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Archive for September, 2010

Yes, I did it again. I once again signed up to do the Highlander Cycle Tour ride. As my alarm was going off at 5:00 in the morning last Saturday, I was thinking to myself “Why did I sign up to do this ride again!!”. I did have two good reasons. This year I did not have to work hard to recruit people to ride with. My friend Dan mentioned that he and a few of his friends were going to do the ride, so I was set. Also, the day before the ride, the forecast predicted sunny skies and mid 70s.

There were a couple of caveats though. The temperature was going to be in the mid 40s at the start of the ride. I was not very happy about that. And, the fact that I had to be in the Bristol Mountain parking lot at 6:30 am did not make me very happy either. I did try to talk Dan and his friends into starting the ride later, but they did not budge.

Joel bundled up and ready to go.

Joel and I arrived in the Bristol Mountain parking lot at 6:30 am sharp. We met up with Dan, who was not too happy about the 6:30 am meeting time either. He lives on the west side, so his drive was a bit long.

Dan at the start of the ride.

Once we bundled up, the rest of the gang met us, we snapped a group photo, and off we went.

My crew: Sean, Dan, Shawn, Christian, Steve, and Joel. Yep... 6 guys and me. Classic! :)

We took a right out of the parking lot; right on Route 34; left on Route 33; a couple of turns and then on to Gulick; up on French Hill (Ugh! This was one of the steepest climbs on the route.); south towards Wayland on 36 to 92 to 21, which took us to Neils Creek (I love this road!!); east on Route 7 towards Prattsburg; down on Itally Hill Rd into Branchport (One of the best downhills!! Much better than going up it.); made a loop in Keuka Lake’s bluff (Loved the view!!); north on 28 to 31 to 364 towards Middlesex; south on West Ave to 245 into Naples; up Route 12 (Yes, again!! Ugh! I say it every year… is it really necessary!); left on 64 and back into the Bristol Mountain parking lot. In the end, my bike computer showed 102 miles.

Joel and I at the rest stop in Prattsburg.

I really loved the route this year! It was super scenic and beautiful. Also, 90% of the roads did not have very much traffic on them, so it was a very civilized ride. No car fumes and angry drivers this time!! A few of my favorite roads were Route 34, West Hollow Rd/Route 33, Gulick Rd, Neils Creek Rd/Route 6, Prattsburg-Itally Hill Rd, and the roads in Keuka Lake’s bluff.

Dan at the rest stop in Prattsburg.

As we were riding on Route 34, which was one of the first roads that we rode on, we noticed a house that had steam rising off of its roof. Also, the sun was out, which made the steam look even more dramatic. It was so pretty! West Hollow Rd has always been a favorite. It is located in the valley of Gannett Hill, so it is very scenic. Neils Creek Rd/Route 6 was part of last year’s route, so I was very happy that it was once again on the route. It is such a beautiful road. It reminds me of the Adirondacks. And lastly, Keuka Lake is by far one of the most beautiful places in the Finger Lakes. I always look forward to riding around there.

Overall, the ride was good. I really enjoyed the company. The boys were really nice to me, and allowed me to draft behind them. :) The worst part about the ride was the fact that a few of the rest stops had only one Porta-Potty. The bathroom lines were long, which caused our rest stops to be long. That is not a good thing when riding. It makes it difficult to get back on the bike.

View of Canandaigua Lake from the top of Route 12.

The rest areas were really great though! They are one of the reasons why I do this ride every year. Since it is such a long ride, I don’t have to worry about food and drinks. “So what do you usually eat during such a long ride?” you ask. I ate 3 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, a bunch of pretzel sticks, a piece of watermelon, a piece of orange, 1 fig newton, and 1 ½ bananas. I also drank a bunch of water and about 5 bottles of Gatorade. I decided to wear my heart rate monitor just for kicks. Apparently I burned 3551 calories. Yikes!! The dinner after the ride sure tasted good! :)

Much deserved apres ride beverage! :)

My recovery was as usual. I was pretty tired the day after the ride. I did feel better as the week progressed. My legs were surprisingly fine. Not much soreness at all. I was very pleased about that. :)

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As I mentioned before, I love traditions! Since the Rosh Hashanah holiday occurred this past week, I decided to have a small get together to celebrate it.

As usual, I found myself wondering what to make for the main dish. That darn brisket! :) After searching through a few of my recipes, I decided on the following menu:

The dinner was a success! The dishes worked nicely together.

