Almanzo100 recap, thoughts, and lessons learned…

First of all, watch this video—>

Where do I even begin…

Sometime back in January I decided to send in my postcard to ride the Almanzo100.  (If you didn’t watch the video above, do so now.)

Why? Well, first of all, 100 miles of gravel and climbing hills in southern MN sounds great on -10F day when you haven’t seen the sun in 30 days.  Second, I thought it would give me motivation to ride the trainer a lot this winter.  Lastly, it seemed like a good early training tool for the Triple Bypass Ride I am signed up for in July.

Well, winter came and went. (It is gone now right?!) AND, before I knew it, it was May.  My longest outdoor ride was 56 miles and that was a week ago.  It was horrible, my ass hurt, my legs were cashed, I bonked, and it was on flat, paved rode! I hadn’t rode my mountain bike since Chequamegon40 in September of last year, and this was my bike to ride for 100 miles on May 17th.  All I could think was Almanzo would be a disaster…and WTF was I thinking signing up for this?!

Friday afternoon, Ryan and I made the trip to Spring Valley, MN.  Set up camp with our new camper (BTW, it is awesome!) and head to the city campground to get our race numbers —>wpid-imag0502.jpg

Saturday morning came with the normal pre-race or big event jitters.  Meaning, I had to go to the bathroom 3-4 times and force myself to eat.  UGH!  I hate that.  Ryan and I met up with some friends and rode to the start.  We got there just in time for the National Anthem, find a spot in the line up, and to sing Happy Birthday to Chris Skogen’s son, Jack :) Seriously, what kid wouldn’t want 1300+ people singing to them!  Loved it.  For the first time since signing up for the event, I felt like no matter what happened, I would be okay with my day.

The start reminded me a lot of Chequamegon, but without the rush (at least at the back of the pack anyway) or crashes.  To sum up the course, it is a lot like this all day long—>almanzo

I wish you could feel the wind!  Seriously, I can’t tell you how demoralizing wind is.  It. Is. Awful.  That along with hill, after hill, after hill…

What can I say?  I wasn’t prepared for an off-road century in May.  I wanted to quit when we hit Preston, MN (about 40 miles in), but my partner in crime Joanna and I had a deal.  No bitching til mile 40.  Re-evaluate the situation at mile 60.  Shoot for 80 and hope for 100.

Around mile 60, we re-evaluated.  Our pace was slow.  There was no way we would finish in the 10 hours we hoped for.  There were talks of faking a mechanical.  “I wish there was a knife along side the road that we could slash our tires with.” At one point we even heard gun shots and hoped for a stray bullet.  For real.  Shit gets crazy when you are on your bike for 7+ hours and only have consumed water, electrolytes, and energy foods.

This is our pre-race and “failure photo” at mile 62—>wpid-img_3137.jpg

When my Garmin died at mile 61, my heart felt heavy.  It was over.  We chugged on for another 11 miles.  Finishing our day at mile 72, right outside the campground we were staying at.  HA.  We didn’t plan it that way, but it worked.

The only data I have :( Note to self:  get a new Garmin that lasts longer than 7 hours.  almanzo3

We laughed.  We almost cried.  We met some awesome people along the way.  We were out there on the saddle for 7+ hours.  We left nothing on the road.  No shame.  We came to do something incredible and we did.  Strong.  Simple.  wpid-img_20140516_191240.jpg48 hours later.  I wish I would have done more.  Our finish promise to each other was to not sign up again next January.  Well, that has already been thrown to the curb.  Almanzo100 we will meet again and this time, we will shake Mr. Chris Skogen’s hand at the finish line.

 

 

Posted in cycling, Races | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Beef and Black Bean Chipotle Chili

  • 3 15-oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 14-1/2-oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 2 medium chipotle plus 2 Tbs. adobo sauce (from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce)
  • 2-2.5 lb. ground beef
  • Sea salt
  • 1 large red onion, finely diced and 3 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced 

Put one-third of the beans into the bowl of a food processor, along with the tomatoes and their juices, chipotle, and adobo sauce. Process until smooth and set aside.

Cook the beef in large pot and season with 1/2 tsp. salt.  Approx. 5 minutes.
Add the onion and celery and 1/4 tsp. salt, and cook, stirring, until it begins to brown and soften, about 3 min.
Reduce the heat to medium. Add the chili powder, pepper, and cumin and cook for 1 minute.
Add the remaining black beans, the puréed bean mixture, and simmer for 10 min., stirring frequently.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
If the chili is thicker than you like, it may be thinned with water.

