Sunday, September 27, 2009
Jak and I ride rather regularly with our friends Chris and Joe, who in normal life are Captains Myers and Patterson of the MP Brigade. While we would not normally advertise hanging around MP's (Military Police), they are wicked cool and fun to hang around with. After many attempts, they finally got us to go to a race with them this weekend down at Hohenfels. This area is normally known in the military community as an area in which to conduct miserable training (MSG Surratt sank a tank there), but the terrain is perfect for Mountain Biking. Considering it was the USAREUR championships this weekend, we really could not pass up the invite to ride. Kind of like Jak cannot pass up the chance to criticize my grammar and spelling as I write this. Anyway, long story short, we went down and Jak, Joe and I raced. Chris was out with a pulled back, though we are sure this is just a symptom of him being old and a West Pointer (Sarcasm). The course was a 3.5 mile lap that went down some awesome single track, went up a God-awful climb, wend down an even more awesome single track featuring a giant hole (more on that later) than took a long fire road climb to the start area. In the women's race, Jak did 5 laps of that and managed to fall into the giant hole only once! Despite the short detour to the center of the Earth, Jak took home the win in the Open Women category by a comfortable margin. In the men's race, I started off with the leaders before realizing that the leader was a 19 year old German prodigy on a 16 pound bike who apparently does nothing but train and inject EPO. Soon after that realization, my legs exploded, spraying the surrounding area with shrapnel and killing many of my opponents. Not really, my legs did explode and propel me back to the middle of the pack. By lap 3 my legs had come back to me, and by lap 5 I was back up higher in the rankings, crossing the line just in time for the German Prodigy to lap me for a second time as he won. This lapping coincided with my finishing my water and Nutri Grain as a hard bonk set in, leaving me to complete the remaining two laps with visions of Coke and Sugar Plums dancing in my head. Don't ask me where the Sugar Plums came from, or even what a Sugar Plum is, I was just really hungry. Though my body was now against me, I managed to finish with a respectable 3rd Place in the Men's Open, though many of the Master's smoked me. It was a great time, and Joe rode an amazing race to get 5th in the Masters, smoking me as well in the process. Much fun was had by all, and we retired to Grafenwoehr to consume large quantities of Mexican Food.
On Sunday, Operation Home Brew reached its second critical phase as we racked the beer into the secondary fermenter. We sampled a little and it tastes good, even though it has another week until bottling, and another week after that until normal drinking. At the risk of courting disaster, I think we may have a pretty good beer on our hands.
Throughout all of this, Aaron Burr was having a rare attack of well-behavedness. We are required by law and his threats of continuing cuteness to add this picture.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
So there are times (cough all the time cough) when a husband relies on their wife. Recently, if you can count a post a month as recent, I have been relying on Jak to keep you all in the loop as to our lives and adventures. Finally, I am taking the reigns for a little of the ride and writing myself!Okay, so what things are new. . .I am now the rear-detachment commander for the 23rd Ordnance Company, so it is nice to finally be back to the fields I belong in, which is awesome. We are selling my car to make way for what will hopefully be a Land Rover Defender. It is not going far, our neighbor and MP riding buddy extraordinaire is buying it off of us. But the most important change is that Jak and I finally broke down and started brewing beer. When we were home we had gotten the kit and all necessary equipment and tonight we brewed! It was a lot of fun, really easy, and we didn't destroy the house, cause the fire department to show up, or cause any international incidents. On other sides of the fermenting yeast fronts, Jak has been baking up a storm to support the bread side of our bread and soup diet. I am considering checking the Kukla and Fifield lines for any mixing of Goldsteins to possibly explain how amazing her Challah bread is. Her beer breads are equally fantastic, and the cinnamon raisin bread is to die for. We have to limit ourselves on the bread intake for fear of totally defeating the diet part of this whole plan. It is awesome.
We are also finally taking a step or metaphorical pedal stroke back into the competitive arena with a mountain bike race this weekend and in a couple of weeks the beginning of our Cyclocross season. At this point, I really don't have much else to say than to send our love and to promise to write more.
Nathan and Jak
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
No, I did not make a catnip bread, no matter how much the cats would have liked it! This weekend Nate and I had a relaxing time (we went to bed accidentally at 7:15 on Friday night) getting chores done and riding our bikes. After falling asleep reading very early on Friday evening, we awoke about 12 hours later to some rigorous house cleaning. After a busy week with very little time at home, it was some good stress relief! This allowed me to spend some much needed baking time as well, whipping together a beer bread with some home-made brew from our friend Ted, a co-worker of mine. Being exciting folks that we are, we moved on to raking leaves, and pulling out the plants in our garden that were either on their way out, or just plain not going to make it after the first frost. We had a relaxing dinner with Ted and Ashley at our favorite Chinese place (much cleaner than back home!). Our Saturday ended with watching some documentaries from the library (if you haven't seen it, see National Geographic's "Ambassador: inside the Embassy")
Sunday was a far more exciting day, complete with some catnip crazy cats. I recently purchased the pair a new litter box online, and decided to get a couple toys too while I was shopping. The litter box (Booda Cleanstep Dome) has been great for keeping out pet odors and has decreased litter tracking by a ton! It has a neat little stairway too, that looks like the cats are boarding a space shuttle and not going in to do their business! I digress... anyway, I gave the cats this little flashy lizard catnip toy, and holy moley, it was so funny. As soon as the hubby gets home (he was stuck in a 4 hour Stau today and is still trying to make it home from the K-Town area) I will post the video and pictures I took. While watching the cats be truly funny, I also had time to whip up a Challah bread. I was amazed how well it puffed up, yet remained surprisingly moist! I may be a loser, but I truly enjoy baking bread, and Nate truly enjoys eating them! Luckily for us, prior to gorging ourselves on bread, we had ridden a few hours with our friend, Chris. Anyway, I shall end this disjointed post. I love you all!
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Alright, we appologize for the length of time since we have last posted. Not too much has happened. Nate got a new job working for 23rd Ordnance Company, where he is the rear detatchment commander. We spent some time hiking, most notably climbing the Zugspitze, the tallest mountain in Germany at about 10,000 feet. That was miserable, but not every hike can be a good one! We went home to NH and the other New England states for a bit where we hiked, ran, and generally enjoyed the North Country. We spent time visiting family and friends in the flatter regions of New England before heading back over to Deutschland. The cats enjoy having us home again and it has been nice to settle back into life here.
This weekend has been spent doing many things which include a ton of baking, walking, and cyclocross riding. We completed our first sourdough bread from a starter we made as soon as we returned home. Although I would count myself a bread specialist when it comes to baking, I had yet to delve into starter doughs. It was a success, as was the brown sugar raisin loaf, and the Sam Adams beer bread (surprisingly sweet and buttery!). We have also been spending time preparing our meals for the week, as we have taken a page from my mother's book and gone for a soup diet. Miller purchased a new cookbook with all different varieties of soup, and we have been enjoying experimenting with them. The only failing I could see in this plan, is the only way I can eat soup consistently is with a large amount of home-made bread as a side. We will see how it works. We have been enjoying the early fall weather to ride our cyclocross bikes on all of the dirt roads and farm paths in the area. We will try to keep everyone update more frequently!