Mt. Bierstadt

Mt. Bierstadt is generally considered one of the easiest 14ers to tackle. I think I’d agree with that assessment — the trailhead is very easy to drive to (paved road all the way!), it’s one of the closest 14ers to Boulder (about 1.5 hours away), and it was surprisingly calm and unexposed the entire way up. Every other 14er I’ve done (Elbert, Grays, Torreys, and Democrat) involved getting blasted with a lot more wind.

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Mt. Evans is the peak on the right, Mt. Bierstadt is on the left, and the Sawtooth connects them in the middle. Bierstadt looks intimidatingly far away from here — it was 7 miles roundtrip.

Looking back from where we came, maybe about 1.5 miles up the trail.

Looking back from where we came, maybe about 1.5 miles up the trail.

That being said, it was still no walk in the park. You could definitely feel right away that the air was thinner, and I started to get a headache pretty early on into the hike. The headache eventually got better, though I was still pretty winded going up, and a wee lightheaded at the top.

At the top of the ridge -- nearly 13,800'.

At the top of the ridge — nearly 13,800′.

It was shockingly mild at the top of Bierstadt and the wind was quite still — we spent about 20 minutes up there, eating, relaxing, and taking pictures. By comparison, we got snowed on at the top of Elbert, and the wind was so bone-chillingly cold on top of Grays and Torreys that I barely stayed for more than 10 minutes before charging onward.

At the peak!

At the peak!

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WITH ANDY!

Andy surveying his kingdom.

Andy surveying his kingdom for marmots.

8:35am: Left trailhead
11:00am: Summited Mt. Bierstadt
11:20am: Descended Mt. Bierstadt
1:10pm: Returned to trailhead

Start elevation: 11,669 feet
Maximum elevation: 14,060 feet
Net elevation gain: 2,850 feet

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Exercise data as art

Anyone who has worked out with me knows that I loooove tracking my activities — particularly my runs and my bike rides. I came across this interesting site, Made with Sisu, pulls data from RunKeeper or Strava to create these really neat visualizations of your routes:

2015

These routes are from January 1, 2015 through September 1, 2015. I’m looking forward to running the visualization again at the end of the year, to see a more complete picture of all my routes from this year. 🙂

August 2015 in food

August wound up being quite an exciting food month! Made some exciting curries and a few desserts, and went to several restaurants I’ve been wanting to go to for a while (most notably: New Saigon, Korea House, and Shine).

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perfumed spinach with dill (palak suva)

recipe: 660 Curries
notes: I’ve been wanting to make this for a while, but it’s really hard to find large bunches of fresh dill in Boulder! I didn’t end up using quite a full cup’s worth of chopped fresh dill. Ate it with some basmatic rice and a poached egg, garnished with a little dill flower. I liked this a lot and would be interested in trying it with a different chopped herb (like cilantro) that is easier to find.

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banana blondies with chocolate chips and pecans
recipe: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2006/11/blondies-for-a-blondie/
notes: Waaaaaaaaay too sweet… and for me to say that, it’s saying something! I actually think these may have upset my stomach, too. 😦 Made these with Bob’s Red Mill GF Flour, 3 mashed bananas, a 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and a 1/2 cup of toasted pecans.

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poached eggs with green beans, rice, and a chickpea miso-ginger dressing
recipe: dressing recipe loosely adapted from http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1015116-miso-dressing
notes: I subbed tahini for yogurt in the recipe. I always like miso-ginger dressings, and this one didn’t disappoint.

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garlic ginger fried rice 
recipe: none
notes: made this up as I went along… I’d been craving fried rice. Used a chicken thigh, two eggs, garlic, ginger, and sugar snap peas — garnished with some sesame oil.

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dinner buffet plate 
restaurant: flavor of india
notes: I love it when Indian restaurants have dinner buffets! We accidentally discovered that Flavor of India’s holds theirs on Wednesday nights… satisfying to eat after a bike ride.