Serve the chili topped with the avocado and cheese. wpid-imag0483.jpg

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It will never be enough.

poem

Today my dad would have been 70 years old.  Seventy!  Happy Birthday Dad!  

You know it’s weird… but I really don’t have many photographs of just me and him.  I wish I would have taken more photos when I was younger.  I guess, like most of us do, I just took our time with each other for granted.  Please don’t take anyone in your life for granted.  It can all change in a blink of an eye.  Take photos!  Create lasting memories.

You know it’s weird… but I feel more sad for my mom and my kids than I do for me (now).  I am the lucky one.  I got 25 years with my amazing Dad.  BUT, my mom should have had her lifetime, her retirement, her “golden years”.  AND, my kids should have had the chance to know their Grandpa… to fish, to hike around at the cabin with, to eat ice cream with, to love. 

You know it’s weird…he has been gone for almost 14 years and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of him.  It’s the little things.  House projects.  Lawn maintenance.  A Ford pick-up truck.  What to do when XYZ go wrong?  Little celebrations.  My goofy boys. 

Is it weird to still celebrate a birthday when some is no longer on this earth?  I don’t think so.  Today my boys, Ryan and I celebrate… My Dad, a father-in-law, a Grandpa.  We miss you! Wishing you could share an Izzy with us one day.
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Posted in random thoughts | 3 Comments

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Ingredients:

15 ounce can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 lemon, juice only
1/4 c tahini paste  (I like this kind from WF)                                                         wpid-imag0480.jpg
1 clove garlic
2 T EVOO
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp sea salt
2 roasted red peppers (I used the jar kind)

Mix all of the above in your food processor until smooth.

I can’t believe I haven’t tried making this before.  It makes double the store bought amount and at a fraction of the cost.  We are hummus junkies over here and this will be one of our new staples in our house.

It is a perfect after school snack with a few fresh veggies and crackers.  Give it a try and mix up the flavors.   Let me know what you come up with.  I love hearing from you!

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Posted in appetizer, B is for beans, Dip, snacks, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Strawberry & Avocado Salad with Bacon Poppy-seed Dressing

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Salad:
6 cups of baby kale
1 avocado, sliced
8 strawberries, sliced

Dressing:
1/4 cup mayo (the real stuff)
1 T coconut sugar (sub with sugar of choice)
1 T rice vinegar
1/2 tsp poppy-seeds
salt and pepper to taste
4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
(I also added a tsp of the bacon fat for added flavor!)

This was good, really good.
Even Ryan like this and he despises anything with mayo and/or vinegar.
I think the bacon helped :)  It really does make most things better!

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Balsamic Slow Roasted Beef

wpid-img_20140416_205225.jpg4-5# beef roast
1 cup beef broth
1/2 cup coconut sugar (any sugar will do)
1/4 balsamic vinegar
1 T soy sauce
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
3 cloves garlic, minced

Put all of the above in your crockpot and cook on low for 8+ hours.

This was so good. The meat was so tender and just melted in your mouth. I served ours with parsnip mash and sautéed brussel sprouts with bacon.  The picture doesn’t look beautiful, but I promise you it is!

Mom, if you would have served beef roast like this when I was a kid, I wouldn’t have complained so much :)

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Spring salad with roasted chickpeas

wpid-img_20140415_202817.jpgDressing:
1/4 c rice vinegar
1/2 T coconut sugar (or any sugar you want)
1 tsp sea salt
(adjust to liking)

Salad:
2 cucumbers, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
Handful of cilantro
1 cup peanuts
(a little feta would be good too!)
1 can chickpeas, roasted

It may not feel like spring here in MN, wpid-img_20140414_185809.jpgbut sooner or later, it has to show up.  Right? Right!  I can’t take it anymore.
I am super sick of riding the trainer and promised myself last week (after 4 outdoor rides) that I would not stick my bike back on the trainer until November.  Guess what? I lied.  I was back in the basement Monday night.  Ugh.  I refuse to ride outside when the feels like temp is 32F.  Gross.

On a better note, I did run 2 miles last night and felt fabulous the entire time.  Yippee for very sporadic 1 in 10 great runs :) 2 miles in 18 minutes flat.  (That is pretty fast for me.  Especially when this was my 2nd run in 6 months.)  Why can’ t they all be like this one?!

