Flights are my fancy….

I write a lot on this blog about how I try to rent a bike whenever I can on my travels, or pop into a Botanic Garden, but there’s another destination I seek out on many of my trips. Brew Pubs. Sometimes it’s the brewpub connected with a known nationally distributed brand, others of a smaller regional player, and sometimes those that only sell their beers at their Brew Pubs. I love trying different brewers beers. Plus it gives me a chance to try new styles (hopefully, we don’t end up in a world where everyone only makes IPAs, how boring would that be). My very favorite thing to do on a first visit is do a flight of beers.

Many brewpubs offer the groupings of samples known as flights. Some define them, grouping  3oz samples of 4 -6 of their beers together. Others allow you to select from the beers currently on tap. While most brewpubs will give you tiny little pours as free samples, I prefer the flights. That bit more liquid allows a good AATMF of the beer. I try to give every new beer a true appearance, aroma, taste, mouthfeel, finish tasting. Both helps me appreciate the beer and continue to develop my palate.

Here’s some of the brewpubs and flights I’ve had in the last year or so. All pictures should be able to be viewed bigger if you click on them. Unfortunately, I’ve not been good (understatement) at keeping a log of exactly what I tasted. But I at least know where I was….

While in Colorado, we made it by several places, Mountain Sun Brewery in Boulder, Tommyknockers in Idaho Springs, Backcountry Brewery in Frisco. Was even able to do a flight on on tap beers at Cheeky Monk at Winter Park when we visited Trestle Bike Park.

Was able to enjoy a flight at Breckenridge Brewery. Visited both the BrewPub in Breckenridge and at the main brewery in Denver, CO.

On a trip to Washington, DC and Ocean City Maryland stopped first at Ramshead Shore House in Stevensville, MD. As a bonus there, my brother in laws band was performing, Kiddo’s beautiful sister stopped by along with my niece and her fiance.
Tho no visit by a beer fan to the Ocean City area would be complete without a detour to Rehobeth Beach, DE and a visit to Dogfish Head Brewery.
I make frequent trips to Grand Rapids, MI which has a thriving and ever growing beer culture. The first brewpub I discovered was Founders Brewing. That initial flight of samples is long forgotten, and the pictures buried deep in folders of files. Still I make a point of stopping by for a pint on most trips to the city. I love trying their limited releases or experimental brews on tap.
Newer to the scene are Grand Rapids Brewing and Brewery Vivant. Both offer samples, and have interesting food selections (you must have the Kale chips at Grand Rapids Brewing and the Truffle fries at Brewery Vivant!)  I fell instantly in love with Brewery Vivant with its Belgian theme. Located in an old church the atmosphere is incredible, and the beers equally so. I especially love how the flight is in small snifters which enhance these traditional Belgian style beers. It will become a staple of my Grand Rapids visits.
Bikes, beers, and Botanic gardens…my typical Yelp or google searches when visiting or researching a new city. These are a few of my favorite things…..

Dusted….

Boy was I right on Saturday night when I said I may have done too much too fast, and my body was telling me, “you need a rest day.” Before going to bed, I’d taken some Advil (which is rare for me as I really try to limit taking any drugs including NSAIDs, but I was sore!). And just crashed. More than 9 hours of much needed, deep, barely interrupted sleep. That felt great. I awoke feeling back like myself. Was calling the the trails hotline before even getting out of bed.

Got ambitious about cooking brunch. Leftover steak, sautéed spinach, poached eggs, homemade Hollandaise. Great ingredients, great real food. Eggs from a local farm that pastures their hens. Kerry Gold Butter. Fresh lemons. Yum…. In future this before a ride, might wanna consider a touch of carbs.

The ride was going to be the first of the year for Hubby and Kiddo. I was feeling cocky because I’d been riding more all winter and of course this past week. That cockiness was quickly brought back to reality on the warm up loop of the Muir Brown trail. I couldn’t even clean the freakin’ teeny little climb. Holy. Shit. My legs were dead. Kiddo blew ahead. Hubby stuck far too close to my wheel. Told them both to go ahead on the White trail. They dusted me by Richards Revenge, even if I did clean my nemesis that 90 degree turn, rooty little pop up just past the gate. Decided to just take it easy and turn the ride into a photo shoot. Was thrilled when I got back to find a super pumped up Kiddo. He’d cleaned both trails. Not dabs, no stops. Now he’s excited to get some real training in. Hubby also had a good first ride. Traditional family post ride stop at LaGrange General Store. Perfect day ( well, maybe more perfect with less dead legs)

But also looking forward to today’s rest day ….

