Friday, December 26, 2008

My Mac and Cheese Recipe...(kind of like OK Cafe's)

So over the past few years i've been making a Mac and Cheese recipe for all of the pot-lucks and major holiday meals.  It is, in my opinion, the best mac and cheese EVER!!!  I got it off the internet and it is supposed to be the same recipe that is used by OK cafe.
Here is the recipe (with the modifications i have made.

8 ounces of macaroni (i don't use the elbow shaped, i typically use the spirals or coil shaped noodles)
2 eggs
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon sugar
large pinch of cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 tablespoon (heaping) ranch seasoning
10 ounces of sharp cheddar cheese grated
5 ounces of monterey jack cheese grated
6 ounces of parmesan cheese grated 
I typically use the lazy(pre-shredded) cheese

pre-heat oven to 350 degrees, cook macaroni according to package, drain and set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs.  Add the milk, heavy cream, sugar, cayenne pepper, salt, ranch seasoning. mix well.  mix in the noodles and stir till they are coated.  Add in the cheese and mix until fully incorporated.  Pour into large baking dish, cover with foil and bake for 30 to 35 minutes.  Remove foil for last 5 minutes.

There ya have it.  And yes, it is as healthy as it sounds.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


The idea of a single speed bike is that it is supposed to be simple, uncluttered and open up a whole new world of freedom when cycling. None of those pesky gears to make it easier to go up hills or so you can go faster going down hill. Vast expanses of bar space for your squeaky horn or coffee cup holder. Freedom!!! and it's simple.....WHOA, not so fast, is it really simple? Maybe because you don't have to set up a deraileur it may seem simple....BUT IT'S NOT!!. The beauty of a geared set-up is the spring loaded arm on the deraileur that tensions the chain, who cares if the chainring is round...the deraileur will suck it up. Also, a standard mountain bike has vertical drop outs, there shouldn't be any question whether the wheel is straight.
In building, riding, tuning and maintaining my Single Speed bike, i have discovered that some of these items add a whole new degree of frustration to a bike that is supposed to be simple. Tolerance on Chainrings, cranksets is HORRIBLE. My chain will go from super tight to super slack in one rotation. This is even on chainrings manufactured specifically for SS use. come on folks, I'm not asking for a concentricity of .0001...but at least try to get it close so that the tension is consistent through a revoloution. Who knew this would be such an issue, before i read a blurb on the Park Tools website that pointed out that chainring manufacturers do their technical drawings with crayons and no rulers, i was struggling to figure out why the heck the chain tension on my bike fluctuated so much. I switched chainrings, rear sprocket, crankset, bottom bracket, chain....what a pain. The other thing with the SS with sliding dropouts is making sure the wheel is straight. Not really a big deal, but a regular bike doesn't have this problem. I had to break out the builder's square to get it close to centered. Hopefully everything stays put. I guess if i want a truly simple bike, i need one of those "like a bikes".

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Finally...a Muddy cross race

Today was the make-up race for the GACX series. I was orginally planning on doing this race because i wasn't making the trip to Savanah, but with my DNF, i still have a big goose egg for points in one race....shucks. Today's race was in Conyers, GA. After a beautiful day on Thanksgiving, and okay weather on Friday, it rained all day saturday. (oh, did i mention Georgia Tech beat Georgia on Saturday!!!!) It was raining this morning as Sara and I drove out to the race, so we knew it would be fun. The course had a bunch of off camber soup, with some real squishy sections, two stream crossings and some slick hills that felt like you turned the pedals twice as much as normal because the back tire was searching for traction. I finished 8th out of 17, so not too bad. I stayed upright the whole race too. :-)

Here i am making it to the top of the slick hill.

A nice after the race shot, with a close up on the muddy bike below. I finally had an excuse to wash the bike.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Oh BTW....Sara is Pregnant with Twins!!!!

