Friday, December 2, 2011

Brewmasters Bar and Grill Review

The grand opening for Brewmasters Bar and Grill was back in March of this year and how I wish I would have discovered this place back then.  I went at lunch today with a couple of co-workers and unfortunately didn't have a beer to go along with my food.  Seeing they had a lot of local beers on tap that I have had before I wasn't completely bummed about it. 
My co-workers and I took the 7 block walk down to Brewmasters grabbed a seat and we all had the hardest time deciding what to order because it all sounded so damn good.  Gees, look at the menu for yourself.

We started off with the one appetizer that was not a hard decision to make, PINT OF BACON!!!!  You can see all of its glory below.

So after going back and forth in my head on what to order, I went with the Chicken Biscuit with my side being the broccoli and raisin salad .  Let me tell you now, it was freakin' awesome.  The biscuit was soft and fluffyalong with the chicken being juicy with a nice crunch on the outside. The kicker that really set it off was the strawberry and chipotle jam.  Sweet and Spicy it was.

My two buddies got these burgers, The Hangover and The Caramelized Apple.  Both of them really liked what they had and how all the flavors worked together on each burger.  Next time is still going to be a hard decision on what to order.  Maybe we can take a few more people that are willing to split what they are eating so we can have lunch tapas style.  If not, I will be visiting there either way, so it may take me longer to get through most of the menu.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Lake Hope Trails in Ohio

My brother-in-law and I hit the trails at Lake Hope State Park in Ohio on Black Friday.  This area had seen rain for nearly three days and maybe a day to dry by the time we started our ride.  I should have changed my rear tire before heading up to West Virginia for Thanksgiving.  I was running a Race King 2.2 on the rear which was not a smart move for how wet these trails were down in the hollows.  Brian on the other hand was running Nevegals on his bike since he rides in this nasty stuff all the time here in WV.  He was not having the same issues I was having on the trails.  The Race King was fine once we would climb out of the hollows, but running the trails down there and the first hundred or so yards climbing out you would have thought I had a road tire on the bike.  I had to hop or fall off a couple times from loosing traction.  The trails were fast and flowy even though they were slick on the lower trails.
Moving on to one of the best trail systems in Ohio that you could spend an entire day there lacing together a lot of mileage without running the same trails the same direction twice.  We ended up doing 16 miles and our route consisted of the following:  Parked at Hope Furnace parking lot on SR 278> Hope Furnace Trail > Habron Trail > Copperhead Trail > Wildcat Trail >Copperhead Trail > Bobcat Trail > Habron Trail > Hope Furnace Trail and back to the parking lot.

Afterwards, we headed into Athens to check out Cycle Path Bicycles.  Great little bicycle shop and their website is very informative.  That is where we did a little homework before hitting the trails that day.  Great maps that have a hover feature that gives a good description of the trail.  Then we went over to Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant that was just a couple buildings down to grab some post-ride food which was much needed.  I am looking forward to checking these trails out again when they are dry.  Next time working in some of the double track to add some mileage and hit the other trails that we did not touch on this go-round.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday, October 3, 2011

Tube Protection

This is one of those things that many people do not think about, and that is using protection when riding.  Since more people are starting to strap what they need to their post for riding.  They forget that riding a mountain bike can be dirty at times.  If you end up with a flat and need to put a tube in because you can't get your tubeless tires to reseal.  Here is a simple solution that I use to keep my tubes clean from dirt and mud:  PLASTIC SANDWICH BAGGIES - they are cheap and the perfect size.  As you can see also from the picture that after putting the tube in the Baggie, I secure it with an old piece of inner tube.  Thus making it easier to us my ByeKyle strap to secure it to my post or wherever else you want to put it.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Angry Monkey 6 hour

Got up this morning at 5am and picked Ryan up at his house.  We were rolling to Gibsonville for the 2nd Annual Angry Monkey MTB Race 6 hour.  This year the course ran the opposite direction of last year.  First stop, McDonald's for a Bacon, Egg and Cheese McGriddle and some coffee.  We get to Northeast Park around 7:30am and get the pit area set-up, so Ryan would have a place to hang the next 6 hours while I am out on course. I ate four Honey Stinger Waffles before the start and it might be my new strategy.
The course was a six mile loop and we had about 3/10 of a mile of pavement before we hit the woods.  They started us in the Single Speed Category in the last wave.  I go into the woods in 5th and right off the start we are hitting traffic and get split from the the front four.  I am driving the train of the second group and the bike bell was ringing and I am calling out which side I (we) are passing.  First couple of laps was uneventful and I was setting a good pace to where no one wanted to pass me.  Finally on lap three I run up on 4th place and go by without a problem.  No stopping at the pit area for the first three laps, but now every time I would roll into the pit area Ryan would have the bottles and a waffle waiting, so I wouldn't have to stop but creep through.  Lap 6, I see third place ahead of me halfway through the lap and he has blown up.  I am a man with a mission now and the legs were feeling great.  I pass second place in the pits between Lap 9 and 10.  Lap 10 is when the legs are starting to cramp and that was not a good sign since I had no clue how close third was.  Going up the first of two steep but short hills my right quad locks up and I do the stiff leg shuffle to the top and try and massage it out.  It did not want to bend and I knew I had to be in by 5:40 to be able to get my last lap in.  Finally got to rolling after about thirty seconds and I made it with nine minutes to spare.  While standing in the pits getting my last bottle,waffle and massaging the thigh again, third place rolls by me and has about twenty seconds on me.  I finally catch and pass him with a little less than 2 miles to the finish and try to pull away, but burned my legs out catching him.  Once by he is hanging on and not letting me get away.  When we hit those final two hills that just sends my legs into crampville and have to walk the last hill.  He pulls away at the top of the second hill and I end up rolling across the line in 3rd and a minute and ten seconds off 2nd.  This was a great race that came down to the last lap to sort out second and third.  By the end I had consumed twelve bottles of Nuun Lemon Tea, eleven Honey Stinger gels and ten Honey Stinger Waffles.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ergon HX2 Glove Review