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simple grilled potato salad with grilled lemon vinaigrette
recipe: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2015/06/easy-grilled-potato-salad-recipe.html
notes: After I was salivating over the photo in the recipe for a week, I decided to make it for a BBQ. I did leave out the mustard at the end because I felt a little hungry and lazy and all the other food was already ready to eat. I like how these came out, but next time I’d like to add the mustard so that it adds more tang.

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grilled ribs, grilled cilantro lime chicken, grilled potato salad, and grilled lemony zucchini
notes: ❤ grilled food!

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peach pie with vanilla ice cream
notes: Kyle made the pie crust, I took care of the filling. The peaches were so amazing and sweet! I eyeballed amounts of brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.

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masala dosa
restaurant: Tiffin’s
notes: I always love dosas. The dosa crepe here was just a little bit under cooked still (it was a little soft/mushy on the inside, rather than being so crisp it could shatter) but I still enjoyed it.

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new yorker sandwich
restaurant: Moe’s Bagel
notes: I woke up one morning very shortly after the triathlon with the most intense cravings for bread and cheese, so I went to Moe’s with my office mates for a bagel run. I adore smoked salmon sandwiches and this one was very satisfying… especially on an everything bagel.

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basmati rice with kimchi and avocado 
notes: Avocados were 3 for $1 at Sprouts, so I got a bunch and ate several variations on this meal. Sometimes I added a poached egg with the kimchi and avocado, and sometimes I added sausage. ❤ this base combo though!

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tarta de santiago 
recipe: http://food52.com/recipes/22940-tarta-de-santiago-almond-cake
notes: I saw that Tess had made this cake and was inspired to do the same. I was happy with the texture of the cake, given that it is gluten-free, though I thought it was a little too sweet.

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bun dac biet, che ba mau, and a banh mi sandwich 
restaurant: New Saigon
notes: I’d been wanting to try New Saigon for a long time, ever since my co-worker had raved about the food. Didn’t disappoint! I got the bun dac biet, which I almost always get at Vietnamese places… I love the combination of rice noodles + fresh veggies + herbs + grilled meat. This particular dish also came with some egg rolls, yum. The che ba mau was really delicious and sweet as well. The banh mi was good but I ate it several hours after it was made (I got it to go and split it with Kyle for dinner)… so the bread and the flavors probably aren’t as good as they could have been. Next time I go I’ll try the grilled beef, as Kathy recommended that.

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dolsot bibimbap
restaurant: Korea House
notes: Korea House is the only Korean restaurant in town. (There’s also Goody Monster in a food court, but that’s not a sit-down sort of place, and has odd hours to accommodate students.) I always love dolsot bibimbap! I took this picture after I’d mixed the contents of the bowl together — was really eager to start eating. 😉

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carne asada papas 
restaurant: Doug’s Day Diner
notes: This was so satisfying and hearty to eat after biking 30+ miles. 🙂 Mound of roasted tri tip with green and red chile and poached eggs served over a mountain of hash browns. 🙂

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mussels & clams 
restaurant: centro latin kitchen
notes: This version of mussels and clams used chorizo, beer, pasilla chile, kimchi, and orange. I always love these types of dishes… and there’s lot of yummy broth.

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fish and chips
restaurant: ella fine diner 
notes: The fish was nice — I would have preferred actual french fries (or potato wedges) instead of these very fried chips but I still gobbled everything down. Kyle got the chicken-fried steak, which I tried a bite of — I think it was a good rendition of the dish, though I just don’t think the flavors of chicken-fried steak really appeal to my palate.

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craft lager & apricot fruited belgian pale ale 
brewery: upslope brewing company
notes: I got the apricot beer, after asking what the sweetest beer on the menu was. It still wasn’t sweet enough to me (not by a long shot!) and I didn’t think it tasted very apricot-y either. 😦 I think I liked the craft lager more, as it was more drinkable.

