Vices, we all have them

1. Shellac Nails
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2. Vietnamese food
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3. Sass and Bide
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5. Coffee
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6. Coke Zero
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7. Pizza (the authentic Itallian variety, not chain store pizza)
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8. Friends
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9. Views
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10. Bikes
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I don’t bake, but this is one exception: Beetroot and Chocolate Cake

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Beetroot & Chocolate Cake
– or cupcakes…whatever is easiest to pour your batter into.
(makes one cake or about 24 cupcakes)

So….I hate baking, I really do. I hate catering for dietary requirements, even my own (I’m a no seafood, no fun vego). I hate the mess and the fiddling around with utensils. But I love chocolate. I love beetroot. And I love cleaning obsessively. If I sound like you, then try this cake.

Your hipster or super healthy or dietary restricted friends/colleagues will appreciate that this cake is full of “superfoods” (google them, they’re not surprising), is healthy and is incredibly delicious (I appreciate the deliciousness the most). It is also almost vegan… and dairy free.. and is/can be gluten free (make sure you buy gluten free products – I will not take blame if your gluten free friend/colleague gets sick and die).

So start here.

I don’t have these ingredients laying about – so I drag myself to the market to get almond meal (it’s way cheaper) and beetroots. Drag yourself there, it is so worth saving $2.50.

Cake Ingredients

  • 100g Dark Chocolate. I like Lindt.
  • 3 medium Eggs. Or whatever eggs you have. Flaxseed egg substitute also works- google the recipe I can’t be bothered typing it (it will be another post)…
  • 250 g brown sugar
  • 220 ml Olive Oil. Other oils are fine, I’m sure.
  • 300 g Cooked beetroots (see method below for how to cook the beetroots because they are hard to cook)
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 30 g ish (1 tbs ish) Cocoa Powder (you can pobably omit this and put in more cholcolate)
  • 300 g Almond meal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (or gluten free baking powder)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (just use salt, don’t waste your 1/4 teaspoon of expensive hymalayan salt, no one will notice/care)

Method

  • Pre heat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  • To cook the beetroots, peel and place in a pot full of cold water. Bring pot to the boil and cook the beetroots until soft when poked with a knife.
  • When cooked, run the beetroots under cold water in the sink. For cooling reasons.
  • Blend or mash the beetroots until slightly smooth. I use a stick mixer. Messy, but fun. Don’t wear white.
  • Melt the chocolate (100 g) over a double boiler or in microwave.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs (or substitute), sugar and oil.
  • Slowly add the cooked beetroot puree, the melted chocolate and vanilla into the egg mixture.
  • Beat just until combined. Don’t over work the mix.
  • Sift the cocoa into the almond meal (or plain flour), baking soda and salt, and then add to the beetroot batter.
  • Fold just until everything is combined. Did I mention not to over mix the batter?
  • Butter/greese or so something to prevent sticking and line a 10 inch cake tin. Pour the cake batter into the cake tin.
  • Bake for approximately 50 minutes. This is just a guide. You might need to poke it a few times.
  • The cake is ready when a tooth pick or skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven and leave to cool in the pan.
  • It will be moist. So don’t think you’ve done something wrong. Unless it is runny. Then you have and put it back in the oven.

Make the icing while the cake is in the oven:

Ingredients for the cream cheese icing

Note: To make vegan,  just use plain old boring icing sugar, or use a substitute like Tofuttibetter than cream cheese“, or google a vegan icing recipe. But if you are vegan and reading this you, probably know what you are doing…and don’t need me. I love cheese too much to be vegan, so I make the cream cheese, cheese version

  • 1 cup cream (omit for vegan version, you know, right!)
  • 1 cup of Cream Cheese
  • ½ cup Icing Sugar or honey (they have different textures, so maybe try one once, then one another time and test the best. I prefer icing sugar)
  • 1 plain chocolate bar for chocolate shaving decorations, two if you have the tendency to eat it on the way home from the supermarket.

Method:

  • Place the cream in a bowl and whip to soft peaks.
  • Add the icing sugar and cream cheese and beat until combined (Add more or less sugar as you want, care). Put the icing aside.
  • Using a potato peeler, hold the chocolate bar in one hand and use the peeler to shave off curls of chocolate. The more time you take, the fancier the curls will look. If your hands are hot, the chocolate will melt and you will end up with chocolate on everything!
  • Now ice the cake like a you are a pastry chef, then sprinkle the shavings on top of the cake to make all pro looking.
  • You want the cake to be decorated in a manner that your friends/colleagues will be truly impressed with your magazine quality cake, they’ll think that you put in soooo much effort, and will never ask you to do it again because it looks as if it took 12 hrs.

