Sunday, September 26, 2010

Whatever gets you through the night.........

Saturday was a loooooooong day. We got up at 6a to head out to Montauk to go mountain bike riding with Wynn and Teresa. Our day was tight so I knew we could do ~3 hours of riding and then head back. We packed the bikes up Friday night so that cut down on the morning prep time. We were on the road at 7a and made decent time out there. We met up with Wynn and Teresa and made our way to the park.

I haven't been on the MTB bike in months so I was a little nervous about the trails. During my regular racing season, I stay away from higher risk workouts so I don't get injured. Now that my tri season is over and the rest of my races are mostly fun stuff, I got back onto the bike earlier. Wynn had a few trails picked out for the time Wingman and I had to ride. Overall, the trails in there are nice. A little too much sand on some of the trails for my liking so next time in there I might avoid that track. There are plenty of other trails that I would definitely check out. Hopefully soon I will not be such a big chicken on the trails. I am my own worst enemy. I always think about the worst case scenario. At one point late in the ride, we had a slight downhill with a lot of loose rocks. I stopped at the top, paralyzed in fear. My breathing got a little heavy as I thought "oh man, if I wipe out and break something, I might not be able to finish the semester." The fear of not finishing school was overwhelming. Wingman waited behind me as I gathered myself and made my way down. This happened twice on the course. I couldn't enjoy the moment and instead focused on the big picture. I had mentioned my fear to him on the way home and he assured me that I was not crazy. He said I have invested a lot of time and money into my schooling and it's OK to have some fear about getting hurt.

The last hour was brutal. I was sweating profusely and it was dripping from everywhere. My heart was in my throat and every time I stopped a wave of nausea came over me. I was drinking everything in sight to be sure I wasn't getting too dehydrated. Even though I can ride for hours on the road, the trails are another story. You never have a nice rhythm and your whole body is working hard to power through the trails. At times I seriously wanted to get off the bike and lay down. Tunnel vision was taking over. My eyes only focused on a small area of trail in front of me. I was over my limit and completely spent.

We finally got out of the trails and back to the cars. I was never happier to be on paved ground again. Don't get me wrong, I loved riding in the trails with the Wingman,Wynn and Teresa, I just wasn't in MTB riding shape yet. Wingman and I will do some rides to build up endurance and then head back out when the weather is cooler and we have more time to ride. Then I should have no trouble following Wynn and Teresa on the trails.

Best part was after the ride, we stopped at a local burger place in Montauk. Of course who knows how badly I smelled after the ride, but I didn't care. I stared at the menu and we placed our orders. When the food was ready, I swear, I don't remember eating it. I just remember it was really good. I'm not sure how quickly I ate it, but I think it was pretty quick. It was so good, I forgot about the suffering I went through out there in the last hour of riding. We sat around for a little bit and chatted about the ride. As usual, sitting down afterwards, the ride didn't seem so bad.

We soon bid farewell to Wynn & Teresa and headed home to get ready for the second half of our day. We were heading to Levittown to pick up two friends and then head into the city to Radio City Music Hall for the The FAb Faux performance for John Lennon's 70th birthday. At home we showered and napped then headed west. The show was nothing less than spectacular. We've seen this group 5 times now and each show is better than the last.

Here is the set list from last night's show:

1st Set
Tomorrow Never Knows
Whatever Gets You Through the Night
Nowhere Man
I'm a Loser
Across the Universe
Come Together
Watching the Wheels
Jealous Guy
Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
Happiness is a Warm Gun
No Reply
I Feel Fine
You've Got To Hide Your Love Away
Strawberry Fields Forever
Cold Turkey
I Want You (She's So Heavy)

2nd Set
Working Class Hero
Power To The People
Instant Karma
Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds

Mind Games
I am the Walrus
Yer Blues
In MY Life
A Day In The Life

All You Need is Love
Give Peace a Chance

Friday, September 17, 2010

Chapter 3: Running on Empty

T2 was a pretty quick transition. I changed shoes, dropped the helmet, grabbed my hat, race number, a few flasks of infinit and headed out for the run. I was actually feeling pretty good at this point. The run course is two loops so you never really have to head that far out. At least that was what I tried to convince myself. I was no more than 1/4 mile out when I realized I forgot something.