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vibrant chicken with a spicy tomato sauce and buttery basmati rice with kale and onion
recipe: 660 Curries
notes: The rice was so good! The recipe called for the rice called for spinach but I subbed kale since that’s what I had on hand. The chicken dish was good but not as exciting because I’m so familiar with the flavor of chicken with Indian tomato-based sauces. Still very good and satisfying though, and good to eat for lunch throughout the work week. 🙂

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old-fashioned blueberry cake 
recipe: http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/oldfashioned-blueberry-cake-recipe.html
notes: This tasted rather “healthy,” though not in an unpleasant way. I ran out of molasses so I filled the remaining bit of the 1/2 cup measuring cup with maple syrup instead.

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golden turtle potion, gluten-free donut eyes, gluten-free pear coffee cake, and smoked trout with sweet potato and greens
restaurant: Shine
notes: I really liked Shine! I’ve been wanting to go to Shine since before I even moved to Boulder (I was doing restaurant research as soon as I found out I’d be relocating for work). It makes me happy that the entire menu is gluten-free. Next time I think I’ll get the eggs benedict, because it looked like that was a bit more food. 🙂

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big kahuna belly buster
restaurant: Smokin’ Dave’s BBQ and Taphouse
notes: Holy cow, this was a lot of food! This platter included a full rack of St. Louis ribs, a whole chicken, 1/2 pound brisket, 1/2 pound pulled pork, 4 large sides (green beans, baked beans, yam fries, and coleslaw), 5 pieces of cornbread, and 5 pieces of white bread. It was meant to serve 5-6 people and somehow the three of us finished it all… ahhhh, sore tummies!

One year in Colorado!

Things I’ve done in the last six months (including some that were on my list back in February):

  1. Dabbled quite a bit in gluten & soy-free cooking and baking
  2. Eaten at Pizzeria Locale
  3. Saw marmots! (Also lots of deer, elk, moose, rabbits, and some bighorn sheep)
  4. Watched several sunsets from the Continental Divide
  5. Visited Valley View Hot Springs
  6. Visited the Brainard Lake Recreation Area
  7. Gone skiing twice
  8. Visited Garden of the Gods
  9. Went up Pike’s Peak
  10. Visited Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico, and Montana
  11. Visited the Boulder Farmer’s Market
  12. Finished the Outdoor Divas Sprint Triathlon
  13. Biked a whole lot (and bought my first road bike!)

There are still plenty of other things on February’s list that I haven’t gotten to yet, and that I look forward to doing in the months to come. It’s still hard to believe that it’s been a full year since I flew over from JFK to DEN with a heavily sedated Jack  under the seat in front of me. It’s been a pretty good year for Jack, too — he’s been adjusting to the Colorado lifestyle and though it may be hard to believe, he’s even slimmed down a few pounds!

jumbo shrimp

jumbo shrimp

Triathlon!

I finished my first triathlon on Sunday! Here are all my times:

Overall: Swim                 (750 meters): T1: Bike               (12.9 miles): T2: Run               (3.1 miles):
1:48:00 0:25:19 0:03:40 0:42:47 0:01:40 0:34:33

The swim ended up being pretty terrible because I went WAY off course and easily added 200 meters to the half mile swim. I was able to make up for some of that time on the bike — really happy that I managed an average 18 mph pace! — but then lost time again while on the run. Some action shots taken on the phone:

getting out of the swim

getting out of the swim

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in T1

finishing!

finishing!

 

 

 

 

 

And here are some of the official shots:

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after party with April

April looking appropriately tough, while I try hard not to laugh

April looking appropriately tough, while I try hard not to laugh

July 2015 in food

Food! I think there were a few things I didn’t end up taking pictures of — mostly they were variations on rice and lentil porridge.

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london broil 

recipe: none, really — just rubbed with oil and spices, broiled 5 minutes one side and 4 on the other.
notes: this came out a little more well-done than I would have liked… maybe next time I’ll do 4 and 4 or maybe even 4 and 3.5 or something. It was still a tiny bit pink in the very center, but was generally a little overcooked. Also, broiling sets off my fire alarm. 😦

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gumbo

restaurant: avery brewing co.
notes: This was the large size bowl — I didn’t take a picture until I was a little over halfway done. Was pretty good, but I think I’ve made better gumbo. 😉

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blueberry crumb bars
recipe: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2008/07/blueberry-crumb-bars/
notes: I’ve made these before (with all purpose flour) and I saw in the recipe notes that several people had successfully made them gluten-free so I thought I’d give that a shot. I was pretty disappointed with the results — they were WAY too soft and crumbly. People had said that they subbed the 1.5 cups of flour (if making a half batch) with 1 cup of a gluten-free flour blend and a 1/2 cup of almond flour… but I didn’t think this really worked. It was tasty enough, but really needs more tweaking if I’m going to make this again gluten-free.