So, bam! Your cake is done. Clap your hands. Clean your bench and…

Go forth and take photo’s of it for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ (ha yeah right). Share with friends, or simply don’t. Pretend it is your recipe, like I do, (I actually got it from: The Nutrition Guru and the Chef‘s blog), eat it and revel in your excellence.

Fin

Meet Candy – CRUX EXPERT STYBAR CX

Candy is my new, new baby. She was born  at Total Rush, Richmond on the 18 January 2013.

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Almost an impulse buy, Candy came to me out of luck. I had mentioned to the guys at TR that I was interested in getting a cx bike, then like magic, they clicked their fingers and a pink XS frame was in my hands. You will come to realise that I have a thing for pink. So as soon as I laid eyes on Candy, she was mine. It was almost the most expensive impulse buy i’ve ever made, lucky I was in the market for a cx bike – so it was NOT an impulse buy. She is tagged with “bunny hopper” on the frame, and when I picked her up last week – I did bunny hop all the way home.

Candy gained her name from a Facebook poll. Obviously she is very candy coloured, so the name fits very well. You could almost eat her.

She has two purposes. 1. for me to commute to work on, 2. to race cyclocross. Summer commuting, winter cross. Compared to the Watermelon (90s steel framer), Candy commutes like a dream, she sucks up all the bumps of St Georges Road, and can go uphill with me carrying a 10kg messenger bag. There is no turning back, sorry Watermelon. I can’t wait to put her through her real paces, cyclocross.

You will be pleased to know that I have not retired my old commuter, the Watermelon – It will kick on as my pub bike. I love it to bits and would never sell it. More on it later.

CRUX EXPERT STYBAR – Skinny’s build
Total Rush, Richmond

FRAME
Stybar Special edition Specialized E5 aluminum, fully manipulated tubing, smooth weld, semi-compact race design, shaped TT, integrated headset, 1-1/2″ lower bearing, internal cable routing, OSBB

FORK
Specialized FACT carbon legs, alloy steerer, 1-1/2″ lower bearing

HEADSET
1-1/8″ upper and 1-1/2″ lower Cr-Mo cartridge bearings integrated, w/ headset, 8mm cone spacer, w/ 20mm of spacers

STEM
Specialized SW Clip, 3D forged alloy, 12-degree, 4-position adjustable, 4-bolt, 31.8mm clamp

HANDLEBARS
Specialized Womens Expert 38, alloy, short drop

HOODS
PINK SRAM

GARMIN MOUNT
SRAM black

TAPE
Zipp CX gel wrap

FRONT BRAKE
Avid canti w/ adjuster

REAR BRAKE
Avid canti, w/ adjuster

FRONT DERAILLEUR
SRAM APEX WHITE

REAR DERAILLEUR
SRAM APEX white

SHIFT LEVERS
SRAM APEX WHITE DoubleTap, 10-speed

CASSETTE
SRAM Apex, 10-speed, 11-28t

CHAIN
SRAM APEX

CRANKSET
FSA SL-K Light BB30 carbon

CHAINRINGS
SRAM CX 46/34

BOTTOM BRACKET
SRAM BSA TO BB30, sealed bearings

PEDALS
SHIMANO 540

FRONT WHEEL
Shimano R501

REAR WHEEL
Shimano R501

FRONT TIRE
Specialized ALL CONDITION, aramid bead, 700x28c

REAR TIRE
Specialized ALL CONDITION, aramid bead, 700x38c

INNER TUBES
Lightweight, 60mm, presta

SADDLE
Body Geometry OURA PRO, CARBON rails

SEATPOST
Specialized Sport, alloy, 27.2mm

SEAT BINDER
Forged alloy, 31.8mm, brake stop

Meet Napoleon – AMIRA SL4 PRO COMP

Napoleon is my new baby. She was born at Total Rush, Richmond on 15 December, 2012.

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Named primarily because of the Neapolitan Icecream colour combination – pink bar tape, white hoods and black shifters. I discovered later about the term “Napoleon Complex” (more info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napoleon_complex), which upon further research, seems somewhat fitting! The complex apparently surfaces in people who are of short stature, like myself. Where one displays compensatory behaviour for the subjects stature. Ha.

Napoleon has changed my life (or the way I ride at least). He is light, handles well, and is an overall dream to ride.

