Thursday, November 23, 2006

Tacoma/Portland, NREL, and...Granola?

So as most of you know the team traveled to Tacoma/Portland this last weekend for the final USGP races. The whole experience was quite spontaneous for me because Friday basically involved skipping a little bit of school so I could get in a ride before flying out, doing some Spanish homework on the plane, arriving in Tacoma, eating some organic spaghetti and b-day cake for Brandon Dwight(happy b-day), and sleeping.

In the morning we all ate some nutritious granola, milk, toast, bananas, and of course COFFEE to power us though our races. The course in Tacoma was dry, fast, and flat with the exception of the 80 meter run-up and a screaming downhill decent. I, being a terrible starter, had trouble with entering my pedal and spent my first two laps catching the leader. Once that was done we (Jacob Rathe and I) both threw in attacks out of corners, on the flat road section, and up the run-up to try and crack one another, but we both hung tuff and suffered together. Coming into the finish strait I was leading and attentive as to when Jacob was starting his sprint, but once he did and I started, I realized my shifter was jammed and ended up out geared and finishing in 2nd. After, I had a little podium presentation and a couple minutes to say high to my aunt, uncle, and three baby cousins who came out to watch. In the car with the other juniors driving to Portland, we had an excellent time listening to Reed, our soigneur, tell us of his young adult experiences. At the hotel we showered, hung out, and got some massages in time for a fajita dinner made by Brian Smith. I even got to cook up some carrots and kale.

Just like TP mentioned Jim, who I roomed with, is truly addicted to showers and we were delayed a bit that morning. Luckily, at registration I found out that my race was set back in time so I could have sufficient time to warm up. Taylor led us on his million dollar warm up routine and we were all psyched to race in the cold, muddy conditions after some hot oil cream was applied to our legs. I had a much better start this time sitting in 3rd, but it took about a lap to get my rhythm going in the mud as several riders passed me. Once in my zone, I picked off the riders ahead of me and found myself finishing in 2nd. Mr. Rathe ended up proving his superior mud-riding skills today and won again with a substantial lead. All juniors then took a ride back with Brian in our sweet rental minivan. We showered ate, ate some Chipotle, and watched TV until it was time to leave for the airport and fly back home. In the airport waiting for our plane we even had some fast walking races along the straight terminal. Jim clearly had the advantage by being a champion fast walker at his school. I got the rest of my math homework done on the plane, and my dad and I took Brady back home to our house to save some gas and reduce carbon emissions. Finally at 1:30 AM or so I printed out my term paper rough draft and went to bed.

In addition to bike racing, I visited the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden to learn something about what they do. It was pretty cool and they explained how their building is 41% more energy efficient than other federal buildings. They also showed us their many labs and office space, and areas where they rent out bays with state of the art equipment to companies to develop better solar panel technology.

Also as organic foods go, I whipped up a batch of some great apple cinnamon granola. Here is the recipe:
– 1cup rolled oats
– 1cup rolled wheat
– 1cup wheat germ
– 1/3cup flax seeds
– 1cup dried apple slices
– 1/3cup raisins
– 3tbs ground cinnamon

– 3/4cup honey, molasses, and maple syrup (it was like 3packets of Honey Stingers, 2tbs molasses, and the rest was maple syrup)
– 2tbs vegetable oil
– 1tbs vanilla extract

– mix the above oats and dry stuff; then heat up the honey, oil, and vanilla mix and pour it into the oats mix
– bake it for 15min at 350 degrees and let it cool

Happy Thanksgiving,

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