Saturday, January 31, 2009

Calzone Night

When I was growing up, my mom used to make calzone from scratch- homemade dough, fresh red sauce (that was my dad's territory), and fresh pesto. It was always amazing and all of their friends and my friends would rave about it and beg her to make it again soon. So last night, to try to carry on the legacy, I made calzone from scratch...the dough, the sauce, the whole deal. Brenna actually did the sauce but used my family's super top secret recipe. Since we had about 18 people coming over and I'd have to make a double-batch of dough and roll out at least 18 calzones, I definitely welcomed the help! I've done this sort of event a couple of times and although it's a lot of work, it's very rewarding and quite good- no one has disliked it yet! Of course it would be hard to dislike it because everyone puts their own toppings on so if they hated it, it'd be their own fault. A good amount of UT cycling girls came, a couple Clif folks, and some other friends. It was a pleasant evening and even more pleasant once I finished rolling all the dough- it tired my arms out! Here are some pictures from the evening- I almost forgot to take a picture of the finished product!
Well you start with ingredients like these:

Bubbling yeast = good news for good dough!

This will become...


Which later gets fat and happy and ready to roll!

Where the rolling action happened:

Top-secret red sauce:


Finished product!

Good company, full of calzone.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Dirty Bike

Well, the whole of Texas is suffering from this "Arctic Winter Storm" as calls it. Monday, the day before the storm hit, it was the foggiest I've ever seen it here. Since it was supposed to race in the afternoon, I decided to start my ride early in the fog rather than in the afternoon rain. To be honest, the fog turned into a gross drizzle almost immediately and stayed that way throughout my ride. I stopped about half way so I could wring out my gloves because they were so wet. Four hours later I made it home, both my new bike and me mud and dirt-covered. Needless to say, it took awhile to clean both the bike, the clothes, and myself up. The weirdest part of the whole ride was that it was almost warm out- probably in the 60s.

It should be warm enough to ride outside today which makes me happy. This morning it was in the 20s when I rode to yoga, but this afternoon it should be 55. I'll never understand Texas weather. I think Mother Nature picks a random number out of a hat during the winter and that's the day's temperature.
I'm pretty happy that both of the teachers I have met with so far have agreed to let me skip class and take tests early. Just one more to meet with and one to hear from!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The First Four Day Weekend

So this weekend is, and still will be tomorrow, my first four day weekend with my new class schedule. Why, yes, I am very aware that I am lucky to be able to swing a schedule like that and still graduate plenty on time. The schedule will come in handy once we start racing the further away races so I don't have to miss class. I filled this weekend with plenty though! The highlight was definitely going to Dallas, seeing and riding with awesome teammates, and getting some of the new equipment for the season. We are a very blessed team to have such great sponsors in what many consider a dark time. FSA, Feather brakes, BH, and the list goes on. Brad of Metro VW has taken incredible care of us as well- we even have suitcases for the year! Can't wait to use it for Valley of the Sun in a couple weeks. Weinburgers in Grapevine is an amazing sandwich joint and they are graciously sponsoring us as well! They seriously have at least 60 choices of sandwiches and wraps so they definitely have one for you. We are definitely a very blessed team and I am very blessed as well to have this opportunity.
The new additions to the bike family at the cycling house.

Neat suitcase, huh? It looks almost as if there is a backpack attached to it too. Thanks, Brad!

The visit ended up being cut short a bit because I had to jet back to Austin to work the 3M half-marathon for Clif...unfortunately we had to start at 5:30am and my neighbors decided to have an outdoor party last night going into the wee hours of the morning, meaning I laid in bed waiting for my alarm to go off instead of sleeping at all. I'm not sure how much coffee I've drank today just to semi-function. The event ended up being much busier and colder than planned- double the people and half the temperature. Let's just say it was very busy and it was impossible to keep chopping enough bars to satiate the thousands because the bars were semi-frozen! It ended up being a solid 10 hours of work though, so that's always good for the wallet these days.
This is the best posed picture ever- good job Hana and thanks to that guy for playing along with the crazy Clif folks.

People, people everywhere! Pretty much my view all day.

The rest of the day will be dedicated to homework, TT bike building, and an extra early bedtime. My 4 hour ride for today will be swapped with tomorrow's rest day so I can be, well, rested.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Noteworthy Day

Today was noteworthy for several reasons...It was the first day of the new semester with my super cool new T/TH only 9:30-3:30pm schedule. So far the classes seem fine- Human Use of the Earth, Greek Archaeology, Contemporary Issues in Marketing, and American and Texan Government. Sounds like a blow-off schedule, but they are all requirements for me to graduate and they will all be valuable one way or the other!

Today was also Inauguration Day- here's to potential change. Let's see what he can do. Good luck, Mr. Obama!

