Mountain Anticipation

In getting ready, I had that huge list, but there were still things we needed to do.

First was printing out the Cue sheets.  With much research I put together two separete tracks, downloaded the TCX files Igenerated from RideWithGPS, and made some hand-created cue sheets in Excel.


Next we had to make the tasty treats out of the Feed Zone Portables book.

The recipe is in a previous post, but we made Chocolate and Sea Salt rice sticky bits.  For several I added some PB2 for some extra peanuty flavour.

The other was the Beef and Sweet Potato pies.  First, the flour and butter mixture:


Key to the mixture was to make the butter sticks small cubes, this allowed them to quickly integrate into the mixture.




Next was making the dough.  After adding the 1/2 cup of cold water, it really wasn’t enough to make the dough adhere, so in total it turned into 1 cup of water.

We put the dough into the fridge, and made the filling, replacing the beef with local bison from Cibola Farms.  We did have a bit of an issue with the dough; we were able to make 12 cupcakes worth, but we had WAY too much filling.  So either we needed more dough or less filling.




After cooking, we had one for testing.  Flavourful, but they’re rather dry.  Not sure I’d eat these on a bike, but they’ll be perfect out of the back of an Xterra with some water.



Because of the oddness of the weather, plus the mountains, I had to pack a lot of things I may not need: leg warmers, arm warmers, rain jackets, overshoes, warm weather gear, cold weather gear, rainy gear, you name it, I packed it.

We packed up and went to bed.  Needless to say, I tossed and turned all night, my daughter decided to burrow into my back last night.

Waking up blearily, we packed up the truck and headed west.  Of course, I-66 was backed up until Rt-50.  Every time we drive through there I say a silent thank you to God to being able to convince my wife not to live out here and instead pay a little extra more to be inside the beltway.

Our first stop was Stribling Orchard.  Getting off the exit, I recognized that it was the road that would lead up to a fairly popular bike loop (Naked/Weather), but we were turning left.

The variable weather made it near impossible to go apple picking.



We stepped out of the truck to a deluge.  No way we were driving off road, nor were we going to trudge thru apple trees to pick apples.

20141015_102612 20141015_102606So we went in, bought some apple butter, and then headed towards our second destination, Hollin Farms.  Unfortunately, they were closed, but we got to go on a really nice tree-lined drive; with fresh downed trees and pretty leaves.  It was a bit of a wake-up call, though the asphalt on skyline drive is better, the reality is that the road will probably be wet and leaf-strewn and treacherous.

Because of the rain, we drove to Strasburg and to the Strasburg Museum.

20141015_120446 20141015_122319 20141015_123723 20141015_124302

Finally, lunch.  We had the Pulled Pork from The Apple House, which, unbeknownst to us, had just been written up in Saveur Magazine.  The pulled pork was good, and the Apple and Pumpkin Donuts were amazing.


We then drove off to Front Royal, and to the hotel.  Eventually we had dinner at Oesteria 510 in downtown Front Royal, and went on a little drive through main street on the way home.

Tomorrow, I ride this way:



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Prep Work for My Skyline Drive Double

Throughout this year’s ups and downs, I’ve realized that I need a lofty goal to aspire to if I’m going to stick to a strict training schedule. It’s that little extra bit that gets me up at sunrise for sprints or some zone 4 work, rather than rolling back over and missing my opportunity to ride.

Last year’s big goal was, well, 100 pounds.  And along the way I had to keep upping the mark to ensure I stuck with it.  So this year I set 3 goals:  Ride 12 centuries in the year, get to 4 watts per kg, and The Skyline Drive Double.

So far I’ve ridden 6 centuries, with the probability of getting to 10 by the end of the year.  I got up to 3.87 w/kg, which is more of a function of weight loss instead of power increase.  I got as low as 178.2 lbs (81kg).  I’d probably need to be 171.6 lbs to hit 4w/kg.

But oddly, the easiest goal for the year is the Skyline Drive Double.  It’s just a full lap of Skyline Drive, one of the most scenic rides in Virginia.  Skyline Drive is 105 miles from end-to-end, and is the start of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Starting from Front Royal, VA, Skyline Drive finishes where it intersects with Interstate 64, becoming the Blue Ridge Parkway which winds south through Virginia and North Carolina, finishing just north of Cherokee, NC.

The Double consists however of riding from Front Royal to Waynesboro on Day 1, and then the next day ride from Waynesboro to Front Royal.  I understand that there are redondonnerus who would scoff at a mere 368km in two rides, but the added complexity to the ride is that over those 225+ miles, there’s over 22,000 feet of climbing.  If I’m ever going to do the Haute Route, I need to determine if I can even handle two back-to-back long days of climbing.