The HX2 glove by Ergon ($45) became available the last week of May, so I purchased a pair because:
1.  Ergon makes great products
2.  They look pretty freakin' sweet
3.  The fit is spot on

I have worn the HX2 now for a month and have gotten some good mileage in them between singletrack and road rides.  I have already told you how sweet they look, so lets move on to the other aspects of the glove.  The fit is nice and tight and not feeling the seams make them very comfortable.  The breathability of these gloves are great.  I have worn them on days with the temperature in the 90's with humidity and they do not feel like they are holding in the sweat.  Even in the hot temps these gloves are sticking to the grips like you would like without them slipping from being drenched in sweat.  These gloves work great when paired with the GX1 grips like Ergon designed them for.  At this point there are no complaints about these gloves and highly doubt there will be.

Update: 8/31/2011
These gloves have been put through a good amount of mileage on singletrack and feel just as good as the first time I wore them.  The white was turning brown from all the dirt and sweat that they were collecting over the last 3 months.  I did just as the Ergon website suggested for taking care of them and it brought them back to almost new.  The great thing is they didn't stretch or shrink from washing them.  I like these gloves so much I am thinking of buying a second pair just to rotate between.  Highly recommend them and I never leave home without them.  Maybe Ergon will make them in a winter version, lets hope.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Topeak SmartGauge D2 Review

I received in the mail on Monday the Topeak SmartGauge D2 (Digital Air Gauge).  I had to order one since I get tired of trying to figure out the exact air pressure in my tires.  The floor pump I have is not the most precise since it has marks for every 4 psi which makes it hard to figure out what air pressure feels good for the trails.  So, last night I had to test it out and it ROCKS.  No more hitting the trails and being to low where you feel the rim hit or to much and it is like a basketball going over roots.  The best thing about it is the bleed valve on it.  It is nice and slow, so you don't blow through 2 psi's in a matter of a nano second and then have to pump the tire back up again.  It takes the guess work out now from the floor pump gauge and gets the tires feeling right.  The head rotates making it easy to fit between spokes and be able to read the huge LCD display without doing a handstand to see it.  This will definitely be the most used tool in the toolbox now.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Raleigh Times Bar

We visit Raleigh Times for lunch a few times a month.  The must have is the Braised Pork Enchilada and my backup is the Shrimp Burger.  Depending on how hungry we can are we also may order up the Fried Pickles for an appetizer.  The pork enchilada has some great flavors going on from the beer braised pork to the roasted poblano chili sauce that tops it all off.  Enough of me talking about it and you reading about it.  If you are ever close to 14 E. Hargett Street then swing by and try it out for yourself.  Depending on what time you are there or not at work and like having a beer then it is a good place to grab one of those also.  Their main style beer they carry is Belgian if you are a fan of those.

Endurance Rides - HTFU

This past Sunday went out and knocked out 40 miles on the single speed with a group.  A few of them ended up doing 70ish miles.  A buddy of mine, James organizes these rides normally on Sunday morning starting at 7am.  It is a way for a group to get together and lay down some serious miles between singletrack and doubletrack in the Triangle.  We hit the majority of the trails in the area known as ORC (Old Reedy Creek) which is on the back side of Umstead Park.  A lot of the climbing miles (nothing like western NC) come in Umstead since that is the best we can do for climbing in the Triangle. Anyone who wants to come out and feel the pain for however many miles they want.  Then they can break off after however long and take it to the house.  Lately we haven't had much rain which makes for dry trails and by the end of a ride you will be covered in dirt and dust.  You can check out the sock line from the nice mixture of sweat and dirt.  If you want to come check one out then look on the trianglemtb website forums under race, rides and events.  And, if you were wondering HTFU has a couple meanings:  the clean version: Harden The Freak Up!!! or since it is summertime and hotter than hell:  Humid, Tropical, Flowy, Umstead.  James came up with these catchy phrases, so I can't take credit for them.

