Wednesday, December 30, 2009

DIY Massage

As I’ve noted previously, Phil and I both swear to the benefits of regular massage.

According to a recent article in the New York Times, devices for self-massage have become more common as the recession has made professional rubdowns look prohibitively expensive. According to the American Massage Therapy Association, the average price of a massage is $63 an hour.

While it’s hard to say how many people do self-massage, many athletes swear by it, and a growing range of products are available in stores and online. A foam roller, which costs about $25, is just one of a family of products that can relieve tight muscles. Also very useful to cyclists, who tend to suffer from tight calves, is the Stick.

We call our foam roller the Pillar of Pain! It feels great when you are done, but can hurt like the devil when you get into a tight area.

Here are some examples of how to use the foam rollers (there are at least 15 good videos on YouTube – these are just a few):

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Danny MacAskill

A buddy sent me this clip a few months ago, and I was, of course, impressed - and humbled. I can't even manage a weak wheelie on command, so Danny's skills astound me.

The New York Times just published an article about Danny in today's edition, so I thought it was a great opportunity to share this with you all. Enjoy!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Top 10 Movies we Watched in 2009

As I've mentioned (probably to point you are sick of reading about it) we watch movies while we work out on our indoor trainers in the Pain Cave (otherwise known as the basement).

It is the time of year for Top 10 Lists, so I decided to jump on the bandwagon. These are listed in the order we saw them, not in a ranking order.

All 10 get top marks from us – they engaged us, made us think, entertained or inspired us – as films are meant to do.

Young at Heart []

The current performers in Young@Heart range in age from 73 to 89. There are some with prior professional theater or music experience, others who have performed extensively on the amateur level, and some who never stepped onto a stage before turning eighty.

The movie concentrates on the rigorous two-month preparations for a 2006 concert at the Academy Theater in Northampton. Rehearsals (there are three a week) are quite demanding; the challenge only makes it more exciting.

The Long Green Line, “a film about running, teamwork and life.”

The Boys Cross Country team at York High School in Elmhurst, Illinois is the most winning high school team in any sport in the entire United States, a feat accomplished in no small part by the caring mentorship of Joe Newton, who has been coaching that team for half a decade. In a sport where only the top five athletes per team score points and only even are included in the competition, a staggering 214 boys have joined the York team simply to be in the presence of such an iconic and inspirational leader.

Taking Chance 

In April 2004, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Strobl, USMC, came across the name of 19-year-old Lance Corporal Chance Phelps, a young Marine who had been killed by hostile fire in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. Strobl, a Desert Storm veteran with 17 years of military service, requested that he be assigned for military escort duty to accompany Chance's remains to his family in Dubois, Wyo. Witnessing the spontaneous outpouring of support and respect for the fallen Marine - from the groundskeepers he passed along the road to the cargo handlers at the airport - Strobl was moved to capture the experience in his personal journal.

'Taking Chance' chronicles one of the silent, virtually unseen journeys that takes place every day across the country, bearing witness to the fallen and all those who, literally and figuratively, carry them home. A uniquely non-political film about the war in Iraq, the film pays tribute to all of the men and women who have given their lives in military service as well as their families.

King Corn[]
Behind America’s dollar hamburgers and 72-ounce sodas is a key ingredient that quietly fuels our fast-food nation: corn. In KING CORN, recent college graduates Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis leave the east coast for rural Iowa, where they decide to grow an acre of the nation’s most powerful crop.

But where will all that corn go? With their crop growing head-high, Ian and Curt leave the farm to see where America’s abundance of corn ends up. As they enter America’s industrial kitchen, they are forced to confront the realities of their crop’s - and our nation's - future.

Running on the Sun

"Running on the Sun" is a documentary dealing with the Badwater 135 Ultra-marathon. While an ultra-marathon is defined as any race with a distance longer than a marathon (26.2 miles), Badwater is a grueling 135 mile race beginning in Death Valley (Badwater, California, elevation 282 feet below sea level) and ascending to 8000 feet by the race's end which includes an 18 mile stretch where the elevation rises over 5000 feet. With temperatures reaching 125 degrees in the middle of the day, the Badwater 135 is perhaps the nastiest race in the world.

