Monday Night Going Off at SpinCity!

Just in time to start the build towards the coming season, your friends at Catalyst are going to offer pro spin sessions to get your ass in shape for 2012.  Why wait until January 1st?  We have the program starting sooner.

I am going to have a 10 week session of classes from 6:30-7:45pm on Monday nights where we are going to work on pedal technique, speed, power, endurance, overall strength on the bike, and best of all CORE strength!  Yes, my death trainer sessions include time OFF the trainer.  You are going to have so much fun.  I love these sessions… I get to rock out to all the bar music without people drooling, sweating or puking on me.  Oh wait, there might be some sweatiness.  I love me some Ke$ha, yo!  You can sign up online  … first 12 to sign up are guaranteed the awesome Cycleops spin bikes and don’t have to drag their bike and trainer around!

This class is for all levels… YOU control the majority of the suffering that you will endure.  No one is dropped, no one left behind, no one not having fun (at least when we are done) and everyone will get fitter doing this.  The class is geared towards a successful season of strong riding but anyone can do it.

Go to:  http://www.spincityreg.com/classes.html Nic Hamilton from the Jellybelly team also has a fantastic class on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings that you could choose as an alternative to mine or even an intensive weekend class if you are so OVER riding in the rain.  Or you can sign up for ALL of it and ride your bike like a mad fool over the winter.  Why wouldn’t you?

See you there!

 

 

 

2011 Frontrunners Westshore Bear Mountain 10km

I was lucky enough to be invited to run in the Bear Mountain 10km for the third year in a row.  Nick Walker (yes THE Nick Walker that won the 10km race at the Maui XTERRA Worlds this year) and Mark Nelson put up a heap of prize money for local elite racers to stir the pot at the front of the race and many of the local endurance junkies were up at the Westin at 9am sharp ready to rock.  This year they upped the ante with a 1/2 marathon version of the race which attracted a special breed of maniacs.. but the majority of us (and those in for the prize money) opted for the still-very-hard 10km classic.

It was just as hard as any other year and the competition did not disappoint. Care Nelson won the ladies with Claire Morgan taking second and me third.   Although I have been running some of my best lately and I put everything I had out there I have to say I am a bit disappointed that I did run slower than I had two years ago (last year we had a shortened snow version) so that was not what I had hoped for, really.  I was never going to beat Care who crushed the course record and Claire did have a great run so the outcome was still quite excellent, and I managed to stay in front of Laura who got me last year!  I guess I just didn’t have as bouncy legs to beat my own time or I just didn’t have my head in the game enough.  There will be other chances to give it another go.

The men’s race was won by a very fit looking Jason Loutitt, followed by Shane Ruljancic and my favorite, Jasper Blake.  We made a fetching couple of triathletes accepting our 3rd place checks on stage.  He was wearing his moon boot running shoes which had him towering over me.  (not really)

Thank you so much to Frontrunners Westshore for putting on a fun race that lets us invade the Bear Mountain Golf course for one day a year.  Thanks to the Lululemon chicks at about 6km who had the totally funny signs at the feed zone(something about all the cute ones keep running away.. )…

 

Thanks to the elite ladies in the womens race for making it a tough and challenging pace.  Thanks to the Parkway Physio guy Wesley for the nice achilles massage after (I think I need about 4 more hours of that) and thanks to the Bear Mountain Westin for housing us and feeding us post race.  Good local fun.  I can’t wait to do it all again next fall/winter.

 

same bear mountain poster..  🙂

Gunner Shaw and Pumpkin Cupcakes

 

This fall season has found me uncharacteristically motivated to do some training.  Not a LOT of training… but some.  No swimming of course. I save my big comeback for swimming for December.  Actually, I am a liar.  I do 3x3km/week even right now because I can’t stand needing a full month of training just to start training to improve.  9km of swimming is 1/3 or less than what I actually need to do personally to improve my swimming so don’t use that as a guide to what you might need but think about it:  how much would allow you to “maintain” some fitness.  I don’t think anyone should do nothing for any period of time.  It is too hard to come back to where you were let alone move forward.  I have taken a step back with regard to improving my swimming or my cycling but I am still in touch with both.  I am improving my running, my strength and my squash game right now.  As long as you have a chance to take a break from the rigors of disciplined training there is no reason why “exercising” can’t be fun in the offseason.

I have planned to include the XTERRA Trail Run 21km World Championships this December and prior knowledge of that course leaves me frightened enough to continue moving around in order to not suffer completely in the last miles of that race.  Of course, no matter what those last 3 miles are brutal but a bit of extra training does soften the blow.  I think this little run focus helped me last year to run a bit faster during the season (well, would have helped if I didn’t overdo it in March).  So I will follow a similar plan this winter leading into next year.  This year I have increased my mileage significantly on last year and I think I am a bit pooched from that.  I feel good some days and pretty tired others.  All in all though, feeling pretty good.

I do have some fun news to report in a month or so. Long story short.. I am not quitting racing any time soon.

So my annual participation in Gunner Shaw was a triumphant success although I did have a super battle with Kate and Claire especially in the early stages of the race.  I ran in my AVIA Bolts as those are what I am planning for the XTERRA Run worlds but on icy, frozen ground they totally do not work.  I was really struggling in the technical and downhill sections with no footing at all.  I am running in the trail AVIA Stoltz for Stewart Mountain 10 miler for sure.  The Prairie Inn Harriers won the club challenge thanks in part to my overall win and that of Shane Rujancic who took the overall men’s.  It was a fun day for everyone and if you aren’t doing the Victoria trail race series you need to get into it.  It is a blast to run those trails this time of year.