Vaca at Wrightsville Beach

We headed out after lunch to Wrightsville Beach on Wednesday to return on Friday for our last vacation before school starting.  It was a short, but much needed vacation.  We were staying at Blockade Runner.  Great place to stay and lots to do right there on their property.  We get there shortly after 2pm and get unpacked.  Then we slathered on the sunscreen and hit the beach for the next 3 hours.  It is a lot of fun to see how happy the kids are when they are running toward the ocean just to be chased back by a wave.  Then the time we spend in the ocean jumping up with the waves and watching my six year old get knocked around by some of them when they break right on him.  Then how both of them roll around in the surf and collect more seashell fragments in their bathing suits that goes unnoticed until it is time to take a shower.  It looks like we brought half of the beach back to the bathroom with us when you strip them down for their showers. We went to Oceanic for dinner that night for some seafood. 
Next day, I head out as the sun is rising for a twenty mile road ride around Wrightsville Beach on my newly converted Vassago Fisticuff from monstercross to road bike.  It is a nice place to get riding in, but to get some mileage you have to do the route numerous times.  We grabbed breakfast at the resort and head for the beach again.  There was a storm off the coast, so we couldn't get in the ocean but so far.  We did get to witness the water spouts that formed and went across Carolina Beach.  It was neat to watch them come out the sky and form.  Glad they didn't head our direction.  Then shortly before lunch we had to head inside because it started raining pretty heavy.  With a full belly from lunch, both kids took a much needed nap while I sat and watched it rain while surfing the internet while
tipping back some Miller High Life in my new 29nsngl coozie.  We headed for the pool after the rain let up and it was good and chilly outside and especially in the water.  Spent a good hour or so playing in the pool and headed back up to the room to get showers and head over to Tower 7 for some of the best Tex Mex and definitely the best in that area.  Kids had a taco and some nachos off the kids menu.  The commander-in-chief a/k/a Wife had the Tower 7 burrito, and I finished it off.  I had the San Felipe Tacos.  I have posted up before about Tower 7, so no reason to keep talking about how great the food is there.  The only thing you need to know is if you are in the area and hungry.  Stop in and fill your belly for a good price.  We hit up the putt-putt course at Jungle Rapids after dinner and went back and had a nice walk on the beach.  Let the kids jump around in the surf one last time before we pull out of there the next morning and head back to the casa.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Barbecue Chicken Pizza

So, this past weekend I made this Barbecue Chicken Pizza.  Here is the recipe for the dough below from the Food Network Magazine that we subscribe to.
Whisk 3 3/4 cups flour and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Make a well and add 1 1/3 cups warm water, 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 packet yeast. When foamy, mix in 3 tablespoons olive oil; knead until smooth, 5 minutes. Brush with olive oil, cover in a bowl and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Divide into two 1-pound balls. Use 1 pound per recipe unless noted.

Now for the ingredients:
Barbecue Sauce (Sweet Baby Ray's)
Yellow Onion
Mexican blend of cheese

For the prep work we made the dough as mentioned above in the recipe.  We bought a rotisserie chicken from our local grocery store the night before for another meal and used the left overs for the pizza.  You can always just cook up your chicken however you like.  Then added some Sweet Baby Ray's Sauce in the bowl and shook it up to cover the chicken.  Cooked the bacon until it was about 3/4 cooked since it would cook more on the pizza.  Then thinly sliced a yellow onion.  I used the gas grill outside to bake the pizza, so the kitchen wouldn't get hot since I bake the pizzas at 500 degrees.  I like how crisp the bottom of the pizza gets from the grill also.  Plus, I always forget to move the rack in the oven to the bottom to help make it crispier.

First, I stretched the pizza dough on the pizza stone.  Instead of tomato sauce I used the Sweet Baby Ray's Sauce and added about a cup and a half.  Added the cheese next then the chicken, bacon and onion.  Then sprinkled a little more cheese over top of the other ingredients.  Then put it on grill for 8 to 10 minutes and below is what came out and it was awesome.  We had a couple friends over and they loved it.  It is a good way to to not just have the normal boring pizza.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Huck-A-Buck 2011

The Huck-A-Buck 2011 had another great turn out this year. There was about 20 of us in the Single Speed Category. Today was going to be a brutal 3 laps of 6.75 miles of singletrack and not because of the trails, but 94 degrees and feeling like 101 at the noon time start. We have not had much rain and this trail is mostly sand the closer you get to the lake. I started prepping for this race on Friday by drinking lots of fluids the next two days. I weighed myself Friday morning and was at 178 lbs. The morning of the race I weighed myself again and was 181 lbs. I hit the woods in 6th or 7th place and let 2 guys go by halfway through the 1st lap hoping that they would blow up because of the heat. With a mile to go in the first lap I was cruising through a turn about 15 mph when my tires came out from under me and I ended up 2-3 feet off the trail and ripped open a scab from the previous wreck at the race a month earlier. Had three more guys pass at this point since my arm was hurting and trying to make sure everything else between me and the bike was in working order. Lap 2, coming through the start/finish I hear from the organizers over the loud speakers how sweet the Metal Kit looks and had to be the best looking one on the course. I caught one of the other single speeders and the rest of the lap was uneventful except passing a couple guys with gears. Lap 3, I turned up the pace to see if I could hopefully catch at least one or two more guys who may have gone out to fast. Well, I ended up catching and passing three more guys, but they had gears so that did not help me. I ended up rolling across the finish line in 11th. After the race a few people asked about the Metal Kit and proudly told them about Twin Six. When I got home I weighed myself and had dropped to 174 lbs, yeah that was a lot of sweating in less than two hours. I may not have finished as high up as I would of liked, but I looked damn good in the Metal Kit doing it.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

El Largo Burrito

We went to Los Tres Magueyes tonight for dinner.  Of course after racing 20 miles in 95 degree weather today and not having any real food since mid-morning.  I took on El Largo Burrito at Los Tres Mageuyes here in the Quay.  El Largo is a 18" burrito filled with chicken, beans and rice.  To top it off with red sauce, green sauce and sour cream.  Here is the proof and only took me 14 minutes to conquer it.  You can see the fork is there for perspective.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Minnesota Trippin'

