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.