Thursday, May 29, 2008

Lake News
According to plan, at 7 a.m. on June 22, I and about 2,000 other idiots dive into Lake Coeur d'Alene to swim 2.4 miles, beginning a 140.6-mile journey that will earn us the title Ironman, whoop-dee-do. Last year, white caps on the lake made the swim quite the adventure; this year, we're told, there may be another issue:

The extraordinary spring melt off not only pushed Lake Coeur d'Alene well above flood stage this year but it's also keeping the water unusually cold, which could make it extremely difficult for Ironman athletes to swim in the lake.

Right now the water in Lake Coeur d'Alene is a brisk 49 degrees and Ironman race director Andy Emberton says if the water doesn't warm up to the mid 50s by race morning they will have to make some changes.

Emberton says if the water doesn't warm up to at least 60 degrees by race day they may require all athletes wear a wetsuit. They may also allow neoprene hats and aqua socks, which under Ironman rules are typically not allowed.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

In Bloom
Apple Cinnamon Pecan Raisin Maple Breakfast Pizza

We invented this today for breakfast. It's good. You should make it.

Cooking spray
½ cup flour
1 Trader Joe's whole-wheat pizza dough
2 apples
1 Meyer lemon
1 T melted butter
1 T cinnamon
2 T brown sugar
1/3 cup pecans
1/3 cup raisins
1 T maple syrup

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Coat pizza pan with very thin layer of cooking spray.

Dust your work board with some of the flour. Roll out the pizza dough very thin. We used slightly less than a whole bag of TJ's dough, so 1 whole bag will make a very big pizza (or you can trim some off and save it for later use). After the pizza dough is pressed out, put it on the pizza pan—we like the big pans with holes in them.

Peel and core the apples. Slice medium thin and put in a large bowl. Squeeze lemon juice over apples and gently mix. Add cinnamon, brown sugar, pecans and raisins. Mix gently. Add melted butter and mix gently. Now sprinkle over a couple of tablespoons of flour and, again, mix gently.

Arrange apples slices on pizza dough in whatever kind of pattern suits you and then spread remaining topping evenly over apples.

Put in oven. Be careful to make sure the top (especially the pecans) does not burn. We put a piece of aluminum foil with a little bit of cooking spray on the inside over ours. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until crust is golden brown and slightly crispy. Drizzle with maple syrup, allow to cool down a bit, then slice as with a pizza. Makes eight pieces. Figure on two pieces (at least) for each person for breakfast.

Oh, and don't forget to top it off with a drizzle of maple syrup.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

The New Bike
I read a tri blogger who has dubbed one of her bikes Bitch, the other La Gazza Ladra. (This woman is hardcore — and funny. Check out her recent post, "The Hidden Cost of Ironman Training.")

This comes to mind after seeing Infospigot's inquiry, in comment to my preceding post, regarding how long my Saturday ride took and what did I think of the bike.

The bike is the new bike, or, as I like to call it, with characteristic creativity, The New Bike.

I rode The New Bike 20 miles on Friday, 48 miles on Saturday, then another 25 today. I can report that The New Bike is must faster than my LeMond steel roadie, which was built before the Iraq War began. Another lifetime, practically. Traveling over a level stretch of smooth pavement, in calm conditions, I cruise along at 22-24 miles per hour on The New Bike, easily a couple em-pee-h-is faster than on the LeMond. And the ride is plush, the handling excellent, the shifting and braking ... all good.

Just one problem, really — one with particular resonance given the planned activities of June 22: I can't imagine riding the thing for six hours.

I know going aero can be rough at first. Some people, it's the back that's a problem. My back is OK with it. Some people, it's the butt that's a problem. No butt problem here. My issue is the back of my neck and my shoulders. After about 15 minutes, there's a whole lot of achin' going on. So I get out of my aero position for about 30 seconds, stretch things out, then I’m good for another 15 minutes of slicing through the air oh so dynamically.

Poking around online, the prevailing view among experts is that neck and shoulder pain usually mean your body needs time to adjust to the new riding style and, second, you might want to consider getting a professional fit. So I'm hopeful that as I ride The New Bike more, I'll grow accustomed to the stresses it puts on my neck and shoulders. And to be sure there's not a structural issue, I'm going to get the fit — next week, if all goes as planned.

As for how long the ride took — the Saturday ride — that was 2 hours and 45 minutes. Stop signs, traffic signals, horses (Springwater Corridor; seriously) and other impediments one wouldn't find on a triathlon course ate up a solid 15 minutes. So while actually riding, I averaged a tad over 19 mph. Not spectacular, but since I didn't really push it, not bad either.

Meanwhile, there was swimming and running over the past couple of days as well, but just a bit: 4,500 yards in the water, and a couple of little 3-mile brick runs after the bike rides yesterday and today. My vow is to run LESS in the next four or five weeks of serious ICDA prep, because I don't need to run. Five rides (at least one long), four swims, three runs — that's what I'm aiming for each week. We'll see how it goes. With a heavy load of childcare and work approaching (including a five-day trip to New York, argh), scrambling will be the name of the game!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Today's Ride