13.4 miles. Not my hardest ride or the longest time I have spent riding, but my furthest distance. Solo. The thing about riding solo is that I am not fighting to keep up. I am around no one. It’s me and the brisk morning air for miles. And I thought for some reason you may care to know what it’s like in this koko for cocopuffs mind of mine.
- Mile one is pretty boring. I push hard to stretch my legs and work out the soreness left from yesterdays workout.
- Mile two is the same, just peddling to pedal. My mind doesn’t zone out and I am aware of the horse people everywhere, the people walking their dogs without leashes and that I need to not be pointy toed when I pedal.
- Mile three marks the start of the up hill grind back to the parking lot. I gear down and remind myself that I am never going to be able to hang with the boys if I slow down.
- In mile 4 something in my brain clicked and I got pretty nasty with myself. “Yo, fatty, climb this hill.” I start talking myself into two laps as well, you know, the mean version of myself. “You’re going to do two laps and I don’t want any girly crying either”
- By mile 5 that negative drill sargent has turned into a positive trainer and is telling me I am about to make the soft gravel hill my bitch. Yes, that is really how I talk to myself.
- At the top of mile 6 I start to tell myself that two laps can happen tomorrow. That 6.6 miles is ok and that I can quit, but as my car becomes more then a tiny dot in the distance, I push past it and start in on round two.
- I’ve passed my car and am now pushing to make the time I have set for myself. My legs have warmed up, my lungs are open, and a second lap isnt nearly as hard as the first. It’s not as fast as the first either, but at this point, its hard not be proud of yourself for going twice the distance that you would have loathed last year.
- I take on a water crossing at full speed and win. This means nothing to you if you don’t know how steep some of these down hills are, or how hard the climb back up is, and how terrifying the jagged rocks in the middle make that tiny stream look. But it’s a great achievement for me. Before I had clip-less pedals, I road through everything. I was like a kid on a rainy day with mud puddles. But something about being strapped into your bike with little metal teeth and no escape route changes how you handle certain things. Or at least it did for me. Suddenly, I would slow down over water crossings, consider my path, and walk through the places I would have previously splashed through. Getting back into the just barrel through it frame of mind has been a great work in progress.
- I’m pretty sure I’m lost because this no longer looks like a maintained trail, but more like run off. I slow down and try to figure things out a bit but enjoy the cut through the trees.
- Here’s when I get amusing, or at least in my own head I am. I finally start to zone out and think about the 22 tabs I have open for Williams Sonoma and how I want to spend my gift certificate, Victoria Secret, show shopping and anything else that comes to mind. I start thinking about this post, and how ridiculous it is that I chat with myself while out on the trails. At the end of mile 10, I run into a tractor that seems to be doing nothing other then throwing up large clouds of gravel dust that I can’t see through and sting my eyes.
- Still lost in conversation with myself, I start contemplating my next project.It’s a hilarious idea (or was when I was out of water and sweaty. I hope I can make it happen). See a lady with a dog who I recognize from previous rides and consider carrying milk bones on me. Envision myself being chased by random unleashed dogs across and field and quickly decide that’s not a great plan.
- Start to get pumped that I decided to take on two laps today. There were a few soft patches that I walk over because I almost went face first into them last time, but other then that feel great.
- I see the marker that lets me know my trusty car is right around the corner and start to pedal homeward. When I get to my car I’m awake, pumped and ready to take on the day. Great start.
Next week I may even push myself to three laps. That is if I’m not too busy building an arc first.
Brown Sugar Brandy Ice Cream
- 6 egg yolks
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1/4 cup brandy*
Whisk the egg yolks and brown sugar together in alarge bowl. Set aside.
Combine the cream and milk in a medium sized, heavy bottomed pot. Slit the vanilla pod in half in lengthwise with a sharp knife. Scrape out the paste with the back of your knife. Add the vanilla pod and paste to the pot. Cook the mixture over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture just starts to bubble around the edges.
Remove the pot from the heat. Cover and let the mixture infuse for 15-20 minutes. Remove the vanilla pod and discard. Warm the mixture again on the stove until steaming.
Slowly drizzle it into the beaten egg mixture, whisking constantly. Return the combined mixture to the pot. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it registers 170 degrees F on a candy thermometer and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Remove the pot from the heat. Strain into a large bowl. Whisk in the brandy. Cool in an ice bath, whisking frequently to lower the mixture’s temperature. Refrigerate until completely chilled, about 4-6 hours.
Process mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Transfer to a container and freeze overnight.
*To be honest, the recipe called for bourbon, but I didn’t have any so I made due. That is all.