Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Off to Chicago, weekend recap, RECIPE!!

So I'm off to Chicago for 3 days. Partly work and partly play. I'm SO stoked because we're going to catch a Cubs game at Wrigley Field, and besides being a video game nostalgia freak as well as a (no longer) closet kung-fu fan, I also LOVE baseball.

In fact, one of my ideas of an awesome vacation would be to tour the country by bike over summer and stop at certain baseball fields to catch games.

Don't get me wrong, I still like to paint my toenails; I still have SOME feminine qualities about me.

I guess I haven't written since Friday; it was QUITE a weekend!! I was all OVER the place!

Saturday had me up and at it very early as I prepared to head over the hill to Napa and meet up w/some Lombardi friends for a 78 mile epic ride. It was utterly GORGEOUS. I was reminded that I live in a beautiful part of the world. We started at the bottom of Silverado Trail in Napa, went north, turned east to go past Lake Hennessey and out to Lake Berryessa (where the tri was happening, so for once I got to cheer on LOTS of triathletes on their race!), up along Berryessa then back west through Pope Valley. GORGEOUS. I LOVE POPE VALLEY. Then up, up, up onto Howell Mountain and I swear to god that climb is a BEEATCHH!!!!

BUT then the rewards came. I wore a smile all the way down that descent. I wish I had a bike computer because I swear I must've hit at least 50 mph coming down Howell Mtn. The entire lush, green Napa Valley lay before me, Mt. Veeder staring straight across the valley at me, no cars in front or in back of me, the sun was shining, and I thought "wow...I am really lucky to be here. To experience this. To LIVE this."

That right there was happy. Happy that we have our health. Happy to recognize so much beauty. Happy to taste the air and feel the warm sun on my skin.

Moments later, though...I wasn't so happy coming back down Silverado Trail. I was in a lot of pain, to be honest. Yet, it wasn't pain from my legs being tired so much as for some reason my left hip and knee were bothering me. Both my sets of toes kept losing feeling. I just wondered if it was the fact that this newer bike position (aka super-aero) isn't really meant to go much longer than 50-60 miles.

It's amazing how we can go from such elation and happiness to so much pain and being near tears, ready to just let our inner 4 year old out and throw a big fat tantrum right then and there. I was ready to cry, ready to throw my bike on the side of the road and flag down one of the limos I kept seeing, carrying lots of happy drunk people going wine tasting. My back was hurting, my neck hurt, everything HURT. God. 18 miles of hurt.

But, I made it. And actually, I still went fast. There were mile markers on the road and I kept forcing myself to keep spinning away, knowing that the faster I went, the faster it would be over. Like Kanye says, 'that that don't kill me will only make me stronger..." (I know Kanye's not the first to say that!).

I'll admit that I stopped to take two stretch breaks to stretch my hips and my neck and it helped SOOOOOO much!

So...life's like that, huh? We have days where everything is awesome, then we can go through the lowest of the lows.

But then we get through it. We're strong. It's times like that where you realize how strong you can really be, so you tell your inner voice to shut the hell up and quit acting like a baby!!!

I also wanted to get back because I had so much left in my day to look forward to.

A friend who did the race that day lives near Lake Berryessa and was having a big BBQ at his house post-race, so we headed over there after the ride. After a shower and some delicious BBQ food, I felt like a new person.

I hung out for awhile and then packed up and headed south down to Oakland to visit with my good friend Alice. We went out to downtown (Courtenay might appreciate the fact that downtown Oaktown has become signicantly more hip in the last 5 years or so...) to a cool wine bar we've come to know and love.

My favorite quote from the evening came as we were back in Alice's living room chatting and the back of my head was against the front window. Suddenly we heard what sounded like blanks being fired and she said "uh, Sarah...you might want to move your head."

Yes, now that I live in SR, that was my brush with danger for the weekend.

Sunday morning I packed up and drove across the Bay Bridge to the Embarcadero YMCA of San Francisco to sub a spinning class! My buddy Bill needed a sub for Sunday a.m. and I thought "well, I'll be around..." so why the hell not?

Maybe um, because my legs were sore?

But actually, it was nice to spin it out. What was even nicer was that I had emailed some old spinning students from the SF YMCA and alerted them to the fact that I was teaching and if they had nothing better to do, to come visit!

