Saturday, January 24, 2009

Skiing with the Masses At Great Brook

We headed over to Great Brook this morning, along with most of metro-Boston it seemed! Everyone wanted to be out before the anticipated temperature plunge later today. The conditions were pretty good, and once off the trails close to the barn, the traffic wasn't as big of an issue.

I ended up with over two hours of skate skiing, that included one face-first endo into the frozen snow. That hurt, and might have left a mark...

Here's a few photos of the group we started with today. We also ended up seeing lots of other friends and fellow bike racers out on the trails.

Mike, Frank, Nate, Cameron, Brendan, Sam, Jonny and Kevin

Brendan, Nate and Cameron

Laraine and Cathy

Friday, January 23, 2009

MMM - Pizza!

At the beginning of the week, I was personally responsible for helping to stimulate the economy. On Monday, I went out and purchased a new vacuum cleaner (the one in Maine finally bit the dust after about 12 years and a fire inside it), new flatware, a saute pan and new dishes. I also purchased a pizza stone and peel which we tried tonight for the first time!

The first experiment was a pizza with creamed spinach and prosciutto. It was ok, but a bit bland. I think if we had used a different cheese in the creamed spinach (I used cream cheese), and had put more meat toppings on this, it would have been ok.

For the second pizza, we followed a recipe from a pizza-specific cookbook I purchased (more economic stimulus!). This was prosciutto, caramelized onions and marscapone cheese, and turned out delicious!

We'll try some more over the next couple of weeks.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

More Riding

Saturday's temps in Maine were a little warmer than Friday. It was -15.5 when we got up. Hey - that's 10 whole degrees!

Feeling unmotivated for any outdoor activities at least until things warmed up "some", we again headed out for some errands. Today it was to Maine Made Furniture in Rumford. We were after a couple of new side chairs for our dining room, and if we could find them, some new bar stools as well. Let me tell you - if you are looking for quality handmade furniture, at a reasonable price, you should definitely check this place out! In about a week, we should have two new cherry chairs and two new stools. I can hardly wait.

When we got back to the house, the temp had warmed up slightly, but not enough to motivate either of us for the skiing we had originally planned. Instead, we suited up and met our friend Rob for a local trail ride. The trails were in great shape, and we didn't see a lot of traffic (too cold). We headed from Bethel to Andover where we stopped for gas and lunch, and then back home for another 60 mile day.

With the forecast for today (Sunday) of snow in both Bedford and Bethel, we packed up the truck and headed home last night. Not sure yet what we will end up doing today, but with the temps up in the 30 degree range, anything is possible!

Cold Day Activities

The temp bottomed out, finally, at -28.8 on Friday morning. It was COLD. Given the temps, there was no way we were heading out for any skiing/snowmobiling/snowshoe activity quite that early, so we decided on some other errands instead. Thankfully, the truck started!

We drove over to Gorham, NH where we first stopped at VIP Auto to have some new tires put on Mike's truck. Back in October, I had taken the truck in for its annual inspection. The dealer (from whom we have purchased and serviced SEVEN cars), told me that the truck wouldn't pass inspection without 4 new tires. We checked, and the tires had some wear, but weren't down to the wear bars, and the truck DID pass inspection the same day at another garage. Needless to say, I was annoyed, and there will be no more dealings with our car dealer. We did, however, think that it was likely a good idea now to put on a better tire, so spent some of our cold morning at the shop.

Does it look as cold as it felt????

After the tires were mounted and balanced, we had to get some groceries, and went over to the local Walmart. Yes, I know Walmart is evil - heard it all before. But up north, there aren't a lot of options. In fact, the Shaws in Gorham is one of the New England stores that will be closing, leaving ONLY Walmart for groceries.

By the time we got home and had a quick bite to eat, the temp had risen to a balmy 5 degrees. We suited up, and went out on the local snowmobile trails for a ride. Conditions were GREAT, and it wasn't that cold if you were bundled up properly. We were out for about 3 hours, and covered a mere 54 miles - most of it the equivalent of MTB singletrack. There was some racing on the lake - let me tell you that 90 mph in 5 degree weather is pretty cold!

Later in the day we headed over to Suds Pub in town. We haven't been in there for quite a long time, but Joe (the bartender) and Joyce (the manager) welcomed us like long lost friends. Let me just finish by saying that too many margaritas at the end of a cold day, is NOT a good thing ;-).