Proceed with Caution…

 In typical Kim zero to sixty ASAP fashion, I’ve gone from months of slug like behavior to biking or lifting weights 6 of the last 7 days. And the strength training program is lower body dominant. I just returned from. Derby party and can barely move. Tired. Sore.

Over training is what lead to my shoulder issues. I feel so damn good when I am working out that I quickly go gung ho. It’s something I have to watch. The irony is i burn myself out, start feeling like crap and then forget how doing proper training or regular exercise Right now I’m just exhausted. I’ve been good about sleep, and food has been pretty spot on. Not trackin food now so have no clue to calories in, but dont hink im in a hard deficit. So far not in a bad place (as if one week of training could affect me that badly this quickly). In the past the first signs of over training  are trouble sleeping. Probably a cortisol stress reaction. A year ago I ignored this sign and the ver increasing shoulder pain until that compounded the keep issues.

Plan now is to kick back and rest tonight, hopefully sleep in tomorrow. Sounds like the boys want to go ride the Kettles. Which is fine. I need to ride demon Bermuda and squash that demon. Neither Hubby nor Kiddo have been riding this year, so shouldn’t be at a fast pace, and will include plenty of rest. The big benefit of me doing my own rides is I won’t feel so much like we’re wasting the ride by not pushing. That feeling has lead to some less thn optimal attitude on family rides in the past. Imagine that, me with my bitch on. Never happens.

Did another strong curves work out yesterday. Oh. My. For what seems very easy simple, low key routines, they sure as hell activat the glutes (and hamstrings and hip flexor) with just enough big muscle upper body work to balance thing out. No stupid bicep o tricep isolation work (as I I need bigger upper arms. Yuck.) Great core work, too.  Both typical abs but also back. Like it so far.

Today’s ride was to and from Kiddos baseball game with detours around The Mitchell and Fox Brook trails and an extension over to Calhoun and back.  If I’m gonna ride pavement I do like this route. Was riding Coda, not a mountain bike. Realize I need some cadence sensors. I can tell since getting rid of Dolce (my roadie) I’m fallin back ino my less than optimal but nature 60rpm cadence as opposed to the 85-90 I’d worked so hard to cultivate. Just another thing to work on.

Getting my cook back on….

It’s funny how once I get active again, start doing more regular and structured conditioning, it’s easier to eat correctly. Which makes me feel better, which makes the conditioning easier, which….. you get it, a virtuous cycle.

So what have I done of interest this week. Hmmm, there’s been some grass fed steaks on the grill (and a lunch of leftover gress fed bone-in rib eye from last Friday night at Mr. B’s). But best of all was a Bolognese I’d made with half grass fed ground beef and half free range ground veal. Made it Monday night, and we ate it again on Wednesday night. Kiddo and hubby had it over gluten free noodles (I’m trying to convert them to paleo/primal, not having great success, just baby steps). I enjoyed it over spaghetti squash. I’ve finally figured out how to cook the damn stuff. From ‘Practical Paleo’ by Diane Sanfilippo (get it, you must). Just cut in half, scoop out seeds, rub a tiny bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on baking sheet cut side down, into 350* overn for 40 minutes. Scoop out. Easy Peasy.

Hadn’t made the stir fry in a while. With all the veggies, spices and shrimp, we never miss rice or noodles.

Trying to eat more veggies. Wonderful lunch today of eggs over bacon/avocado pieces a touch of green salsa with a huge salad (lettuce, tomatoes, green onions, carrots) dressed with one of my quickly thrown together vinagerettes. It’s so quick to make your own dressing out of a good olive oil and vinegar, so I stock several infused oils. Garlic, Lemon, Orange, Italian Herb infused EVOO are kitchen staples, as are several balsamic vinegars (regular, Blackberry, Raspberry, Peach White Balsamic) and a good Red wine vinegar. Today was a combo of garlic and Italian herb oils, red wine vinegar and some fresh garlic and Italian herbs. Yummy. 
Rain shortened yesterday’s lunch ride, and it appears most of the riding possibilities for the weekend. Did remember to bring a chamois to work along with some riding clothes…just forgot a sports bra. Was a tad wet for rest of afternoon. Oh well, I’ll get this riding over lunch thing nailed soon.
Off now to do some strength training. Feeling good.