GACX races 5 and 6

I feel old and tired. I think i just haven't trained as much as i have in previous years. I need to learn how to train smarter. GACX race 5 was in Blairsville, GA. It was the first hilly race, and for some reason my legs were dead. I ended up finishing 9th out of 12....OUCH. The next race was in Winder, a nice flat race with lots of tight turns on grass. 3 sets of barriers and a beach run....I thought we were only supposed to have two sets of barriers. So what if the third set were trees, if they were placed there to use as barriers, they are man made, if the tree falls across the course then they are a natural obstacle. Below are few pics that Sara took. The bottom pic is of my friend John who is trying out CX for his first time this year. GO BIG JOHN!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

When in Rome...DNF GACX race 4

I've been pretty lucky with my cyclocross races, i haven't crashed much and i haven't had a flat in a few years...knock on wood. Today made up for lost time. The course in Rome took advantage of the only hill in the area...the Levee along the river. We went up and down the hill several times and even road along the side for some up and down off camber on grass....oh joy. I made it almost through the first lap when i hit one of the sharp down hill grass off-camber turn, rolled my front tire off the rim, the wheel dug in, i flipped over the side of the bike and the guy behind me came crashing into my bike and got tangled up in it. I jumped up to get going and realized their was a bunch of grass and dirt in between the tire and rim where it rolled, my handle bars were about 70 degrees out of wack and my right shifter was messed up. I didn't want to try and force the handlebars straight with my carbon steer tube, so i had to call it a day. Next race i'll carry a multi-tool. Live and learn. I should have some nice bruises on my calves tomorrow.
On a positive note...nothing was broken on the bike.
This is right after the start....i didn't make it this far again, where the guy is re-mounting his bike is right about where i crashed the next time around.

The first time up the hill you could ride it easy, then there was a u-turn back down and another u-turn back up, I opted to run since it was just as fast, and different muscles...litte did i know my race would be over in about 30 seconds. Not finishing sucks!!! I think i might put a mtn bike in the pits next time.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


not just picking what i consider to be the lesser of two evils. It hasn't happened yet, may never happen. The problem is, when a candidate tries to please everybody...they really can't say anything. They speak in generalities and never on specifics. They also make tons of promises that they know they can't deliver on. Kind of like when you interview/accept a new job, they tell you all sorts of great things that you will be doing, and changes the company is in the process of making....only expect 20-30% of that to happen. Even though that may overly optomistic, it is usally about right.
Now we just wait and see what "CHANGES" are made and if they are good ones or bad ones. I wish there had been a candidate pushing the Fair Tax. It just doesn't get any better than that. You get all of your income and only pay taxes on what you spend, plus the government sends you a prebate each month to cover the taxes you would pay on the necessaties. Everybody wins, the poor don't pay taxes and people who don't normally pay taxes would (paying under the table, drug dealers etc) would actually end up paying taxes. Pretty sweet huh? But if we didn't have Taxes to fight about...political races would probably be dull and what would all the lobiest and IRS agents do? Oh well.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

GACX Race #3, pushing it to the limit

The third race of the GACX was this past sunday. It was a beautiful day, much warmer than it was the week before. The course was a bit different from last year, they put a HUGE!! spiral of Dumb right next to the start finish, then added a steep climb through the woods, two sets of barriers and one sandy run-up with a log at the bottom. Very long laps, we only did 5 in my race.

After the race i checked my HRM to see what the Heart was doing during the race. For 49 minutes i average 171 bpm with a max of 182 bpm. I would say i was going pretty hard. I finished 7th out of 20. Not too bad, but it sure would be nice to be able to hang with the front guys.

Here are some pics that sara took. I figured Mark would appreciate them since i made an effort to smile for the camera. Also i didn't want to look cooked again.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Getting ready for Cyclocross race 2

It's been a month since the first race of the Georgia series. there was a race two weeks ago, but it was down in Savannah and with the new house, the budget wouldn't allow it. There are 6 more races in the series so my november weekends are full.
I'm excited even though i'm just a mid pack hack, I love to race and push myself really hard. I can never push myself as hard when i am just out for a ride. Bring on the pain.
I was hoping this weekend would be really cold and give me that cyclocross feel, but it looks like the weather is warming up slightly. The masters race rolls off at 10 am so at least it will still be a little cold and maybe even a little slick with dew.