Yes, I forgot my sunglasses. Unless it is pitch black out, I like to keep my eyes covered. I also don't want people to see that I am really suffering so if I wear dark glasses, they can't see the pain in my eyes. At this point there was no turning back. I knew exactly what happened. I had them in my hat in T2. When I grabbed my hat they fell out and I never picked them up. So they stayed behind with my bike stuff. 

This run course is super flat and two loops. There were aid stations every mile so there was no worry about not having enough water. Part of the course loops through a trail and is shaded. 

I found a nice pace (aka slow) early on and focused on keeping the feet moving. The first part of the run is along a multi use path and is smooth. I tried to find someone that was moving at my pace so I could just follow their lead. I did find one guy and he was moving a little bit slower, but I decided to stick with him for a while. I matched him stride for stride and finally pulled up alongside him. We started chatting and he was telling me that he hoped to be able to run the whole thing. He recently got a cortisone injection in his hip. Naturally I went into DPT mode and asked him what was the shot for. He said he couldn't remember what the doctor said. My first thought was "Wow, you let a doctor shoot you up with something and you have no idea what it was for." Instead I started my eval right there. I asked him some history questions. Since I couldn't ask him to stop so I could do some tests, I had to go by questions alone. After a few, I asked him "Did the doctor say you had an impingement?" He then excitedly said "Yes, that's it. That's what he said." Phew, I am getting better at this stuff. I had him diagnosed in less than one mile. 

We ran along together for a little longer. The trails were killing my foot. My running shoe does not have a lot of forefoot padding so the trail section had some gravel that was digging into my foot and creating a hot spot. I had to alter my stride a little in the trail section to avoid landing on a small rock with my right foot.

While I was happy to be running in the shade, I was happier to get back out onto the path again. There was another aid station and this one had some ice. I put some into my hat and thanked the volunteers. So far, so good. I continued plodding along by myself now. I had walked through the aid station for the ice and the guy I was running with kept on running. At this point I needed to run as far as I could and just think about hanging on. In the course write up, they said just after the aid station that I passed through, there would be a misting station and ice towels. I was excited thinking about the towels. But I saw nothing ahead. Hmmm, must be around the corner that's coming up. I get to the corner and try to contain my excitement for the towels. But when I turned, there was no one there. It's like thinking there is a surprise party waiting for you and you open the door, waiting to hear everyone say "surprise", but it's an empty dark room. There were no towels, no misting station. Damn it, I can't have nice things.

I continued on the path and came across another woman. We chatted a little bit and then we separated. I got closer to the turnaround area. You have to be careful of your footing. You have to run across a grass field. I slowed down a bit so I could make sure I was on solid ground. Last thing I wanted was to roll my ankle. Wingman came along with me. That's the nice thing about this course. Spectators can see you come and go several times. I remember passing a woman that was sitting on the tailgate of her SUV. She was cheering everyone on and paying compliments. When I passed she called out my number and said I was "awesome" and that I was doing better than she would. When I turned to look, I saw she had on a walking boot and crutches. Seriously?!? Of course I am doing better than you. At the time I thought it was a dumb thing to say. I wanted to grab her crutch and hit her with hit, but that would end my race right there.

I got to the turnaround and went back across the field. Wingman was with me again cheering me on and talking to me. I bid him farewell as I crossed the road to start the 2nd loop. This loop was much harder. It was getting warmer and I was slowing down. I was dreading the trails because of my foot. If I had know, I would have worn a different pair of running shoes for the race instead of lightweight trainers. Oh well, nothing I can do now.