We started our journey to Minnesota on July 1st about mid-morning.  We packed the truck as if we were taking the house with us.  Our first stop over the next two days would be with my some of my in-laws in West Virginia, and to pick up our nephew.  It was just like all of our previous trips up to West Virginia, nothing exciting just six hours of highway driving.  We got to the in-laws some time after 4pm and got out what we needed for the night.  We hit up a Mexican restaurant that night for dinner and I called it a night around 10pm since we would be up the next day at 5am and I was the designated driver. 
The next morning came and we loaded the bicycles on the back of the truck.  Loaded up the kids in the backseat with enough electronic devices from DVD players to Nintendo DS's to keep them entertained for the next nine hours to Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  Our secret weapon that my wife packed was lollipops for when the natives started getting restless.  Of course that would happen when you have a three year-old strapped into a car seat for that amount of time.  After the nine hour drive we pull into Hawthorne Suites, and unpack the necessities for the night.  I get the boys and we unload the bikes and take them for a two mile ride down the Cedar River Trail to work the legs out after sitting for that long. 

Rockin' the Twin Six
 After waking up we grabbed some breakfast at the hotel before heading out for the last four hours to Minnesota.  We pulled into the farm right after noon.  The farm is where my wife's grandma lives in farmhouse that is around one hundred years old and nearly four tenths of a mile off the road.  It is surrounded by a few ponds and corn fields as far as you can see.  After unpacking the truck and grabbing some lunch I headed out for my first gravel ride.  Never done a gravel ride and on the drive in we passed kept passing gravel road after gravel road and I had to put some miles in to see what it was like.  I did a thirty mile ride and was eating up every mile of it.  I was on the Niner One9 and was running a 32x18 gearing which I needed my Fisticuff with the 2x10 to really crank some miles, that will be with me on the next trip out there.

For the Fourth of July we took the kids to the town of Okabena for a parade.  They collected more candy than what they have gotten combined for the last two Halloweens.  The following day we took a two hour trip north up to Minneapolis.  First stop, Twin Six.  Great visiting the company that I am racing for this year and hopefully down the road also.  I was a kid in a candy store with all the T6 gear around me.  The crew there was awesome in giving us the tour and seeing a few things that are coming down the pipe.  We checked into our hotel right across from the next stop at Mall of America.  We ended up spending 6+ hours in there from lunch until dinner.  We covered all three floors and went to the aquarium before grabbing dinner at Tony Roma's.  One of the only places the kids and I wanted to go was the Lego store.  Which we waited until almost last to visit, so that I would not be carrying around the bag of legos the entire time.  They had above the store these gigantic lego scenes that were larger than life.  One was a thirty-four foot robot, another was a helipcopter with lego SWAT members repelling down, a knight fighting this creature with a bull-head.  To believe that all of this was made completely of legos.  Along with this were pictures outisde the store made completely out of legos.  The next day we took the kids to the Minnesota Zoo.  It was fairly warm out that day, but since Minnesota gets so cold right much of the exhibits were inside which gave some relieve from the heat. Afterwards we drove back to the farm to make it in time for dinner. 

I was needing to hit some singletrack and had found this place up in Mankato called Mt. Kato Ski Resort that has mountain bike trails from May to October.  It cost $8/day to ride there.  Being my first experience at singletrack in Minnesota it was good riding.  Any day on the bike is better than none.  I found one of the people in the office there and he gave me the lay of the land on how the trails were laid out and a map.  First trail that you go up is Kato Climb and that is what you do to get to the top where all the ski lifts drop you off in the winter.  My first loop out went like this Kato Climb>Frog Pond Loop>Outlook Traverse>Back Loop>Get Tight>Cedar Climb>Killer Toad Climb>Dead Horse>The Maze>Staircase>Compressor>Cabin Run.  The only trails that really had me on my toes and using a lot of braking on the down hills were Dead Horse and Compressor.  The switchbacks on Compressor had you almost doing track stands to make the turns.  Cedar Climb and Staircase had the tougher of the climbs.  My second loop went like this Kato Climb>Frog Pond Loop>Outlook Traverse>Back Loop>Get Tight>Cedar Climb>Killer Toad Climb>Low Line>The Maze>Staircase>Ridge Run>Back Home>Cabin Run.  After getting out of the new Twin Six Masher jersey and socks I picked up the other day at Twin Six.  I went and got two chicken tacos and chicken burrito from Taco John's. 
Friday we got up at 4am to start our nice 14 hour drive back to West Virginia and that was one hell of a caffeine induced drive.  Had some Little Caesar's Pizza when we got to my brother-in-law's house hit the sack at 10pm and didn't wake until 9am.  That was some good hard sleeping and much needed with another 6 hours of driving to get to the casa.  It was nice vacation with lots of driving, but that is the best way to see this great country that we live in and to see how other parts of the U.S of A is living. 

