Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Homemade Eggnog

I forgot to mention that we made homemade eggnog. I'd always kind of wondered what went into eggnog, and I finally looked it up. It's basically a custard. Anyway, Alton Brown's recipe is easy and tasted great. Give it a shot if you like eggnog.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Holiday rundown

I don't know who was dreaming of a white Christmas around here, but they got it. There was plenty of snow on the ground and cold temperatures to go around.

We started our celebrations this year on Christmas Eve at our friend Henry's house. We had a great time eating and drinking the night away with some new and old friends. We experienced drinking wine from a porron. As you might expect, there was some entertaining spillage.

On Christmas morning, we went over to Christine's brother's place. It was less chaotic than you'd expect a house with 5 year old twins to be. We gave them some gifts, helped the girls put together a puzzle and headed out to Golden for dinner with more family. Christine's dad's neighborhood has some walking trails that were covered in snow. We took the opportunity to put on the skis and go get some exercise before indulging in the holiday prime rib. We weren't breaking any vertical feet records, but it was nice to get out in the snow. Kuzca came too and had a great time running herself ragged. Christmas night culminated with an all-out Nerf gun fight. I can't believe how much better Nerf weaponry has gotten.

We had planned on backcountry skiing Saturday, but we killed that idea when we saw reports of high winds and cold temperatures. Instead, we got up early so we could watch a cyclocross race on the internet while we rode our trainers. That was a fun way to ride. Until the video stream got really choppy, and it essentially became unwatchable. Having our workout out of the way early was great because we were able to run some errands and then hook up with some cycling teammates for some beer tasting at New Belgium and Odells.

The real action came later in the evening when Canadian sailor extraordinaires and soon-to-be vagabonds, Livia and Carol, came over for a visit. Thanks to a suggestion from Owen, we had a real American evening and all went out bowling. That could have possibly been the poorest display of bowling skills in history. Out of 6 of us, I don't think anyone got even close to hitting 100. It might have something to do with bowling skills like Livia's:

After a long night of bowling recovery, we hit up some snowshoeing on Sunday. For the trail we were on, the snoeshoes weren't exactly necessary, but it was fun to tromp around in the snow regardless. Livia and Carol constructed their annual snowman, which I think they named either Comanche or Colorado or Comanche-Colorado or something like that. It was so much fun to hang with our friends from the north again.

We had a lot of fun this year, but we couldn't help but reminisce about how we spent Christmas last year. We enjoyed it so much, that we're going to do it again - Christmas 2010 in Belgium. There will be lots of wandering around to small towns, beer, frites, and other Belgian lovelies. Care to join us? I already can't wait.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The end of a good season

So the season is over. My first "real" season of cross. The past couple of years, I've done races here and there (and only if the weather was decent), but I never really trained for it. This year I went all-in, and I loved it. It's a good thing I wasn't the fair-weather 'crosser of old, because we had an uncharacteristically wet season. Who knew racing in mud could be so much fun?

I really had no expectations going into the season. I just wanted to push myself to ride hard and get better. Mission accomplished. I was consistently finishing in the top 10 and I even won a race. Winning a race is an amazing feeling. To know that training has paid off and that for one day you were stronger than the people that you line up with week after week is an amazing confidence booster. I finished the season in 10th overall in the points rankings even though I skipped a lot of the points races. I also won the overall in a 3 race series, so I'll actually win *something*.

The state championships was a mixed bag for me. On one hand, I never expected to be top 10 when I was first starting out this season. On the other hand, I know I underperformed. I know that I would have done better if I had been more motivated and if I had worked on some of my technical skills. I have a lot of months to think about that now. :)

None of this great season would have been possible without the support of Christine. Even though she was traveling back and forth to Austin all the time and was sometimes in Fort Collins only on the weekends, she was cool with me disappearing to a race nearly every weekend. Not only that, but she frequently spent one of her valuable weekend days in Colorado by sitting at my races, cheering me on, handing me water, and putting up with my neurotic pre-race nerves. She's also my wheel and tire sponsor, buying me my first ever tubular wheelset. The wheels, by the way, that I used when I won my race. She's amazing and I couldn't have done it without her.

Colorado State CX Championships

Yesterday was my last bike race of the season - the Colorado State CX Championships. Mentally, I was done with my season a couple weeks ago, but I decided to drag it out a couple weeks and race states since I was doing reasonably well. The body was willing, but finding the motivation to ride in the recent cold snap was difficult.

As much as I wanted to stay sitting in the nice warm car, I got out and raced. This was just not a good course for me. The temperature was dropping, and any hope of mud was rapidly freezing away. With some tricky descents and off-camber snowy slopes, it was more technical than I was ready for. Mental note for next year - do more skills work later in the season.

I got a decent start, and went into the first corner in the top 10 or 15. That put us on to a pretty tricky section, and I lost some spots as I was being tentative. I also dropped my chain. First time of the season amazingly.

I could see the leaders pulling away. Always a disappointing sight. Within a lap or so, I settled in with a group of 3 and I was content to follow them all the way to the end. We swapped positions occasionally, but I mostly just tried to sit on them and not set the tempo. My lack of motivation towards racing was really showing. :)

Eventually, one of that group had a mechanical and that just left two of us. I took a nice spill on the off-camber snow, but caught back up. I really wasn't working all that hard surprisingly, and I should have just attacked. In the end, I finished just behind that kid for 8th place overall.

Just for fun, I looked up the ages of the people in front of me. Everybody in front of me was younger (22, 22, 26, 23, 29, 14). So, I'm first place in the 30+ crowd. :)

The off season starts...now

My cylcocross season is officially over. More on that later.

I had hoped to sleep in this morning, but I woke up at 5AM. WTF? Totally annoying. So I just laid on the couch and watched some TV until Christine got up (at a more reasonable hour).

The weather forecast I looked at Saturday night was spectacularly wrong. It said something about some "light" snow, but I woke up to a whole lot more than that. Awesome! Christine and I put on some boots and snow pants and took Kuzca to the park to run around. We had her running back and forth all over the place and she was loving it.

Before the rest of the city got up and about, we decided to run to the store to get ingredients for baking later in the day. Driving in the snow is especially fun when the roads aren't clogged with people and I had some fun getting the Subaru sideways. We spent the rest of the day at home, mostly cooking. We made some ginger snaps, and some mini pumpkie-pie like things with a ginger crust. The verdict is in - we love our new mixer.

I've been a glutton today, and it's been great. Pancakes, bratwurst, a couple beers, some egg nog, cookies... Welcome to the off season. I must say, though, I would have loved to have been racing my bike around in this snow.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Life is full of choices. Sometimes you choose the lesser of two evils, and sometimes you choose the greater of two goods. This choice falls into the latter category.