I stumbled upon another runner and we talked about different races we've done. He did a half marathon the week before this race. He was also wearing a Garmin so I asked him about our pace. I knew it was a little too slow for me so I picked it up a little. When I got to the trails, I was moving really slow. The looks rocks were bothering my foot. I kept moving, though. Seemed to take forever to get out of there. As I got closer to the end of the trail, I swear I could hear the music from the Wizard of Oz:

You're out of the woods
You're out of the dark
You're out of the night
Step into the sun
Step into the light

It was like the Emerald City was near. I knew the 10 mile marker was coming up soon. My hamstrings were getting tighter with each step. I crossed the wooden bridge again and started to battle mentally with myself. Finishing was never a doubt, but the speed in which I finish was an issue. I started doing the math and knew I had to maintain a certain pace to finish in a certain time. I knew I wouldn't make it, but wanted to salvage something here. Then something caught my eye to keep me occupied. They had trail markers and I saw a word that I had to say over and over in my head to get the pronunciation - Chickahominy. That is a mouthful, especially when you are exhausted. Seriously, I was saying that work over and over again for 1 mile. 

For the last 2 miles, I crawled along. When I made my way back to the main path, I knew the end was in sight. I saw the mile 12 marker and knew it was close. When I crossed the road I met up with the Wingman again. He was all smiles for me and that always lifts my mood. We chatted a bit and then he left to meet me at the finish line. I ran the rest of the way around to the finish line. Wingman was there and finally, this race was over.

I was starving the last couple of miles of the run and was looking forward to some free BBQ. I got to the tent and they were serving pulled pork sandwiches. Not what I had in mind. I looked at another tent and they served burgers and hot dogs but we had to pay. Wingman got me a hamburger and it was the best burger I ever had (I did say I was starving). At that moment, I wanted to be alone with my burger. I polished it off and went into transition to pack my stuff. Wingman put it all into the car and I finally got to sit down. We drove back to the hotel and I took a shower and a nap. We got up later and went out to eat.

It wasn't an overall great result, but my swim was not bad for getting lost and being in a current, my bike split was great, and the 1st loop of my run was good. 2nd loop was forgettable.

So a plan is being put into action for the offseason. I really want to kick some butt next season so it's time for a covert operation.

I noticed something about my finishers medal after I got home. As I had exited the swim, I thought it was a little long but now I have proof. According to the medal, the swim was longer than 1.2 miles.

If you look closely, you can see the swimmer calling for help.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Chapter 2: Taking Care of Business

Last we left our superhero, the swim was over and the bike was about to begin...........

Once I exited transition with my bike, my mindset had changed. I was concerned about my energy level for the rest of the race after that hard swim. But I knew I had to get going on the bike and take care of business. I wasn't sure of a goal time for the ride because I knew it was a little longer than advertised. My focus was broken down in to blocks of mileage instead of one long ride.

This course is flat and fast. There is one 'steep hill' on it that basically is an overpass so I knew that played into my strength. Most of my riding is flat land because that is what is around me.

The elevation profile looks like it is rolling, but really, you never feel it. You are constantly moving on this course. I knew the aid stations were at mile 15, 30, and 44 so I had the ride broken down into those blocks.

As I made my way out of the park, my goal was to get into a nice rhythm early and work on my cadence. I figured if I had the cadence in the range I wanted, the speed was good. I waved goodbye to the Wingman and set out on my ride.

I had a lot of room to ride on this course. If there was any drafting going on, it wasn't near me. I was passing people and got passed by just a few. My new saddle was working out well so far. I was comfortable and settling into the ride. I had my nutrition timer set to go off every 15 minutes to remind me to drink. I started feeling really confident around 5 miles in. The soundtrack in my head was now on this tune:

I was caught
in the middle of a railroad track
I look 'round
And knew there was no turning back
My mind raced
And I thought what could I do?
And I knew
There was no help, no help from you
Sound of the drums
Beatin' in my heart
The thunder of guns!
Tore me apart
You've been

I was rockin' down the road now. There was an interesting disconnect between by upper and lower body. My upper body was at ease while my legs were spinning to the soundtrack in my head. I was firing on all cylinders. Bad swim? What bad swim? I was owning this bike course today. Like my cousin Carolyn told me earlier "to take this mother down." I felt like I had such a swagger now. Amazing how in the span of 40 minutes your whole mood can change. 