There is something in "Running on the Sun" to recommend the movie to anyone. Runners will see something that is probably beyond their dreams or even desire, but they will surely appreciate the effort. Other endurance athletes can also appreciate what the competitors of Badwater are attempting. Those who are simply curious will see a film about perseverance and accomplishment through adversity.

Gran Torino 

Gran Torino packs an emotional punch. You’ll laugh in spite of yourself and you’ll cringe from time to time, but it’ll make you think.


The film follows former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker as he crisscrosses the country explaining America's unsustainable fiscal policies to its citizens.

If you are looking for a better understanding about our national economic crisis, you won't find a more sobering nonpartisan look at it than in the PBS documentary, "I.O.U.S.A."

UltraMarathon Man: 50 Marathons – 50 States – 50 Days

This documentary chronicles celebrated endurance athlete and best-selling author Dean Karnazes's seemingly impossible quest to run 50 marathons in 50 different states in a remarkable 50 straight days. Striving to raise awareness about the childhood obesity epidemic that has swept across America, Karnazes's display of determination touches the hearts people everywhere he goes.

10 Items or Less: Sometimes in Life You Have to Change Lanes.

A well-known actor, who hasn't accepted a role in four years, is considering a project. The cousin of the director drives him to Archie's Ranch Market, in Carson, and drops him off to do a little research. He's fascinated by one of the checkers, Scarlet, a young woman from Spain. She hates her job, stuck at the 10 items or less lane. The actor chats her up, and when her shift ends, he asks for a ride. In the course of the afternoon, he helps her prepare for a job interview. She needs to have confidence, he needs to commit. Human contact, however brief, can change people.


Created by Joss Whedon (of Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Firefly is an "outer-space Western" set some four to five centuries in the future. Nathan Fillion starred as Captain Mal Reynolds, a disillusioned interplanetary-war veteran and outlaw of the Alliance, the current ruling government. Reynolds was skipper of the transport ship Serenity, a "Firefly-class" vessel. 

We really enjoyed this series and the follow-up film, Serenity. Great dialog, likeable characters, a little action, a little romance. . . why can't a show like this find an audience? More to the point, why does a show like Two and a Half Men stay on the air for season after season when a gem like this can't make it past 12 episodes?

There you have it. The 10 best films we saw in 2009. Do you have any suggestions for our NetFlix queue?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Year in Pictures - Part II

Finishing the Laramie Enduro in July - and finding out that Phil had crashed out with broken ribs. Bummer.

Lowry & Colleen - part of my ace crew at Leadville - and a definite key to finishing the race was having their support and encouragement.

After 9 months of training and planning - time to ride!

Having fun . . . finally!

Go Dave Go!! [photo by C Reilly]

Phil on Cottonwood Pass over Labor Day weekend. Ribs were healed enough for a road bike ride, but mountain biking was not an option.

Boreas Pass with Jeffrey

Montana sunset.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Year in Pictures - Part I

Leadville 100 MTB race registration is now open at $15 to throw your name into the lottery; $275 (ouch) if you get in the race. No group entries this year, so it is every man and woman for his/herself. Good Luck!

2009 was action-packed. Here are some of our year's highlights, in photos. 

New Year's Day on Lookout Mountain with Jeffrey. Kinda cold!

January, during a bike ride along the South Platte River bike path.

Scenes from our March trip to Solvang, California.


Palm Springs in April for our annual and much anticipated golf trip with the Evertson's. Our game doesn't improve much from year to year, but we sure have a great time!
July training rides in Leadville.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Man Makers

I'll tell you what – these little devils may not make a man out of me, but if I'm lucky, they'll be a secret weapon in my fitness plan this season. It's all I can do right now to bust out a set of 5 (with admittedly girlie 8 pound dumbbells).
My goal is to work up to 3 sets of 8.

I'll still be a "girlie man," but my core strength will rock!!

[The first 60 seconds is all you need to watch - ouch!]

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sunday Dinner

I’ve been pretty sporadic about updates lately. Sorry about that. It isn’t that we haven’t been busy. It’s more that “busy” doesn’t always translate to “incredibly interesting.” Or even mildly interesting, to be honest.


Since I view this as a pretty low maintenance way for me to connect with friends and family (I also finally gave in to peer pressure and joined Facebook – that can be a sneaky little time sucker!), I’ll try to get back on a more consistent update schedule.