K-38 in Wilmington

The picture speaks for itself.  I have an earlier post that talks about Tower 7 on Wrightsville Beach that is the sister restuarant of K-38.  Best Tex-Mex in Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach.  Check it out when down there.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Briar Patch - TORC #1 2011 Race Series

First race of the TORC 2011 XC Series here in the Triangle was at Briar Chapel located south of Chapel Hill, NC. Great course, very flowy and then they mix in the rock garden sections with each lap being six miles. Racing in the Single Speed division we had three laps and it was going to be a tough day with some of the guys out there. I knew I had to pace myself with the heat being high 80's with 60% humidity at the 11am start time. They have a nice gravel road start that is around a mile to help spread everyone out before hitting the singletrack. I hit the woods in 6th and it was a good pace that I knew I could hold the entire race. For the first and second lap it was fairly uneventful except having to stop in the middle of a rock garden since the guy in front of me came to a dead stop and left me nowhere to go. I started having a minor stomach issue about two miles into the last lap, so backed it off and popped some chews when I hit the doubletrack climb. Started picking the pace back up when with about two miles to go I catch my front tire in a rocky section going up hill and just eat it hard. Luckily the rocks I landed on were smooth and not jagged, but they were not forgiving at all. I got myself up and the guy behind me who couldn’t see it, but he heard the crash and all the profanity that went with it. I sat on a nice grassy clearing about ten feet away for about a minute to check myself over since my arm was throbbing and bleeding and couldn’t close my hand all the way. One of the other rocks gave me a nice kidney punch when I landed on it. I ended up finishing 9th in the Single Speed Division with a time of 1:51:53.  I must have laid there in the grass longer than I thought since it looks like I lost a good 7 minutes or so, oh well crashes happen. 

Rockin' The Twin Six Metal Kit

All in all, glad I finished the race without a DNF or last. It took two stitches to close my elbow up and hoping to be back on the bike within the next week when I get more range out of my arm.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Pig Butt

Well I started my morning at 9am prepping the butt for the rest of the day.  My choice of spices to rub onto the butt were salt, pepper, brown sugar, onion powder, chili powder, cumin, and garlic powder.  They were not put on in order and no measuring just straight eye balling it.  The butt hit the charcoal grill at 9:30 with some indirect heat for the next eight hours.  After about two hours  I took the mesquite wood chips that have been soaking and placed them on the coals.  During the eight hours the butt was getting flipped and rotated every two hours.  Also, made some coleslaw to go along with it for dinner.  For the coleslaw I use a bag of coleslaw mix and use the dressing recipe from this coleslaw recipe.  Pulled the butt off the grill after the eight hours and let it rest for about 30 minutes to let the juices redistribute throughout it.  Here is the vinegar based sauce that I use and nothing is better than eastern North Carolina barbeque sauce.  Then the fun began by pulling the butt apart and below is the finished product.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Muddy Buddy 2011

Another Muddy Buddy is in the books making it my 5th and the 3rd with The Fox.  The Fox and I headed up to Richmond, VA on Saturday 30th for the Muddy Buddy race at Pocahontas State Park on May 1st.  We have our normal routine for the weekend.  We left Raleigh around lunchtime and stopped to grab something to eat along the way.  We rolled into Chester and stopped at our hotel (Marriott) which is the same one for the last 3 years.  It in a great location since it is 10 miles from the race and it is a Marriott need not say more.  Then we headed over to Blue Ridge Mountain Sports for packet pick-up.  As normal we just like to take it easy the day before the race, so we hit up Dick Sporting Goods and then a bicycle shop. 

For dinner that night we hit up Bandito's Burrito Lounge just like we have for the two years prior.  This place has some of the best burritos and tacos I have had along with great salsa.  We all know if the salsa sucks more likely the food will too.  This year we went a different route and ordered the mahi mahi tacos instead of a two pound burrito that makes you feel uncomfortable the rest of the night.  My tacos were great, The Fox on the other hand had a hairy taco for his second one, but still finished eating.  Yes, we both served in the military and pretty sure we had eaten much worse.  Of course they did not charge him for his meal.  Our next plan was to head back to the hotel, check the bike over again, watch some track and field on ESPN, then head over to Hooters to catch some UFC.  We ended up just checking out the bike and watching track and field.  It was nearly ten o'clock and we didn't feel like going to Hooters to drink beer since we had to get up at 5:30 the next morning.  We have done it in the past, but not this time, yes we know LAME.

Almost forgot, this year we changed our team name to Pelotas De Acero which translate to Balls of Steel.  So, we get to Pocahontas State Park around 6 - 6:15 that morning go get our tshirts that they ran out of at early packet pick-up.  Head back to car to get everything ready for the race and give us enough time for the normal pre-race multiple trips to the bathroom a/k/a port-o-johns.  Finally race time has come upon us around 8 am that morning, but we are the 4th wave to go so the wait ends up being another fifteen to twenty minutes.  We wish we were wave 1, so that there would be no in front of us to contend with on the trail and make finding the bike at the obstacles a lot easier.  For as many people that we had in front of us our race went pretty smooth through all the transitions.  I couldn't find the bike for about 10 seconds at one transition and they threw in an obstacle right before the mud pit.  It was a nice 20 foot rope climb with a climb down on the other side. Our time was 45:33 for the 7 mile course.  We ended up 2nd in our division and 9th overall which is not to shabby.  Next year, it is on and looking to take 1st in division and hopefully make top 5 in the overall.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Riva's Trattoria

In Greensboro for work and right around the corner from the hotel is this great restaurant called Riva's Trattoria.  It is located at 257 North Greene Street.  It is a fairly small restaurant that could hold roughly 50 people.  I had the Chicken Sopressata as my meal and it comes with a house salad that I had the House Vinaigrette.  All the salad dressing are made in house and lots of the ingredients are local and organic when possible.   The chicken was lightly breaded and had the soppresatta on top with some shredded provolone cheese.  The linguine was cooked perfect also along with the pomodoro sauce that they are not skimpy with at all.  Enough sauce left over in the bowl that I could use my slice of bread to finish cleaning the bowl. 

