Monthly Archives: September 2008

Door County Century Recount

One week after the Door County Century (nearly) and I’m finally getting around to writing about it. In short – it was a great ride, a wonderful cap-stone to the cycling season; but I’m jumping ahead.

The night before, Erik, Monica, LeRoy, Ena, Barbara and I had dinner of a lot of spaghetti and bread sticks and wine. Erik had picked up the latest weather report and it looked a bit sketchy: cool in the morning (54 F) with winds out of the West. We would ride into those winds then have them off of the bay and over our left shoulder for the next 40 miles. Then the winds would turn and come out of the south west (into our faces) and bring rain. It wasn’t supposed to get very warm either (62 F). Cold morning with wind off the bay, cold and raining afternoon with wind in our faces. Bleach.

The prognosticators were wrong and we had a beautiful day. We had gorgeous sun and perfect weather almost all day. But I’m jumping ahead again. We had a few miscues getting to the start but finally hit the road at 7:40AM – about 30 minutes later than we planned.

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We met up with a group of riders (Bradely, Jim, Dean, et al) who were well matched with us. We switched off pulling with them and had a great ride through to the second rest stop. It was great fun pulling a line of 20 or so riders along the bay.
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Barbara, Ena and our dog Lola met us at the second rest stop so we could drop cold weather gear for the rest of the ride. It was great of them to chase us around Door County. They were great sports and that made the ride a lot more fun. Lola knew how many riders were in our group and she would check until she found us all at each stop.
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By the last leg, it was often just the four of us pulling together. The weather was beautiful and the route was very nice. We all finished together as a group.
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It was a great ride on a beautiful day.

Here are all the photos and a link to my Garmin data from the ride if you really want to geek out.

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25 MPH on a Cargo Bike

I had an 8:30 AM meeting this morning, it was raining and I was running around looking for my rain gear (helmet cover, shoe covers, leg warmers, etc). It was 92 degrees F yesterday – the warmest day of the year. This morning, the remnants of Gustav rolled into town. They will go North with me up to Door County for my century ride on Sunday but that’s another story.

I finally race out of the house running about 10 minutes behind when I should have left. I get on my bike and I start cranking it out to get into work. I see a guy (Mike it turns out), riding past the house on a cargo bike.


He is going North on Gilbert (which runs on the West side of our house). I head out East on Dorsett. We are traveling perpendicular paths to each other. I turn left on Luan and I see Mike on Hammersly. I turn right on Hammersly and Mike is ahead of me also heading for the South-West bike path.
We climb the fly-over and head out on the trail proper. I pass him on the flats and say, “Good morning”. He says, “Good morning”. I ‘m still cranking away because I’m running late. I get to the first stop sign and I realize that he is in my draft. He says, “You’ve got fenders so I can draft properly” and we both laugh. We get a break in traffic, both cross Midvale Blvd and take off. Mike pulls out in the lead like he is going to pull for a while.
First off: this is strange. I get a lot of people who suck my back wheel into or out of work. Rarely to they swap leads with me.
Well, I’m glad for the help because it is raining and I’m late. He pulls for a while, I swap and take lead and cruise to the next stop. We cross Odana and Mike pulls out. I start to chase him down to get in his draft but he is flying. I look at my computer – 25.3 MPH. “Man, this guy is cranking on a cargo bike. He must be a monster.” I pull out the stop and get in his draft for while then it is my turn to take lead. I pull out around him.
(I will say that he looked surprised when I took the lead again.)
I’m thinking to myself, “well, if he is going pull us at 25 MPH, I’ll pull at 25 MPH.” I’m on my commuter bike with full fenders, a rack and a 12 pound pannier with lunch, change of clothes and all my miscellany in it. I’m working hard but if we’re going to do a 25 MPH pace, then dammit, I’m going to take my pull.
Suddenly Mike (as I later learn his name is) pulls along side and says, ” You do know I’m cheating don’t you? I mean, I hate to let people think that this is all human power. Have a look down there.” He nods his head, pointing back behind his legs. I look down. He has an electric assist motor. It provides 100-300 Watts of assist to his pedaling!
Ha! I’m killing myself to pull a guy with a motor. He does do a long commute as I learn (about 15 miles each way).
We had a good laugh and a good chat on the rest of the way in.
That’s what love about bike commuting – the laughs and camaraderie.

Plum and Raspberry Galette with Lemon Ricotta Filling

Plum Raspberry Galette

Plum Raspberry Galette

I love making galettes – a french free-form tart.  This is a peak of Summer galette made from local plums and raspberries.  Once you get galette making down, you can create galettes with lots of different fillings:  Apples and toasted pecans, peaches with almonds, blueberries with lemon.  This takes few hours to make but much of that time is waiting for the galette dough to chill or for the galette to bake. 