So Day 1:

And Day 2:

The normal issue with this type of trip is logistics; where to get water, where to get food, how much stuff to carry, but in this I’m lucky; my awesome wife is going to be my sag wagon.  So instead of panicking because I’m out out water and it’s 15 miles to the Byrd Visitors Center, it’s a simple call on the phone to fill up at the next lookout.

Now it becomes a logistics question: What do stock the Sag Wagon with?

So far I’ve come up with:

  •  Floor Standing Bike Pump
  • 4 Spare Tubes
  • 1 Spare Tire
  • Hex Wrenches
  • Pedal Wrench
  • Brake Cable
  • Derailleur Cable
  • Brake Pads
  • Crimpers
  • Crimp Ends
  • Chain Tool
  • Chain Links
  • Spare Spokes
  • AAA Batteries
  • Chain Lube
  • Rags
  • Super Glue
  • Spare Cleats
  • Zip Ties
  • 2 Spare Kits
  • Cold Weather Gear
  • Inclement Weather Gear
  • 5 Gallons of Water
  • Snacks
  • Lunch

If you’ve seen the past 4 posts, you’ll see some of the road food I’m considering — Sweet Cream Grits, Chocolate & Sea Salt Sticky Bits, and Honey and Fig Rice Cakes.  I’m not sure which of these I’ll end up making, as it’s just as easy to go buy some packages of Fig Newtons.  I’ve also made some Gorp, using Peanuts, Pistachios, Pumpkin Seeds, Raisins, M&Ms, Almonds and Coconut Flakes.

For Lunch, I’m thinking either Peanut Butter and Honey Sandwiches, or  Beef & Sweet Potato Pies.  Protein, Fiber and Carbs.

Any suggestions will be gladly appreciated.


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Beef & Sweet Potato Pockets

Beef & Sweet Potato Pockets
Recipe type: Pie
Cuisine: Cycling
Tasty Beef Pockets for Quick Mid Ride Snacks
  • Pie Crust:
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ⅔ cup cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • ½ cup cold water
  • Filling:
  • 8 oz grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed (~1 cup)
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups organic brown rice, cooked
  • ~3 cups organic chicken stock (for cooking rice, instead of using water)
  1. To make the pie crust: Pulse together flour, salt and cinnamon in a food processor. Add butter and blend until butter pieces are no longer visible. Transfer mixture to large bowl and add cold water gradually, using hands or spatula to turn the dough and mix. Add more water or flour, as necessary, until dough takes shape. Divide dough into 12 portions, forming into balls. Wrap dough and chill (30 minutes in the freezer, or at least one hour in the refrigerator.
  2. To make filling: Cook ground beef over medium-high heat until browned. Drain excess fat. Cooked cubed sweet potato in microwave until tender, about 3-5 minutes. Combine beef and sweet potatoes in a bowl and add soy sauce, brown sugar, red wine vinegar, kosher salt, and cinnamon. Mix until evenly combined and then fold in rice.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat muffin tin with canola oil.
  4. Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out each ball of dough, on a lightly floured surface, until it is big enough to fit in the form and fold back over the filling. Transfer dough to muffin forms, gently pressing into place and letting excess dough hang over edges. Place enough of the filling mixture into the dough pocket to be level with the top of the muffin tin. Fold excess dough over filling and gently press together to form a seal.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes, or until crust turns golden


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Chocolate and Sea Salt Sticky Bits

Bitter Chocolate and Sea Salt Sticky Bits
Recipe type: Rice Balls
Cuisine: Cycling
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15
Small Rice Ball Bites
  • 1 cup uncooked sticky rice
  • ½ cup uncooked rolled oats
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons bittersweet chocolate (chips or shaved)
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • dash of sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons shaved bittersweet chocolate
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  1. Combine oats, rice, and water with a dash of salt in a rice cooker and cook.
  2. Let cool to the touch.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the cooked rice and oats with the remaining ingredients.
  4. Stir to incorporate the flavor throughout the sticky mixture.
  5. Press into an airtight storage container or shape as individual bites.
  6. Sprinkle with chocolate and salt.
From Feed Zone Portables Cook Book P.223
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Bite Calories: 101 Fat: 1g Carbohydrates: 20g Sodium: 197mg Fiber: 1g Protein: 2g


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Honey Rice and Fig Cakes

Honey Rice and Fig Cakes
Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: Cycling
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
Small Rice Cakes for Cycling
  • 2 cups uncooked calrose rice or other medium-grain “sticky” rice
  • 1½ cups water
  • 1 cup toasted pecans
  • 1 cup chopped dried figs
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • brown sugar (optional)
  1. Combine rice and water in a rice cooker.
  2. To toast the nuts: Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Place the pecans on a baking sheet and toast 8–10 minutes, stirring after 5 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the cooked rice, pecans, and figs.
  5. Add the honey and stir thoroughly.
  6. Press mixture into an 8- or 9-inch square pan to about 1½-inch thickness and sprinkle with brown sugar, if desired
  7. Cut and wrap individual cakes.
  8. To make a more compact rice cake, place the rice, pecans, and figs in the food processor and pulse the mixture several times to combine.
From Feed Zone Portables, p.95.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Cake Calories: 268 Fat: 10g Carbohydrates: 41g Sodium: 20mg Fiber: 3g Protein: 6g