I realized that the UCI world Cyclocross Championships are being held in the one place i have been to watch a pro race before. I went to Belgium in 2003 for work and convinced Luc to take me the 30km to the cyclocross race. It was right at freezing and dry as a bone. But the beer and frites warmed me up.
I took some pics of it, they aren't very good, but maybe they can prove i was there. Look at all those people freezing their butts off to watch cyclocross.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Cyclocross has Begun - Back to my Midpack ways

The Georgia Cross series kicked off yesterday, it looks like i'm right where i left last year. I'm in the no man's land between the really fast guys and everyone else. I did have one guy that i fought with during the race. I dropped my chain during the run-up and he was able to get a good bit of distance on me, I caught back up with 2 laps to go, but he pulled away on the last lap. I guess i was tired from chasing. Oh well, 8th out of 18.
Here are some pics of me sporting the Orange Cartecay kit.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Moving and Training

Friday is the big day, Sara and I become home owners once again. The excitement is building. After 14 months in an apartment we will be free!!! Free to do all of the moving. Free to do Yardwork. Free to repaint the rooms that Sara doesn't like the color. Free.....oh well, it will a nice place to live.

I'm trying to get into shape for cyclo-cross. It's been a strange year for me and i feel like it is Feb. and not September in relation to my fitness. We shall see, maybe all of the fast guys got slower or decided to bail on cross....could happen...

I've talked a few friends into trying cyclocross this year, it should be interesting. Hopefully they will enjoy it as much as i do. they already ride a good bit so it won't be like trying to talk someone who has never even drank to try cocaine, it's more like talking a coke head into stepping up to heroin. Just try it once...come on....everyone else is doing thing you know all you can think about is your dismount and re-mount, tubular vs clincher, Dekonic vs Duvel, trying to remember how to set up Cantis.

The sad thing is there is no re-hab....unless your just a big wuss and stop riding. but that would be crazy talk.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

What's it a month or something

Phew...finally back in Georgia and taking the time for a little update:

First...I'm 98% recovered from surgery. A quick note, anytime they have to cut through the skin, don't think of it as minor surgery. (I'm going to try and avoid all types of surgery in the future if i can)

Second...Just got back from a trip to California for my friend Justin's wedding. We stretched it to 10 days and saw basically all of my and sara's family that live in California plus all of my high school friends that i still keep in touch with. Went to Yosemite, Napa, Sanoma, Monterey, Cambria, Orange county. Great it's time to start training for cyclocross so i can keep my mid pack status.

Third.... we are under contract on a new house in Jasper GA. After Sept. 30th we should have lots of room for people to stay when they come to visit. Make your reservations early.

Fourth....last time i checked my Ferratin level was down to 81...I'm going today to have it checked today. If i'm below 50 i might get to wait until Oct. to bleed again.
I'll aim to try to keep my blog more up to date.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Thunderstorm...where's my guard dog

Clap of thunder...i hear some scraping in the bathroom. For a dog that doesn't like baths, it must be mighty scarry for her to hide in the tub.

Completed 29er

Here are some pics of the complete bike. Now i just have another week or so to recover from surgery before they let me ride "vigorously" again.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Back in the 29er Game

Last year...or maybe the year before, i decided i wanted to try a 29er. I pieced together a frame, fork, tires from ebay and presto...29er. I was never happy with the fork and the aluminum frame always felt harsh. I decided i would sell the parts of the bike and put the money into something else. This year i decided i wanted to give the 29er a good honest chance. Nice Frame, good fork, quality parts. Plus i wanted to run it as a single speed with the option to upgrade to gears. I ended up going with the Voodoo Cycles Dambala, a steel frame with sliding vertical dropouts that will allow me to run one gear or switch to multi gear once i realize how foolish i was for wanting a single speed. I purchased a RockShox Reba Race to go with it, I was leaning towards the Fox, but the price difference was a little much. Plus you need to remember who is riding the bike. Mr. No Skills, like i will be pushing the limits of any fork off road, with the exception of the rider weight limit.

