Sunday, February 24, 2013

Saddles do matter, recipes and a new milestone

Time to STP: 138 Days

As stated in a previous post, I decided to buy a new saddle that was ideally going to be a little bit more comfy on the longer rides, as I progressed.  Throughout the week I have been riding on my Oval Concepts saddle and have been quite surprised.  I can't say that there are a ton of real discernible differences between my old Specialized saddle and this one at first.  The back end is a little more narrow and there aren't any gripping features on it.  But as I rode this week, things just felt largely more in tune with the way I ride.

if my own experience wasn't proof enough, my youngest son, daughter and I went on a ride Monday to enjoy an usually warm(ish) PNW day sans rain down a trail we had ridden much when we lived closer to it, but had not in some time.  My son on a Haro BMX style bike and my daughter on a Magna mountain bike that she got for her birthday last year.  The ride was not much, about 12 miles, but more than either of them had done in a very long time.  And although my son was fortunate enough to have a gear ratio on his Haro that lent itself to multi-purpose riding, my 8 year old daughter had to figure out how to use her six speeds to go up and down the hills along the Burnt Bridge Creek trail.  This in itself created some issues, but as we were returning, my poor daughter's bum started to hurt more and more.  Point of fact, this bike was probably not built for total comfort and she was feeling it.  I would be inclined to buy her a saddle that would fit her better, but as I have figured out-it is a crapshoot when you are trying to find a perfect saddle and likely she was going to grow out of it in the next several months.  It is funny, because it never occurred to me that something as basic as a saddle could make such a difference in riding.  As a kid, I used to ride for hours and hours and I don't remember thinking that my butt hurt afterwards.  Maybe it is the haze of reflection from 25 years past.

The honey/chocolate syrup has been marvelous for my post ride recovery and as I have been trying to get more familiar with the healthier options of taking care of my body for riding, I have also been stumbling upon more recipes just to make things more interesting.  Friday night was a Thai Green Curry (recipe follows).  Be careful on how much green curry you use, though, as it will really spice things up.  And don't be disparaged if it doesn't look like the curries that you get at your local Thai place, chances are, they are using a LOT of coconut milk to create that saucy look that you get at the restaurant.  Saturday night was baked salmon fillets and mashed cauliflower.  I know a lot of people that were/are doing Atkins do this as a replacement to mashed potatoes, but let me say-mashed potatoes this is not, so don't treat it that way, I think.  I mashed a signed cauliflower head and added 1/2 a cup of Greek yogurt with some sea salt and black pepper and some dried onion flakes.  It was quite good and I really recommend it.

Finally, I hit my first mental milestone in training today.  Just over 30 miles in the saddle at 2 hours and 15 minutes, which I was pretty happy about.  Fortunately, the weather has been pretty forgiving for Winter (about 40 degrees and dry).  A nice combination of hills and flat made the ride quite nice and although I should not be wearing headphones while riding, I was listening to the last several episodes of Radiolab the entire time which makes the ride feel a bit less long, like I have someone chatting with me the whole time (like most of NPR's programming, I highly recommend this show).  I really feel like I am making progress towards STP now.  I think it is because 30 miles is the most I have ever ridden uninterrupted and feel that if I am in the end of February and can do this, that the 138 days I have left are really going to be enough.  I feel fabulous and can't wait for my next ride.

And, although I didn't post the photos for the fork modifications for the Bridgestone, that went smoothly.  A $6 metal file purchased at Home Depot and about 5 minutes of time opened up the dropouts on the fork enough to drop in the 700mm front wheel into the fork.  It is sitting on the bike at present and waiting to be ridden.

Many thanks to for these recipes
Spicy Thai Curry
16 oz. cubed chicken breast, tofu, or shrimp
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tsp fresh ginger, chopped
3 Tbsp soy or tamari sauce
2 large red bell peppers, thinly sliced
3 scallions, chopped
16 oz. fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup low-fat coconut milk
4 tsp green curry paste (or to taste)
4 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1/3 cup fresh basil

1/2 cup unsalted peanuts, chopped 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 lime, quartered

Cook the chicken in a tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat until done. Remove from pan. Add remaining oil and saute garlic and ginger on medium heat. When the oil is absorbed, add soy sauce, then add the peppers. Cook for two minutes, then add the scallions and spinach. Cook for two more minutes. Add the coconut milk and green curry paste and stir until well combined. Serve over rice and season with fresh basil, chopped peanuts, crushed red pepper, and a squeeze of lime. Makes four servings.

For my part, I instead used extra firm tofu and squeezed as much fluid out as I could by sandwiching it between two cutting boards and placing a cast iron skillet on top of it for about 10 minutes.  I then cut them into 1"X1/2" bits and seared those in a nonstick skillet with a little olive oil.  The tofu really ends up absorbing the flavors of the curry etc... and tastes great.  Also, brown rice is something of a pain if you are used to cooking white rice.  I recommend checking here to cook brown rice good every time.  Seriously, brown rice just provides a bit more substance and fills you up a bit quicker.

Oven-Roasted Salmon
1 5-oz. fillet of salmon (or other fish) 
1 Tbsp butter 
Salt, pepper, and other seasonings to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place fish on a foil-lined baking sheet. Top with butter and seasonings. Bake for 15 minutes, or until desired doneness. Makes one serving.

I nixed the butter entirely and used olive oil instead.  Then I just tossed on some herbs de provence  which is my sort of catch all herb blend.  You could do anything you want with this, truly.  Along with the mashed cauliflower, too, I took a few slices of sourdough bread, brushed them with olive oil and dusted them with garlic salt.  Put this under the broiler until they brown and you have some fabulous garlic bread to go with your meal.


  1. My wife is all about the salmon. I'll need to try that one.

  2. I picked up a bag of salmon fillets at WinCo for about 8 bucks and what is great, is you can do whatever you want to it, really. How dis your quinoa turn out?