Sunday, August 28, 2011

USA Pro Cycling Challenge, Stage 6

The USA Pro Cycling Challenge came to Golden today, and it was awesome! Than and I walked to downtown view the race.
This was taken just after the start. Than was just barely able to photograph the last of the riders as they powered past us up Washington near CO-58.
We quickly raced over to 10th and Ford to watch the bikers as they raced back into town. The course was basically a figure eight, with the first half looping around North Table Mountain. It took 20 minutes for the riders to make the loop... it would probably take Than and me an hour to an hour and a half!
Still at 10th and Ford. At this point all of the riders were still together. 
As Than pointed out, this photo doesn't even begin to convey how fast these guys were going. 
For our 3rd and final glimpse (believe me, it was a glimpse!) we walked to 13th and Washington. I wanted to see the bikers corner. It took a bit longer for them to complete the second half of the figure eight - a quick climb up Lookout Mountain and then back down via CO-40, which runs parallel to I-70. Back through downtown Golden then straight down 32nd Ave into downtown Denver to cross the finish line. Than made a video of the second group of bikers as they turned onto 13th (32nd Ave). Check it out here.
And no trip would be complete if I didn't ride something. Of course, this happens to be a stegosaurus and riding it is a little tricky, especially when I am wearing a skirt and there are 10,000 innocent bystanders just to my left. SO, this will have to do. Here's to a freakin' awesome USA PCC - hopefully there will be many more years of this race to come.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Last of the Great Bee Hunters

"The Last of the Great Bee Hunters" is a nickname my dad gave to our family dog. His full name is Russell Theodore Giebler, but in general we call him Rusty. Rusty loves to chase bees, which is pretty hilarious to watch. It is even more hilarious when he actually catches one and gets his tongue stung. Flies don't interest him, or grasshoppers, or birds, or beetles. Nope, it has to be a bee. A big bumbler that Rusty will stumble after, looking cross-eyed with his ears up as he tries to keep track of it. Aside from the bee slaughter, Rusty is a very mild-mannered dog. He is staying with us until Wednesday and I'm afraid Castor the cat has already attacked him. Castor is NOT mild-mannered. He is extremely territorial and will attack with no warning. This evening he ran at full force across the back lawn to intentionally jump on Rusty's head. This might make some sense of Castor had front claws (which he doesn't) , or if Rusty was only twice his size (he is more like 10 times bigger), but really it was more of a suicide mission. Rusty was unscathed, although I think the fact that Castor was trying to kill him and not just playfully romp around the yard hurt his feelings. Castor retreated behind a large bush, but has since emerged and is pacing the back screen door, growling. Rusty couldn't care less if there was a cat around, and things would be so much easier if Castor would just play nice. Damn cat... Here are a couple of my favorite photos of Rusty:

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Summer Pies

Than and I love pies. Well, Than LOVES pies and I just love them. Than likes to encourage my pie-making by working pie ingredients into almost every grocery list and dropping little hints that I should make one. He also put a request for pie recipes on my online family Christmas list (it has been removed) and will say things like "You know what would be really great right now? Pie!"  Don't you worry - Than gets PLENTY of pie. The thing is, he is also a great pie-maker. On occasion we have bake-offs, which is great because then everyone ends up a winner and we both get to eat a lot of pie. I try to NOT make us a pie every week because eventually we would weigh 300 lbs each. This summer we have made several pies, and I managed to photograph two of them before we ate them.
Than made a strawberry rhubarb pie in July. I don't like rhubarb or hot strawberries, and wasn't that excited about it. What an idiot I am! The pie was delicious (especially since I didn't have to make it) and we ate it so fast I didn't get another photograph. Don't worry, we didn't eat it all - we gave some to the neighbors!

Than's Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Pie Crust
2 1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c butter, chilled & cut into small pieces
6 T shortening
5 to 6 T ice water

Mix first 4 ingredients with pastry cutter until small, even clumps form. Add ice water 1 T at a time until dough begins to ball. Roll into 2 ball and flatten into disks. Wrap separately and refrigerate. Chill for 30 minutes. Roll out first disk and place in bottom of pie plate. Roll out second disk and cut into strips for lattice top.

1 1/4 c sugar
1/3 c flour
pinch salt
1 tsp orange zest
1 lb fresh rhubarb, cut into 1-inch pieces (4 cups)
2 c halved strawberries
2 T butter

Mix sugar through strawberries. Place in pie plate. Dot with 2 T butter. Place lattice on top of pie. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce oven to 350 and bake for an additional 50 minutes or until bubbly.

On the way back from GJ we stopped in Palisades for some peaches (isn't that like a law this time of year?). I made a peach pie as soon as we got home and I'm afraid it didn't even last a week. There are 6 more peaches in the fridge and Than is already asking for a second pie. I am resisting, but only because it is too hot to run the oven (thank goodness!).

