Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Recipe

Paul the Painter and I recently went for a ride during which I sampled his balls, and they were delicious. The recipe is pretty simple and way open to experimentation. Love for them has exploded around the shop. It is even rumored that the King himself made a batch after being forced to try one by yours truly. That’s right, the King loved my balls. As it turns out they are great winter trail food, so for anyone wanting to try your own, here is the base recipe. You should feel free to mix it up.

Peanut Butter
Wheat Germ
Chocolate Drink Mix

Dump some peanut butter in a mixer (I think I was using a cup and a half or so). Add in half a stick of butter (softer is better, the microwave is your friend). Add in a half cup or so of honey. Then start adding wheat germ. I use an electric mixer and just keep adding wheat germ until the mixture stops sticking to the side of the mixing bowl. When it is done, roll it into balls and then roll the balls in chocolate drink mix (I prefer Ovaltine). Place on wax paper and allow to chill in the fridge.

Beyond being incredibly tasty, they do well in colder conditions and contain all sort of important stuff (complex and simple carbs, protein, fat, salt, and electrolytes and vitamins depending on your drink mix and wheat germ).

Monday, January 18, 2010


Paul the Painter and I took a little trip to the White Mountains today. Conditions were beautiful, probably hovering between 0°F and -15°F depending on our elevation. The wind was mild in most areas and non-existent in some. Just before we made it past Lee’s cabin we passed a bizarre gaggle of winter locomotion. There were snowmachines, snowmachines towing kids on skis, a skier, a skijorer, and I believe a couple dogs hooked to a sled. As we passed, the skier looked at us in amazement and declared, “Bikes!” It was some hundred yards later that Paul and I realized that the guy was probably disappointed with himself for not bringing someone on a bike. We were the one form of transportation he lacked. Admittedly he would have need two cyclists, one with dogs to really round out the menagerie.

As we passed Lee’s cabin, we had fresh tracks. We stopped to eat something and were nearly run over by two dog teams. While normally quite stealthy, the lead team in this case had an extremely mouthy wheel dog who was kind enough to let us know he was coming through. We dragged ourselves out of the way and received a thanks from the musher, compliments on our quick reflexes and a heads up that there was one more team coming. After all that fun we finished railing the big hill past Lee’s and turned around at the bottom to start back. The one thing about an out and back is that you dread every big hill that you slayed on the way out. Thankfully there will be very little of that come race day.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Windchill Sucks

I may not have announced it here yet, but the truth is I have been trying to train for a race. The White Mountains 100 will happen toward the end of March and is a 100 mile human powered event that people can bike, ski, or run. The event is similar to the Susitina 100 and the ITI in format, except that it is local (a forty-five minute drive north) and the trail is anything but flat.

In the spirit of that I went out to the actual area the race is to be in and went for a ride. Several things became apparent to me. One, the trail was gorgeous. Owing to a high volume of mushing and snow machining on the trail, it is well packed and extremely rideable. Second, I don’t do a lot of climbing in the winter, and I probably need to start. There are a couple of smaller climbs in the section that I rode. Looking at course profile, the bigger climbs are six or seven times longer than the “monster” that beat me up today. I will definitely be ordering a smaller chainring soon. Lastly I need to pray for better weather. Today’s temp was fluctuation from about -5F to -15F with sustained 25mph winds. In an awesome stroke of luck, it was all headwinds during the climbs. Needless to say, it was chilly. I switched face masks at the turn around point because the non-windproof one I wore or the way out had become encrusted with a thick layer of ice and didn’t seem to be actually doing anything useful for me. I broke out my gorillaclava (which I hadn’t used yet this year) and was extremely pleased with the fact that it didn’t ice up on the way back.

I have tons (maybe literally?) of gear. The big trick is going to be finding the flexibility from the right combination of gear for this thing. I sort of already knew that from the warnings that a certain cycling god had bestowed upon me recently. Race day ought to include nothing but tried and true methods at all levels.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Bad Decisions, Bad Vibrations, Good Hackery, and Good Luck

I went for a little ride today via a new loop that I pulled partly from Google Maps and partly from my rectum. I cruised down Noyes Slough to where it meets the Chena near the University Avenue bridge. I rode along the Chena's bank till the bridge. On the north side where I was, there really wasn't anywhere to get up to University, which is where I was planning to go. As I stood under the bridge and looked west, there was open water steaming in the -30°F air about fifty yards or so away. The area under the bridge looked as though it had frozen recently since there was no snow cover on it. The whole thing was covered in hoarfrost that looked like a popcorn ceiling flipped upside down. I felt stupid as hell as I inched across the ice. I walked with my bike next to me, leaning on it heavily to try and distribute some of my weight over to it. I had turned my iPod off so I could listening for the creaking of ice I expected to hear movie style before I fell in. Luckily all I heard was the cars whizzing overhead on University as I made it all the way across and heaved a sigh of relief.

The next part of my ride was easy as I traversed University then the Johansen bike path since it was all nicely plowed and I was still elated to not be wet. When I reached Danby I was glad that I had decided recently to ergonomize my bars. Basically the route was unplowed and semi-packed by foot and snowmachine traffic. It was basically set like a mile long section of rumble strip. My cheap hack of layering a wedge of bar tape and then wrapping the wedge once probably kept my hands from going totally numb.
Near College Road I took a cut off and blasted down back to the slough. After a bit I cut off it to visit a friend who had helped my in the building of Puggie by allowing me access to a drill press to SL my Graceful Fat Shebas. I stayed just long enough to cool off and end up completely sweating from the ambient temperature instead of my exertions. As I cut out to head for home I was extremely happy for all my wool, which kept me warm despite the fact that it was soaked and I was no longer generating any heat. All in in a nice Sunday ride.