The frame arrived yesterday, and although i haven't had time to put it together, i did take a few minutes to throw some parts on it to make it look like a bike.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Biking to Work - Is it Free?

I've been thinking about this quite a bit lately, and who hasn't. Gas is approaching European prices and we are all looking for ways to save money. I don't know about you, but i have been known to ride a bike from time to time, so i thought that riding my bike might be a good cost saving alternative to driving the truck. (see previous post about MPG) I know i have shared this thought with a few of you, but i thought i'd post about it.

I live 21.5 miles from work. At 14 MPG and $4.79 per gallon that is about $7.35 each way for me to go to work. When i ride my bike to work my computer says that i burn over 2000 calories each way. How much food do i need to eat to get those 2000 calories back? How much does that food cost? If i didn't care about eating healthy (actually i really don't, heck, that's why i ride my bike after all....JUNK FOOD) i could buy 3 "hand spun" milkshakes from chick fil-a and that would cost me almost 10 bucks. I think those would come in aroud 2000 calories. If i want to go healthier it could be as high as 15-20 bucks for that 2000 calories.

I know, I know, i'm going to ride that 40 miles anyway, but that's not the point. What if i didn't "occasionally" jump on a bike and go for a ride? This would be a whole new expense. Plus, if i did eat only cheap food to get the calories back, would that cause digestive problems? produce gas? maybe an equivalent or greater amount than the truck. I don't see a particulate filter on my backside (does underwear count?) Maybe there is something to this "couch potato" lifestyle that i am missing. Think of the money i would save.
Wouldn't only eating 3 meals a day be soooo cool!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Visiting the N-laws

Spent a long weekend with the n-laws in Michigan. They live on a lake so even though it was a bit on the cool side for June, we forced ourselves into the water to sail and ski. Check out my awesome cycling tan lines. In some pics the contrast between my feet and calves is so great i look like i have socks on.

Friday, May 30, 2008

6.4 Litres = 1.69 Gallons....should i really expect better than 17 MPG?

Here is my new "game". I drive like an old man, easy accelerations, i do the speed limit, i brake early for stoplights in hopes that i am still rolling when it turns green. I'm trying to see how good my mileage can get with the big truck. With a 6.4 litre engine (with two turbos) there will be a limit to how good the mileage will be. Currently with my daily driving i am averaging 14.5 mpg, which is up from 12.8-13 with my old style of driving. I need to do a time/cost analisyst to see if my time is actually worth more than the 1.5 mpg and the 10mph slower on all the roads. I'm having a few transmission issues (nothing major) so i plan on taking it in next week. While it is there i'll have them update any and all programs on the truck. Maybe ford has released a program update that will improve the mileage further. I haven't done any long trips in the truck since last fall, so i am curious what the freeway mileage will be...maybe me crazy.
I'm thinking a Mini Cooper Clubman in yellow with black stripes would make a nice "drive to bike races" vehicle.

Friday, May 23, 2008


Have i told ya? I found out a little while back that i have Hemochromatosis. It basically means that my body absorbs much more Iron than normal. My older sister found out she has it back in November. I call her Iron Maiden...pretty catchy huh. It is a hereditary thing, so i had my doctor check for and...i've got it too. As far as genetic things go, this isn't bad assuming you find out early like i have. I basically have to bleed my iron level down to a low level, then go 3-4 times a year to keep the level down. If I didn't find out till i was much older, i would have started having heart/liver problems and other issues. I have given 4 pints of blood in the past 5 weeks. I've got at least 9 more pints to go to get to the low level. This makes staying fit for cycling kind of tough. I'm basically riding as much as i can to slow down the loss of fitness. Hopefully i will be done with the weeklies by July and i can start building my hemoglobin/redbloodcells/ hemocrit back up. Would this justify EPO? will my insurance pay for it? I've basically scrapped any plans i had to race this spring/summer. I just hope i can stay in shape enough for cyclocross.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Tour de Georgia Re-cap