I got to the first aid station and called out for water. The volunteers on the course were incredible. The hand off went smoothly. I looked down and thought "15 miles down, 42 to go." I kept up my pace and my mood. I passed a few more people and checked on my cadence. I was humming along. Next song up:

It was a beautiful day, the sun beat down
I had the radio on, I was drivin'
Trees flew by, me and Del were singing little Runaway
I was flyin'
Yeah Runnin' Down a Dream

There was a section on the bike course that was ~6-7 miles of rough road. The bike was vibrating and taking a toll on my upper body. I had no idea how long it was actually going to go on for so I picked it up to try to get past it as quickly as possible.

I made it through the next two aid stations and was cruising. I started to feel a little tired, but was now focused on maintaining my cadence and average speed. My legs were spinning round and round, but I wasn't even thinking about it. They just went. I stood occasionally to give myself

There was a little bit of headwind the last few miles. Nothing that I couldn't handle, but I felt like it was starting to slow me down. I looked down at the mileage and knew I had 6 miles to go. Only 6 more miles. And then all I had to do was run 13.1 miles. But now is not the time to think ahead. I've made it through 51 miles unscathed and wanted to be sure I made it to T2 without a flat or accident.

Now I can see the promised land. A volunteer ahead waving me to make a sharp right turn to head back towards the transition area. Whoo hooo!! I made it. Or did I? I had one small scary moment. I was on a narrow path and there were spectators on either side of the path. I looked side to side to be sure no one did anything stupid. And then I saw something that chilled my blood. Two small girls playing next to the path. I was almost paralyzed with fear. I kept hoping as I approached they would stay off the path. Please little kids, stay off the path. I had my hands on the brakes ready to stop. But thank goodness it was a non-event. They never came out and I was able to avoid another unique bike crash. Imagine I had to tell the Wingman again "Don't worry. I hit some kids. I'll tell you about it later." But there was no story here, I'm happy to say. It was on to T2 to prepare for my run...............

Up next Chapter 3: Running on Empty

Chapter I: Welcome to my Nightmare

Yesterday was my 'A' race. I picked on race to peak for this season and the Patriot Half was it. Similar to last year, the timing of the race fit perfectly into my schedule. I was having a good tri season leading into the race. Hopefully I could extend my luck for one more race.

I was having my usual pre race nightmares before this race, but what made it unusual is that I had more than one. The first one centered around my finishing time and the second involved the water temps. I didn't sleep too well the night before the race, but then again I never do. When the alarm went off at 4am, the first thing I thought was "when was this a good idea?" Every year I wake up and say "this is it, I'm never doing this again" and yet once I get going the thought is gone. I got up, ate breakfast and took my shower. Wingman got up and we packed the car and made our way down to the race site. I felt very nervous. More than I have in the past. I just wanted to get things going.

I setup my transition quickly, hit the port-a-john, donned the wetsuit (to keep warm) and we walked down to the swim start. I asked Wingman a few times if we could pack it up and go home and he said no. Knowing he wouldn't let me leave, I set my sights on the swim course. I knew what it looked like from the race maps and when I looked out into the water, it looked similar, but it also looked long. I told the Wingman what I predicted what time I would do a 'normal' 1.2 mile swim in, but today I wasn't too sure. I bid him farewell and waited for my wave to start. I eased my way into the water and the first thing I thought was "Wow, the state of Virginia spared no expense and carpeted the bottom of the James River." Seriously, it was so smooth and nice to walk on. I wanted to be sure I had some nice open water to start in. I again looked over the swim course and picked my line. I also noticed the orange buoys used to mark the course were few and far between. 