For dessert I had to try the Piccolo Cannoli, which is three miniature cannolis.  They had normal filling with mini chocolate chips on each end.  To top it off they were sprinkled with cocoa powder and a light whipped cream on the side.  These were so good that I thought about ordering another plate of them.  Who knows, maybe walk over there just for dessert tonight.

The portions are perfect size for the price and they give you plenty.  Price wise it is no more expensive then going to one of the chain Italian restaurants around town except you do not get the downhome feeling when you are sitting there and knowing the food is made from scratch right there.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Pancakes, Hibachi and Ice Cream

Just about every weekend the kids request pancakes for breakfast.  This morning I made some of my favorite pancakes, BACON with Granny Smith Apples.  The pancake batter that I use is from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.
Here is the recipe:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 beaten egg
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons cooking oil
I normally add a little extra flour or milk depending on how thick you want the batter.
For the BACON and Granny Smith Apple pancakes I cook the bacon so it will crumple up easily.  The apples are chopped to about half inch cubes.  First, I add some butter to the pan and then pour out the pancake to about ten inches.  Let it cook for two or three minutes until it looks like it is cooked halfway through and then add the bacon and apples.  Flip the pancake over and finish cooking it.  I have added lots of other things to pancakes, very rarely do we have just plain pancakes.
The other ways we have had them are:
chocolate chip

For lunch we went and had hibachi at Kanki at Crabtree Valley Mall .  I had the chicken hibachi and then ordered the Kizuna sushi roll also.

And, to wrap-up our day of eating that it was turning out to be we went to one of the best homemade ice cream joints around and it is Sunny Sky's Ice Cream on Highway 55 in Angier.  If you show up at this place in the middle of the summer on a weekend this place is hopping with lots of people.  They have over ninety flavors and two of them are filled with heat.  The Exitwound and then Cold Sweat which is the one you have to sign a waiver for.  Between the four of us we had Caramel Praline, Key Lime Pie, Watermelon Sherbet and Cotton Candy.  They have been featured on Food Network show - Kid in a Candy Store.  If you are in the area you need to stop and check this place out and don't forget your cash or you are out of luck.  Cash only.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tower 7

Back down here in Wilmington or work this week, and we went over to Tower 7 on Wrightsville Beach to grab some dinner.  They have a couple other places also, K38 (2 locations) and Cafe Del Mar.  They are a baja mex restaurant with some great specials that run for a limited time and then their daily specials.  Last nights daily special was $2 hard shell tacos and $1 PBR.  We started off with a couple baskets of chips and salsa.  Their salsa is handmade daily and it has some great flavor with a little heat.  If you are visiting during the summer you can some by the to-go window and grab a bag of chips and salsa and take it to the beach with you. 
I ordered up 2 chicken tacos.  I like how simple they keep the tacos, shredded chicken, chopped roma tomato, lettuce and shredded cheese.  With your meal they bring out a bottle of their picante sauce that has this great sweet and spicy flavor to add to your food.
If you want great baja mex for a reasonable price then swing by Tower 7 when at Wrightsville Beach and you will not be disappointed.  I got out of there last with two tacos and two PBRs plus tip for $9 and that is a steal.

Friday, February 25, 2011

CCORS #2 and CCORS #3

So, work has been really busy and I have not found time to do a race report on CCORS #2.  Race #2 was located at The Bicycle Post in Greenville.  Having never raced there I didn't know exactly what to expect.  I knew by the location that it would probably be almost as rooty as the one at The Piranha Pit.  I was partially right that there were lots of roots, but the course was faster than The Pit.  They started us off on the edge of a field and only gave us 300 yards or so to sort ourselves out before hitting the singletrack.  I feel we could have started further around the field to get us spread out more.  When they start us in the Single Speed Class with the Sport Class it really bunches us up and it did.  I end up going into the woods middle of the pack and I guess some guys with gears do not like use momentum to get up the short hills, but would rather grind it out in a small gear.  Every hill we would come to I was catching the geared guys and having to slow my pace.  So, in my most friendly voice I would let them know that I was on a single speed and needed to get by since we were not racing each other.  I guess from the chain slapping their frame they couldn't hear me.  I had 2nd and 3rd in my sights until the guy in front of me decided to crash in the middle of the trail going downhill.  So, that brought us to a screeching halt.  I dismounted and ran around him and continued my hunt eventhough I couldn't see them anymore.  About a mile later I catch up to another guy with gears and he decides to wreck also, but must of known I was on a single speed since he chose the bottom of the hill to wreck.  So, I dismount again and run up the hill.  To make things worst, her i am at about 7 miles into the 1st lap and decide to go blazing through a turn and have to lock up my brakes and end up powersliding into a tree which knocked my rearwheel out of alignment.  So, again I get off the bike to fix this problem.  The 2nd lap was uneventful, but I was on a mission to still try and catch 3rd place.  Never saw him again until I crossed the finish line in 4th place.  After checking the results the following day, come to find out I was less than a minute behind 3rd place.  That is the crazy thing about racing, you never know how it will go. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Yes, more sushi