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Creamy Grits


Creamy Grits
Cuisine: Cycling
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
Pocket Fuel for Rides
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups uncooked grits
  • 3 egg yolks, lighten beaten
  • 2 Tablespoons raw sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Lightly coat a muffin tin or ramekins with nonstick cooking spray
  2. Bring water with a dash of salt to a boil in a saucepan over high heat.
  3. Add grits, stirring frequently for 3 - 4 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and add egg yolks.
  5. Return to heat and simmer on low until mixture thickens, then stir in raw sugar and vanilla
  6. Pour cooked grits into muffin cups or ramekins and let sit for 10 -15 minutes to firm up.

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Cycling Bucket List

After last year’s amazing trip to the 100th running of the Tour de France, and with the sudden issues within my extended family over the past 6 months, I figured it was time to write up a bucket list of places I want to ride my bike before I can’t ride anymore.

As I said, it’s a bit morbid, but I’ve seen my Grandfather go from getting around on his own to being wheelchair-bound in 9 months, and my uncle being a day from dying and stuck in bed with a colostomy bag in the span of 3 weeks, it’s been weighing on my mind, and I felt I needed to put words to the feeling of unease that comes with truly knowing you could and will be there at some point in time in the future.

So what better than a bucket list. And with my rekindled love of cycling, I want to see and experience these places on a bike, rather than on a browser or in a car.

I’d put Alpe d’Huez and Mont Ventoux on this list again, if I lived in Europe and would have ample ability to get to all these places, but since I don’t, I’d love to go back but I’m not sure I will.

  1. The Passo del Ghisallo in Italy. At the top of the climb is the Madonna del Ghisallo and the Chapel with it’s museum of the Giro d’Italia
  2. The Passo dello Stelvio in Italy.
  3. The Poggio – Part of the longest of the spring classics, Milano San Remo.
  4. The Cipressa Also part of Milano San remo.
  5. Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada
  6. From Salzburg to Zell am See, Austria
  7. The Col du Tourmalet
  8. The Col du Galibier — We were supposed to climb this when I was in France, but due to bus driver scheduling, I was unable to do so. Instead we rode Villard Raymond and Les Deux Alpes.
  9. The cobbles of the Arenberg Forest
  10. The Paterberg
  11. The Koppenberg
  12. Mount Diablo
  13. Monte Zoncolan
  14. Mauna Kea in Hawaii
  15. Edelweissspitze
  16. Mount Palomar
  17. Mount Baldy
  18. Col de la Madeline
  19. Cycling the Great Wall of China
  20. Sky-Mass in Virginia
  21. Mount Lemmon in Arizona
  22. Ride Across the US
  23. Cycling the Munroes in Scotland
  24. Cycling around Lake Louise in Canada
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Vacation Cycling Part 2

The next day I hand-wrote out a cue sheet. It’s one of the hidden things you have to remember how to do…Write in long-hand clearly enough to read while coasting down the road. I had wanted to ride back out again to Macabuca, and then to Popagallos, and then to Hell, and lastly go see what boats were in by the yacht club.


Well, everything went well, until I got to Hell.

Read more »

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Vacation Cycling Part 1

Depending upon your vacation location, getting in training level cycling rides may be more difficult than you can imagine.

Within the United States, it’s relitively inexpensive to ship a bike box via USPS/UPS/FedEx if you have enough lead time. Consider a carbon frame road bike weighs ~18 pounds, and the bike box probably weighs more than the bike. If you don’t need your bike but can handle a rental, you can get by with an inexpensive replacement from a local bike shop if you’re going to a city, though the pickings may be slimmer as the size of the city shrinks.

Going to a foreign country can also be easy to rent a road bike, though Europe will probably provide a much better experience than anywhere else.
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The Inevitable Crash

When you’re riding a bike, it’s inevitable you’re going to run into a situation in which you’ll end up crashing.

I had thought it would have been an almalgam of all my falling overs starting out with clipless pedals, but yesterday I had one heck of a crash.

My ride started out as a normal ride. I had intended to make a nice long 2 1/3 to 3 hour weekend endurance ride. When I left the house I had to tell my wife that it was going to be longer than the 2 hour ride that she wanted me to take (the guilt/resentment factor was pretty heavy), while I was hoping to put in a good 45-50 miles today.

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