Basically it is a rectangle swim. But there was a catch. There's a current that will pull you to the left. So the best approach (I found out AFTER) was to swim out to the right and let the current bring you back in towards the buoy. I should have picked up on this when I saw people lining up to the right of me and very few of us to the left. When the horn went off, I was on my way. I kept the yellow turn buoy in my sights and focused on swimming straight to it. I had a few swimmers around me so I knew I was in the right place. Or was I? It took an eternity to get to that first turn. I kept looking up and it never got closer. And it seemed that there were swimmers all over the place. The buoy was getting closer and I saw that swimmers were coming from my right. Where the heck was I?

"Lights go out and I can't be saved
Tides that I tried to swim against
Have brought me down upon my knees
Oh I beg, I beg and plead"

Even today, I have no idea where the heck I was on the swim out. Swimmers were coming from my right and I saw some other buoys. First thing I thought was "is there another race out here?" Just mass confusion by a lot of people out there. A group of us had to make a 90 degree turn and it seemed that the others were swimming towards it and didn't really turn. I could see the convergence that was going to take place at the turn and I braced myself for it. I was going to cut the turn close and suffer the consequence of it. I had someone trying to swim over me from my left but I held my space and made the turn.

I got around the first turn and peeked at my watch. I almost puked when I saw the time. I knew I had to do better going in if I was going to do something decent. I figured I was caught up in a current. I didn't find out how strong it was until afterwards. I made it to the 2nd turn and as I looked up to find my line to get back in, I knew I was in trouble. The sun was up and in my eyes for the swim in. Plus it was reflecting off the water so I was blinded looked up and out in front. I just focused on staying with the swimmers near me and hoping they stayed on course.

"Confusion never stops
Closing walls and ticking clocks"

As I got closer to the shore I could finally make out where I was supposed to land. I found out later that they had some kind of flashing red light but I never saw it. They also had a giant figure in yellow on the shore that was shaking around so you could see something but with the sun it's hard to really see until you get closer. I thought I was on the right line, but I almost swam into the lifeguard on a surf board. He gestured for me to swim to the left. I thanked him and continued towards the shore. I could see that even at 150 feet out, it was so shallow that people were walking. I cut my losses, started walking and removed my wetsuit. Even this area was 'carpeted'. You go Virginia, way to stay classy!!

I finally got out of the water and looked at my watch. Swim time was much longer than I was hoping for. I know I made up some time on the swim in, but still the overall time was ~5-7 minutes longer than I was capable of. I was dejected as I began the long hike to transition. The swim/walk and hike to T1 wore me out. Physically I was quite tired from fighting the current. I was worried about the bike coming up. Wingman walked along with me encouraging me. I finally made it to transition and sat down to put on my socks and collect my thoughts. I went from dejected to how can I do some serious damage control? I grabbed my stuff and was on my way.......................

Up Next Chapter 2: Taking Care of Business

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The drive to Williamsburg, VA

We left this morning and had a long drive ahead of us.  What was supposed to take "8.5" hours took over 10. We hit mega traffic in Virginia. Here is what you need to know about our ride in photos.

Jersey is AWESOME!! They have condiments on tap! 

Not sure where this tunnel was. Somewhere between
Delaware and Maryland.

We were driving for so long that I thought this 
was the Magic Kingdom (Cinderella's Castle)
but it was actually a Mormon church. Whoops!

The start of our traffic in Virginia.

Traffic woes continue. We crawled along for over two hours.

For all those mom's that don't know where to put their
kid when they use a public toilet. Here you go, just strap
the kid to the wall.

We made it to the hotel and these were waiting for us
at the front desk. Took the desk clerk a while to get to the desk and
we were so hungry it looked barren when we were done......