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sweet-hot basmati rice with poached eggs
recipe: 660 curries
notes: the recipe for the rice came from 660 curries… several people had said online that they really enjoyed this rice and I very rarely make seasoned rices (I just make a pot of plain rice to accompany a more jazzy curry) so I wanted to see what this one was all about. I liked it a lot — was very good with a curry (see the next post), with poached eggs, or just plain. I did not have dried thai red chiles so I used Kashmiri chiles instead, which are less spicy so I think my rice was a little less spicy and it was supposed to be.

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bacon wrapped dates
recipe: preheat oven to 400 degrees. take a pound of bacon, cut each strip into 1/4 length pieces. wrap a date (we used pitted deglet noor dates) in a piece of bacon, pin with a toothpick, place on cookie sheet. bake for about 30 minutes (we started checking at about 20 minutes) until bacon is cooked through.
notes: really addictive and so simple to make!

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speakeasy steak sandwich 
restaurant: mountain sun
notes: I like this more than Mountain Sun’s burrito but less than the Date Night burger. Still really good though — can’t go wrong with a steak sandwich.

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oven-roasted st. louis style ribs 
recipe: loosely adapted from lots of things found online — I think I basically just took ~3.5 pounds of St. Louis-style ribs and slathered them in about 1.5 cups of BBQ sauce. I can’t remember what the oven was set at — maybe 350 degrees? Roasted for 2.5 hours, basting the meat with the sauce every 30 minutes.
notes: They’re ribs! And they came out quite tender and nice. Maybe next time I’ll actually make my own BBQ sauce (instead of using a store-bought type for convenience)… and maybe I’ll try a rub as well. But still, they were very satisfying, especially after a long bike ride earlier in the day. They were good with a side of cabbage leaves to soak up some of the richness of the meat and the sauce. 🙂

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tacos: carnitas and al pastor 
restaurant: la choza
notes: Delicious! My favorite tacos thus far in Boulder… and at 4 for $7, they are appropriately priced for tacos as well. 🙂 (The dish on the left are nachos.)

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huevos rancheros
restaurant: cobbler restaurant (Dubois, WY)
notes: This dish was MASSIVE. I wish it had a bit more flavor to it — there was a lot of pork & potatoes, but it was a little bland (I basically used every condiment on the table to try and season it up some more). The over-easy eggs were nicely done, and the other plus-side is that this restaurant is just about the only place open at 6am for breakfast in Dubois… good to know for future reference.

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strawberry crisp bars
recipe: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2014/05/strawberry-rhubarb-crisp-bars/
notes: I made these with Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flour in place of the all purpose, left out the rhubarb (didn’t have any), and lime juice instead of lemon. They were definitely best when they were chilled because they held together better as actual cookie-like bars… but they still made a decent road trip snack.

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reuben sandwich 
restaurant: dornan’s chuckwagon
notes: I like pastrami and I like reuben sandwiches.