Yesterday for lunch we went to a new sushi place here in Raleigh off of Western Blvd. called Sushi Nine, located next to the Bojangles.  Ummm, Bojangles, now that is the best place to get a biscuit.  Especially the Chicken Biscuit Combo w/ cheese, fires and sweet tea.  If you want to make the biscuit taste even better have them add bacon to it also, everyone knows that everything taste better with bacon.  Okay, now back to sushi.  Bojangles will do that to you everytime.  Bojangles is a good conversation starter with anyone from the South, and definitely a North Carolinian.  Alright, take three on sushi.  They just recently opened back in December 2010 They have for lunch the BOGO deal for all their sushi rolls.  The sushi is really good there and the rolls are not skimpy.  So go check'em out, you will not be disappointed.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Windy Road Ride and Bang Bang Shrimp Tacos

Did a road ride of 34 miles today and it was a windy
 one.  Lucky that I was riding in a group, so we could all take turns up front pulling each other through the head wind.  Our route started at the Methodist Church on Judd Parkway in Fuquay and took us on a loop that reached to Angier.  From there we looped around some back country roads past Harnett Central High School on over to 401.  Then took 401 down to Piney Grove Wilbon that ran us into 42 Hwy that got us back to the church.  We started in one group of about 18 riders.  One rider got a flat about 6.5 miles into the ride and then the tube blew again while trying to blow it up, so we split into 2 groups.  1 rider went back to get a car while 2 waited and the 2 groups took off about 3-4 minutes apart.  Other than that the ride was fine except for that head wind that no matter which direction we were riding it was in our faces.

Now on to the dinner I fixed tonight.  Nothing better after throwing down 34 miles then some homemade mexican food.  This is probably one of my favorite meals to make for the family.  First time I saw the Bang Bang Shrimp recipe from Bonefish Grill was in the Food Network Magazine we receive at home.  Before this I had had this numerous times at the restaurant.  When we make this at the house we do not put all the shrimp in the sauce since the kids think it is to spicy.  Now for the wife and I, we normally have the tacos with chopped tomato, chopped avocado and some shredded mexican cheese.  The kids like the shrimp with sour cream and cheese in the soft taco shells.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Pit

Took the family today for lunch to The Pit in downtown Raleigh.  They have the best eastern north carolina barbecue in Raleigh and probably the best in North Carolina.  As you can see I had the double meat combo with chopped barbecue, fried chicken, cole slaw and baked beans.  Along with the barbecue being the best around the fried chicken is also.  The fried chicken has a nice light and crispy batter on the outside and the chicken is good and juicy on the inside.  The baked beans is my favorite side that I get there, and I believe I have tried them all.  On this trip I did not get the banana pudding, but I highly recommend it.  I know I have not gone into much detail on how good the food tastes.  That is because the food speaks for itself along with no matter what day of the week you show up for lunch.  There probably will be a wait, especially between 11:45am - 1:30pm, so get there as early as possible. 
The man behind these recipes is a man named Ed Mitchell and he is one hell of a pit master with tons of experience and you can read more about him here.  The Pit and Ed Mitchell have been featured on Throwdown with Bobby Flay, Man v. Food and numerous interviews on television morning talk shows.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sushi Pizza

Nikki's Restaurant Sushi Bar has the best sushi in Wilmington and some of the best I have ever eaten, and I have eaten at a lot of different sushi joints.  I have been eating there for at least 7 years now and remember when the only location they had at the time was the downtown location.  The best part about going to Nikki's is the fact that it is not just sushi.  They have different types of food from burgers, sandwiches, bento boxes, teriyaki dishes to lots of other food to choose from.  That is what makes it so unique.  If some people at your table don't care for sushi then there is plenty other stuff to choose from.  Lets move on to the best part.

The sushi pizza was only added in the last 4 months and it is awesome.  The first time I had it was back in December and since then I have gotten it with every meal.  I was down in Wilmington working for 6 days and 4 of those days I had Nikki's for lunch or dinner.  What was my go to item, oh yes the Sushi Pizza.  I do not know if they have it at the other 4 locations, but they do at the downtown location and that is all that I cared about on this trip.  It is not on the menu, but it is on the white board on the wall along with other speciality sushi rolls they have posted on it.

The Sushi Pizza has this great flavor combination that just explodes in your mouth.  It is a six inch tortilla shell (yes a tortilla shell), tempura rice on top of that, then spicy tuna, avocado, masago, green onion and sesame seeds to top it all off.  It is the perfect size to either split with someone or in my case have it all to myself.  It is proportional to eating a sushi roll, so depending on how much you want you could order a ginger salad or another roll.  To finish it all off, this is a great masterpiece that was created and I hope it is always on the menu.  If not then I will try to special order it and maybe protest outside the restaurant until it is brought back.