Monday, September 6, 2010

Getting Anxious

I'm getting a little anxious prior to my race. This usually happens the closer I get to it. Small races don't bother me. But the bigger the distance, the more 'uptight' I get the week of the race. Yesterday, I felt pretty crummy after my ride and run. My nose felt stuffy and I felt rundown. Right away all I could think was "I really don't need a cold right now." Not that there is ever a good time to have one, but this week would be bad. I was on the couch most of the afternoon reading. Around 8:30p I was starting to drift off. I shut out the lights and went to read in bed. Within 15 minutes I was turning the light out. I felt like an old woman. But sleep is what I was craving. I was out right away. About an hour into my sleep, the cell phone rang. It was the Wingman calling. I vaguely remember answering it and mumbling something about "not feeling well...tired...hash browns...want some whiskey in your water, sugar in your tea?" OK, the last part is from "Mama Told Me Not To Come" by Three Dog Night. We spoke for roughly 50 seconds and he said he'd call in the morning. I looked at the clock and it said 9:45p. I shut my eyes and fell back to sleep. When I opened my eyes again, it said 6:00a. Holy moly! I slept straight through the night. That's better than most newborn babies. Except for Baby BAMF - he's a rock star when it comes to sleeping.

When I woke up, I still felt a little 'stuffy' but that normally happens when I wake up so I wasn't too worried. I had my run to get in so I went out early and ran in 60 degree weather. It was nice and sort of cool, but I noticed that I was sweating more than usual. I was sweating like it was 80 degrees and humid. Go figure. Hopefully whatever was in my system got scared and ran out. Otherwise I will have to beat it into submission again. After my run I went to the bagel store. I was standing on line, minding my own business, when the guy behind me coughs. Without covering his mouth. I could feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I hate germs to begin with but I hate rude people even more. Doesn't this guy know I'm tapering and could snap at any minute? Then, he does the unthinkable. He coughs again. Oh no he didn't. It was bad enough that he was too close and into my personal space, but then to add the cough? That was enough. I turned around and said "really?! You can't keep that to yourself?" He just gave me a look. Jerk off.

I spent the rest of the day driving around to take pictures and then cleaning up my basement office space (which is still not clean yet). I have a lot of work to do organizing and sorting my notes for school from previous semesters. Right now there are piles for each class, but no rhyme or reason to each pile. Someday.

I hit the office supply store to pickup new pens. I like blue pens for school because the computer notes are in B&W and the blue ink stands out for notes that I need to handwrite on the printouts. I pick up a nice pack and head to the register. The cashier asks if I want some kind of shopper/saver card. I politely declined. He kept saying "it's free" and I told him I don't want it. I don't want to give out my personal information for a 'reward' card that I'll never use. He finally stops the hard sell. He then asked if I wanted to buy a pen from the bin by his register. I just looked at him, paused and said "are you f*%king kidding me"  "no thanks, the pens I'm buying are enough." Why would you want to sell someone a pen that is buying a pack of pens? Where's the logic there? At this point I knew I had to get home fast or I'd be in jail for some bizarre offense. With the Wingman out of town, who would bail me out?

I made it home without further problems and am now catching up on laundry and reading. It's a light week at school. I only go in on Tuesday. Wednesday the oil company is coming to do the yearly service on the oil burner and then I will pack for my race. I still have to decide what top I am going to wear. For the longer races I like to be comfortable. Last year, I changed in T2 from a tri top to a running shirt. I plan on doing the same thing this year. Just have to plan out the shirts. I have an appt with Liliana Wednesday afternoon-ish. She'll work out any kinks in the legs prior to the race.