AMIRA SL4 PRO COMP
Total Rush, Richmond

FRAME
FACT 10r carbon, FACT IS construction, women’s tubesets and performance geometry, tapered 1-1/8″ to 1-3/8″ HT, OSBB

FORK
Specialized FACT carbon, full monocoque, 1-1/8″ to 1-3/8″ tapered steerer

HEADSET
1-1/8″ upper and 1-3/8″ lower Cr-Mo cartridge bearings, w/ 20mm carbon cone spacer and 20mm of carbon spacers

STEM
Specialized Pro-Set 7075 3D forged alloy, cone head bolt and plastic clip, 12- degree, 4-degree shim, 31.8mm

HANDLEBARS
Specialized Women’s Expert alloy, shallow drop

HOODS
SRAM white

TAPE
Specialized Roobaix pink

FRONT BRAKE
SRAM Force

REAR BRAKE
SRAM Force

FRONT DERAILLEUR
SRAM Force

REAR DERAILLEUR
SRAM Red Black

SHIFT LEVERS
SRAM New Red DoubleTap

CASSETTE
SRAM 1070, 10-speed, 11-28

CHAIN
KMC X10 DLC Superlight

CRANKSET
Specialized Pro FACT carbon

CHAINRINGS
50/34

BOTTOM BRACKET
OS integrated, sealed bearings

PEDALS
Shimano Ultegra

FRONT WHEEL
Roval Fusee SLX 23

REAR WHEEL
Roval Fusee SLX 23

FRONT TYRE
Specialized Turbo Pro, BlackBelt, 127TPI, aramid bead, 700x23c

REAR TYRE
Specialized Turbo Pro, BlackBelt, 127TPI, aramid bead, 700x23c

INNER TUBES
Turbo Ultralight, 60mm, presta

SADDLE
Body Geometry Oura Expert Gel, hollow Ti rails, 155mm

SEATPOST
Specialized Pro SL, FACT carbon, 27.2mm

SEAT BINDER
Forged alloy, Ti bolt and nut, 32.6mm

There is more to life than bikes, apparently

Brain dump… So…

Cycling goals for 2013: to ride with my friends, to cycle more, to race and to keep up, to do Tour of Bright. And. To be fitter, faster and fearless.

The only way to do this is to get out on my bike. But it is bloody hard, cycling is time consuming, I don’t have much time… between family, friends, and work, i’m time poor…I love doing non-bike things just as much as cycling, but how can I improve if I can’t get my butt in a saddle… and why do I feel so guilty when its not (in the saddle)?

I recently read on Cycling Tips about the “two-and-a-quarter” rule.

Basically the 2 & 1/4 rule is based on the notion that we can only be focused on two and a quarter things at a time.

  • 1 point being work
  • 1 point being family, partner, friends etc etc
  • 1/4 point being what you are into. Eg. cycling, knitting, driving race cars, whatever… So this makes it hard because i’m into lots of things, but, most prominently – life (my friends and the shiz we get up too) and riding my bike.

Re the poits and quarters – I feel like “life” takes upmost of my only spare quarter…infact quarters of quarters, going out, eating out, acting out…and what part of that quarter can be filled with taking the “bike” out?

I often think, how committed am I to cycling to be able to achieve my goals, how much of my life can I realistically commit to bikes, how much is dedicated to life? Can I sacrifice more? This thought depresses me a little.

The more and more I think about it, who am I kididng, I’m not an elite athlete, I just want to be involved and do the best I can with what I’ve got, I want to improve. I love my life, and everything that goes with it, I like spending time with my friends, spending money on needless wants and  make the most of life as much as I can.

So as Cycling Tips says… I have to look at where I am taking points from in mylife, i.e. work or friends or family, and is it really worth it, can I actually sacrifice more? The answer is no, I can’t.

I think life and cycling go together. Its just how I balance it that counts. I can get to where I want to go doing both. Sometimes I just have to deal with the guilt of not being on the bike, and remember I’m having the fucking time of my life at the moment, thanks to bikes… and the awesome people in my life.

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1/4 life crisis, it’s a legitimate crisis, right?

Today is day one of my 25 year old life.

And bhoy, did it start off on a shaky note.

I blame the alcohol shakes on drinking too much Sangria the night before and the sight of day old sangria soaked fruit in the sink turned my somach! I could not face the sink. So I put my sporty, i’m not hungover clothes on and escaped the mess by having brekkie with friends.

So I eventually came too, and realised it was not just the sink, flat was a mess too…. I cursed the Sangria again….& I cleaned.

Napoleon needed some fresh air after cleaning the mess, so he dragged me out for some fresh air and we slowly rode to Black Rock. We stopped off at the Brighton Beach Boxes for a rest. I blame the Sangria.

Got home, had a huge nap. I blame the Sangria (getting the trend).

Went out for Birthday Vietnamese with friends, hydrating Noodle Soup is just what I needed. No more Sangria. EVER!

What a day! I’m now 25.

The end.

