Thursday, 28 October 2010

It was all so green

"Because you killed him and put him in the cold, cold ground?" Actually, it hadn't been all that cold but I felt I was due a little artistic license. My mind soared and swooped, way above everything. I could see so much! I felt like God. This was fun.
Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris

How come it feels so good to get home again and yet it sucks at the same time? Why do some of my most favourite people have to be so far away? And why does my backlog of photos never stop growing?! Oh well! We'll get there...eventually.

Anyway, you might be pleased to know that I am still in one piece. I did not fall down a 12 metre cliff and neither did I get a stick through my front wheel and come off breaking my sternum or ribs. I left those adventures to others in the team!

I did, however, ride for 25 hours (that's 9 days in a row of racing and training), get some wicked cuts and bruises from crashing into rocks, fell off my bike in a bog and got completely submerged and spent more than 2 hours cleaning the mud off my bike and shoes only to find NZ customs in a relaxed mood.

I laughed so hard that I thought I might explode, got attacked by a magpie ( can see where the beak of the bird wedged into my helmet!), lazed in the spa pool and learnt more about bikes in 9 days than I ever had in the last 3 years of riding. When I finally get a chance, there'll be more info about the trip up
here if anyone is interested.

Oh, and I also managed to eat some pretty good food. I didn't photograph most of it (like the awesome vegan lasagnas that got whipped up for us non-meat eaters one night) because I am a bit slack but rest assured, you will not go hungry even in small towns in Australia (I found tofu, both plain and marinated, veggie burgers, oat milk and all sorts of other staples in every supermarket I went to).

This is the only photo of food that we actually cooked. This was our second night in Mt Gambia and there were three of us girls cooking together in our little unit. We were lazy and bought pre-prepared stir-fry veggies since we were traveling the next day.

Next stop was a farmstay not far out of Carisbrook. It had the most awesome kitchen where we would cook up communal meals each night. Down the road in Marybourgh there was a cafe (Legendz) that could make soy milkshakes. After a hot day out in the forest I couldn't think of anything better!

It was thick, cold and delicious...and I drunk it so fast that I got a headache!

Food-wise, Daylseford was when it got exciting. We'd just arrived and were mulling around town whist some people were sussing out somewhere good for coffee when one of my team mates spotted a sign outside one of the cafes saying it was vegetarian and vegan.

My first trip (we went twice) to the
Himalaya Bakery I got a mini chocolate cake and organic cola.

I also got an apple and cinnimon scroll to take away with me too (oh, and later on I got one to eat on the plane home too...they were big and deliciously filling).

Our first night we all went out to dinner at the
Old Hepburn Hotel. I got a veganised version of the vegetable and kidney bean nachos which was pretty good but I could have done with more bean mix and less corn chips. It didn't last all that long though (riding every day makes you hungry...and incredibly tipsy on one bottle of alcoholic ginger beer and therefore your table's entertainment for the evening)!

Saturday night was the social function at a pub down the road. Food was catered but I'd organised in advance for a meal to be provided for me. They ended up changing their vegetarian dish to make it vegan which I thought was pretty curry with tofu and tempeh. Not anything flash or amazing but it filled me up and, quite frankly, I was hungry so as long as it was edible I wasn't really fussed.

And for dessert they served me a big bowl filled with grapes and strawberries. Everyone else at my table was jealous and I had to fight them off!

After our final race we went into town again for lunch and boy did I need food by then...desperately (after nearly 3 hours of mountain biking I was pretty desperate)! I managed to convince over half the team to join me at the Himalaya Bakery again! Everyone had to agree the food was really good.

I got the open veggie burger (I think it was made from lentils). It was good. So basically, if you find yourself near
Daylesford, go here. I really recommend it.

For our final night we went out to the
Jasmine Thai Restaurant in Hepburn Springs. Items on the menu that could be veganised were clearly labelled which was super cool and my meal was delicious. Of course I was pretty forgetful that evening and forgot my camera again. Typical...

...but after over 2 hours of cleaning my bike and bike shoes (I don't think either have ever been this clean since they were brand new - look how sparkly it is!) I was completely exhausted.

So all in all it was an awesome trip (and this is a ridiculously long post). Plans are already underway for next year...

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Bikes and cream pies

Tonight was turning out to be a huge one for realizations. They could just stop coming any old time now.
Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris

I go to Australia at the end of this week! I would be excited except for the fact that I'm terrified. You see, this is what happened last weekend when I was out training...

...and I'd had to climb up several metres in order to take this photo! The general consensus among some of my friends is that my mountain bike has gotten jealous of my road bike and decided it would throw me off just to make sure I knew who was boss. I ended up with mild concussion and head trauma. Thanks.

Anyway, we will worry about the racing when I get there and instead I will show you the delicious dinner party I had with a couple of friends the other night.

J made some awesome roast veggies (kumara, potato, carrot and pumpkin). You can't really go wrong there.

Our beautiful host made a big pot of vermicelli noodle stir-fry with heaps of veggies and flavoured with soy sauce, sesame oil and ginger.

And here is my plate (oh okay, my first plate 'cause let's be honest, it was really good and I was really hungry).

I was in charge of dessert and after wondering what to make for ages I ended up making the
Caramel Cream Pie from Alice's blog. You see, I'd had a tin of this soy condensed milk and a packet of the soyatoo cream sitting around in my pantry for ages with no idea of what to do with them (does anyone else see something new and exciting and buy it without any thought of how on earth they might use it?) so this was pretty much perfect.

Next time I think I'd double the amount of caramel filling and half the amount of cream topping but otherwise it was really delicious and simple to make (which is always a bonus when you're running late after your bike gets a puncture on your training ride after you've already got lost and have been out way longer than anticipated as it is).

Looking forward to doing it all again when I get back. We already have the date scheduled!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Crumbs and goddesses

Very slowly, Glenda raised her right hand into a fist and lowered it into her mouth, and bit down very hard in an attempt to somehow retrieve the last fifteen minutes from the records of the universe and replace them with something far less embarrassing, like her knickers falling down.
Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett

The other day I told M I was a domestic goddess. That may have been a slight exaggeration but I did venture into the kitchen to do a spot of baking (and do my chores for the week). There is nothing like the smell of fresh baking wafting through the house (nothing except eating said baking). The other morning I actually woke up to the confusing smell of chocolate brownies and fresh bread as my flatmate had stayed up all night baking as an attempt to procrastinate from his study...awesome!

Anyway, it was my Mum's birthday that night and what do all birthdays call for? Let's, CAKE! This is a chocolate crumb cake. It is SO good and got much love from the family.

And here is my (first) slice. We all went back for seconds (and were all tempted by thirds but one doesn't want to overdo these things
too much).

Then, because I am awesome, I whipped up a batch of chewy oatmeal-raisin cookies (from
Veganomicon) for my cousin who was chained to her desk writing her masters paper and for M who lives in Christchurch which is enough of a reason by itself but a while ago he sent me my favourite ginger crunch in the mail (for those interested, yes I will post a recipe once I get something even close to as good as this).

They were really quite good and because of M you actually get a photo because I'd eaten and given away all the cookies by the time I realised I still didn't have a photo of them. Thankfully (or perhaps not but in this case it worked in my favour) the post down to Christchurch is pretty slow so he hadn't eaten all of them by the time I hounded him to take some photos. His camera is much better than mine. Perhaps I should steal it.