Cross Season….

Is here!

Yesterday has officially kicked off my 2013 Cyclocross Season with Bay Area Super Prestige #1 at Candle Stick Point. I have raced this course only once before. Then it was even hotter, dustier, I even somehow managed to have a heavier bike.

Down to the race. I was in Mens Bs which races last of the day when it was nice and warm. Since its the first race of the series they did call-ups in registration order. As I registered only a couple hours before the start I was 60 of 75. Putting me in the eighth row. So the race tactic was: I have no hole shot, so I have to kill myself to get to the front on the first lap. This worked pretty well, I was probably around 20-25th when I crossed the start/finish line and I can only recall a single racer passing me after we dooked it out for a couple of laps. Then I progressively reeled in around 10 other races. I felt good through most of the race with relatively few mistakes. Next race I will have a better rear brake that will hopefully help with my cornering at speed. Biggest mistake was not pushing hard/soon enough on the final lap, I finished with 2 racers within about 10 meters. Overall I finished 13th.

Highlights.
Heckle Hill as usual. Here is a shot from the bottom. In the past I have manged to ride this. This year it actually (I’m not joking) looks like someone took a shovel to it.

Heckle Hill

Heckle Hill usually brings out my suffer face.

Booty shaking is to cross racer what hand clapping is to dying pixies.
Booty shaking is to cross racers as hand clapping is to dying pixies.

Shake Jortz, Shake.

And sometimes you get a fan offer up snacks.

Failure to Snack

That’s about a wrap. Big ol’ ups to Jortz for taking 1st, 2nd, 5th and 6th places. Kell WOB for killing our field. Started one position in front of me and charged up to 4th place. Nice work. Got some great Team Moustache, Spoke Cyclery and Rev Weezy support, thanks for the hand ups. (and everyone I stole pictures from 😉

Screenshot BASP1 Results

Guinea Pig Kitchen: Shakshuka

This is the first installment of Guinea Pig Kitchen. The most frequent questions I get asked about touring are generally related to food. Usually it comes down to, what do you eat? Since my first tour in 2008, I have put down about 15,000km touring and since that first tour everything has changed. Then I was on a track bike with an overloaded backpack eating at cafes and staying in hostels (or under the occasional bridge). Now I have 2, going on three tourable bikes (including that old track bike coming full circle), I own multiple stoves, switch regularly between tent and hammock camping. I would say I have my grub down pretty good.

I like food. I like good food a lot. I fancy myself a pretty damn good cook. When I became a vegetarian, half my life ago, my mom told me it was time to learn to cook. The memory mangled press worthy quote was a long the lines of “I’ve have too many children to cook for one that wants to be different”. So I have some practice.

OK, STFU now and talk about the food.

Shakshuka! This is a recent addition to my arsenal. A friend and fellow Team Moustacher taught me this one about a year and a half ago before we threw the Team Moustache Albany Bulb race.

Shakshouka (Arabic: شكشوكة‎; Hebrew: שקשוקה‎) (also shakshuka) is a dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoeschili peppersonions, often spicedwith cumin. It is believed to have a Tunisian origin.[1][2]

 

This is as delicious as it sounds. Having realized last year carrying eggs isn’t as hazardous as it sounds I quickly adopted this as a touring food. This is my recent Hawk Overnight rendition along with some prep tips for short trips.

Ingredients:

  • Mushrooms
  • Green Onions
  • Baby Heirloom Tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • seasoned with salt and pepper
  • container
Ingredients
Ingredients.

Since I was just doing an overnight I was only going to cook breakfast, this meant I could prep everything ahead of time.

Dice up all the veg, chuck it into your container, add seasoning and your preferred cooking oil for a light saute*.

* optional, see next step

The veg is contained
The veg is contained.

Next you can optionally saute your veggies. It will be just as good if you wanted to chuck them straight into the sauce and soften them up there. Ideal if you want to minimize your cookware kit. Just leave out some or all of the oil from the previous step and give the veggies 2-5 minutes before adding the eggs.

Veg in Sauce
Veg in Sauce

Put your veggies in the sauce and bring to a simmer. Once its simmering carefully crack and drop your eggs in the sauce.

 

Eggs in sauce?! You talkin’ crazy!

The eggs cook differently than normal poaching. I usually give it about 10 minutes with the lid on and the lowest simmer I can get my stove (MSR Whisper Lite) to do. This will vary between stoves and cookware but the egg should be much firmer than you’d do for something like Eggs Benedict.

Done
Done!

My egg looks like a dumpling. But it is not, so serve with bread or toast.

Last step is find a beautiful view and enjoy.

Brekky
Brekky

 

Why I’m Always Drawn Back to California

While Berlin is still probably my favorite city in the world it is desperately lacking in cycling diversity. Topographically Berlin is the ‘Pan Cake Assed White Girl‘ of cities. Australia was a blast but is not only the flattest continent but has so much urban sprawl its largely impractical to ride out of the city.

