Shaynebow Saturday: Stupid Halifax

Stop stealing my adventure buddies, Halifax!

Everyone’s in Halifax and I’m just sitting here ma…pping bike routes, so I guess I’ll do a biking post (considering the “Run” part seems to be optional these days).

My latest brilliant plan? This ride:

Bike Trip Map

Day 1 (Orange): Victoria to Port Renfrew (119km)
Day 2 (Blue): Port Renfrew to Lake Cowichan (63km)
Day 3 (Red): Lake Cowichan to Victoria (83km, plus Mill Bay Ferry)

I’ve done Sooke>Port Renfrew (camp the night)>Sooke and just taken the bus to/from Sooke to avoid traffic and the unpaved parts of the Goose. That was 75km each way with a rough sleep in between, so this isn’t too obscenely crazy (but still not exactly familiar territory). This trip would involve staying at places with real beds to a) save me a ton of grief from carrying camping gear, and b) actually get decent rest in between brutal rides. Overall, the trip is “tentative, but planning as if it’s guaranteed”, based on confirming time off and, of course, weather.  In theory, I’d leave around August 12th.

To get ready, I’ve been doing a handful of 30-50km rides with as many hills as possible (Mt. Doug and/or Claremont will kill me yet). I did a 50km ride with a super-fun 10-minute ride up Mt. Doug on Thursday (the ride was the best I’ve felt on hills in about 10 or 11 years), took one rest day, and just finished a 40km ride with a heavy backpack to simulate the load I’d be carrying on the trip. Ended up maintaining a way higher pace than expected – even up Claremont – and barely felt tired when I got home…as Kat said, this “training” stuff might actually be paying off.

Now, because I don’t want a fully optimistic post, time for some ranting! That ride I just did tonight? It was spent with my new Specialized bib shorts (bought as a cheap backup to my amazing Cannondale pair) wedged up to about my small intestine. You’re welcome for that visual. They were $65 and on for 40% off and happened to have a pair that fit perfectly. Sub-$40 for shorts, let alone bibs, means I can have the lowest expectations possible and still be fine. Wrong. It would have been far more pleasant to do this ride in my old ripped street hockey/mountain biking jean shorts than these bibs. They rode up to barely-boxers-length just while walking around home pre-ride. They were borderline-briefs when I was out riding. Poor onlookers.

BRBC: steak, sweet potatos and bacon corn salad

Welcome to the first installment of Boring Run Blog Cooks, herein known as BRBC.

You guys?  I made the best dinner I’ve ever made.  It was three things and the whole ordeal took about 45ish minutes and didn’t include any pre-made things (except for the bread because I don’t bake).


1: grilled sweet potatoes.  I’ve made them twice.  Once rubbed with a mixture of olive oil, chili powder and lime.  The second time with olive oil, coarse salt and fresh cracked pepper.  Both times delicious.  How to:

  • Boil sweet potatoes whole until you can get a fork/knife into them without much resistance.
  • Take ‘em out and let them cool off some then slice ‘em into whatever shape makes your mouth happy.
  • BBQ ‘em until they have stripes and look delicious.

2: bacon corn salad.  Ingredients: bacon (three strips for two people), corn (I used a small can), grape tomatoes, orange pepper, jalapeño pepper, cilantro, arugula, lime juice (or apple cider vinegar).

  • Cut up bacon into little pieces and cook it.  When it’s done take it out and put it on some paper towel and try not to eat it while you’re cooking the corn.
  • Leave most of the bacon fat in the pan and cook the corn in it.  Stir it sometimes and when it starts to smell good add the jalapeño.  When it smells and tastes good take it off the heat and let it cool down somewhere.
  • Cut up your tomatoes and pepper and dump them in a bowl with the bacon, some arugula and about 1tsp of fresh chopped cilantro.  When the corn is cooled add that to the bowl too.  Give it about a tbsp lime/cider vinegar, stir and serve.

3: steak.

  • Rub steak with coarse salt and fresh cracked pepper.
  • BBQ until almost as done as you’d like it to be.
  • Let steak sit for a few minutes to ‘rest’.

If you want to make this and have it come together at an appropriate time, start by parboiling the sweet potatoes at the same while you fry up the bacon and then the corn.  This way the corn can sit out to cool while you wedge up the potatoes and and BBQ the meat and potatoes.

I recommend eating this outside with a red wine or crisp beer and people you enjoy.

Friday Gear: Ma new bike

My Baby

There she is, my baby. Boyfriend picked her up on Wednesday I got to go for a 6k ride before I nosedived into the craziness of the rest of the week. I’ve got some stuff to figure out, the gears are new to me, my butt is 100% unaccustomed to the seat (or any seat) and keeping a line is a new skill to learn with such a responsive bike.

