This blog entry is brought to you in part by Curtis Zimmerman of the well renowned MissingSaddle.com website. It is NOT brought to you in part by the evil doers/hackers who have caused seemingly endless hours of hard work by Curtis to rid MissingSaddle.com of the side effects of having been hacked. Hats of to CZ for his hard work getting the site back online. Booooo Hisssssss to the hackers.
With that said, gas up the jet and put on your reading glasses, ’cause this is a lengthy entry.
After a extended absence from racing, during which I was drinking milk and recuperating from a fractured greater tuberosity in my left humeral head, I was back to work two weeks ago with the Charge Pond Training Series race, as discussed in my last blog entry. After some successful check-ups both from Dad M.D. at home and Doctor Siegel at Access Sports Medicine, I was cleared for racing. With Mom on board staffed as our cheering section, Robbie and I excitedly headed down to Marblehead, MA for the Michael Schott Memorial Circuit Race, which is the traditional kick off race of New England’s road season. The race is very well organized, well marshalled, well refereed, and well… it went well! I felt really strong all day, which was especially nice since I had logged a pretty tough week of training beforehand, and I basically gassed it from the gun. And then did that again. And again. And again. And again. And then there were about nine of us, mostly either professional cyclists, ex-professional cyclist(s), and soon-to-be professional cyclists. But since I was still feeling saucy on the final lap, I jumped hard it at the bottom of the final climb and held it to the line. I’ve heard this is anywhere from 400 to 700 meters, and I’d believe either estimate. Here’s my exciting WIN.
Note the textbook bike throw… something I do not often practice.
One of the finest aspects of being at home after Tucson and Santa Barbara is that I ate veeeery well, especially within the final five nights home. Food is a passion of mine so this was a pretty awesome stretch of noshing for me. (Although I should say that noshing means eating a light snack; I was not eating light snacks. I just like the word.)
THURSDAY: This week of fine dining started by running into my friend Bryan outside of his new restaurant, FOUR, in Portsmouth. After catching up with him (and Geoff, mentioned later in this entry), I found myself in FOUR once again two days later, this time chowing down! Robbie and I started with the sticky ribs, then I moved onto a very filling delmonico steak accompanied by three onion bread pudding and the brussel sprouts, finally we were treated to a very tasty steamed chocolate cake. We both loved it. Five stars out of five. Bryan, you have a very good thing on your hands. Keep it up!
FRIDAY was dinner at the Splaines since Ruth wasn’t going to make it to dinner the following night at my house. As always there was food fit for a King, no pun intended, appetisers galore, followed by a huge salad, homemade mac’n'cheese, steak AND chicken – both very yum – and a lemon angel food cake. David and Janet, you’ve outdone yourselves once again! All that was followed by edible, decorative, sour apple flavored, Easter “grass.” It was palatable, although it didn’t really stack up against the rest of the meal.
Coincidentally, while forgetting to take a picture of it at the time, I found some here in German speaking Switzerland. It looks like so…
SATURDAY, or SĀBADO, as I like to say, because today we did Mexican night. While Mom made an enormous ensalada and deliciously cooked carrots (yes, carrots. Add onion, katchup, brown sugar, vinegar, salt, pepper, and probably a bunch of other ingredients), I cooked a pair pretty fantastic chicken and shrimp enchilada dishes. Those were accompanied by a heaping bowl of homemade guac-a-mole. That was followed by the most decadent spiced rum cake you’ve ever witnessed, also made by yours truly. My good Lord, it was memorable. Muy fantastico!
I have so far failed on the pictures-of-food taking department, which is regretful. But I did take a picture of a t-shirt given to me on Saturday night by my long lost friend from the ‘wood, Geoff. Geoff and Matthew joined the Splaines for la fiesta on Saturday night at our house, and I was given this very thoughtful and stupendous t-shirt. It’s silk-screened onto a super comfortable, 100% cotton American Apparel shirt, and it just screams fashion statement. Write me comments about the shirt and I’ll put you in touch with Geo. He did just leak the rumor that he’s releasing “the sickest NH t-shirt ever!” Needless to say, I’ll be first in line.
