Tuesday, September 29, 2009


For once I'm off-line and it isn't Best Buy's fault!

Phil and I are having the hardwood floors at our house refinished, so we had to move everything out of all the rooms with hardwood: office, kitchen, hallways, etc.

Our spare bedroom and living room are now heaped with everything from all the other rooms and we're "camping" in the basement. Rex & Fritz think this is all quite odd.

Hope to be back to normal (for us, anyway), by the weekend. But we'll be cleaning up dust for weeks. Achooo!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Centennial Cone MTB

Today was gorgeous! 75 degrees, breezy and dry. We headed up to Centennial Cone park in Jefferson County for a mountain bike ride. It is about 13. 5 miles - uphill both ways - with some switchbacks, but otherwise butter-smooth non-technical single track. Sweet!

Are you ready??

The grasses are beginning to turn autumn gold.

A little bit of double track to end the ride.

Hard to beat a day outside on our bikes with views like this.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fiscal Fitness

Typically in this blog my focus leans toward physical fitness. Today I’m going to change things up a little bit and encourage you to think about your fiscal fitness.

Phil and I watched two movies recently that are thought-provoking, and well worth your time.

Maxed Out focuses on the problems of personal consumer debt, and its crushing burden.

The second film, I.O.U.S.A.,
shines a spotlight on the United States' national debt. It is exceptionally well done, explaining the history of the national debt, how we got to this point, and what it will take to extricate the country from this mess. More important, it describes what will happen if we don’t take action now.

I strongly urge you to at least take 30 minutes and watch the abbreviated version of I.O.U.S.A. available on the movie’s website.

Maxed Out (2005) (run time 86 minutes) [We watched it July 17]

Maxed Out takes viewers on a journey deep inside the American style of debt, where things seem fine as long as the minimum monthly payment arrives on time. With coverage that spans from small American towns all the way to the White House, the film shows how the modern financial industry really works, explains the true definition of "preferred customer" and tells us why the poor are getting poorer while the rich keep getting richer. Maxed Out paints a picture of a national nightmare which is all too real for far too many Americans.

The film's many interviewees include Harvard University financial analyst Elizabeth Warren
(who explains the lucrativeness of high-interest mortgage banking) and born-again Christian radio host Dave Ramsay, who offers difficult on-air advice to the fiscally burdened by drawing on his own experiences as a debtor.

I.O.U.S.A. (2009) (run time 80 minutes) [We watched it September 22, 2009]

Throughout history, the American government has found it nearly impossible to spend only what has been raised through taxes.

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."

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"Race Across the Sky" Movie Premier - Details

Race Across The Sky - Leadville Trail 100
On October 22nd, experience a One Night Event in movie theatres nationwide featuring the debut of “Race Across the Sky” – a documentary covering the 2009 Leadville Trail 100 bike race, one of the most intense endurance races of all time - and candid conversations with Lance Armstrong, Chris Carmichael, Dave Wiens, and other elite and amateur cyclists who overcame extreme challenges to participate in this grueling race.


This one night event will feature a panel discussion with Lance Armstrong, Chris Carmichael (owner of Carmichael Training Systems and Lance Armstrong’s coach), Dave Wiens (6x Leadville 100 winner), Ken Chlouber (Leadville 100 Founder), Travis Brown (Olympian and professional mountain biker), and others before and after the debut of the documentary “Race Across the Sky”.


Tickets are limited and will be on sale to the general public beginning Friday, September 25th , 2009.

List of Participating Theaters

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Dinner and a Movie

Fall is in the air. That spells comfort food for me, and what is more wonderfully warm and creamy and comforting than risotto? It takes some time and fussing, but it is really quite easy. If you have a cooking partner, have him or her make a big green salad while you are stirring the risotto and you each enjoy a nice glass of wine. If you have a meat eater who won’t go for this vegetarian meal, grill up some Organic Sun-Dried Tomato or Organic Sweet Basil & Roasted Garlic Sausage as well.

Risotto with Caramelized Onions

4 (10 1/2-ounce) cans low-salt chicken broth

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
1-1/2 cups Arborio rice or other short-grain rice
1 cup Carmelized Onions see below (about 3 cups uncooked)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Bring the chicken broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan (do not boil). Keep the broth warm over low heat.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots, and sauté 1 minute. Add rice, and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add 1/2 cup broth, and cook until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly.

Add remaining broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next.

Stir in Caramelized Onions, salt, and pepper; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in cheese. Serve immediately.