Today is bitterly cold, snowy and gloomy. A real “stew in the crock-pot” or “pot roast and potatoes” kind of Sunday. Not that either of those is on the menu tonight.

Nope. Nothing delicious for us.

We’re beginning to get a bit more serious about our training for Leadville again. Part of that, as you may recall from my pitiful whining last season, is nutrition discipline. Which mostly boils down to me going on the wagon (Wine with dinner? No ma’am we don’t serve people like you here. . .)

It also includes long low intensity rides on the weekends (indoor rides mostly, due to the cold & wet weather), after which we eat a light snack and go to bed with growling tummies. Awesome, huh?

I did, however, make a great meal a few weeks ago as a treat for our friend Ian on his birthday.

This comes together in about 20 minutes – easy enough for a week-night dinner.

Pork Medallions with Pomegranate Cherry Sauce

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 3 medallions and 2 tablespoons sauce)


1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup pomegranate juice (you can substitute cranberry juice)
1/3 cup dried sweet cherries
1/4 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon water 1 tablespoon butter


1. Cut pork crosswise into 12 (1-inch-thick) pieces. Sprinkle both sides of pork with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until done. Remove pork from pan; keep warm.

2. Add juice, cherries, wine, and vinegar to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook 2 minutes. Combine cornstarch and 1 teaspoon water in a small bowl. Add cornstarch mixture to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove pan from heat. Add butter, stirring until butter melts. Return pork to pan, turning to coat.

Serve with a nice green salad, steamed mixed veggies, brown rice and a hearty loaf of bread.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving in Helena - Wrap Up

As predicted, we were treated to a beautifully appointed Thanksgiving table.

The happy chef showing off his really decadent chocolate cranberry torte & pumpkin bars - wow.

Moose - looking innocent but ready to pounce on any morsels that might fall off the plates . . .

Squirrl - as big as me! But with a much sweeter disposition!

Me and Pat in front of the Montana State Capital.

Beneath the statue of Thomas Francis Meagher, the governor of the Montana Territory (and a really interesting guy).

The view from Pat's house - stunning as the light sweeps across the hillsides.

Nothing beats a Montana sunset.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Giving Thanks

We are heading off to Montana for Thanksgiving. Phil and I will spend the day with my brother, and probably a couple of his friends who are far from their homes and families.

It has been a long time since I’ve spent a holiday with Pat. But I have a pretty good idea of how the day will go.

We’ll arrive on Thursday and get to his house in time to get in his way in the kitchen (have I mentioned that Pat is a really really excellent cook?).

There will be wine.

His miniature Schnauzer, Moose, and giant Schnauzer, Squirrel (Pat spells it more creatively but I can’t remember exactly how – sorry), will be overcome with excitement to have strangers – who smell like cats – in their home. Exuberant behavior will ensue until someone suggests it might be a good idea to take them for a walk before dinner. Phil will gladly oblige.

I’ll wash dishes.

It’s what I do when visiting my siblings for the holidays. It makes me feel marginally useful, and I’m a hell of pot-scrubber, thank you very much.

Did I mention there will be wine?

Eventually we’ll sit at the table – which will be fabulously appointed. We’ll begin to eat ourselves into a happy little coma, while talking, joking, sharing opinions (Phil has learned that Morrows are never at a loss for an opinion . . .), telling stories and generally basking in the glow of good food and good company.

There will be more wine . . .

Everyone will help clear the table and package up leftovers and get the kitchen in ship-shape. We may play a game of Uno or Greed or Taboo.

Pat and I might have a moment where we get a little bit sad missing our parents, but that will pass.

It will be a really good day.

And I’ll be thankful.

For family, friends, abundant food and the fact that I’ve never had to spend a Thanksgiving with any of the people mentioned in this article. Yikes.

So . . . let’s all be thankful for what we have . . .

I think I’ll have another glass of wine!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Walk of Shame

If you ride your bike enough, it is bound to happen. But that doesn’t make it any more palatable.

What is this mystery affliction?

The unfixable flat.

It isn’t that you are unprepared.

You perhaps spent $8 for a fancy slime-filled inner-tube that is supposed to be “self-sealing.” It, however, failed after a mere 20 miles. [It doesn’t seem like “merely” 20 miles when faced with the prospect of walking that distance to return home . . .]

