Monday, September 27, 2010

My weekend culinary tour of Chicago

This past weekend I took a couple days off of work and training to go hang out w/ brother. It turns out what I mostly did was eat. And it was pretty awesome.
I got to Chicago on Friday early afternoon, and we took off on bikes to run some errands and just ride around. We stopped for a Chicago Dog at Jim's Original Hot Dog Stand. It has been there since 1939 or something and claims to be the original (though there is a stand next door to it that makes the same claim). Pretty killer regardless.
After going through downtown, around the UIC campus and back to Evin's old neighborhood, Wicker Park, we headed for dinner at Kuma's Corner. This place serves awesome burgers w/ heavy metal themes (if you look at the menu, I had the High on Fire burger). It was awesome, though they play metal so loud in the place that you have to yell to talk. We were able to sit outside so we were unaffected by it. But it's seriously as loud as a concert; awesome though.
We were out for ~7hours and were riding for probably 5hours. Not exactly training, but saddle time nonetheless.
Saturday I was basically up w/ the sun. So once we got going we walked over to a new park in their neighborhood of Chinatown. The park is an old quarry that sits aside a filled-in landfill that is the park. It was pretty neat. We walked up to the Pilsen neighborhood and got coffee at a good coffee shop that's name escapes me.
Once we got back to his place we had to get going so we could grab lunch and head downtown for him to teach a class. We got deep dish pizza at D'Agostino's Pizza which was awesome too. We got a tomato basil pie and I ate waaay to much of it, but it was so good.
So Evin went to teach his class and I just walked around downtown, the lake shore and Millennium Park. I walked around for close to 3hours, then decided I needed to chill for a while so I ducked into a Barnes and Noble to get off of my feet for a while until he finished w/ class. I had developed a vicious blister and some sore shins from all the walking and luckily we were traveling by car at that point.
We went next to the Roller Derby at the UIC pavilion. We oly had time to watch the first bout (of two) and unknown to us it was Chicago's B-team playing Indianapolis. Indy killed them by over 100points. It was an excellent event.
We went from the derby to pick up a couple of Evin's friends and went north to a Middle Eastern enclave and to a place called Chopal Pakistani Restaurant . It was really good. Evin and his crew are regulars here, even though it's ~30miles form where he lives. The dish of choice is chili chicken and it didn't disappoint. It was damn spicy though, and i payed the next day.
We got up Sunday and rode bikes to a Chicago landmark, The White Palace, for breakfast. I had seen The White Palace on a food network show a while back and wanted to check it out. As expected it was awesome and an awesome way to end my visit. I developed a hella stomach ache around this time though from all the terrible food I'd eaten leading up to my departure. Plus I normally eat mostly vegetables in some form or another, and my fiber intake was way lower than normal. I got things dealt with and headed home.
I made good time and had no hassles getting there or back. It was a nice weekend off of work and just hanging. I intended to kind of physically relax a bit too, but that just didn't really happen. But that's okay I like being active and if I hadn't ridden for several hours and walked for several hours I would probably have had to go shipping for new clothes before coming back because I likely wouldn't have into the ones I brought!
So now it's back at it w/ lots of racing over the next several weeks.

Monday, September 20, 2010

OVCX underway!

I'm getting settled in to my CX training cycle. So last week was more of the same, as will be the next several. We got some good racing in this past weekend in the series opener for the OVCX.
My main goals for my first year in the elite races are to get top 10's and get in the money. This weekend I missed the top 10 by two spots (12th), but was in the money, so while I didn't fully accomplish both of my goals, 1/2 ain't bad.
I'm getting more used to the hour or racing too. I can tell my body's adjusting to dealing w/ such a high effort for an hour.

My teammate and good friend Josh had probably the best race he's had since he won the State title a couple of years ago on an frigid, icy, snowy day in Indianapolis (I was defending State champ and had about the worst race of my life). Josh hammered out a solid 10th and put together an awesome ride this weekend. Props.