Yield: 5 servings (serving size: 1 cup)

Caramelized Onions
1-1/2 teaspoons olive oil
Cooking spray
3 cups vertically sliced onion (sweet, yellow or white onion)

Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add sliced onion, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Continue cooking 15 to 20 minutes or until deep golden brown, stirring frequently.

Yield: 1 cup

Gran Torino
(2008) (run time 116 minutes)

Walt Kowalski is a Korean War veteran who worked the assembly lines in Detroit after returning home from the war, bottling his demons up tight as he got married, started a family, and settled down in a nice house.

Over the years, Walt's close-knit community gradually began to change, and as his neighbors all died or moved away, their homes were purchased by low-income families and immigrants, the latter of which were largely Hmong families from Vietnam, seeking to escape persecution for aiding American forces during the war.

His next-door neighbors are just such a family, and Walt begrudges them not only for being "zipperheads" and "yammering gooks," but even more so for the fact that their dilapidated, ill-maintained home sits directly adjacent to his perfectly manicured lawn.

He's not a very likeable guy, though he largely keeps to himself until one night when he notices someone with a flashlight snooping around in his garage. Walt grabs his rifle and heads down to investigate. Once inside, he confronts bumbling would-be thief Thao, who has been pressured into stealing Walt's vintage Gran Torino as part of a gang initiation rite.

Thao is hardly the gangbanger type; he lives in the house next door, and he's more apt to be caught doing the dishes or gardening rather than roaming the streets looking for trouble. Later, when the gang returns to pressure Thao, the conflict quickly spills over into Walt's yard, prompting him to come barreling down the front porch, rifle in hand and ready for action. As a result, the gangsters beat a hasty retreat, and Thao's family begins showering Walt with gifts as a means of thanking him for keeping the boy from falling in with a dangerous crowd.

Little does Walt realize that his instinctive action has laid the groundwork for an unanticipated new chapter of his life, a chapter that will teach him not only the true meaning of tolerance, but the value of finally making peace with his past, and letting go of the death that has haunted him ever since returning home from the war.

We watched this on August 30 – we sat in our chairs in the living room and watched it like normal people watch movies! We weren’t on our bikes – amazing.

The last Eastwood film Phil and I watched was Million Dollar Baby
– and I don’t know if Phil has forgiven me yet for not warning him about the plot in advance. Gran Torino also 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.

4.5 Stars – well worth your time.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Today was our personal Lookout Mountain Hill Climb Time Trial. It was nearly a perfect day – highs in the mid-70s and only a slight breeze (7 – 10 mph).

Phil rocked! He set a new personal record (“PR”) of 26 minutes and 34 seconds (measured using Rooney’s Rules, of course).

I believe the Wife Beater #1
has met - maybe even exceeded - Phil’s expectations. Of course, diligent training and losing 10 pounds didn’t hurt, either.

I don’t know what my prior fastest Lookout Mountain time was. So I used today to set the bar.

I rode the Rooney course in 28 minutes 15 seconds. I’m good with that. Pre-ride I just wanted to be sub-30 minutes. Now I have a new goal of breaking 28 minutes. Something to shoot for.

Phil’s high school buddy Mitch is coming to town this evening, so I’m going to take my own advice
and go throw some steaks on the grill – a great way to cap a darn good day.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Lance Struggling to Fix his Flat Tire

All these updates might get annoying, but since I FINALLY figured out how to embed video clips in the blog I'm going a little wild.

This is pretty funny - Lance wasn't kidding when he said he isn't good at fixing flat tires!


Silly little video making fun of us "weight weenies." [To cyclists, lighter is better. Component weight can become an obssession.]

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Six Minute Solution

Since we have decided to race at Leadville again next year, I’ve been thinking about what worked in our training plan for 2009, and what tweaks I think we should make for 2010.

We were consistent with our core training in 2009 – and that paid dividends for me. I had no low back fatigue or strain – even after 11-1/2 hours on the bike. Note to self – keep doing planks & hip bridges and other back strengthening work on the Fitball.

We also consistently did a brief flexibility routine.

While that was helpful, I think that adding in at least one formal yoga class a week would really make a difference. Having an instructor to guide us through the routine, as well as demonstrate proper form, would allow us to get the most out of our time. I have attended classes at Vital Yoga in Golden off and on for over 4 years. I plan to really make an effort to attend at least one class a week in the upcoming season.

