A blog for (semi) athletic middle-aged men (and women) holding on to (the last vestiges of) their youth
by training for and competing in running, cycling, swimming and triathlon events!

Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2008! We said goodbye to 2007 and rang in the new year last night at a friend's house here in the Meadows of Castle Rock. It was a fine end to our first full year in Colorado and capped off a week of fun and fellowship with family and friends.

My parents arrived in Denver early on Christmas Eve morning and left early New Year's Eve morning (is that an oxymoron?). They were here about 5.5 hours short of a full week. But it was a full week, filled with good food (lots of beef, of course!) and family visits.

More on family later, let's talk food! The crowning meal was Christmas dinner, featuring a bountiful beef rib roast. If you've never tried a beef rib roast for Christmas dinner, it's time to start a new tradition!

[At Left: That's me, trimming some of the excess fat off the roast. This is an important step in preparing the roast for the oven.]

If you think cooking a rib roast is a big ordeal, it's nothing compared to a turkey. Besides, who needs another turkey so close after Thanksgiving? Beef makes this special meal even more memorable (and it doesn't taste like chicken!)

I cook rib roasts following the directions on BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com -- only I substitute Roasted Garlic Peppercorn CharCrust for the rub you can make in this recipe. It's easier and adds wonderful flavor to the roast.

[Above: the carved roast sits on the table ready for the feast. Also pictured: Leslie's cheesy corn and roasted balsamic sweet potatoes.]

The one other deviation I recommend is top pull the roast when the meat thermometer registers 125F (instead of 135F). But be sure to let the roast set for at least 10 minutes -- this seals in the juices and the internal temp will climb another 10F to 135F for a perfect medium rare.

OK, enough about beef. Back to family. In addition to my parents, we welcomed to our house (at one time or another this week) two of my mom's brothers and their families and a cousin on my dad's side of the family -- that's two uncles, two aunts, eight first cousins (including in-laws), nine first cousins once-removed and two first cousins twice-removed.

[Above (from left): my mom with my Aunt Phyllis and Uncle Charlie; Below (from left): my first cousins (once removed) Austin, Marissa and Eric]

The family tree grows bigger every year. And I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to spend the holidays with so many of them.

And later this week I will spend time with two of my brothers, a nephew, and two other first cousins (on my mom's side) rooting on the Kansas Jayhawks at the Orange Bowl in Miami!

More to come on that adventure...


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Snow Run

I went for a 4.5 mile run this morning in about 4" of snow that fell yesterday. It was quite cold (average temp 14.9F!) but sunny and beautiful. I saw a coyote running through the snow-covered Meadows. Wish I had my camera with me!

Below is an interactive Google map of the run, as recorded on my Garmin Forerunner 305 and logged on MotionBased. Click on "Sat" for a satellite view (obviously taken several years ago before many of the roads and houses in my neighborhood were built). Click on "Ter" for a terrain map. You can also zoom in or out. Pretty cool, eh?

Still looking for the perfect last minute gift for the runner in your family? I love my Garmin Forerunner...and they are now available online for under $200!

View Larger Map

Friday, December 14, 2007

Can I Get a Witness?

On September 22, as I was lying on my back on the pavement at the intersection of Foothills and Willow Run Drives, a woman standing over me said, "I saw the whole thing and will stay here to give a report to the police." My assumption at the time was that she was telling me that she knew the driver of the car was at fault in the collision that left me lying on my back in the middle of the intersection.

But when I asked Officer Friendly of the Castle Rock Police Department about the witness, he told me that he talked to a woman at the scene but "she didn't see anything." Turns out he was wrong.

Imagine my surprise when my insurance company, Progressive, called to tell me they had completed their investigation into the accident and they disagreed with the conclusion of the drivers insurance company (that it was my fault). In fact, they had talked to a woman who corroborated my account of the accident. Apparently the woman who I had seen standing over me was not an angel I imagined in my pain-induced state...she was a witness!

My lawyer was also pleasantly surprised to learn that there was a witness in my case. After I told him about my call from Progressive, he sent a letter to the claims rep handling my case, asking for a transcript of the witness' statement, saying...
"We are pleased that you are in agreement with our contention that Allied’s insured [the driver] bears the liability for this accident. I am hopeful that a more experienced and knowledgeable set of eyes will look at this file soon so that they do not force your insured [me] into expensive and time-consuming litigation over what would otherwise be a fairly simple claim."
My lawyer also sent a letter to the Allied Insurance representative...
"It is my understanding that your preliminary investigation has led you to the conclusion that your insured [the driver] was not at fault for the above-referenced collision. I will be providing you with additional information and authority as to why that conclusion is erroneous. I devote a substantial amount of my practice to the representation of cyclists who fall victim to auto accidents. It appears that the investigating officer has led you astray with respect to the rules of the road as they relate to this collision."
I love my lawyer.
"Our goal will be to resolve this matter with you without the need for litigation. If, however, you are entrenched in your liability denial, please let me know so that we may proceed accordingly."
Stay tuned to DDublog for more developments on my case...


Sunday, December 2, 2007

'Tis the Season...for Beef!

Today we headed out for our annual Christmas Tree Hunt. I'm not talking about a hunt through the basement for the tree-in-a-box...or through the local Boy Scout troop's roadside pre-cut tree stand. We prefer real Christmas trees...and we prefer to cut our own.

Cutting our own tree has been a family tradition for several years. A Sunday afternoon trip to the Christmas Tree farm outside Olathe, KS. Until we moved to Colorado last year and moved into our new home in the middle of the Great Blizzard of '06! We were lucky to have a small evergreen plant to decorate last year.

But we resumed the tradition this year. Living in Colorado you'd think there'd be plenty of cut-your-own Christmas Tree farms around. So we Googled "Colorado Christmas Tree Farms" and found one listed in Douglas County called "U-Cut Tree Farm." So we headed out with great anticipation on a beautiful bright sunny but cold December day to find the perfect tree.

Now, I'm no Clark Griswold, but I had hoped for something a little more picturesque than the U-Cut Xmas Tree Farm in Franktown. Other than the incredible views of Pikes Peak in the distance (just to the left of Shelby's right elbow in the picture above), the "tree farm" consisted of 10 acres of scraggly pines that make Charlie Brown's tree look good. Seriously. But we made the best of it and found one that looked like it needed a good home and cut 'er down, straped 'er on and drove 'er home.

We got home just in time to watch the KU men's basketball team beat the USC Trojans in Los Angeles. In between watching the game we had fun trying to find my brother Jon, his wife Betty and their children Alex, Brandon, and Kristina among the crowd. It wasn't too hard because they were sitting with my cousin Wiley and his kids, Preston and Becca four rows behind the KU bench!

[Above, from left: Kristina, Wiley, Jon (black shirt) congratulate KU coach Bill Self after an impressive road win over the USC Trojans]

Anyway, we spent the rest of the afternoon putting up the tree, outdoor Christmas lights and the cresche my grandmother Angell hand-painted (she made one for each of her four children and 12 grandchildren). Each year we take turns placing the figurines the way we think they should be arranged (who gets a better seat at Jesus' birth, the three kings, sheperds or animals?).

This year I made sure the animals got a front seat. And of course the bovine earned a special place next to the manger with Mary and Joseph!

This prompted my daughter to start crafting a new version of the Christmas story entitled, "Jesus' First Steak." I kid you not.

After all, the beef industry has been very very good to us this past year. So to top the day off we sat down to two tasty Omaha Steaks top sirloin steaks for dinner...compliments of my brother Jon. Thanks, bro!