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fish burrito

restaurant: illegal pete’s (pearl street location)
notes: Fish!!!! In a burrito!!! I really wanted to try a fish burrito when I was in Victoria last year, but the fish burrito truck was closed. 😦 So excited I got to try a fish burrito!! I really like the fish, though I’d like it if there was a bit more salt and lime. 🙂

July hikes, bikes, and other miscellaneous things

I’m collecting all my smaller outdoor adventures  into one post, since I generally don’t take a ton of pictures while doing them and they’re not always “epic” enough to warrant a full post. 🙂

Royal Arch

Date: 7/2
Distance: 3.5 miles
Notes: Completed in 1 hour 57 minutes, including a little stop at the top. Royal Arch was actually a little more impressive than I was expecting… it’s quite a large arch! There was also quite a crowd at the top, as there were a lot of people on the trails that day due to the holiday weekend.

panoramic view from Royal Arch (it was a little too difficult to take a proper picture of the Arch itself)

panoramic view from Royal Arch (it was a little too difficult to take a proper picture of the Arch itself)

Garden of the Gods 
Date: 7/4
Distance: ~4 miles
Notes: Completed in 1 hour 23 minutes. I only started tracking this hike after we’d been hiking for about a half mile, so my tracker says 3.6 miles but I think it was closer to around 4.

garden of the gods

garden of the gods

view of pike's peak from garden of the gods

view of pike’s peak from garden of the gods

Pike’s Peak & Monument Lake
Date: 7/4
Notes: After hiking around in Garden of the Gods, we drove up Pike’s Peak and walked around at the top. Not a hike, but the view from the top is always amazing. After Pike’s Peak, we went to Monument, CO for a BBQ and paddleboated around the lake there.

14,114' in the air! You can see the remnants of the storm that rolled through to the right of the picture.

14,114′ in the sky! You can see the remnants of the storm that rolled through to the right of the picture.

Paddleboating with Andy!

Paddleboating with Andy! (Andy got thrown in the lake, hence the wet chest. 🙂 )

Boulder to Ward, via Lefthand Canyon 
Date: 7/5
Distance: 48.8 miles
Notes: Longest bike ride that I’ve done, to date! (This record got broken later this same month by my ride in the Tetons.) Also the longest climb — we went from 5,328′ to 9,154′ for a total of 3,826′ in elevation gain. Whew! According to Strava, the first 16.5 miles from Altona to Ward is a 4% average grade, but the last 1.5 miles is a 10% grade.

left hand creek, on the way up towards ward

left hand creek, on the way up towards ward

at the top of the climb, in ward!

at the top of the climb, in ward!

NCAR Hill Climb (take ii)
Date: 7/9
Distance: 12.24 miles
Notes: This was my second time up NCAR — the first time I ever biked it was on 4/12, almost three months prior. I made significant improvements this time around! It felt just as hard the last time, but that’s because I was pushing myself harder — here are some comparison stats:

4/12/2015 7/9/2015
NCAR from Broadway & Table Mesa: 0:29:21 0:23:15
NCAR descent: 0:06:29 0:02:51
Average speed:  8.7mi/h 11.7mi/h
Max speed: 21.7mi/h 34.0mi/h

The average speed is probably not very accurate to compare, because I used a different route to *get* to NCAR in April (we took a long way around from the Bobolink Trailhead). The max speed in both instances, however, were from my NCAR descent. Looking forward to seeing how much I continue to improve! My next goal is to get to NCAR from Broadway & Table Mesa in under 20 minutes.

a photo of NCAR, but from a run in April. I didn't take any pictures while on the ride, but wanted to have a photo...

a photo of NCAR, but from a run in April. I didn’t take any pictures while on this month’s ride, but wanted to show a bit of the road up.

Gross Reservoir 
Date: 7/18
Distance: 2.2 miles
Notes: Distance-wise, this wasn’t much of a hike. We were actually trying to do the Forsythe Canyon hike, but the road to that trailhead was very rough and there was a sign up saying, “The road ahead requires a 4WD vehicle and VERY high clearance! Avoid high towing fees and TURN BACK NOW!” So, we ditched that hike and just parked at the main reservoir parking lot area and did the little trail that travels along the reservoir beach instead. It was so nice! Relatively shaded, lots of wildflowers, and not over-run with people. What more could you ask for?