Strength training? We did some. The point for us is to build muscular endurance, not to bulk up. We’ll continue with push-ups (they really are the best full body exercise imaginable), rows, squats, lunges and wall sits (Phil’s favorite – NOT!). We’ll also add in a few plyometric exercises
to build power. [It is possible to modify some of the exercises to minimize impact on my rotten old arthritic knees.]

But this is what I’m most excited about: we’ll have lots of time for the core, flexibility and strength work, because we only need to work out aerobically for 6 minutes a week.

Okay, that isn’t exactly what the study found (if you have time, be sure to scan some of the reader’s comments – good stuff):

“In other words, six minutes or so a week of hard exercise (plus the time spent warming up, cooling down, and resting between the bouts of intense work) had proven to be as good as multiple hours of working out for achieving fitness. The short, intense workouts aided in weight loss, too.”

“There’s a catch, though. Those six minutes, if they’re to be effective, must hurt.” As if spending 3 hours on a stationary trainer in the basement doesn’t hurt??

I don’t think I’ll try to train for Leadville by working out on the bike only 6 minutes a week, but I do plan to incorporate more intensity and interval work into our overall training plan – balanced by some longer efforts to build endurance.

I’ll keep y’all posted.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Verdict Is In

We decided.

Where it all begins . . .

As promised, we had The Talk.

Actually, it was an on-going dialog that continued for several days, rather than one discrete discussion.

The decision was probably a foregone conclusion, but we still talked through the pros and cons of racing Leadville again in 2010 versus taking a year off and waiting until 2011 to give it another try.

In the end, we decided to go for it.

Which makes Phil very happy.

I’m . . . ambivalent.

I intend to take it pretty easy over the next 6 weeks. I hope to work out enough to keep at least some base fitness, while allowing my body to recover from the long season.

It is a delicate balance, but I know it is important to get both my mind and my body ready for another round of disciplined training.

In the meantime, I’m sitting here eating tortilla chips and drinking a beer. I could easily get used to this off-season lifestyle. . .!

. . . and ends.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Fall on Boreas Pass

"I think it is lifting."

This was our mantra as we drove from Golden to Boreas Pass this morning. The "it" was the cloud cover.

It was overcast, foggy and the clouds were hovering at tree-top height as we crested Kenosha Pass. Not prime conditions for our planned leaf-peeping mountain bike ride.

Being optimists at heart, each time we saw what looked like a weak sliver of sunlight breaking through the crud, someone would chant the mantra.

The clouds did eventually burn off and we had a wonderful [though quite cool] day to admire the fall colors.
Fresh snowfall just outside Como, Colorado.

Phil and Jeffrey being good sports about having thier photo taken yet again.

Enjoying the view.
At the top of Boreas Pass.

Winter and Fall seem to be arriving hand in hand. [Check out Jeffrey's new rig - sweet! Full suspension 29er.]

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Carnivorous Cravings

I’m conflicted.

It is important to me to maintain a healthy weight for many reasons, mostly due to my family’s history of heart disease and high blood pressure.

I exercise and try to eat a balanced, healthy diet.



I also really enjoy food.

I like to read cooking magazines and cookbooks.

I enjoy picking out recipes, shopping for ingredients and cooking a good meal.

I love looking through the kitchen equipment porn of the Williams Sonoma catalogs.

While I try not to recreate the deli scene from “When Harry Met Sally” when having a wonderful meal, it is sometimes tough to restrain my enthusiasm.

For example, our buddy Lowry was in town visiting his mother, Neen, and they invited us over for dinner. We had a simple meal: a green salad, baked potatoes and grilled steak.

It was probably the best meal I have eaten in 6 months. Or longer. Really.

The company was incomparable; it was a beautiful evening to sit out on the patio – welcome to bugless Colorado; and the steak fulfilled every red-meat eating fantasy I have recently entertained.

And I do fantasize about food – especially during the leaner months leading up to Leadville. It also seems that I must get iron & protein deficient during heavy training periods, because red meat is what I want. Chocolate cake is good, don’t get me wrong, and I won’t turn up my nose at a plump oatmeal raisin cookie, but steak is in the forefront of my mind during those workouts.

I may get in big trouble, but Lowry and Neen shared their steak secret - Dale’s Seasoning. A Birmingham, Alabama (their hometown) institution.

So get out and buy a bottle of Dale’s Seasoning; spend the money to get a couple high quality grass-fed beef steaks; open a bottle of Catena Malbec
; and let your hidden carnivore roar.

You’ll thank me.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Dinner and a Movie

[Serve this with whole wheat couscous and a big spinach salad – perfect! By the way, most of the recipes I’ll post are originally from Cooking Light, though I may have modified them somewhat to fit my tastes].