As you can tell from the pictures (taken by Josh's brother and mom) it has been bone dry here. Hot too; not exactly what one thinks of when thinking about cyclocross. I like to "keep it real" and not race w/ water. That's what the hard men do. But holy crap it is so dusty and dry I feel less hard and more retarded for not racing w/ a bottle right now. I honestly don't even think about it while racing though. I'm sure I'd drink if I had a bottle, but w/out it it doesn't even occur to me.

This weekend is an off weekend for the OVCX, so I'm going to take a couple days off riding and go up to Chicago and visit my brother while his wife and daughter are out of town. I'm going to take my (new) commuter to ride around the city while he's teaching a class, but just chiller riding is all. Should be a fun weekend. I want to check out some pizza, a Chicago Dog, the metal burger joint and some killer Chinese (they live in Chinatown).

Friday, September 10, 2010

Barrier hoppin' etc.

(photo from
You have Cavnedish (left in pic, in green, levitating) hopping over finish lines in Spain, and here in the IN/OH/KY area we're hopping cyclocross barriers. This pas weekend was the season opener (for most) of the 2010 cross season.
About 1.5hrs south of B-town in Nowhere, IN (Starlight, IN actually) we raced at an apple orchard called Huber Farms. It was a pretty cool venue because there were tons of people there, but most of them were there for the orchard activities (picking pumpkins, touring the land, etc). It gave it a cool feel because all these people were just there and kind of got sucked into race spectating.
The course was cool too, weaving through rows of apple trees, but it's been so dry that it had some very rough sections; the type of stuff that makes you ~hope~ you don't break your fork or something going through it fast.
This was my first race as a Cat 2 and I have 2 main goals for the year and so far I'm 2/2. 1 is to not be lapped by (Ryan Knapp) the leader and 2 is to get top 10's as much as possible. I wasn't lapped, not even close, and since only 10 started, I was guaranteed a top 10 if I finished. I got 5th. Not bad. I was definitely a little "race rusty" but I felt like I rode pretty well and was overall pleased w/ my first fore' in "the main event."
Afterwords we decided to check out the restaurant on the grounds of the farm. It seemed like a cool concept, eating food from the farm on the farm, but the place was basically an MCL Cafeteria and everything was just trucked in; it was a total gimmick (and overpriced). Plus I was suffering from "effort sickness," which I so often do after CX races, and couldn't really eat anyway. Oh well, it was a pretty fun day anyway.
So with this past weekend being the season opener, this coming weekend is the series opener for the Ohio Valley Cross we go!

Monday, September 06, 2010

"That Guy" status: denied.

Today (Monday/Labor Day) with no work I decided to change my easy ride up a bit and ride the CX bike out to the local mountain bike park and ride around there a bit, then ride back. I got that all done by ~noon, and what to do w/ the rest of the day? I thought it would be fun and a nice change to just go hang out downtown, etc. So I packed up the laptop into my sweet new pannier and rode over to a coffee shop fully intent on being the guy that sits there for hours on end weazing free internet. (note: I know that it's totally common and totally accepted to be "this guy" these days, but I've never sat at a coffee shop w/ a laptop, so I was nervous about looking douchy, when in reality you tend to look more out of place W/OUT a computer anymore). Anywho, the battery on our netbook was dead, so I didn't get the chance. Still though, I had a nice time just chilling out, people watching and walking around the town.
Yesterday (Sunday) I got out for a solid 2hrs in the a.m. and had a great ride. I felt great and ride strong. I got out a little earlier than normal for a Sunday because Lindsay and I went up and spent the rest of the day at my parents house because my brother, his wife and their baby were there. We had a nice day just hanging and had a good dinner w/ everyone.

(I snapped this pic last week of Griffey Lake. This is normally a small lake/reservoir and not a basin. It has been so dry here only that little stream is currently wet.)

The rest of last week was just more of the same; training, working...feeling pretty good though. Looking forward to racing CX. And that's good because it starts next weekend.