Preheat oven to 385 F

Ingredients:

1 pound Plums (firm ripe)
1 C fresh raspberries
8 oz. Ricotta
Zest of 1 Lemon
1 Egg at room temperature
1 Tbl cornstarch
2 Tbls (plus more for dusting) Powdered (Confectioners) Sugar
1 Tbl melted butter
3 Tbl Turbinado Sugar

1 disk Galette dough (see the recipe below).

Put the ricotta into a fine strainer or inside of a piece of cheese cloth and let it drain for 30 minutes or more.  Mix the lemon zest and 1 Tbl of confectioners sugar into the ricotta.  Taste the ricotta mixture.  It should be balanced between sweet and salt and taste lemony.  If it needs more sugar, add a bit more to bring the sweetness up.  Once it tastes like you want it to, mix the egg in well.

Lemon zestRocotta draining

Slice the plums into 1/4 inch wide slices.  To pit a plum, slice all the way around the outside of the plum from the top to the bottom.  Slide your knife into the plum at the top then turn the plum over cutting the plum in half all the way to the pit.  Follow the seam along the outside of the plum where the two halves of the plum grow together.  Then twist the two halves apart, back and forth, gently until one side breaks free from the pit.  Slice this half into 1/4 wide slices.  Cut the other half the plum in half again.  Do the twist trick once more until one quarter of the plum breaks free of the pit.  Cut the pit out of the remaining quarter off of the pit or pull the pit out with your fingers. 

Add the slices to large bowl.  Add 1 Tbl cornstarch and the remaining 1 Tbl of confectioners sugar.  Add a pinch of salt and mix.  Taste your plums, if they are tart, you might want to add more confectioners sugar.

Plums

Roll out the galette dough into 16“ wide disk and trim to a circle.  Slide the dough onto a piece of parchment paper and then slide the parchment and dough onto a baking sheet.

Drop small pieces of the ricotta mixture into the center of the dough leaving a 2 inch margin around the outside edge of the dough.  Lay the plum slices on the ricotta.  If you making this for a fancy party, you can arrange the slices in concentric circles.  If you want quick and simple, just pile it all inside.  Make sure to leave a 2 inch margin of dough so that you can fold it over to make the pleated edge.

Assembling Galette

Fold the edges of the galette dough over the sides of the fruit.  There are several ways to pleat a galette dough.  See this Fine Cooking article for details.

Brush the dough with the melted butter.  Sprinkle the turbinado sugar over the buttered dough and across the top of the galette.
Assembling

Bake the galette for 30 minutes turning once after about 20 minutes.  Sprinkle the raspberries across the top of the galette and bake for 15 more minutes.  Pull the galette from the oven when the dough is nicely browned.  Slide the parchment paper and galette off onto a cooling rack and let cool for 10 minutes or more.  Dust the top of the galette with confectioners sugar and serve.  You can serve this with vanilla ice cream or creme fraiche (whisk lemon juice and confectioners sugar into the creme fraiche) .

Finished Galette

Galette Dough Recipe

5 3/4 oz. (1 1/4 cups) All-purpose Flour
1 Tbs. Sugar
1/4 tsp. Salt
4 oz. (8 Tbs.) well chilled unsalted butter cut into small cubes
1/3 cup Ice water

Add the dry ingredients to a food processor and pulse several times to mix.  Add the butter and pulse a few times.  Do not over mix the butter.  There should still be pea sized chunks of butter in the dough.  Do not mix until it looks like corn meal.  Add the water all at once and pulse a few times until the dough starts to come together.  It will not come together into a ball.  It will still be crumbly and will seem under mixed but don’t worry it will come together in the fridge.  Pour the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap.  Gather it up and form it into a disk.  Wrap tightly and put in the fridge for two hours. 

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Tired, Grumpy, Fuzzy and Twitchy

Lake Mendota, bikes and boats

Lake Mendota, bikes and boats

I’m sure that sport psychologists / physiologists have a name and maybe a reason for these feelings…
I’m getting ready to ride the Door County Century this weekend. This means that I have spent the last couple of months riding longer rides and building up time in the saddle. I was up to about 190 to 200 miles a week two weeks ago. I was also working out with a personal trainer twice a week. In short, I was getting a lot of exercise – 15 plus hours a week.
As this weekend approached and the up-coming century ride, I started to taper off my workouts. I dropped my twice-a-week personal trainer moving down to once a week last week and none-a-week this week. I’ve backed off the miles that I bike each week.
I’ve noticed that, as I taper back on my workouts, I get twitchy and anxious feeling but it is mixed with fuzziness and sleepiness. I’m also kinda grumpy which (I think) is unusual for me. It is an unwholesome combination of lack of mental focus mixed with an over-caffeinated kind of buzz and a lethargic desire to nap for hours on end. I’m a bit concerned about the end of the biking season which coming up soon due to lack of light, too much cold and then snow. I’ll need to ski a lot this Winter and find another indoor endurance exercise (swimming?) for those long Winter months.
On the other hand, the rest has felt good. My shoulders, neck and hamstrings were starting to complain about all the work they were doing. But then again, all this exercise has meant that I could eat well and still drop weight.