In other news, I got my UCI license! Big deal for me. Now I just have to keep working hard so I get to use it ;-) Extra motivation I'd say! The last few months have been not quite what I expected, but in the best possible way :-)
Peter and I bought "Texercise" passes, so we'll be getting up early for "Early Morning Hatha Flow Yoga." Super excited :-)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

UT Training Camp + Houston Marathon

Ah yes, I'm down to the last day of Christmas break and, boy, it's been a busy one. Dallas to Austin to Dallas to Fort Collins to Dallas to Grapevine to Oklahoma to Grapevine again to Austin to Leakey to Houston and finally back in Austin.
So last week was the UT training camp in Leakey, TX. It's the best climbing in Texas from what I understand, but after Talihena (and maybe getting stronger) the climbs seemed much easier than I remembered. I pretty much ended up organizing most of training camp and being the head boss lady while there. I actually enjoyed organizing and running the event and was pretty happy with how 95% of the things went. I tend to like to take care of people/things/events and am pretty much a perfectionist about most things, so I ended up cooking every meal for 30+ people while still riding more than everyone there (except Peter). I rode most of my ride everyday with the "A" riders and then tacked on whatever remaining time I had at the end going wherever the wind would take me (not literally). It was a lot of fun and all the new folks are great. It was a bummer when Peter and I had to leave a night early to head to Austin so we could leave for Houston in the morning with the Clif Crew. Peter had the great idea of almost stranding us in the middle of freaking nowhere in West Texas by refusing to get gas before we left. Apparently I can drive 75 miles once the gas light turns on and still have 0.17 gallons left.

On the way there my car was packed to the brim. The backseat was full of my and Peter's stuff while the trunk was full of 8 gallons of milk, 12 bunches of bananas, 2 pounds of cheese, 5 pounds of meat, 30 burgers, 30 veggie burgers, 30 pounds of apples, 20 pounds of pears, 4 pounds of broccoli, 4 pounds of mixed vegetables, and 12 pounds of lettuce...needless to say all that combined with my new, shiny hitch rack, my car's rear was sagging a bit.
Everyone just hanging around outside.
Michael posing next to Sean while singing to Katy Perry.
The Houston Marathon was pretty freaking busy. Much busier than the Dallas White Rock Marathon. There were 7 of us working and we were working pretty hard just to keep enough samples out and still have a conversation with people trying our stuff. We pretty much sold many vendors out of their Shot Bloks as usual...pretty easy though when the products sell themselves. Friday evening we all went to Niko Niko's, an awesome Greek/American restaurant in the area of Montrose in Houston. They have the best pita ever. Saturday was the longest day I've ever worked- 7:30am to 11:30pm. Granted, some of that was drivetime back to Austin after the Expo closed, but it was exhausting nevertheless and my feet are still sore and have a blisters on my thumbs from opening Clif wrappers.
This is us only mildly busy, probably on Friday.
The BodyWorld's dude. Yup, that's all paint! Good advertising for sure!
I'm glad I work for a company that makes people happy!
I'm glad we came back last night though, because I had the whole day today to try to get settled back home. I had an awesome ride today totaling 4 hours and 40 minutes and my intervals went really well. I try to set mini-goals for myself so it was great seeing me accomplish them today. High-five to me. Unfortunately, besides unpacking and riding, I haven't gotten much else done today and tomorrow will be busy with a 3-hour ride, 4 hours of Clif stuff, venturing to the grocery store, and cooking for the week.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Aaaand I'm Off!

So the extent of my stay in Austin for winter break has ended (the whole 6 days of it!). Short but sweet. I definitely got a lot done and even managed to see my best friend twice, too!

Today I worked a 20-Mile running event for Clif Bar. It was the usual, handing out bars and also the whole Shot line of products. The sweet new Blok packaging was's in a Starburst-like packaging so you can squeeze them out instead of rummaging around in that dang bag. Pretty sweet, I must admit. Yeah this is at 7:30am after we had already been working for two hours in 30 degree weather (flipping cold by Texas standards!)...Hello runners!
Our awesome vendor neighbors from the Austin Rehabilitation Center brought Hana and I some coffee so we could wake up and warm up! (And they helped us with our tent that seems to be rusting, or maybe it just doesn't like Hana and I).

It was so cold that I wore as much clothing as I did when I went snowboarding...except I skipped the long underwear today :-) I wore three jackets...I never even got down to my bottom two layers...both my Clif bar layers!
The event was a little slower than Hana and I expected but that's okay because a bunch of us are heading to Houston this upcoming weekend for the Houston Marathon which is always chaotic with all the people and the huge expo!

I've been doing a fair amount of work this week preparing everything for the UT training camp in Leakey, Texas. Peter and I have been sharing most of the work for this, so I think we'll both be a bit relieved once we get everyone there all safe and sound. This year it's going to be pretty freaking big with 42 people going for 4 days! Peter and I had to take two trips to Costco just to get all the food we'll need for those days. We got lots of funny looks from people with a basket full of bread, one full of fruit and veggies, and another full of milk! This is so much more food than what it looks like!!
Yup so from training camp, Peter and I will head back to Austin long enough to meet up and load ourselves into the Clif truck to go to Houston to work the marathon. Whew! And then school starts (and the season shortly after- hurray!)! Hope everyone has a good week!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Back in the ATX

So after some self-care, in the form of acupuncture, massage, nutrition, and life coach, from the wonderful ladies at Living Well, Peter and I headed back home to Austin. It had been just about a month since we've been here, not counting the 36 hours we were here to take finals. The past few days here have been relaxing, but not in the sense that I have nothing to do. A lot of things have piled up during my absense and there is much to do to prepare for the upcoming semester and season. I started riding again a few days ago, which has felt good, but my legs are still a bit tired, probably because I am still struggling to sleep. Peter and I have been at it in the kitchen, trying out some new things the nutritionist wanted us to try, like swiss chard chips.