SUNDAY: With Dad’s birthday coinciding with my departure to Europe, we decided to have dinner out at Jumpin’ Jays Fish Cafe, again in Portsmouth. I again ran into a good friend from high school, Kate, because she’s managing the place. With each plate arriving to our table, being emptied, nearly licked clean, and departing, the King family slowly but unanimously decided that JJFC is one of the jewels of seacoast dining… and since we all have a pretty distinguished palate, that says a lot! There are dozens – neh, probably hundreds – of restaurants in the area, but they all seem to fall short in one aspect or another… too expensive, too meager portions, too haughty, too artistic, etc. But this meal was excellent. Another five out of five stars awarded to Jumpin’ Jays. Here’s Dad with an enormous helping of birthday style Sticky Toffee Pudding.
MONDAY was once again Mexicana themed, as I had the idea to go up to Loco Coco’s in Kittery, ME. See, on a rainy day about two weeks ago I was doing errands up t’Maine and had the good fortune to run into Loco Coco’s for my first time. I had heard rave reviews and was happy to find them open for a very late lunch. While jonsing for some fish tacos, yet pretty famished from not having eaten lunch, I went with the fish burrito. It was massive, scrumptious, and awesome (you don’t often see those words used in food reviews, unless you roll with me). Fast-forward to Monday night, I sent the word out that I would be going to Loco Coco’s again as a farewell dinner thrown on my own behalf, although rather than being alone like the previous visit, I was greeted with eleven friends. Mr. Popularity, this guy! We annoyed the heck out of the staff for packing out the place on a Monday night and rearranging most of the seats and tables, but it was all worth it. Especially when Corey brought out the Easter bunny cake that he MADE! I was almost equally impressed when the staff gave me a big ol’ knife to slay this sugary mammal; I made short work of it. Before…
And after… although it’s worth noting those are not my fingers running through the leftovers. Three points, two gold stars, and one high five if you can guess who.
TUESDAY is Dad’s birthday, so I treated him to some spectacular homemade pancakes when he awoke from his slumber. My latest secret ingredients include molasses and cornmeal. Dad enjoys his routines, and morning means granola with yogurt and fruit. So to spice up the normal routine, I added granola to the pancake batter and then topped them with yogurt and fresh strawberries. Birthday-licious!
I don’t often write at such length about food, but the show must go on! After a very inefficient and stressful day of packing, evening was rolling around which means both birthday dinner time AND time for me to go to the airport. It was an impressive whirlwind of coordination, but we got it all together as Robbie bought, marinated, and grilled some fantastic steaks, I made le salad du jour, I roasted two big beets, and then made a chocolate lava cake. Not one to take undeserved credit though, I was freaking out about packing, so Mom generously aided in the finalization and seasoning of the beets, and the cake was from a kit. But, my oh my, was the dinner scrumptious! The proverbial icing on the cake after a week of extravagant dining!
Blah blah blah skipping ahead, thank you very much to Robbie driving me to the airport and my parents’ extraordinary hospitality! You’re great! I made it to Europe Wednesday morning, or morgen, as my translator Decia tells me. My fingers are getting tired, so I’ll just leave a little blurb about each pic.
Day one, rode up a big mountain to a ski area. I nearly made a loop out of it, but thought better of it when I saw this descent into the middle of nowhere. Seriously nowhere. If this road abruptly stopped and I had to backtrack, my four hour ride would likely turn into three times that, ’cause I was pooped. It was also memorable because I saw this really old guy who took a digger from the snowbank on the right, directly into the road! He was nordic skiing and apparently got too close to the edge and biffed. I would have taken a picture, but thought that would have been rude. He was fine.
Day two, rode to Thun… pronounced… well I don’t know how to pronounce it. But it was a brilliantly sunny day with five significant climbs and I saw somewhere close to one billion people on wicked fast motorcycles.
This, my friends, is not a motorcycle. But it’s nearly as efficient, since it’s downward sloping and therefore superbly aerodynamic. Check out the sweet exhaust pipe up front. Can you say VRROOOOOOOMM…??!!
I’m living in a little town or hamlet or canton or something called Littau. Funny how the word looks like “Little” since the town is tiny as far as I’ve discovered. But we’re a short bike ride or train ride from Lucerne, which is a beautiful city, as seen below on the far side of Lake Lucerne. It blows my mind how picturesque everything is around here. Granted I’ve been here for just four days and each day has been brilliantly sunny and warm, but the grass is bright green, the sky is bright blue, and the cows are bright… umm brown.
Auf wiedersehen! (thanks again Decia.)