Pork Medallions with Double Apple Sauce
Half-and-half finishes the sauce of tart green Granny Smith apples and sweet cider, richly mellowing the flavors.

1 cup apple cider
2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and each cut into 8 wedges (about 14 ounces)
1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut crosswise into 8 (1/2-inch-thick) slices
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Cooking spray
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

Pour cider into a large nonstick skillet; bring to a boil. Add apples. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until apples are barely tender. Remove apples from pan with a slotted spoon, and place apples in a medium bowl. Cook cider until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 3 minutes). Pour reduced cider over apples; set aside.

Sprinkle pork evenly with salt and pepper. Wipe pan clean with a damp paper towel. Heat pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add pork to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove from heat. Add the apple mixture, half-and-half, and rosemary. Serve immediately.

Thank You for Smoking
(2005) (run-time 92 minutes):

The media satire Thank You for Smoking stars Aaron Eckhart as Nick, a man who has turned spinning news and information into a successful career for the tobacco lobby. The cast includes William H. Macy as a Senator who runs on a strong anti-tobacco position, Rob Lowe as a Hollywood bigwig, and Robert Duvall as the king of the tobacco industry. The film is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Christopher Buckley.

We watched this on August 3, 2009, while doing an easy 90 minute recovery ride after the Laramie Enduro. I expected this to be more of a documentary, but that was my misunderstanding and not the fault of the film. Once I realized it was a satire rather than a documentary, I just relaxed and enjoyed it - well done!

4 stars. In my opinion this film doesn’t really take on the tobacco industry – it just uses it as an example of “Big Business.”

People hear what they want to hear, and Big Business spends a whole lot of money to make sure what they hear doesn’t smear Big Business.

If you don’t want dead chickens in the morning, don’t let the fox guard the henhouse – or in plain speak – be independent. Think for yourself. Do research. If it sounds too good to be true – it is!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Mark Your Calendar - October 22

NCM Fathom and Citizen Pictures are bringing never before seen footage of the 2009 Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race held in Leadville, Colorado, to the big screen for a one-night-only special event.

Don't miss a specially-cut presentation of the race featuring Lance Armstrong, Dave Wiens and other elite cyclists as they battle the elements during this epic 100-mile race. Screenings will be in select theaters nationwide on October 22, 2009. For more information on the screening, including ticketing information, stay tuned to raceacrossthesky.com.

At 10,000 feet, against the misty backdrop of the sleepy former mining town of Leadville, Colorado, 1,400 cyclists mass at the starting line. For many, it will be the most difficult race of their lives. For some, a bragging right to say they raced alongside the best in the world. Some imagine victory. Most hope only to finish.

What began 25 years ago as a running race to drive tourism in Leadville has now grown to an event that is not just a race of man against man, but also man vs. self, man vs. elements and man vs. time.

Racing against a clock set for 12 grueling hours, competitors slug through 100 miles and over 14,000 vertical feet of climbing—some two miles above sea level—through extreme climate changes ranging from heat to hail, from rain to snow. To the racers, the risks of injury, fatigue and mechanical failure pale next to the chance that they will fall behind and be eliminated.

In addition to the showdown between six-time defending champion Dave Wiens and seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, the 2009 race also featured inspirational stories of human triumph such as Roxanne Hall, critically injured by a car while training for last year's race, Grace Ragland, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, and over-50 competitor Rick McDonald, who has raced every year since the event's inception.

More info can be found at

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Labor Day Weekend 2009

Phil and I extended the long weekend by taking Friday off and beating the crowds out of town. We decided to go to Salida for the weekend and check out the road biking in that area, since Phil’s ribs are still healing and mountain biking seemed to be an unwise activity.

We stopped in Leadville on the way down to Salida and busted out a quick ride around Turquoise Lake and the
Mineral Belt trail. The weather looked sketchy (some really dark clouds were forming) but we beat the rain.

We decided to stop in Buena Vista for lunch after our ride. On Jeffrey’s recommendation we went to the
Global Garage.


We went for the Meal Deal – a cup of soup, a green salad, warm baguette slices and a cookie! The perfect lunch – very tasty and just enough. The coffee got a thumbs up from Phil, too.

We finally got to Salida about 3 pm – just as it began to rain. It didn’t rain for long, though, so no big deal. We checked into our
room (Room 28 – take the virtual tour!) then wandered downtown to look around. The Friday before a long weekend was pretty sleepy in Salida. We had some snacks and called it a day.