Here are a few pics of the Tour de Georgia. I watched the first KOM on stage 5 and then went to Dahlonega to watch them finish. Sunday Sara and I went down to Atlanta to watch Stage 7.
Here is Tyler Hamilton hitting the top of Burnt Mountain, he was cooked, he looked even worse when he finished the stage
Here is the last corner of stage 5. A race in the south wouldn't be complete without Waffle house support. (I got a WH t-shirt and head band too....SWEET!)
This is the winning move going into the last turn.
Emma and Mary Anna are big cycling fans....althought i think they like hockey better.
This is what the peleton looked like all day sunday. High road was pulling the train all day...they ended up winning the stage, the race and the sprinters jersey too.
I did see Micheal Ball of Rock Racing , i wanted to get close to him to maybe hear him drop a few F bombs....but alas i didn't get near him. He was sporting a jacket with the special sunday TDG Rock racing jersey.
A good time was had by all. It is pretty cool to have a big race like this going right past where i live.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Tour Duh Georgia

It's pretty cool that even in a state like Georgia that they can put together a cycling race that attracts Pro-tour teams. I am heading out today to watch the Tour climb over Burnt Mountain. My parents live on Burnt mountain and the tour is going right past their driveway...They feel sooooEuro. I'm going up the road from their driveway a little bit to watch the race pass the KOM. No sense sitting on the downhill side...the view will be really short. Although the downhill is 18-20% and there is one corner that could cause some problems...not to mention a few nasty potholes. Good luck on the descent racers. After they pass the KOM i'm heading to Dahlonega to watch the finish. Should be fun. I'll take a few pics.

Monday, April 21, 2008



Is there a point where it would make sense to just lose the entry fee and skip a race because it will probably cost you more to repair the bike than the entry fee??? So far this year i have done two big rides and both have taken their toll on the bikes that i decided to ride. The First was De Ronde, things don't seem as smooth as they were before, but i think i can fix most of them...maybe a new chain is needed. The second was the Cohutta 65 i did this past Saturday. (The 65 is the Big Sissy version of the 100) It was a rough 6 hour slog through the mud. Driving up to the race Saturday at 4:30am it was raining pretty steady, It had rained most the night. When the race started the entire course had about 2cm of squishy mud on everything. About half of this race is single track and the other is fire road, i thought the fire roads wouldn't be that bad, but it turned out the fireroads turned into quicksand or something similar. To add to the slick fun, i learned about 4 miles into the race that my middle chainring needed to be replaced because with just a little bit of mud and slop, it started sucking. 45 miles of switching from the big to granny until, with 12 miles left, it started sucking in all gears. I stopped and cleaned as much mud as i could off, put some lube on the chain and it worked until i got to the finish. 6:03 or something like that. Here are some pics of my pretty bike...i'm thinking i will tear it down and make sure everything is okay.
Finished 21st....i think

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

I'm back and sleepy

Here are a few picks.
Stijn Devolder case you missed it.