Dear MN,
You suck right now.  I want to love you, but I can’t.  Please bring me some 70F and sunny days with no wind and I will reconsider.   Almanzo 100 is only 4 weeks away.  Lord (and Mother Nature) help me.
Thanks,
Kim

 

Posted in cycling, Healthy meals, Paleo, Salad | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sesame Zoodles with Chicken

wpid-imag0444.jpgDressing:

1/4 cup soy sauce
2 T coconut sugar
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 T rice vinegar
2 T sesame oil
1/2 tsp hot chili oil
2 T EVOO
1 T sriracha
juice of 1 lime

Salad:

4 zucchini – spiralized (or noodle of choice)
4 chicken breasts (cooked), diced
1/2 jicama- spiralized (optional)

Toppings:

cilantro
peanuts
bean sprouts
green onion
jalapeno peppers

Mix the zucchini, jicama, toppings, and chicken in large bowl.  Toss with dressing and serve.  (Tastes great cold for lunch the next day too!)

This was amazing and will be a new go-to meal for my family.  Ryan and I loved it.  The boys loved it.  Success.  You can mix in other toppings, use different noodles, and just make it your own masterpiece!

What’s a jicama?
Jicama (HEE-kah-ma) is an edible root that resembles a turnip. It has thin brown skin and crisp, juicy, white flesh that’s mild in flavor (think of a cross between a water chestnut and a pear). Jicama is native to Mexico, where it’s sometimes referred to as Mexican turnip, or Mexican potato. jicama

Remove skin with a sharp vegetable peeler, then cut the white flesh into cubes or strips, or spiralize according to your recipe. Because jicama does not brown or become soggy after cutting, it makes a nice addition to crudité platters and salads. It lasts several days after being sliced in the refrigerator.  It’s also good added raw to sushi rolls in place of cucumber for crunch, or included in stir-fries, as it performs best with quick-cooking methods that allow it to maintain crispness.  Give it a try!

 

 

Posted in Healthy meals, lunch, Paleo, Salad | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cauliflower Cheesy Breadsticks

If you have been alive the past 6 months, I am certain you have seen more than one recipe for cauliflower breadsticks or cauliflower pizza crust floating around Facebook, Pinterest, etc…wpid-imag0440.jpg

I tried this recipe last January and it turned out mmmk.  We all liked it, but it must not have been too fabulous since we never made it again.  Today, with a very bare refrigerator and two hungry boys, I decided to tweak the recipe a bit and give it another whirl for a kind of quick, but fun lunch.  (BTW, I think the parchment paper is key in this recipe!)

Cauliflower Cheesy Breadsticks

1 large head of cauliflower (“riced”)
4 eggs
2 cups of cheese (I used co-jack since that is all I had on hand.)
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 tsp oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425F.
Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Cook your “riced” cauliflower in microwave or steamer for 8 minutes.
In large bowl, combine cooked cauliflower, eggs, cheese, garlic, oregano and S&P.
Divide in half and spread out on lined cookie sheet.
Cook for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

We decided to just make “breadsticks” and dunk them in pizza sauce today. If you want to turn it into pizza just add sauce and toppings at this point and cook for another 5 minutes until cheese is melted.
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Posted in appetizer, Healthy meals, Kids Meals, lunch, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

b25k

image

Yesterday I ventured outside for a run. My first run in 6 months! *gulp* I have to admit I was nervous.  I wasn’t sure how to start back up again…honestly, I’m not even sure why I want to.  BUT, I do.

There is all sorts of info on how to start running online.  For instance, the couch to 5k program (c25k). What I found was there isn’t a lot of info on how to start running after a little big hiatus that you remained active doing other things. (Holy crap that is a poor sentence!) Just not running things.  There is no bike to 5k program.

I have been active cross-country skiing, cross-fitting, and riding the trainer all winter. If I’m being totally honest, I haven’t done those things enough  either. Ugh! I digress.

Running is different from those activities.  Running is NOT forgiving of a break.  You can’t just jump right into a 5 mile run.  Well you can, but you wouldn’t walk right for a while.  You could even get injured, and no one wants that.

So, what’s a girl to do?!  Wing it! I decided on a 2.5 mile walk/run.  Guess what?  I didn’t die  :-)

Posted in running | 3 Comments