Last night we went to Pat and Tammy's house to "watch the game" (I don't think anyone even looked at the TV), celebrate Pat's signing with Ouch!, and dine on Tammy's delicious vegetarian enchiladas. I was pretty worn out by the time I got there so we called it a night early.

Today is going to be another "Power" day in terms of getting things done with the sweet ending of building my TT bike, finally!

I stole some pictures from some of the other blogs but here's to training camp!

The Ladies, left to right: Andrea, Ashley, Natalie, Shannon (back), Coryn, me, Casey, Sinead

Not Pictured: Lise, KimThe Dudes, left to right: Andrew G, Will, Cory, Peter, Phillip, Matt, Andrew D, Evan

Not Pictured: Christiam, Benjamin, Leo, Joe

I wish I had some of these in my backyard! Talihena, OK.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Training Camp Day 4-8

So training camp has now finished up and boy, it was a lot of fun and a lot of work. We headed out to Tallahena, Oklahoma, Tuesday to Thursday. We stayed in little log cabins in what felt like the middle of nowhere. As soon as we arrived, we hopped on our bikes for an quick and easy 50 mile ride to the first climb we'd be TT-ing up the next day. On the way back, Nathan surprised us with a leadout race between the guys and gals back to the cabin. After dinner, we sat around the campfire and pretty much laughed for the next 3 hours before everyone was zonked out by 9pm (yeah, we're that cool).

Wednesday was the toughest ride I've done yet. It was a quality 102 miles, starting with an easy 1.5 hours, then a 5-10minute ITT up the climb we pre-rode the day before. After the climb, the girls pacelined with Nathan and Natalie behind us in the van...we went hard as we could sustain for another hour plus, including up three pretty long climbs. I was very happy with how my climbing has progressed compared to last year. After the killer pace line plus leadout, we did a 35-45 minute TT up "Radio Mountain." By this point, my legs were so dead and it took a lot of focus. We concluded the 5 hour, 22 minute ride with a simple double pace-line back to the cabins. I'm glad we did it that hard because now I know I can push myself that hard. This was New Years Eve and despite our best intentions of staying up and bringing in the New Year together, we were once again asleep far too early.

Thursday Nathan drove the girls out to Tallahena and we rode from there to the Radio Tower climb again for a leadout up the climb. We followed the leadout with a mountainous 30 miles of climbs...12 steep 1k climbs in total. The guys, who did not get the luxury of a car ride to Tallahena met up with us shortly after the climbs and we rode another 20 miles together before the girls stopped at the "Kuntry Store" where they sell a limited amount of groceries and an assortment of rifles behind the counter. The girls hopped in the car while the boys motorpaced behind us. I must say, after using race radios all week, I really like them and they definitely help with communication and directions (and encouragement).

Friday we worked on crit skills around the local crit course. We shared the course with people flying toy helicopters (a good dozen of them almost walked into us while we were zooming around the course) and people doing wheelies on motorcycles. The leadouts went really well and so did the paceline work- it's amazing to see how far the 8 of us have come in the past week training together. Jenny, the life coach and Living Well, came in and talked to us about organization and gave us tips on setting goals and actually accomplishing them. The session with her was great. We all went to Paula's sweet condo that night- she and her sister had cooked us a great feast of chicken, salad, and potatoes.

Saturday was the Mad Duck group ride. It's a ~50 mile ride with a ~7 mile "race" to a hilltop finish. Nathan had Shannon, Andrea, and I rotating and pulling around some of the club members for the race. I'm pretty sure we pulled faster than we did on the first day of camp, but maybe that's because we had Nathan physically in our ears instead of on the radios ;-) The Metro dinner party was awesome- it was at Main Street Bakery in Grapevine and plenty of club members and sponsors showed up. The bakery provided us with the most amazing food and the prettiest carrot cake I've ever seen. Afterwards, we all headed to Main Event where Brad treated us to laser tag and bowling. It was a very fun last night together...too much laughing, that's for sure.

Today everyone is flying out or driving home. The few of us that were still at the hotel in the morning went back to the bakery for an equally amazing breakfast. We chatted and laughed about the week. It's so nice that we all easily get along. Training camp felt both very fast and also like an eternity. I definitely learned a lot of skills and learned a lot about myself as a rider. My teammates are all awesome people and great riders. It's going to be a great season for sure.

Peter and I will head back to Austin tomorrow evening after our Living Well appointments, but we'll only be there for 6 days before the next adventures. It'll be great to be home and see friends, even though it's for such a short period of time. We'll see what this week home brings!

Sorry- I'll have to steal some pictures from the trip because I didn't use my camera! :-(