Benchmarks

To really know if you are improving, you need some kind of benchmark to evaluate progress against. It’s as true in sports as it is in business. At work, we routinely set baselines or benchmarks, and this week’s first trail rides of the season have me thinking about benchmarks in my mountain biking. Every sport has its own ways to measure training and skill progression. As with road cycling or running, there’s the simple measure of time taken or average speed within a section of trail. More important than a speed measure in mountain biking is judging the development of technique and how that allows you to ride harder trails, tackle larger obstacles, get more air, be more aggressive. if you are only interested in speed it can be bench marked against your own performance or that of others. There’s tons of gadgets and smartphone apps that help you track this. Many of these allow you to compare how others rode the same routes. I find this interesting and a piece of the bigger picture, but my biggest competitor is myself. I need to measure my progress versus the trail, improvement in technique. I am at the point in my mountain biking skills development that increasing strength and stamina play a significant role, but I still have so much to learn in this sport. So much technique to develop.

By riding the same trails regularly, I can easily judge the progression of my skills. Now starting my third summer mountain biking, I’m realizing both what I’ve already learned along with an awareness of how much I don’t know. It brings a smile to my face when I look back at pictures like these from 2011 and remember struggling with a climb I can now top, being afraid to ride across rocks I barely notice, coming to a dead stop in front of a log, I now pop over without a thought.

As I rode this week, I remembered how we used to have to stop at each and every bench, along with at the top of every small climb to rest and recover. I’m working hard at active recovery, continuing to pedal while I catch my breath. Limiting rest stops. I continue to be surprised how much the line you take or the momentum you have going into a climb, descent or obstacle plays a part. There were places on Sunday’s ride I struggled due to a line that put me into bigger roots or rocks, or how by not having proper momentum, I had to put a foot down in areas I’ve cleaned in past. At the same time in a section of the Muir trails called The Beach, I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to ride. I remember the first time we rode that section, stopping half way up to rest. It’s the first time I’ve actually felt like I was enjoying a climb. Minutes later Hell’s Kitchen reminded me why it has the name it does.
But with increased confidence and skills, also comes increased chances for error. I’m riding faster. Attacking sections more. Weaknesses are being exposed. At the Ray’s Women’s clinic, I struggled with both speed and bike angle/position in the bermed turns of the pump track. At Valmont Bike Park in Boulder, I did better at speed, but Kiddo chastised me for not leaning the bike, for going through upright. On Sunday’s ride, in a section called Bermuda…. Damn bermed turn. I just don’t trust myself to lean the bike through them. Towards the bottom of the section, the final left turn, took the turn too high on the berm, upright, no real lean. On the exit there’s a small tree to the right. Because I was high I was on the right edge of the trail and bbeing upright meant my handlebars were not leaning away, I clipped the tree. Leading to a face plant and a bloody nose. Funny how many thoughts go through your head in a millisecond. ….Don’t look at tree! You’re gonna hit tree. I’m flying. Splat. Oops there’s gonna be a bloody nose. Get off bike off trail before someone barrels into you. Feel blood begin to pour. Pinch nose….
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Still work to do. Benchmarks set, and continually updated. I’m super stoked about this summer’s riding. Here in Wisconsin  I hope to do some rides with other women in addition to the family and solo training rides, there will be rides and the Women’s Clinic in Brown County, IN in June, riding on our family vacation to Breckinridge, CO in July and another prior to my nieces wedding at Killington, VT in August. Plan on doing a WORS race or two, The Brown County Super-D, Fall Colors Festival. Hopefully we can sneak in another spot or two, like maybe a trip up tp Copper Harbor, MI.
Tho, face it, even with a desire to more formally train this summer, I still want to stop and smell the roses so to speak…pausing to snap a few pictures and enjoy the view will always be a part of my enjoyment of mountain biking.

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