Mark and I watched the race come up the Nokerberg before heading to Meerbeke for the finish. We did a little posing before the race came through.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sick World full of Crazy people

My neighbor knocked on my door tonight. He is a nice quiet guy, i've talked to him about cycling several times but we have never managed to ride together. He works second shift and rides his bike to work everyday, even in the dead of winter. When I answerd the door, i noticed his right eye was bruised and swollen. He said he wanted to warn me that he had been jumped by three guys while riding his bike through Jasper.
He was coming back into town on Old Hwy 5, inside the city limits near the Citgo station when a truck with three guys in it yelled something at him. I think he said they yelled the standard "get off the road" maybe with some more colorful words. He yelled back at them that they needed to give him at least 3 feet when they pass. Aparently having a cyclist explain laws/rules to these guys set them off and one of them ran at him and punched him. He fought back and then the other guys jumped out of the truck. My neighbor tried to use the first guy as a shield to block the punches from the others. I'm assuming that someone from the gas station chased them off. They stomped on his bike wheel and took off. He was able to get a partial on the plate and the clerk said that the survelence camera may have cought it. He called the police and filed a report, hopefully they catch the bastards.
Makes you wonder what these people are thinking. I try not to yell back at people when i ride...but i fail miserably. It must be the adrenalin, you feel the wind of a car coming to close and you automatically stick your arm up in the "what the hell was that gesture" (i have managed to avoid the giving the finger). Apparently even that gesture or a friendly reminder of the rules is enough to set people off.
Be careful out there!!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

RVV packet arrived's official

Got my packet today...the number for my handlebar, my punch card so i can get my certificate at the end (and a free water bottle), basic instructions with emergency phone numbers, voucher for a lottery ticket (get timmy to pick that up), and my bus pass from Ninove to Bruges.

One exciting bit is that there will be a drop point halfway through the ride that we can leave a change of clothes, extra food or whatever...bonus! One week from tomorrow we leave... I can't wait.

Hill Training for Flanders and a New Camera!!!

I'm training in the mountains for Flanders...does that make sense??? Probably not, but what are my options, I live in the friggin mountains! Yeah they aren't huge Mountains, but i know of several 5-8 mile climbs with 12-20% grades around here, and the rest of the roads are rolling. Not many Flanderish roads for me to practice long flat miles. When i was living in Belgium for those few short months my afternoon rides were mostly along the canals. Flat as a pancake, the only hills were bridges or the headwind. I'm pretty sure that i will be sore after the RVV tourist version, hopefully the weather will be okay. I'm fine with cold, but cold and wet will really suck, i'm packing clothes for either condition and we'll see what we get.

I bought a new camera with the proceeds from a bike sale. I bought a Nikon D40. After using Kevin's camera at some cross races in 2006, i've been thinking about getting one. They just work soooo much better than the point and shoot cameras. I should get some good pics from the RVV.

1 week from tomorrow i fly out....woo-hoo Bring on the beer and frites!!!

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Excitement Builds....I sure hope my legs are up for 160 miles

3 weeks from Wednesday is the departure date. I just can't wait. I've been fighting a slowly progressing cold for the past week or so. At least that is what i am blaming for my "wooden" legs. At least it is daylight savings and i can get many miles in after work. I guess i also need to get a couple of 100+ mile days in prior to my trip.

The weather wasn't cooperating this past weekend, I had all day saturday to do what i wanted.(Ride) Shortly after Sara left for her fun filled day of testing, the snow started to fall along with the temps....what the...where did the 60 degree days go damn them!!!! So i headed to the bike room to organize and ride the trainer (damn that sucks) I did get a bunch of stuff done so that is a good thing. I would have rather gone for a multi hour ride and had to walk over wheels and tires in the bike room tho.

Russell raced the enduro event yesterday at Camp Hilbert, looks like i will be wheel sucking in Belgium.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Jayson and Jenn's New Little Germ Factory

After Vegas i traveled west to visit an old high school friend in California. Jayson and his wife Jennifer downloaded their new Germ factory 3 months ago. Grace is a very sweet, mellow little baby. She didn't cry much, and she even sleeps through the night. Lucky for Jay and Jenn that they are both home to get into the swing of things. Their world turns upside down next week when Jenn goes back to work. Good Luck guys!

Saturday, March 1, 2008


I spent most of last week in Vegas for a trade show. One afternoon we left a little early and drove the 30 miles to the Hoover dam. We went on the dam tour with our dam guide and saw all of the dam sights. I can check this off of my dam list now.