BE: Bread Experiment or Bleeding Extremities

The stories of the last weekend are worth mentioning… I wound up bleeding from both hands, one elbow, a knee and an ankle on Sunday afternoon after crashing the Surly on Sunday afternoon on Scona Hill. I was also successful in a culinary experiment on Saturday evening.

Saturday’s accomplishments involved hitting the pool for a few length, spending far too long in the lab preparing a deposition chamber and making a half dozen loaves of bread. I had a giant Yam sitting around since Thanksgiving that hadn’t been eaten yet and I decided that because it was mostly carbs I would try and put it into a few loaves of bread as an experiment. It turned out fantastic and although not every potato bread I’ve ever eaten has been good this one is actually great. I’ll admit it doesn’t do so well with just a bit of jam aboard for a ride but cheese, a fried egg (well three fried eggs, it’s not worth frying eggs unless I’m going to eat three), peanut butter, and plain toast with butter are all good ways to go. We’ll see what becomes of this new adventure, I’ve been making bread on a nearly weekly basis for the last year and besides using the water from boiled potatoes I haven’t actually tried very seriously the option of using potato starch as a considerable ingredient in the mix. The basic idea was dice up the yam into small bits and then enough water to cover and nuke it until it starts to mush up. I then pureed the yam and used that slime/slop along with some more water to get the temperature right to proof the yeast. I typically use molasses for simple sugars in the bread but used demerara sugar instead so the yam flavor didn’t get overpowered. A cup of wheat germ spread over 6 loaves and then flour, mostly keynote 39 and not so much whole wheat because I wasn’t sure if the dough was going to be excessively crummy due to the potatoes which I think is one of the main beef’s I’ve had with other potato breads I’ve eaten in the past.

So… On to the story about the wipeout. Cyclocross provincial championships were happening at Gold-Bar Park out on the east end of Edmonton. Dave, one of the other bike coaches from the University of Alberta Triathlon club was racing as well as a bunch of others that I know via the cycling grapevine. The elite race was set to go at 1 pm so we rolled out from my place around noon to head over there. The sun was shining as we cruised along Saskatchewan drive, Neil was rocking the Surly Cross Check and I was riding my Surly Steamroller which now has winter tyres and my winter gear on. I was blasting out a stupid cadence of 120-125 revs per minute (38-39.5 kph) as Neil tucked in behind for the draft. I think we were both quite enjoying the view over the river valley which is mostly brown now, the leaves are for the most part all gone. We’re ready for winter here. So we get to the end of the road and turn left down Scona Hill. The downhill means that my cadence is really going nuts and I was easily over 45 kph (around 145 cadence and could have been upwards to 155rpm: 49 kph). So, those kinds of speeds on the fixed gear are a real hoot but they do mean I’m at the limit and Neil and his gears are still going to get away from me. I clock 60 kph down that hill all the time on my tri-bike and am incapable of spinning the 190 rpm it would take to do that on the fixie. So now Neil is out front of me, a bit to the left as we come to the place where Connors Hill Road merges with Scona and there are some serious lane bumps due to heavy trucks and a few potholes here to boot. Suddenly Neil is on the ground and his bike is in my half of the lane. I ride right over his front wheel as I unclip from my pedals and wind up on my hands and knees after kinda jumping over my bike which manages to tangle with Neil’s as it goes past. I’m quickly up from the pavement and grab the two bikes which are caught in a loving embrace and jump over the guard rail onto the grass. Neil is also on the grass and we share a few seconds of “whoa” and “oh shit” and “dude!” before sending the cars away that had stopped with overweight women hanging out of the windows offering to call the ambulance. I only convince the one to leave by showing her my cell phone. A car full of friends from triathlon club also manages to drive by while we stand over the guard rail and I wave them on. Giffin is recruited via cell phone to come pick us up with the jeep. Neil’s front wheel did a less spectacular version of the potato chip bend that I did in August but it looks like it’ll need to be replaced. His brake lever was upside down. My stem is a bit off center and the bar tape that was already hurting is really shredded now.

That’s the jist of it, Neil’s bike fit in the jeep and mine didn’t really fit so I used some hockey tape from the back seat to tape closed the missing patch of skin on my left palm and started to head home. After a bit of backtracking I realized I didn’t actually need to go home as the pressure on my hand from the hockey tape was helping a lot so I turned again and continued on to the cyclocross race which I had missed the start of. It was great fun and we got to watch a few guys go head over heels trying to cross the sand trap. Aaron cleaned up in the race and won by a good margin, Jon was really fried at the finish and had come sixth, Dave had won his category earlier in the day and Bridget had come second. I am borderline convinced to race next season, it looks like a load of fun, I’m just not sure what equipment I’m going to have to use. Riding the sport category on my fixie is an option but I’m not sure how good of an option it is. That’s part cyclocross and part horsing around in a field, The other options however aren’t very cheap at all.

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