Than makes pies very differently than I do. He carefully chooses and then follows a recipe, executing each step exactly as written. No deviations, no getting creative. I have a different method. I use a tried and true pastry recipe from Betty Crocker (2 c flour, 2/3 c shortening, 1 tsp salt, mix and add 4-5 T ice water until ball forms) that I slap together and roll out immediately with no chilling. I then make a fruit filling using whatever is on hand (apples, peaches, cherries, combo, etc.). I add some combination of sugar/brown sugar/agave syrup/cinnamon/nutmeg/vanilla/juice/flour/tapioca/whatever else I have on hand to the fruit until I get a constancy and smell/taste that I like. Then I toss it in the oven at 350 and bake until it smells good. I explained this method to Than and it didn't sit too well. The thought that the unknown could possibly result in a ruined pie was just too much to take. Of course,  I reminded him, when was the last time I made a "bad" pie?   We love making pie, eating pie, and most of all, sharing pie! Come visit us and bring your favorite pie recipe - we'll have a bake-off!

Fruita Mountain Biking Trip

My second cousin (once removed) Lori got married in Grand Junction and we decided to turn the trip into a camping/mountain biking/wedding trip. We attended a family BBQ at Colorado National Monument Saturday night, camped out at Fruita, biked Mary's loop along the mesa Sunday morning, and attended the wedding Sunday evening. On the way to GJ we stopped in Glenwood Springs for lunch.
Delicious Southwest Ravioli at brewery in Glenwood Springs.
Than and I have become those people - you know, eaters. Kind of like foodies, although not as snobby. He is slightly less discriminatory than me, but we both will eat just about anything. I had to take a picture of this empty dish because it contained one of the most delicious meals we have ever had. And let me tell, as active eaters, we have had a LOT of really good meals. Think of your basic Italian ravioli dish, only substitute the classic tomato sauce for a rich, spicy, red pepper sauce with a few black beans, corn, and cilantro mixed in. We shared this dish and Than told me if I wasn't his beautiful wife of three months, he would be tempted to push me away and run off with the dish...

After lunch we visited the Glenwood Springs Railroad Museum across the street. We paid a dollar and this photo captures almost 60% of the entire museum...
Once we made it to GJ, we decided to drive the entire Colorado National Monument just to check it out. The drive takes about an hour if you are rushing it, and is spectacular. We want to go back when it is cooler for more camping and some hiking.

Self-portrait in CNM.

This is a photo taken from our campsite. Ah... so beautiful. Oh wait, what is that smell and that constant roaring noise? Could it be a sewage treatment plant and the freeway just to my right? Parts of this campsite were awesome...other parts were not so awesome. We only stayed one night and were up  by 6:30 AM to go mountain biking.
This is a photo of me taken after a first aid session (note my knee). I just got clipless pedals and of course I had the classic fall on my first ride out - I came to a perfectly balanced stop, but when I tried to unclip, I fell right over.
We rode a trail called Mary's Loop. It is about 8.5 miles along the rim of Horse-Thief Canyon overlooking the Colorado River. This was taken at about 7:30 AM. It was already 75 degrees and climbing, but the scenery was spectacular. I highly recommend this trail for hikers and bikers.
I don't recommend it for the faint of heart though. At times the trail came perilously close to the edge and we decided to walk it - me especially because I clearly hadn't mastered the whole clipless pedal thing.
Than posing with my bike. I rode the trail to that point, then got off and walked a while.
I started with a food photo and I'm ending with a food photo. This is the Empire malt shop. Run by your classic 60's hippie couple, it is the BEST malt/shake/hamburger joint around. We always stop there on our way back from Winter Park to get a chocolate malt. Seems like a weird choice in the middle of winter, but we never pass up an opportunity to go to the malt shop. If you're near Empire... GO TO THE MALT SHOP!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Statue Riding

In addition to mountain biking, hiking, cooking, and sewing, there is one more little hobby I have taken up: Statue Riding. Big statues, little statues, people statues, animal statues, bronze, plastic, indoor, outdoor, I don't care. If it looks like it can be ridden, I want to climb on it. Statue Riding is spontaneous - you never know when you'll run into something rideable. And it is a little bit dangerous. You never know who might get mad when you start climbing. Of course, if all the hundreds of butt-shined statues across America are any indication...I think there are plenty of other people out there practicing this same hobby. Check out some of my recent rides:

Donkey in downtown Boston, MA. July, 2010.

Bear along Clear Creek in Golden, CO. Fall, 2010.

Dragon in Parfet Park, Golden, CO. This was a tight squeeze... May 6, 2011.

Rhino at the Houston, TX zoo. I contemplated climbing on, but I was at a work function in a mini-skirt, May, 2011. 

Elk along Clear Creek in Golden, CO. June, 2011.

Horse in the Hubbard Museum of the American West, Ruidoso, NM. This guy was set up for photos - no, I did not just climb on a museum exhibit! July, 2011.

Sinclair brontosaurus in downtown Golden, CO. Taken this past weekend.
 And the one not pictured, the bronze cowboy in Central City, CO. Than and I were on our way to the opera when I noticed a bronze cowboy on a bench. I was 3 seconds away from lifting my leg to climb on his back when I realized he was in fact a REAL cowboy spray-painted bronze. Part of me wishes I had ridden him anyway, (it would be such a good story), but the other part of me is glad I didn't get bronze paint all over my opera dress. Happy riding!