So you pull out your spare tube - which you in fact checked before leaving the house, just to be certain you were being responsible and prepared for a flat tire – an unlikely event due to your investment in the slime tube, but not entirely outside the realm of possibility.

You remove your rear wheel (it is always the rear wheel; always), pull out the tube which is oozing lime green slime, and deftly replace it with your spare. You confidently take your CO2 cartridge in hand and . . . realize that the stem on your spare tube is too short. The chuck for the CO2 cartridge can’t grip the stem.

You are screwed.

If you are very lucky, you are riding with a buddy who has a spare tube with a stem that is at least 2 inches long.

If you are not quite so lucky, your buddy has a tube with a stubby little stem that is no damn good to you.

So you give him $20 and a pat on the butt and send him in search of a bike shop.

While you begin the walk of shame.

In your cycling cleats.

Pushing your bike.

Looking like a spandex-covered penguin and feeling forlorn.

If you are very very lucky, after you have walked only 1 mile, a very nice cyclist on a very fancy carbon fiber bike stops to help you. He gives you his spare tube – which has a 2-inch stem. He gives you his CO2 cartridge (because you wasted yours trying in vain to make it work on your short-stemmed tube, even though it was patently obvious that there was no way it could possibly work).

You ride off to meet your buddy who is returning from a bike shop with new tubes in hand.

Then you turn around and ride home because this whole mess wasted about 90 minutes, and the days are short and the evenings are cold. But you still got in a 3-hour, 40 mile bike ride.

Once home, you immediately check all your inner-tubes, get rid of the ones with stubby stems, and pack up your seat bag for the next ride with 2 long-stemmed tubes & extra CO2 cartridges.

Because no one wants to do the walk of shame.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Phil's Update

Phil is helping me out since I've been a lazy blogger recently . . .

You know the blog has been quiet when we start getting questions like, “What are you up to now…..?”

The answer: Landscaping in the winter; starting our first week of a 39 week training plan for the Leadville 100 – 2010 edition; keeping up with our busy jobs; and dealing with it being dark and cold.

We finished the crushed rock walk around the front of the house last weekend before the big snow hit. I moved about 6 tons of rock and crusher fines on Saturday for the finishing touches. Our friend / neighbor Hillary gave some suggestions and we used the crusher fines for base and ¾” crushed granite on top.

Last Sunday we woke up to about a foot of snow, so it ended up being another day of shoveling – snow instead of rocks this time. Luckily, Joanne did more than her share since my back was tired from hauling rock. This weekend there is still too much snow in the back to work on that walk-way.

However, the roads were dry so we went for a forty miler. There is a reason why Golden’s promotional web site is named!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Buckets O' Dirt

Sorry I've been neglecting this blog lately. Initially it was due to fun stuff; Phil, Jeffrey & I spent a great day at the Boulder Cup cyclocross race. Katie Compton crushed the women's field and Tim Johnson handily won the men's event.

Phil & I had recently watched The 9 Ball Diaries (2008) (run time 50 minutes) which followed Tim Johnson in the 2006 cyclocross season, so it was fun to see him racing in Boulder. [2.5 Stars. Good race footage, but not much story. Never even explained the “9 Ball” uniform. Best part about the film – the Drop Kick Murphy’s version of Amazing Grace used in the soundtrack – sweet!! ]

Then, the not so fun stuff began . . . Phil has been trying to beat the weather and get a jump on some landscaping projects that we neglected all summer while we were off riding our bikes.

Phase 1: building a foot-path around the rear of the house to Phil's shop and also around the front of the house. The front path doesn't really go anywhere, but it looks nicer than the vacant dirt patch that was left behind after I bullied Phil into tearing out the nasty half-dead juniper bushes that used to grace our front yard.
Scraping off the sod was a full-time one day project for our hard-working friend Gene.

5 gallon buckets full of crusher fines - the first 20 or so buckets don't feel too bad, but by the end of day it is sheer torture to lift them up into the wheelbarrow.

When I got home from work Friday this pile of crusher fines was about 3 times larger than it is today; we moved a lot of dirt!! (and have plenty more to move . . .)

The front path - edging stones placed; drainage lines installed; sprinkler lines moved, accidently cut, spliced & repaired; and first layer of crusher fines placed.

Heading toward the rear of the shop . . .