I had the opportunity to catch up with some of my 'regulars' and it was good times.

Finally, after all the visiting and fun, I headed back north with a big smile on my face, satisfied with such a fun weekend, and looked forward to hearing about how WF/St. Croix went for folks.

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OF YOU for getting out there and putting yourself up to the challenge!! I know not everybody was happy with their races, but it's helpful to remember that these are always learning experiences and we can take what we learned and apply it next time. So here's to getting back on the horse no matter how you did and having an even better day next time! (myself included...)

I'll finish up this long epic post with a recipe. :)

My friend Devon posted this about a month ago and I made it back then (though she used almond milk pepper jack cheese; I used regular pepper jack). WE LOVED IT SO MUCH. So last night, we hosted a little Cinco de Mayo fiesta and I made it again. Once again, it was a HIT. Though I had a lot of extra and you know what? Re-heat and put an egg and avocado on top and you've got one YUMMY breakfast.

Stuffed Poblanos

1 can (14.5 oz) Fire Roasted Tomatoes with green chilis
2 chippolini onions (or 1 small white onion), chopped
3 cloves garlic (2 whole, 1 minced)
salt and pepper
1/2 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup tofu cut into little cubes (I added this; if you're not a tofu lover just nix it)
1/4 cup organic cornmeal
1/2 cup grated pepper jack cheese
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 large poblano chilis, halved lengthwise with stems in tact, seeds removed

Preheat oven to 425. In a blender combine tomatoes, half the onions, 2 whole garlic cloves puree. Season with salt. Pour sauce into a 9x13 baking dish, set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine beans, cornmeal, 1/4 cup cheese, tofu, remaining onions, minced garlic, cumin and salt and pepper.

Divide mixture evenly between poblano halves. Place on top of sauce in baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over top.

Bake uncovered for 30 minutes, until poblanos are tender, sauce is bubbling and cheese crispy. (Note: the instructions have you cover with aluminum foil, bake for 45 mins. Uncover and continue until sauce is thickened and cheese is browned, 10 to 15 minutes). Mine turned out tender enough, sauce was thick enough and cheese crispy enough. Plus, who wants to wait that long!

Cilantro Lime Rice ingredients:
1 cup brown rice
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp garlic sauce (store bought--olive oil, garlic, s&p, lemon)

Cook rice as you normally would.

In the blender combine cilantro, lime juice and garlic sauce with 2 tbsp water. Blend until smooth. Stir into cooked rice and fluff with a fork.

(once again I had to steal Devon's pic because I was too rushed last night to take my own, but ONE OF THESE DAYS...)


Marit Chrislock-Lauterbach said...

Okay - you are a recipie goddess!

Sounds like a really great weekend, with a fantastic ride for the most part. Sorry to hear about the pain on the bike -that is NOT good. Could your saddle be a little too high? Toes should never be numb.... :( What about raising your stem a tad? Less stress on your back... Be patient - this will work itself out!

Happy and safe training!

Kelly said...

chicago!! that's where I'm from and my parents live like 2 miles from wrigley field! i hope the weather's nice for you; it's a great place when it's not soooooo hot or sooooo cold

Courtenay said...

ok i think i am more exhausted just reading about your weekend than i was at the end of my own weekend! ;)

bummer about the bike pain. i have had problems that seem similar (currently there is a numbness problem in my feet on the bike - i am looking into my shoes as the cause - as well as lower back pain - no idea about that one, it used to be mid-back pain. argh!). if it's one sided though, that should tell you something. do you know if you have a leg length discrepancy? the lemond wedges really help with that.

Rainmaker said...

Mmmm...Cilantro Lime Rice - the recipe looks great and quite cookable. Might be on the menu at a stove near me soon.

Maybe it's time to re-check in with the bike fit person? Little tweaks can go a long way (of course, ya already know that).

Have a blast in Chicago - I love swinging through there! And baseball, even better!

Anonymous said...

wow, sounds like a great ride AND a great recipe.

shoot, as I know personally, there could be a number of reasons for the back pain. being too far forward could be a cause. but it could just be that you're still in the adjustment phase and you'll train your back to handle the position.

have fun in chicago!