Friday, January 16, 2009


YIKES! We're in Maine, and you can see that it is FRIGID up here. In fact, since taking these photos, the temp has dropped further, and is now reading -28.5!!!!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Taking Advantage ...

... of another New England storm today. While we didn't get as much snow as in the storms prior to Christmas, we did end up with 4-6" of fluffy new snow to cover the icy base we already had. That meant heading to Lincoln to try out ANOTHER new set of skis (yes, I'm spoiled).

Mike, PK, Stig, Wick and I started out from the Lincoln school parking lot around noon. During the ski, Wick ended up peeling off, claiming he had to get home to cover sledding duties with the girls (or was it just a ruse to get out of finishing the death march, er, I mean, ski?). The four of us ended up out for 3 hours (2:36 moving time), and covered 9.8 miles of trails that were in stellar condition. Oh, and did I mention that we also climbed over 1100 feet?

And speaking of feet, the new equipment was great except that I ended up with a gazillion blisters on one foot. I think the new boots need a little more breaking in.

To see more fun pics from the day, click here.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Me? Cooking?

Mike said the blog needed some content, so we're venturing into unknown territory - cooking!

Now, I like to cook, but I'm not that great at new things. I can cook for the masses just fine, but when it comes to the two of us, I often end up in a food rut - cooking the same old, same old, day in and day out. Boring. Oh, and frankly, on the day-to-day, my portion of the cooking is the equivalent of opening the bag of salad, and adding some toppings (Mike is responsible for the meat portion on the grill).

Last week, as I was sorting through the copious amounts of junk mail, I came across a promo for a new cooking magazine (Cuisine at Home). I was going to toss it, but decided to give it a read. Some of the recipies looked pretty yummy, and not that hard for people like me to follow. Apparently, that was the case - dinner tonight was a resounding success!

Menu: Chicken Picatta, Garlic and Rosemary Roasted Potatoes, Broccoli

There are other recipies I am going to try as well: Pizza From the Grill, Baked Sweet Potatoes with Maple-Jalapeno Sour Cream, French Onion Salisbury Steak, Orange-Glazed Salmon, BLT Pasta and Salted Nut Roll Bars. First, I need to invest in some tools - a saute pan, a pizza stone and a pizza peel.

Oh - the magazine also had cooking tips, which in the promo ad included a piece on Santoku Knives. This will lead to a further investment on our part - LamsonSharp knives, made right here in Massachusetts! Guess this is another type of adventure for me - we'll see where it leads.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Winter Fun

I've been sick, so haven't posted anything in a bit. Here are some pics from last weekend's winter activities. Enjoy for now!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

This was the second year we were invited to a ride/party starting at Todd and Michele's place in Arlington. Last year, the weather was terrible - rain, snow and back to rain. This year? Temps in the single digits, 6-8 inches of fresh snow, and a wind chill of about -15. But, that didn't stop 13 of us from starting off the year on our bikes...

After riding from Arlington to Lexington for coffee, and then back, it was time for some delicious chili and other good food, hot cider and excellent company. This was a fun way to start 2009 - I hope you all had equally good starts to your year.

Racing in Review

2009 Season in Review
Total Miles Ridden: 5214
Road Races: 5
Crits: 7
Time Trials: 13
MTB Races: 9
'Cross Races: 15

2008 Season in Review
Total Miles Ridden: 5724
Road Races: 8
Crits: 10
Time Trials: 12
MTB Races: 7
'Cross Races: 20
Upgrade Sport to Expert (MTB)
Upgrade Cat 3 to Cat 2 (road)

2007 Season in Review
Total miles ridden: 5153
Road Races: 8
Crits: 9
Time Trials: 16
'Cross Races: 16
Upgrade Cat 4 to Cat 3 (road & cross)

What We Did On Christmas Vacation

First, let me wish all of you the Happiest of New Years! I hope that everyone had an enjoyable holiday season.

But now, let me show you what Mike and I were up to over the holidays:

The office - before and after

Another view in the office

Yup - finally cleaned out our spare "if it doesn't have a home put it here" room, which involved donations to Goodwill and the library, lots of trash, and some elbow work. You see, this room hadn't been painted since we moved into the house 13 years ago, and the window trim had NEVER been painted. Mike also built additional pieces to the desk, making it wrap around the room.

It's a great space now, and will afford some nicer views out the windows (which I can actually see out of). Now I'm all ready to start work again on Monday...almost ;).