The San Francisco Bay Area has one of the most amazingly diverse cycling scenes as a directly reflection of the diversity of the area. San Francisco has top quality road or dirt right in the city. You can climb your guts out every day of the week on a different fixture, mountain bike or CX ride McLaren Part or Sutro Mountain, and if you willing to risk the ticket Golden Gate Park is a fine place to ride dirt as well.

Then you can point yourself roughly within 90° +/- of east and find yourself bigger rides, harder climbs, hairier descents and even a lovely little velodrome.

Outside of cycling the Bay Area also has an amazing outdoor culture. There are dozen of places to camp that can be ridden to in mere hours. This is a post about that.

The Marin Headlands has 4 really cool campsites. Until sometime last year I had only been vaguely aware of one of them. I frequently passed Bicentennial while out on road rides but as it appears to just be a simple road side picnic area I never paid it much attention. Turns out you can camp there, it’s free and there are 3 other even better sites.

At the start of the year I got invited to camp at Kirby Cove. I’d heard of this before but never realize how close it was and that in fact I also passed it on the same regular road ride. It is tucked into an amazing little cove just north of the Golden Gate Bridge in the Marin Headlandss. One of the more amazing views of the bridge I’ve seen…. Unless there is fog, which then the fog horns are going to probably ruin your night. Definitely ruin mine. But fog horn aside it is a beautiful place.

Last week when chatting with a friend he’d asked me if I had been camping lately. Before even answering I was asking myself, why the hell I hadn’t been lately? This thought, coupled with my crazy ambition to actually race the World Cycle Tour, my love for camping and my currently flexible schedule I have decided there is no reason I shouldn’t be camping 2-4+ times a month. With once a month or so doing a serious all night effort, should I actually feel like training.

Started already! My basic plan was this. Attend a meeting I had in SF Wednesday night. Finished up around 9pm. Perfect. Started riding from SoMa towards Golden Gate. Grabbed a couple things at Safeway at Crissy Fields and headed over. Conzelman Rd to the viewing point and into the dirt. Road dirt to the round-about and jumped on the coast trail down to Bunker Rd. This is when I realized the Mode button on my Garmin had broken. Again. I’ve read enough posts for long distance racers to know that GPS/Navigation failures end races. Then despite knowing the area fairly well and lot has changed in the last couple of years and I could not find the trail head I was after. This was my intended route.

The entire loop was a “If I feel like it in the morning addition” but the important part is around 14km, Keypress Camp. Right around 8km is important too as it is a trail head that is closed. By the time I finally got on a trail near McCullough Rd I was pretty disoriented, did know what trail I was even on and still didn’t have navigation. All I knew was I wanted to be on Miwok Trail which I vaguely knew the location of. I missed the turn. I pictured to junctions incorrectly and ended up climbing Bobcat Trail with its lovely full-moon lit view of Miwok across the Gerbode Valley. This is the route I ended up riding.

Quite a bit of confusion can be seen around Bunker Rd. My plan was to bush camp once I reached the summit. Luckily just before I saw a sign for Hawk. What luck! Hawk is tucked into the northern tip of Gerbode Valley just under the summit. Interestingly I found most maps do not have the site marked although they draw out the trail leading to it. This site was very empty so I got my pick of it. I snagged two nice tree just at the edge of the site for a nice view of the valley and a glimpse of Sunset District.

In the morning I had a nice breakfast and casually rolled out around 9:30. Future versions of this I will be pushing to wake up early and do race pace eat-up/pack-up. Next week will be Heypress for reals.

Lecker Brekky.
Lecker Brekky.
Shakshuka
Shakshuka

Pouched eggs in tomato sauce!? A friend taught me this a couple years ago, blowing my mind in the process. I did this one with sauted mushrooms, green onions and baby(?) heirloom tomatoes. Possible follow up post on just that.

Sammock or a Banana Hammock?
Sammock or a Banana Hammock?

This is my current camping setup. A hammock made by the lovely Sam Bell for my birthday. It is super light and super simple. Above I have strung my Mountain Hardware ground cover. Its not rain tested yet but does a great job of trapping some heat in. Follow up post on the hammock adventure of late coming up definitely.

 

See this sign?
See this sign?

Yeah, this sign says the trail is closed. I did not see this sign until morning.

And lastly. File this one under nifty tricks. I strapped my headlamp around the hammock ties to create a non-blinding, easily accessible light setup. Got in the hammock and got comfortable before turning it out and it remained close enough in case I needed to ward off any hairy little mooches.

I recently had my interior lighting redone.
I recently had my interior lighting redone.

 

And the full image set is available….. here.