While shopping for the Ratatouille Tart ingredients, I was very happy to find a new Wegmans brand puff pastry dough. The ingredients were simply flour, butter, water, and salt. How great is that!! Once baked, the dough was flaky and buttery. YUM! I really love the Tart. I have made it for a few gatherings and it has always been very successful.

I once again made the Majestic and Moist Honey Cake recipe that I found on smitten kitchen. I made the cake the day before my dinner party and it was great! It was very moist and flavorful. It actually got moister as the days past. So if you are looking for a delicious Fall cake but don’t want to slave in the kitchen the day of your dinner party, you should make this cake! :) (I did omit the required 1 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, and it was plenty sweet.)

Wishing you a sweet new year!

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Two weekends ago, Joel and I drove to Philadelphia to ride in the LIVESTRONG Challenge. The challenge offered a few ride options, such as a 45 mile ride, a 70 mile ride, as well as a 100 mile ride. We opted for the 100 mile ride. Since our families have been affected by cancer, we decided that it was the perfect opportunity to raise money and awareness for the cause while doing something that we both truly enjoy. Our friends Scott and Marianne organized the outing. They booked rooms, organized a Fuelfest dinner the day before the ride, and even had jerseys made for the entire team.

On Saturday morning, we headed to the LIVESTRONG Village to pick up our ride numbers and goody bags. The “village” also included a bunch of booths from numerous vendors related to cycling and fitness.

The LIVESTRONG Village

The rest of the day included lunch at Parc Brasserie (I had the most delicious Salade niçoise there!!), walking around Rittenhouse Square, and shopping on Walnut Street. After our relaxing day, we were off to the Fuelfest dinner.

The Fuelfest dinner was amazing! Scott’s friend Kate and her family outdid themselves. They had several appetizers, a really delicious mushroom lasagna, grilled veggies, salad, and some kind of beef – since I don’t eat beef, I am not sure what it was. :) We were very grateful for the delicious dinner! Thank you Kate and family!!

Theo, Tom, and Suzanne at the ride start.

The ride day finally arrived. All the riders were required to be at the start of the ride by 7:30 am. Throughout the weekend we kept watching the forecast. The night before the ride, the forecast stated 80% chance of heavy rain. I was not very happy about the prediction. I hate riding in the rain. It was already sprinkling as soon as we left the hotel door, but luckily it stopped once we got to the event’s parking lot. The parking lots were filled. I could not believe how many people were there. (According to an email sent from the organizers after the event, 5,700 riders, runners, and walkers participated in the challenge. Amazing!!)

Joel and Mark at the start of the ride.

We rode to the designated ride start, and waited for the official start. Apparently Lance Armstrong was there and was giving a speech, but I could not hear a word. He apparently even started the ride with us, but I did not see that either, since we were towards the back of the pack.

Riders waiting to start the 100 mile loop.

The ride was, well… interesting. It started to rain a quarter of the way, and then it down poured for about half an hour or more. We were drenched! I hate the feeling of the rain hitting my skin. It feels like needles. Also, I could not see where I was going. I debated about taking my sunglasses off, but then the rain was coming into my eyes, so I left them on. My shoes were filling with water too. I really hate that! After the downpour fiasco, the rain finally stopped. For a little while at least. Also, since the forecast was calling for thunderstorms, they closed the 100 mile loop, so we had to turn at the 70 mile loop. I hate to admit it, but deep, deep down inside I was fairly happy about that. I was ready to get off the bike at mile 25. We finished the ride on dry roads. The sun actually came out for half an hour or so, which made me happy.

Scott fixing a flat.

Loren and Tom waiting for Scott to fix the flat.

Despite all the rain, however, I was still happy that I rode. The route was very scenic. The area reminded me of the Finger Lakes, minus the steep climbs. There were also a few very fun twisty descents, which we would have enjoyed more if the roads were not wet. Also, the ride was very well supported, and riders were everywhere throughout the route, which is always motivating.

Kelly and I

The best part about the ride was the spectators who were also out in the rain cheering for us. It was pretty emotional. All of them thanked us for riding. How great is that!! No one has ever thanked me for riding my bike before. As a matter of fact, no one has ever cheered for me for riding my bike. The ride finish was even more emotional. There were a lot more spectators there, and the cheering made it all worth the discomfort and some pain that we endured throughout the ride. If only the cancer patients and survivors were lucky enough to endure that small amount of discomfort and pain. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

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