Ra Ra Ra Rapha (#Festive500)

Rapha #Festive500
So I made the decision that Napoleon and I would sign up to do the Rapha #Festive500. The goal was simple, ride 500 kms between Christmas eve and New Years Eve…or was it!?
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He He He Headwind
The challenge begins on Christmas Day. Darn, already lost a day. But Napoleon survived his maiden voyage to Beechworth. The brutal headwind and heat tried us both and I nearly drowned in sweat…but we made there, and back. Upon journeys return, we celebrated in true nautical style. Rather than smashing a bottle of champagne on his hull, my first mates and I smashed the bottle of champagne ourselves. Merry Freaking Christmas! http://app.strava.com/activities/33878903
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Ro Ro Ro Roadkill
Napoleon and I ventured out this afternoon for a few country kilometres. We soon realised that for many Australian animals, today was a particularly tragic day on the roads. I did play a small part to the carnage, consuming one christmas beetle along the way. The soaring heat was curing the roadkill into native jerky and I started to think that I could collect it to sell to an organic farmers market somewhere! Brown snake jerky has some appeal right? It would taste better than christmas beetle, that’s for sure. http://app.strava.com/activities/33986567
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Yo Yo Yo You’ve (been chicked)
The idea of getting up at 5am was not appealing at all. But Napoleon dragged me out of bed and we joined some mad members of the Mansfield/Mount Buller Cycling Club to conquer Mount Buller. The air was tainted by a serious stench of testosterone… it became apparent very quickly that I was the only woman on that mountain today. It felt freaking awesome as I peddled Napoleon up that freaking hill, picking off those blokes, one by one. I did not record a Simon Gerrans time, but the climb felt freaking awesome. Napoleon and I “MAY” have found our forte! http://app.strava.com/activities/34150483
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Mo Mo Mo Moscato
After riding up Buller yesterday, a lunch date with my Wang crew at Sam Miranda Winery was excuse enough needed to get me back on the bike this morning. Overnight I had decided that Napoleon and I were going to embark on our own “Three Peaks” tour over the next couple of days…Buller yesterday, Buffalo Saturday… but what peak could I cram in to our recovery ride today? The legs were not feeling it and the 30km/hr gusts of cross wind, then head wind meant only one thing…the Eldorado-Wangaratta Road overpass was going to be the peak of choice. At a grade of about 3% (for 100m) and at a height 172m, the overpass challenge was the toughest part of today’s ride. Nonetheless we made it to Sam Miranda’s, hung out with some fabulous people and enjoyed one to many Moscato’s. Napoleon and I admitted defeat to the wind, and got escorted home in a BMW. Good thing Napoleon is so tiny. http://app.strava.com/activities/34316547

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He He He (Hells 500)
Today Napoleon and I braved the heat and joined about 60 other cyclists (15-20 women!) to climb Mount Buffalo. I knew what Buffalo had to offer, having driven up a hundred times. The memories of the windey and steep accent made me very nervous. But once we started riding, I realised everything was going to be okay…Particularly when Napoleon and I started picking of the blokes. Ha! The climb was consistent to say the least, with a relentless gradient and a false flat in the middle, which brought some welcome variety. At the mid way mark I was distracted by a serious toe/sock wedgie that was taking all my concentration and the sticky melted asphalt was driving me nuts – that was like riding through plasticine and I was going no where. Despite this I swear that I blinked, and it was over… I was the first women to the top! Then it was back to Bright Velo for some hydration! http://app.strava.com/activities/34525897
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So So So Close
Napoleon and I were barely in the city when we found ourselves out on Beach Road…This time rolling with Nadia and pushing into a serious 30km/hr headwind. The wind made the ride to Black Rock a struggle, but we strung our sails on the roll home (to the Grace Darling), and it was a breeze! Beer put away, I needed to get a few more kms under my belt for the #festive500 goal, so to knotch up a few more Napoleon and I went solo and rolled here there and everywhere. 75kms to go. Phew. http://app.strava.com/activities/34711989
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Fi Fi Fi Finito

Well that was fun. Not. I dragged myself out of bed and rode to Mordy and back…The final 75kms to complete the #festive500 challenge were the hardest. Harder than Buller for sure. The steed got me through. http://app.strava.com/activities/34860797

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The end…500kms in 6 days. Napoleon was a trooper. My legs are tired, Napoleons front break is stuffed. We’re off for some serious hydrating tonight. Happy New Year! Now – just have to keep up the kms…

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Follow me on Instagram if you’re a) not a creep, b) not a creep, and c) not a creep: http://instagram.com/lowercasev/ – same goes for all other Social Media. I will judge your creepyness on you’re posts. So be aware.