Gross Reservoir

Gross Reservoir

Counter-clockwise Hygiene loop, with a detour to Rabbit Mountain  
Date: 7/19
Distance: 43.4 miles
Notes: This was my first long bike ride with my new bike! I averaged 14.1 mph — was kinda hoping to finally get to 15mph, but it’s overall still better than what I’ve done in the past — the week before, I rode the clockwise loop to Hygiene on my old bike and did 31.1 miles at an average pace of 13.95 mph.) Also, this was my first long ride with my new bike saddle… and I finally understand why people talk about how riding hurts butt bones. Ow!

at the top of Rabbit

at the top of Rabbit

Jamestown 
Date: 7/29/15
Distance: 27.6 miles
Notes: I’d been thinking of trying to find a riding buddy for a while — and when I saw that someone on the interwebs looking for a lady cycling partner in Boulder, I jumped on it. She said that she averages about 13 mph and we were right on pace — my average speed for the ride was 13.2 mph. From Highway 36, Jamestown is 8.2 miles away at an average grade of 3%. It certainly felt like a climb, and at times was a little tough, but felt very do-able and I didn’t have to stop at all for a break on the way up! We didn’t linger too long in Jamestown because sunset was swiftly approaching — next time I’d like to take a nicer picture that captures how pretty the route is.

James Creek

James Creek

Evolution in bikes

Almost exactly four years ago, I bought my first bike — this steel frame, 10-speed mixte:

19" steel frame, 10-speed mixte

“Shadowcat”

I bought it on July 14th, 2011 in Cambridge, and was so excited about it because I had just learned to ride… but alas, I didn’t use it for very long. I rode it around a Trader Joe’s parking lot several times late at night for practice and a few times along Memorial Drive for Recreation Sundays… and then about a month later I moved to NYC and never once rode at all in the city.

Then in late October 2014 I bought my second bike, the first one that I truly rode on! This Scott Santa Cruz 21-speed commuter:

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“Purple Bike”

I’ve loved this purple bike very much… though admittedly, most of the love comes from the fact that it is purple. 😉 I’ve made so many strides and done so much with this bike:

  • I commute to work daily via bike
  • I now know hand signals!
  • I can take one hand off the handlebars and push up my sunglasses
  • I can take a drink of water from my water bottle cage and set it back (while still riding!)
  • I’ve gone on the longest bike rides of my life (30-50 miles)
  • I’ve gone up all sorts of hills

The last two bullet points are what got me wanting to upgrade to a different bike — one that is better suited for distance riding and hill climbing. I’d been casually eyeing listings on Craigslist when earlier this week I came across this deal:

Scattante carbon 30-speed road bike

“Toothless”

It’s a carbon bike! And before I added a fender and saddle bag to it, it only weighed 19.8 pounds… about 10 pounds lighter than my previous bike. I’m a little sad it’s not purple, but I still think it’s pretty. 🙂 I’ve taken it on short rides (12-15ish miles) so far this week — looking forward to going a bit longer this weekend. So excited to go places with my new bike!

Indian Peaks Wilderness: Pawnee Pass (12,541′) & Pawnee Peak (12,943′)

I ❤ the Indian Peaks Wilderness so much!

we saw so many moose while driving to the Brainard Lake Recreation Area!

we saw so many moose while driving to the Brainard Lake Recreation Area!

the view about 15 minutes into the hike

the view about 15 minutes into the hike

there was still some snow up there!

there was still some snow up there!

Andy going in for a lick!!!!

Andy going in for a lick!!!!

Pawnee Pass was very windy

Pawnee Pass was very windy

panorama at Pawnee Pass

panorama at Pawnee Pass

on top of Pawnee Peak!

on top of Pawnee Peak!

❤ TWO MARMOTS HANGING TOGETHER ❤

view of Long Lake on the way back down -- such a deep sapphire blue

view of Long Lake on the way back down — such a deep sapphire blue

just another beautiful thing on the side of the trail

just another beautiful thing on the side of the trail

selfie because we barely encountered any other people on the trail to take a picture

selfie because we barely encountered any other people on the trail to take a picture

ANDY IS SO HAPPY

ANDY IS SO HAPPY

Total distance: 9.1 miles
Total time: 6 hours 30 minutes (started at 7:30am, summited at 11am, left the peak at 11:20am, returned to the trailhead at 2pm.)