For now, it's back to the books and laundry baskets. The clothes won't fold themselves unfortunately.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The dumb things I do

I am one week out from my race. Finished up two weeks of taper, starting the 3rd. We had some crazy weather the past few days so I juggled my workouts a little. Instead of riding Saturday in the wind, I rode Sunday in slightly less wind. I tagged along on a ride with Wynn, Teresa and Luis (Wynn's neighbor). The winds were coming from the west so naturally I would pick a route that starts out heading west and coming home with the wind. But Wynn's ride was different. They were heading east and then home into the wind. I figured there was safety in numbers so I just went their way. We cruised out to Mattituck and along the way did the hills near the oil tanks in Northville. I love riding it from west to east because it's mostly downhill and AWESOME!!! I can get up there in speed with very little effort. We made a pitstop at Iron Pier beach and I removed my leg warmers. I had arm and leg warmers on as it was under 60 degrees this morning when we started. I kept the arm warmers on the entire ride.

When you leave Iron Pier beach there is one last hill to climb. I felt pretty good climbing and was spinning the whole way up. From there we continued east into Mattituck. I kept my eye on the time because I had a two hour ride scheduled and I didn't want to mess with my last workouts. I can feel my recovery taking effect and I want all the 'freshness' I can get for my race. I knew coming back would be a beast. Oddly enough I found myself at the front coming back on Sound Ave. Luis was right behind me so I knew I had the group. Or so I thought. I was doing my best to cut through the wind without going all out. At one point Luis said "We lost them." I slowed down, looked back, and Wynn and Teresa were not behind us. Wynn stayed back to provide some cover for Teresa from the wind. They made it back up to us. At our turnaround earlier, Wynn mentioned they were going to do the hills near the oil tanks in reverse. This didn't appeal to me. My ride was supposed to be a 'flat' ride so when we turned onto Pier Ave, I told them I was skipping the hills and continuing west on Sound Ave. I had 8 miles of headwind to ride back in. I knew I would eventually get home so I just took it easy and rode at a comfortable pace. No gunning it.

When I met up with everyone this morning, they were all on road bikes. I was the only one on a tri bike. I had to ride the tri bike today. Aside from the dumb ride home into the wind, I was trying out a new saddle. For the last 6 weeks or so, I have been having a lot of difficulty staying comfortable on my tri saddles. I did a little research to find something and I think I found a solution. Cobb Saddles has a great money back guarantee. I ordered two saddles and am figuring out between the two which one I will keep. Looks like the one I used today is a keeper. The other one wasn't bad, but this one is more comfortable. Oh yeah, I highly recommend swapping out saddles one week before an 'A' race.

When I got home from the ride, I got a quick run in to complete my brick workout. Then I stood out on the back deck in the sun trying to warm up. I felt a little cold. While I was out there I called the Wingman and we chatted for a while.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Friday Night Dinner

It's coming down to crunch time. Everyone is ready to ship off to somewhere for something. My race is next weekend (11th), Wynn is racing next weekend (12th), and Ian and Joan are heading out west for a tandem ride through wine country. Personally, I'm thinking they are going to wine country and will happen to get a tandem ride in. Wingman is away right now and will return home before my race. I decided to throw together a 'good luck' dinner sendoff for Wynn and Teresa. Ian and Joan were more than happy to join in. So Thursday night I started my prep work.

Letting the bread take shape before baking

The bread is cooling off and I am drooling

The bread was actually baked on Friday, but it's nice to see a before and after photo. Friday morning I got up early and went running. When I came home, I started making the shells for manicotti.

 Just getting started

I'm like a machine, turning them out, I made 20 shells

Beginning the assembly and stuffing them
with three kinds of cheese

One tray done, working on the second tray

Meatballs lined up, ready to be cooked
PS - Jen, this is a roasting pan

I failed to take a photo of the meatballs after cooking, but they were pretty good. I had a tight schedule on Friday because I had to head out for a haircut in the middle of my day. That's why I started so early on the whole process.

My guests showed up and dinner was served. I didn't get any reports about illness after eating so I think it was a success. I love to cook, but it's hard to get the time to do something really nice like this. My fall schedule for school should work out a little better for cooking. Teresa was kind enough to volunteer as a dessert tester in the past, so perhaps she will step up again and offer her services if needed. For now, I have a fridge full of leftovers that should last me until I leave for my race.