Tuesday, October 27, 2009

red basecoat

I have read about it, but only recently felt it. Perhaps it was the other way around. First I felt it, then thought, "Could this be what they were writing about?"

We have both been here before. The thermometer reads warm. The humidex reads moist. The water looks blue, and the sun shines high.

Surely we have both read the numbers, but feelings are something other than numbers. Would this feeling exist without the numbers?

That's it. That's the feeling.

It's a place unique to its own, of kindred kind to our Island home.


"Ok Stevo, you're in charge of chopping up that butternut squash."

"You got it mano."

"Remember the reserved chicken fat from last nights soup stock? That's pure flavour. Two spoon fulls in the pot."

Sizzle the squash. That'll bring out the natural goodness.

"While we let that mingle, lets chop up an onion, a few apples, some celery & a carrot or two. Maybe just a little more thyme."

"Sounds good. What do you think about garlic?"

"Well, it's Autumn, so best to bring back the arsenal."

Squash comes out & is reserved. The rest of the veggies go in to soak up that butternut chicken flavour. Let 'em get friendly, then back in goes the squash along with last nights stock. SEASON.

It was now about 11:30, & I had a few pairs of skis to wax before we drove to Duntroon for this weekends training.

"This'll be about an hour or so. You have plenty of time." Said Brian.

Down to the basement where Hudson was typing away on one of his novels.

"It's smell'n pretty decent up there." Commented Hudson.

"Well, boss says it'll be ready in about an hour, so we can feast then." I replied.

I thought to myself, "Ok, I have time for a red basecoat, thank God the Vauti Green wont be for a month or two. I just hope we don't need to Klister."

BUZZ. ONE AM rolls around & I hear the final step up stairs. It's our immersion blender finishing things off.

Skis done, & soup is ready to feast.

"Good soup guys." Hudson approved.

We were happy.

Rest well.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Squash Soup . . .

What happened on Steffler drive had a lot to do with the kitchen.

It was first year with the Gryphons & I was running home after ski practice. A few blocks down the road, I heard a second set of ski poles tapping the pavement.

"I'll run with ya back to rez," said Brian. "I can catch the #12 bus back from there."

"Sweet man," I replied. "Dude, I am going to eat all the food in Mountain Caf tonight."

"Ha ha. Sounds good Stevo. My room mates are making a shephards pie right now. It'll be waiting for me when I get back."

We ran a little more as I silently thought to myself, "That's awesome. Someday, I hope I can live in a cool house like that."

At the end of 2nd year there was an opening in the infamous #94 Steffler Drive Ski Chalet. My prayres had been answered.

On evening, after a few solid roller ski sessions, and a little reading, Brian asked me if I felt like making soup.

"Totally man. I just need to finish reading this thing."

Once eight rolls around, we head out the door for some grocery shopping, & with No Frills Bags in hand, we're back by 8:30.

"Now Stevo, the first thing you've gotta know about good soup is it takes a good stock. It's all about the stock."

I took Brian's skiing & cooking words as gospel, as he seemed to be very good at both. The beginning of each and every conversation had me thinking, "Ok, this is it. Here's where he'll tell me the secret to cooking, or perhaps skiing."

This time around, we were making chicken stock. So, the chicken:

It can really be be any part of the chicken, & for stock you can usually acquire some cheap old scraps from the butcher. The back is perfect, they generally throw that out anyhow. I believe we found 4 for about 50 cents.

The pot: Make it a big one. We're making it all happen in this sucker. Throw down the backs & start 'em sizzl'n. Sizzle it up for some flavour. No need for any oils. There's plenty of fat on the meat.

The veg: a few onions, a few carrots, some celery, & if you so desire . . . Garlic. Dice 'em up. Nothing fancy here, just make 'em smaller.

The herbs: You like thyme? I like thyme. Thyme it is.


"Stevo, taste this."

"Really? Me? ok? I think it needs more of both S&P."

"I think so too."

Now we let the flavours get friendly. It's a happy pot, so we'll let 'em mingle on medium.

In goes the water. Now we let it simmer, not boil, just simmer.

"A boil will make the stock cloudy."

I thought to myself. "This is awesome. These are just the things I've been wondering about."

Ok, time to hit the books again. This'll take about 2 hours, so I have time for another good read.

"You ready to go Stevo?"

"Yep, let's give'r."

"Ok, we need to strain it first, then let it cool. Once it's cool, we collect & reserve the fat from the top."


11:30pm & we have a good chicken stock. I also have 2 chapters in the bag. Savoury.

"Ok dude, now it's time for the squash . . . ."

"Sounds good."

Rest well.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A little Thyme

All it takes is just a little thyme, a good soup stock that is.

Back to the pond, where there's a moment to ponder. Why am I doing this set right now? Well, I know why. That why's easy, & so is the other one, but why now?

It's a faster set. You know, one of those sets where you go fast. In race season fast is fun, but who cares about fast right now. It's October, & we're practicing form.

Wait a second, we're practicing fast form. Ahhhh haaa. We're practicing fast form with fatigue. The NH quotes still bounce around on flip turns.

Just a touch more practice time.

Rest well.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

first set

Lots of remembering this evening.

First, the feeling of racing. Wow. That was a bit of a shock to the system, and I LOVED it!

Ok Go? Go. Yep. Go.

The next two laps are a total blur. I think they were about 5 - 6 minute loops. That's about 12 minutes before there's time for a feeling: Wow. I'm breathing hard. That's all for now. Feeling time is over.

Two more laps, then another feeling: That's what it feels like! Carve the corners. Throw down a little body English. This time we keep the feeling. Now is feeling time.

Time for a thought: I like riding bikes.

Back to feeling time.

The flood lights soon became more and more friendly. Car lights are also handy, although a little tricky with the movement.

Last loop. Sweet finish. I love riding bikes.

The next feeling is a very special feeling.

It only comes once, maybe twice per year. Usually it's a Fall feeling, early October in Guelph, late October in Victoria.

Generally it comes on wheels. Two work well in Vic, while 4 are necessary with the Gryphons.

It happens in the evening, sandwiched between the end of class, and evening studies.

The Gryphons make it happen on the asphalt, while here in Vic we make it happen on the grass.

Both places require a helmet, but only the Gryphons ask for poles.

There's nothing quite like the first day of roller ski intervals. The cool air bleeding lung feeling will always rank among the most special. Here in Vic, we make it happen on the cross bike.

Wanna go ride bikes? Ya I do.

Rest well.

The Rumors are Right . . .

It's that time of year again!


Rest well.

Monday, October 19, 2009

It is on . . .

. . . and by that, I mean the adventure song.

Quite honestly, right now there are 3 or more sessions per week with a description as follows:
"Go have a hilly adventure! It could be 3 hours, or more if you like. Make it fun. Do something you like, just make sure it brings you happiness."

Just like that, we're past the off season, onto the on season. The only difference . . . these adventures are now scheduled. When Jalapeno & I unite as one, despite a schedule, sporadic sense stays.

Remember the dolphins? Remember those yellow fish? What about the neon blue ones with the orange fins?

Remember the salt? Remember the waves? Remember to relax.

Bring it home to our 25m pond and play.

Today began with classic SKIPS, band, and a board, then upstairs to join forces with a few honeybees on the treadmill.

Home for breakfast cake, this time of the pan variety. I love breakfast cake.

Now let's make this place more like our home. Pictures help to remember. I like pictures.

Back to the pond where I PULL. Pull helps to push. Push, pull, and play.

Oak Bay, home, dinner, Bob Marley, and bed.

I had great fun traveling around the sun this time. Thanks for a super duper year.

Rest well