Getting ready to ride Cottonwood Pass.
Fall is definitely on the way in the high country.

Saturday morning we planned to get a crazy early start, but vacation mode took over and we slept in a little bit instead – yippee. After fueling up with pancakes (Do you see a theme? This was an eatin’ weekend!) we went back to Buena Vista to ride Cottonwood Pass. What a great ride!
The road is in good shape with a very good shoulder, traffic is quite light, the foliage is just beginning to turn, and it didn’t rain on us until we were about halfway down the pass on the way home. Hard to beat!
Happy Birthday - on what feels like the top of the world!

Phil is stylin' in his Colorado School of Mines jersey.

Well – we did improve on a good thing and went back to Global Garage for lunch again. Good thing it is a two hour drive from Golden or Phil might try to make that a regular lunch spot!
I forgot to mention that Saturday was Phil’s birthday. I won’t divulge any family secrets here, but let’s say it was a birthday that rhymes with nifty & thrifty! So we went out for a really nice dinner at the Butcher’s Table to celebrate the event.

I’m telling you – it is a good thing we were going for some good bike rides or we could have plumped up nicely over the weekend.
We planned to ride Monarch Pass on Sunday. As soon as we got up, though, it became apparent that wasn’t going to be a good idea.
The cloud cover was low and dropping, and the temperature was about 45 degrees – and dropping. We walked around town, hunted up breakfast (yes, we ate again!) and then at nearly the same time we said “You want to just go home?” It was pretty funny that we were both thinking the same thing.
South Table Mountain - our backyard ride.

So we packed up and headed back to Golden – where it was sunny and warm. Phil was feeling spunky so we headed up to South Table Mountain to see if he could tolerate a mountain bike ride.

He was a champ!

I don’t think any nasty-gnarly-rocky-10-mile-descents are in order yet, but he says it didn’t feel too bad.

Monday we did a longer mountain bike ride, then I talked Phil into working as my underpaid fruit picker. We have 4 apple trees and they were heavily laden with fruit this season. Phil picked apples all day and I canned applesauce.

The kitchen floor is still a little bit sticky, but I’m making progress. I ended up with 11 pints and 5 quarts of applesauce.

Time for us to go back to work so we can rest up!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Dinner and a Movie

Dinner (well, dessert if you want to be picky)

It is peach season in Colorado. Peaches from the Western Slope are readily available at the farmer’s markets and supermarkets – and they are delicious. This is a super easy recipe. I don’t know if it keeps well – I don’t think I’ve ever had leftovers!

Peach Crunch

4 medium peaches, sliced
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 cup melted butter
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup old fashioned oatmeal
1/2 cup brown sugar

Sweeten peaches with sugar and cinnamon. Place mixture in an 8x8 baking dish. Blend next 4 ingredients and top the peach mixture with the crumb mixture. Bake in 375° oven for 30 minutes.

Winged Migration (2001) (run time 91 minutes)

While practically everyone is aware of the fact that birds fly south for the winter, and return home in the spring, few are aware of just how arduous the journey can be.
Jacques Perrin, a noted actor and film producer in his native France, decided to document this process, using flocks of birds that had been trained to ignore the distractions of his camera crew, and employing a variety of state-of-the-art technology to capture as unobtrusively as possible the flight paths of different birds from around the globe.

The result was Winged Migration, a visually dazzling documentary that records the flight of dozens of different birds as they follow their navigational instincts and make the taxing journey to more temperate climates in the fall, all chronicled without the use of narration. Winged Migration received an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary.

The movie offers the world through birds' eyes. We're on the ground with them as they interact, look for sustenance, and care for their young; and we're in the air with the birds as they dauntlessly fly high and low above the earth and sea. The film is also a tour of the globe that reveals gorgeous landscapes that most humans never get to see. The thrill of flying with the birds is countered with the depiction of the disasters and impediments that they face on a daily basis.

We watched this on August 6th while we did a 75 minute easy recovery ride. It is a very cool, Natural Geographic-type film, with amazing photography.

3 stars. Beautiful photography but a little more narration detailing the hows and whys of bird migration would have been nice.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wild Basin Hike

Sunday Phil and I left the bikes at home (!) and went for a hike at Wild Basin in Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP).

The upside of all the fires in the west is that the sunrises & sunsets are glorious.

There are 3 sets of waterfalls along the route.

Ouzel Falls.

Phil at Ouzel Lake - a really beautiful hike.