Monday, January 31, 2011

CCORS Race #1

The first race of the Coastal Carolina Off-Road Series (CCORS) is officially in the books.  Let me start off by saying that just because the race is down east and close to the coast doesn't mean it will be flat and fast.  The race took place in Havelock at the Piranha Pit on Cherry Point.  The course was a six mile loop that was very deceiving.  It was a great day for racing with the weather at sixty degrees and the start time of 2pm couldn't ask for better conditions.
I arrived about an hour before the race, got registered in the Single Speed Category and started prepping for the race.  Once I was finally dressed in the Twin Six Metal race kit it was time to warm-up the engine for the eighteen miles ahead of me.  Hooked up with a few guys from the Raleigh area and we rode about 2.5 miles of the course to get a feel for it since I had never been out there before.  It was time for the racer's meeting to go over the rules and a general overview of what to look forward to in the course.
We finally get the race underway and it starts on a dirt road for about a quarter mile that we are riding down to sort of get everyone spaced out which didn't happen once we hit the woods.  Just because some people think they are fast on the dirt road section doesn't transfer over well to the singletrack.  The first 3 miles of the course was fairly flat and fast.  Only thing slowing you down was the pinestraw that littered the ground which made taking the turns at times feel a little squirrelly.  Then we got to the backside of the course that was along the river.  This is where every momentum stopping root popped up at least every 10-20 yards or so it felt that way.  If the roots were not on the way down the short hills they were definitely on the way up the hills.  A few times it was like climbing stairs going up hill.  Some of the drops going downhill were a good foot and a half to two feet that went into a turn and yes there were skid marks going off the trail where someone went in hot on the turn and over shot it.  Once out of the rooty section it was fairly flat and then you popped out onto the dirtroad to ride the quarter mile up to the start/finish line and turn around to go back into woods.  It was a good place to get some energy gel into you and some liquid. 
I ended up coming across the finish line in 1:45:00 and grabbing the 3rd place finish in the single speed category.  Great race and a great course that was not boring and kept me on my toes.  Not to bad for the first race of the season since I have not been on the bike much in the last couple months because of the nasty weather we have been having.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Twin Six Race Team

Twin Six is an awesome company based out of Minneapolis, MN that makes the best jerseys and cycling inspired clothes in the world and I have the honor of racing for them this year.  This year's team kit looks like this.
I am looking forward to donning the Metal kit this year and do some representing here in North Carolina for them.  First race is next Sunday and looking forward to it.  I will be rocking last years colors since I had purchased one of them since they were so bad-ass, along with a couple more of their other jerseys.  You cna call me a Twin Six whore, I accept.  When they make good stuff why buy anywhere else.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Little River Trail Race 2011 update

Well yesterday morning in the earlier hours of the adventure began.  I was up early and out the door to pick The Fox up at 7 am to make our way to the race.  We arrived at Little River Regional Park about 7:50am, jumped out picked up our race packets and got back in the car since it was only 28 degrees to wait for the races to start.  We did our normal pre-race prep, from hydration, a few trips to the bathroom and some jogging to get the muscles warmed up.  The 10 miler started at 9 am and the 7k started at 9:30 am.  The race director gave the normal speech before each race about safety and passing people on the trail except this time a couple extra because of the snow/ice we have had.  They were correct about the amount of snow and ice on the trail, and it was a lot more than I was expecting.  A couple downhill sections you had to walk or you might take the quick trip sliding.  This course is nothing but rolling hills and switchbacks with very few flat sections with the majority being on singletrack which gives very few places to pass.  I can't complain about how I ran since I am not a runner.  The entire time I was out there the only thing I was thinking about was I would rather be riding my mountain bike.  We made our back to Raleigh and stopped off at the best burritos in town at Baja Burritos to refuel our bodies. 

Our results went as followed:  The Fox - 1:15:58 with a 7:36 pace/mile placing 14th out of 300.
                                              Me - 36:30 with a 8:23 pace/mile placing 41st out of 153.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Little River Trail Race 2011

So my first trail race for 2011 and could be my last is the Little River Trail Race in the northern part of Durham County.  This is a great race that has a 7k and 10 mile option.  Since the last running race, well half of it was running and the other half bike that I have competed in was Muddy Buddy 2010.  Figured no reason to go out and kill myself running the 10 miler instead I chose the 7k (4 miles).  I have done this race in the past when it was 9 miles and it is a lung burner which any race is that starts at 9am in the middle of January.  My good friend like a brother to me, "The Fox" as I will refer to him as in my posts will be out there with me.  But, he is doing the 10 miler since he is the endurance running junkie and I am the endurance mountain bike junkie.  Who knows how the trail will be since the temperature will be in the "why the hell are we out here" range.  I guess with it being below freezing we do not have to worry about any muddy spots since it will be frozen.  So, here is a look at forcast for tomorrow morning and we will see what our outcomes will be.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Mexican Chicken Stew

  We are always trying to find something new to fix around here and something the kids will eat.  So yesterday afternoon I did some searching on Food Network and found the mexican chicken stew recipe.  Very simple recipe to fix and makes enough to have lunch leftovers to take to work the next day.  I included everything except the jalapeno into the pot that way you can add what you want depending on how much heat you want.  Great taste and even both of the kids enjoyed it, so it had to of been good.  For the kids I took all the onions and tomatoes out of their bowls or they would have been complaining and picking at it.  A great jedi mind trick was to add blue tortilla chips to their bowls since the recipe already called for sour cream.
All in all this recipe was very tasty and quick to put together and there was no complaining from anyone.