Looks better than the weedy, rooty mess that used to be here.

Our current challenge - convincing Rex & Fritz that we didn't spend two backbreaking days building them the Best. Litter. Box. Ever!! We need to get the final layer of coarse rock in place soon!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Dinner and a Movie

With ‘flu season around the corner, something light, warm and easy on the tummy seems appropriate. This is easy enough that you can prepare it even if you are the one feeling puny. It isn’t really traditional, but you can also swirl in some fresh ground ginger – which has been found to reduce nausea in many people.

Egg Drop Soup
Pour the beaten eggs through a sieve into the simmering broth to create the characteristic ribbons in the soup.


4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons chopped green onions
1/4 teaspoon salt


Place broth in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; place a wire mesh sieve over saucepan. Strain eggs through sieve into pan. Remove from heat; stir in onions and salt.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 cup)

A Man Named Pearl (2006) Length: 78 minutes

This documentary is about a factory worker and self-taught topiary artist from South Carolina who transformed his once-average yard into a wondrous garden that now draws tourists from across the country.

When Pearl Fryar first moved into his South Carolina home, the people of the neighborhood feared that he wouldn't maintain his yard.

Pearl wasn't willing to let an obstacle born from racial stereotypes determine the outcome of his life, and vowed to win the "Yard of the Month" award from the Iris Garden Club. Years later, tourists from all 50 states flock to the yard of a man who had no prior gardening experience before creating his masterpiece. More than just a yard, Pearl's awe-inspiring landscape creates a feeling in visitors that they didn't have before they set foot on the grounds.

We watched this on October 6 while doing a vicious set of intervals (somebody really needs to talk to the idiot [me] who is putting together our workout plans . . . more on that later). This falls into the “inspiring true story” category of movies we watch.

Pearl and his creations have been profiled in the New York Times and virtually every gardening journal in print.

Sit back and prepare to be amazed & inspired. I might even get a little bonsai tree to mutilate . . . er, sculpt, I mean.

4 Stars. Uplifting, entertaining and educational.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

German Chocolate Cake

As the youngest of 6 kids, my siblings will all agree that I was spoiled - the "baby." To that I say, "yes I was and you're just jealous!"

The highlight of my "special treatment" came when I was in law school in California. I was a very long way from home, terrified of failing out of school, and flat-ass broke. I was, in short, miserable.

When my birthday rolled around I received a package from home.

I became the most popular girl in our apartment building when I opened the box and pulled out a homemade German Chocolate Cake from my mom. I'm still not sure how she managed to mail a cake from Shelby MT to Malibu CA and have it arrive in 1 piece, unscathed, and delicious.

Nothing like a little chocolate cake to lift a girl's spirits; that was 22 years ago (yikes) and I still remember how special that was. So, just in case you feel like making someone's day, here's the recipe.
German Chocolate Cake

1 pkg. (4 oz.) Baker's German sweet chocolate
1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups cake flour, sifted
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup buttermilk
Coconut-Pecan frosting (recipe follows)
PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Cover bottoms of 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with wax paper; grease sides of pans.

Microwave chocolate and water in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1-1/2 to 2 min. or until chocolate is almost melted, stirring after 1 min. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Cool.

MIX flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in melted chocolate and the vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beating until well blended after each addition.

BEAT egg whites in small bowl with electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into batter. Pour evenly into prepared pans.

BAKE 30 min. or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Immediately run small metal spatula around cake layers in pans. Cool in pans 15 min.; remove layers from pans to wire racks. Remove and discard wax paper. Cool cake layers completely. Spread Coconut-Pecan Filling and Frosting between cake layers and onto top of cake.

Combine in heavy bottomed, medium saucepan:
1-1/2 cups (12 fl. oz.) evaporated milk
1-1/2 cups sugar
4 slightly beaten egg yolks
3/4 cup butter
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla

Stir over medium heat until thickened, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in 2 cups shredded coconut and 1-1/2 cups chopped pecans. Cool until thick enough to spread. Makes 4-1/4 cups.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Is it too Early to start Whining?

We are in the midst of our first big snowstorm of the season. It may be a REALLY long winter . . .

view from our rear patio

No hoops today.

Another 8 - 12 inches is predicted before the storm moves out.
I better start shoveling . . .