOW” despite the line up of work the mechanic had been working through. THAT guy needed the wheel worked on immediately because he had to have it ready for the epic Thursday night “world championships” group ride. When he saw me; he left the mechanic alone long enough to recount for me how he had “destroyed” the no drop ride on Tuesday. He was quite impressed with himself that he was able to ride away from a bunch of new bike club members, some of whom were 40 something ladies on hybrids and gentlemen on their first group ride ever. So full of himself he was that he didn’t realize I was on the ride as well and didn’t need the pedal stroke by pedal stroke replay as I saw him up the road blasting around cars and through stop signs in order to “drop” any riders foolish enough to follow him.
Last year my team mates and I were eating out before a race. We were waiting for a team mate to show up and I was talking with his girlfriend at the restaurant bar. THAT guy walked up and said “Hi” to me then turned his back and started trying to mack on my team mate’s girlfriend. She’s a pretty sharp lady, so she gave THAT guy a bit of rope with which he would eventually hang himself. Conversation was something like this:
THAT guy: “Hi, my name is THAT guy. I’m a bike racer” (THAT guy’s standard salutation in social settings)
Girl friend: “Hi, I’m Steph”
TG: “You a bike racer too?”
GF: “No, I’m just here to watch”
TG: “Cool, you know much about bike racing?”
GF: A little. You know- Tour de France and stuff like that…
TG: (interrupting) I hope some day to compete in the Tour de France. Like I said I’m pretty good. Since you don’t know that much about bike racing it may not mean much to you but I’m a CAT 3” He said it quite loftily.
GF: “Yeah? My boyfriend is a pro. You may recognize him, he won the NRC race last weekend and used to race in Europe. Ever heard of him?”
THAT guy realizing he’d just been hung grabbed his beer and slunk away. It was classic stuff.
I saw THAT guy last summer riding alone wearing a pro team kit he bought off the internet. He wasn’t wearing a helmet. I saw him stop at a stop light (a rare thing for him) and rather than unclipping and putting a foot down to wait for the light he was doing a track stand. As he struggled to maintain balance he was inching into the intersection. The driver of a car that had the right of way came to a stop because she didn’t know if THAT guy was actually stopped or was preparing to run through the light. She honked her horn at him and he went off on the poor lady, screaming at her that she shouldn’t be driving if she couldn’t drive with bikes on the roads and that he was a “pro” bike racer and he knew what he was doing.
Once on a group ride – again with newer riders – THAT guy and I were riding at the back of the pack. I to make sure no one was dropped off the back and he to fill my ears with a stroke by stroke recounting of why he didn’t win the race last weekend even though he could have if he wanted. No one would work with him in the break and the other racers and especially the guy that won were just lucky that his coach told him not to make the race an “A Priority” race; otherwise he would have crushed them all.
Anyway, he got done with his story and decided that it was time to move forward. So, he went around the group on the left, crossed the yellow line into on coming traffic. When a car in the on coming lane had to slam on the brakes, THAT guy swerved back into the group ride and cause about 10 riders to crash. Instead of stopping to help the downed riders and see if everyone was okay, THAT guy started yelling at the riders he’d just knocked down about “not knowing how to handle their bikes and they should go back to riding tricycles and stay away from group rides until they’re not a risk to others.” Then, he rode off and never looked back.
Don’t be THAT guy…
The bike, amazing! I never thought that I could go that fast on a bicycle! When the speedometer hit 43 mph, I said to myself, “omg, I hope I don’t blow a tire!” It takes total focus to keep the bike pointed straight down the hill and to not swerve very much especially considering the amount of cross wind that hits you from time to time. I did learn that I could have pushed myself harder earlier in the bike portion of the race. Being my first Half-Ironman, I was unsure how hard to push and when. I also learned that I didn’t need nearly as much water/electrolyte prior to the first water station as I thought. This minor miscalculation did add some unnecessary weight but it gave me something to perfect for next time.The funniest thing that I saw was a fellow athlete eating a full homemade sandwich out of a plastic baggy about 2 miles in to the race. It seemed a little silly and it gave me some early comic relief – to each their own I guess. But overall, the bike portion of the race was breathtakingly beautiful, with snow lined roads, mountain and lake views, this ride is definitely a must regardless of whether you’re seeing it on race day or if you’re just out for a pleasure cruise.
The run, slow. The running portion of Pacific Crest 2011, taught me something… I’m a mediocre runner. Normally, running 13 miles is not that daunting. However, running 13 miles after swimming 1.2 miles and riding my bike for 58 miles presented a whole new challenge. The mental and physical exhaustion started to add up but the determination to finish and finish strong helped keep me going. It’s amazing how hard you can push your body, mind and spirit on race day. I guess that’s what Triathlon racing is all about – when you think you can’t go any further, you somehow find the strength to keep going.
Pacific Crest 2011 definitely lived up to the hype. The run is where you make your money and if I were to do it all over again, I would have focused more of my training efforts on the run by doing more major brick workouts. While brick workouts were a regular staple on my training calendar, I don’t think my body was quite ready for the strain and stress that the run portion presented.
Overall, Pacific Crest 2011 was a wonderful racing experience. If you’re a beginner like me, definitely put this race on your list of ones to do. It’s absolutely beautiful, the course is wonderful, the fan support is amazing and it’s something that you will talk about with your racing buddies for years to come.