Sunday, August 14, 2011

Whirlwind Weekends

The last couple of weekends have been packed full of little things that add up to a whole lot of fun.

August 6th was the (rescheduled) Lookout Mountain Hill Climb race. As expected, I came in toward the front of the middle of the pack (15/40). But I'm pretty pleased with my time: 21:25, which is a new PR for the course. My family was able to get up to the top and cheer me through the finish line. All of the other riders I talked to had similarly positive experiences.

Later that afternoon we went to the Adams County Fair, where we looked at the chickens, turkeys, rabbits, sheep, goats, pigs, and horses. I didn't want to spend a whole lot of time on the rides, but the kids did get on the carousel and a boat ride, and my daughter and I went on the ferris wheel.

The next morning I got in a nice recovery ride on the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Loop. That afternoon I attended the volunteer orientation for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge - the new stage race here in Colorado starting on the 22nd of this month. I'm going to be working security on the Denver end of the final stage on the 28th. I wish I could take the whole week off of work and see more of the race, but it doesn't look like I'm going to be able to squeeze in much spectating.

Since the Lookout Mountain race was the last one I signed up for this year, I'm trying to get back into running. I got in three runs throughout the week, but I'm having to start at low mileage and work my way back up. Back in the winter, I was up to about 13.2 miles, but now I'm doing 3 to 5. That's no surprise, though, and running in the heat is a pretty different experience.

On Saturday the 13th, F and I took a canoeing class at the Boulder Reservoir presented by Avid4Adventure. It was pretty terrific. I've been wanting to look into canoeing or kayaking for a while now, and this was the perfect opportunity to learn more about it. And it was my daughter's first time in a small boat.

The class started at 8:30, and my wife and son were coming along for the ride. Since there wouldn't be much time for fussing with breakfast, I made some steel-cut oats overnight in the slow-cooker. Steel-cut oats take forever to cook, but they have some nutritional advantages over rolled oats. This is one of my favorite ways to have a hot breakfast waiting for me when I wake up.

  • 1 cup steel-cut oats
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 apples, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 or 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp Truvia sweetener
(Note: I don't actually measure the salt, cinnamon, and sweetener, so those amounts are just guesses.)

Before going to bed, spray the slow-cooker bowl with cooking spray to reduce sticking. Then mix all of the ingredients and cook on low. Get a good night's sleep. In the morning, stir well before serving. This makes 4 pretty good sized bowls full.

Obviously, there are endless variations on this theme. You can use chia seeds, blackstrap molasses, carob or cocoa powder, any kind of fresh or dried fruit, etc. And the leftovers taste good cold too, so don't feel obligated to eat it all in one morning.

Today (Sunday) I got up early and did one of my favorite rides in the Broomfield/Superior area which will soon be appearing in my Road-biking Denver's Northern Suburbs series. While I didn't get to do everything else I planned on doing today, I got some yard work and other errands done and made some salsa after supper. I'll wait until it has had a chance to sit and let the flavors combine before declaring it a success and posting the recipe.

The coming week has some more adventures in store. More about that later.

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