But I love her. I love having a bike that’s big enough for me. I love having a bike that I can learn and get used to and comfortable with and keep.

It’s a Norco Valence A2 which is mostly a road bike with some pretty sweet endurance features. I was able to put fenders and a rack on it for commuting/trips but it’s still sporty as all hell. Oh and the brakes work!

I don’t have a ton to report about it, I need to do a lot more riding. I intend to take her out on Sunday with Shayne for a nice long ride. Maybe Saturday as well, we’ll see. I’m so excited you guys, she’s so pretty. Just wait until I get some pink tape for the handle bars. CAT MOBILE.

Oh did I mention the reflective stickers Shayne got me?

Photo 2013-07-26 8 24 03 AM

Coolest bike kid. Right here!

The hardest training day is rest day

Training for races with a real life training plan this spring did really great things for my running.  I want to fire that up again for my fall half, but it’s really hard, you guys!  Summer is so hot and sticky out on the east coast that the air seems to be more moisture than air, plus it’s a bajillion degrees and I am not great in the heat.

Marshy Bits at Taylor Head

Scheduling is made harder by the fact that I play in two rec sports leagues.  The first is Mondays, and it’s ”All Sorts of Sports.”  I’m in an outdoor rec league that rotates through flag football, soccer, ultimate and beach volleyball on a real life sand court.  We’re tied for second.  The other is usually on Wednesday nights and is softball.  Same provincial employees rec league as last summer.  We’re currently tied for first.

Two evenings a week isn’t too bad to work a run schedule around, right?  But then throw in my strength training (I’m currently on stage two of the New Rules of Lifting For Women) which is meant to be done three times a week, a weekend hike from the Hiking Trails of Mainland Nova Scotia and a rest day and there isn’t a lot left for running!

What I’ve done for now is to hit the gym on Tuesdays and Fridays and run speedwork on Monday and hills on Thursdays.  Wednesday becomes a rest day and the weekend should soon start including a longer run (t-80 days) as well as some kind of hike, walk or other recreational movement.

The hardest part is sitting still on my days off.  Work and exercise don’t leave a lot of time for things like grocery shopping and TV watching, so when I do get an evening off it’s hard to convince myself to stop moving, become one with the couch and let my body recover.

How about you?  Do you embrace rest days and love being able to stop or is it a struggle to slow down and take the day off that you’ve earned?

Zero to bike douche in one afternoon

I finally did it. I finally bought a bike. A bike of my very own. A bike fitted to me. A bike that I can put the reflective cat stickers on that Shayne got me.

I’ve been making another concerted effort to get over my bike fear and pick up this new sport. I borrowed a bike from the kind Tikkileigh and while it isn’t the newest or the flashiest it works..for the most part. It’s quite small for me and the gears are what they call “suicide gears” and the brakes aren’t SUPER effective but it works and it gets me places and it’s fun.

I got out three times last week for a little 6km ride that made me more out of breath than I’d care to admit. Probably because I was too scared to change gear so I was basically riding a fixie. On Saturday I participated in a Ladies “Get back on the bike” program for new riders. It was run by a couple of ladies from Tristars which is a local Triathlon training group who trains everyone from beginners to experienced triathletes.

It was a great program, only 2.5 hours but it covered some rules, signals, basic bike skills and included a short group ride. I got a bit of sun stroke but still had a pretty good time. I was definitely the only one there who wasn’t in bike gear, choosing instead to wear jeans and a t-shirt and I was also the only one with a bike older than 5 years. The ladies labelled me the cool one. Definitely before they had to witness me climb up Royal Oak Rd in a bike I couldn’t change the gears on. Couldn’t/wouldn’t/was too scared to.

The group ride was amazing! Travelling down the Lochside trail, chatting to other terrified cyclists, saying hi to the people walking by, it felt like home and I missed it, I missed it so much. That’s when I knew that I was going to buy a bike, I was going to learn to ride it and I was going to ride until my butt was purple because I need to.

I spent the weekend bike shopping and found a bike, a car rack (household necessary purchase), fenders and a rack for the bike. It’s a male frame so they tossed in a women’s saddle and a bottle cage. There was a 40% off sale on gear so I also picked up a cheap shirt (for the pockets), a butt liner and some gloves. Basically, as Rozie put it, I went from zero to bike douche in one afternoon and I’m pretty stoked about it.

More details on bike to follow, ie. once I get it. It’s at the shop for fenders and rack etc. So who wants to start a bike gang? Leave a comment!