I am enjoying working with Jon Brown again for a month or two this winter… he makes me laugh and his coaching is helping me to learn a lot about running which is not only to my benefit but also to my athletes’ benefit.  More info on him and his philosophy is at www.runbycommonsense.ca.  I am also having a ton of fun coaching spin sessions at Procity on Thursday nights.  I think there are one or two spots if you are looking for some winter motivation still.

On another note I made quite delicious pumpkin cupcakes for Maia’s birthday.  They are the best birthday flavor for fall ever and I totally suggest giving them a go.  They are not totally unhealthy especially if you leave off the icing so you don’t have to feel totally guilty and pumpkin has loads of vitamins and goodness and cinnamon is good for your heart.  Enjoy!

Mel’s Punkin Cupcakes

 

Makes 10 cupcakes

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup canned pumpkin purée (8 ounces), not pie filling

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush or spray the top of 10 muffin tins with vegetable oil and line them with 10 paper liners.

2. Into a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. In a larger bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin purée, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vegetable oil. Add the flour mixture and stir until combined.

3. Divide the batter among the prepared tins (I use a level 2 1/4-inch ice cream scoop) and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool completely.

4. Spread/pipe the cupcakes with the Maple Frosting.

Maple Frosting

6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/4 teaspoon natural Maple Flavor

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese and butter on low speed until smooth. Stir in the maple flavoring and vanilla extract. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until smooth.

(inspired by the Barefoot Contessa)

You don’t want cupcakes too big!

Yummy without icing

Cuter with the icing and some gold flakes….

 

 

 

 

Maia’s London Chef Birthday Party

While I was in Hawaii I was co-organizing a dinner party for my BFF Maia’s 29th birthday (all birthdays from now on are a 29th just FYI) with Christine (www.millefiorispa.com) at The London Chef.  The plan was a private evening of demonstration and interactive cooking at the fabulous teaching kitchen downtown on Fort St.  We had a full complement of 12 food admirers who rolled in for a super fun evening fueled by tasty morsels and vino.

The table was gorgeous!

This chunk of reclaimed wood makes the most amazing table to sit at with all your friends.

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My cupcakes kind of ended up sucking because I couldn’t pipe creamcheese icing.  Pumpkin cupcakes with maple frosting.  Go local Canadian flavor!

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Nothing like a Vanessa Watters rose centerpiece to make a girl feel loved 🙂 (http://www.verbenafloraldesign.ca)  They smelled AMAZING!!

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I have to say it doesn’t hurt that the chef isn’t hard to look at.  The birthday girl and her mentor.

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Lots of fun hanging about before our evening of instruction.  Christine, Carter and Troy.

The space is beautiful with 6 stations to cook at.  With 12 of us we filled the joint.  Here Mike and Paul are contemplating the evening.  Paul looking infinitely more stoked than Mike at this point.

So the evening started with some demonstrations.  We started with a very simple scallop dish, some Spanish tapas, then beef heart and finally chicken livers.  Hmmmmm…..

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Scallops… I am all over that.  Gimme more please.  No you can’t have the platter back.

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Beef heart.  Has the same consistency as octopus.  We had it seared.  Once is enough for this cowgirl.

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Chicken livers in cream sauce.  I like the sauce.  I can take or leave chicken livers (and pate in general) although I did give it a go.

In the future I will continue to throw out all the guts when I am cooking.

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Scott, on the other hand.. was very much enjoying his chicken livers and totally missed the photo moment 🙂  I was back to the wine at this point.  My favorite was the Spanish tapas staple of Catalan toast where we took a warm toasted half of a bagette, rubbed it with tomato insides and garlic then toasted it before topping with Serrano ham.

Second highlight was the bread with the aged Parmesan and onion jam.  I am so making onion jam.  I think I might really just enjoy bread and anything.

So we were then dispatched to cook the main event.  Lobster.

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Tammy was up front and center to learn how to kill a lobster humanely before you eat it.

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I was in charge of preparing our animal because Paul said there was not way he could do it.  I was all over it.

So once we had cut the lobster in half and cleaned it we then chopped it into about 5 pieces and scored the claws. Into warm pan went chopped onion, shallot, garlic, chopped tomato and olive oil. A large pinch of fennel seeds was added and I have to say if I did it again I would also add some chopped fennel bulb to this recipe.  I added a large pinch of red chile peppers, salt and some pepper.  Once all that stuff is cooked some tarragon went in but in the future I would use basil or something else because tarragon is a sucky herb that I don’t really think is any good.  Then in went the lobster, some cream and some freshly chopped parsley.  Add more warminess to the dish and voila!

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Christine and Scott master partners….I went around peeking at everyone else’s pans to see what they were up to.

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Tina and Carter won best executed…

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Maia and Troy won best looking couple…

 

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Paul pretty proud of the fact he cooked that meal 🙂

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I have to say the magnum of 2003 Burrowing Owl Pinot Noir I dusted off from the cellar for the evening couldn’t have paired nicer with the meal 🙂  Birthday girl approval.

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We like to play with our food.

Cheers!!  Bill (http://trekbikesvictoria.com/about/staff-bios) always has a zoolander pose.. can you spot him?

Love.  🙂