Alien Races- Vegans

This came across a certain social networking site (thanks Collette!) I waste time on. According to here it’s from the 1983 Marvel Comic Universe Handbook.  I think I’m far from cowardly, but I will take those anti-gravitons!




Secondly, anyone who knows me is aware of my internet addiction. As soon as I have some down time I’m on my space phone flipping through Google Reader. I’m up on all sorts of stuff that I have no reason to be.  My idea is to share some of the most interesting links I come across on the bottom of my posts, ala We’ll see how it goes! Thanks for reading and please let me know if you like this new feature.


A new, favorite site, Sweat Science says Turn down the thermostat to battle obesity epidemic. Duh. I grew up on the East Coast with a mom who kept ours at a chill 59 degrees F, which is to the dismay of anyone I have to share bills with. Via LA.Streetsblog is The long and triumphant history of women in cycling, a history I learned, interestingly enough, from my West Coast Cycling Lonely Planet book. When I was in Vancouver preparing for my own west coast trip I scribbled one of those quotes on the wall of the punk/collective house I was staying at. DC.Streetsblog meanwhile caught up with a Southern California Republican member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee who thinks roads pay for themselves and bikes are only for recreation. Is it true ignorance or just his political position? Speaking of politics, things are wild with UK students and folks in Egypt. Are you watching US students and citizens? Change is possible.

Lastly, I’ll leave you with a post from a vegan athlete who is concerned she’s not getting enough protein. I know it’s possible to, but I’m empathetic to her concern that she is not. It is reinforced in our society over and over that protein from animals is superior. It’s tough to always go against the grain. Stop by her site and let her know how you get enough protein.


Jack Lalanne

The dude was epic. There’s no doubt about that. But I like my epic with a little heart and soul and he delivers here:

Also, he was an advocate of a plant-based diet.  Found this interview in the Denver Post with some choice quotes:

Should people consume fewer dairy products?

JL: I’m not a suckling calf. Name me one creature on this earth who uses milk after they wean – except man. Why do you think so many people are fat and have heart attacks? Butter, cream, cheese, all that fat, fat, fat. You can have a little skim milk once in a while. But they’ve got these athletes prostituting their souls by posing with milk mustaches. Those athletes should be selling something that is going to be beneficial, not detrimental, to kids.

Controversial.  Oh, and the dude swam from alcatraz to San Francisco handcuffed.  HE SWAM FROM ALCATRAZ TO SF HANDCUFFED!

Cooking For A Vegan Lover’s cookbook club: Veganomican Recipe #1 – Autumn Root Salad with Warm Maple Fig Dressing

Admittedly, I tend to take on too much. As I sit here, at the end of my first week of the second term of graduate school,  contemplating whether or not it is appropriate to use a dirty kitchen towel as a snot rag and starting to prepare my first recipe review for Cooking For A Vegan Lover’s Cookbook Club I know: I have a very precarious balance of things going on, and it is possible that this one tiny little added thing (the commitment to carefully follow a set of directions written by someone else and review the outcome) might just be the thing that forces me to fall into the abyss of productivity and never come back.

Alas! I could not resist. I love vegan cookbooks, I can spend hours perusing the culinary isles of a book store thinking of the possibilities. I have the propensity to make substitutions in my ingredients based on what I have on hand, or to add spices based on my tastes (namely, more salt, bragg’s liquid aminos, nutritional yeast, cumin, and sriracha) but to me there is something both scientific and fancy about letting someone else do the dictation. It inspires a leap of trust in the process of creation-something I am not entirely used to but have grown to relish.

The first book on the queue is Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Veganomicon. This is perhaps an obvious choice  as the sheer size of this behemoth of a cookbook gives it a seminal  Joy Of Cooking feel but it is not the size of the book alone that gives it it’s reputation. Isa’s recipes (in my experience) are almost without fail. It is clear that she actually tests each one, and that there is care and attention to detail in the creation. Each recipe is approached with consideration and flair. Despite the fact that I hate to flock with the masses, I must say: Moskowitz is one of the best vegan cookbook authors I have invited into my kitchen. Of course, there are less obvious choices, but this certainly makes sense as a start.

I wanted to approach a recipe that I could produce using primarily local and seasonal ingredients. I tend to love salad at all times of year but sometimes the bite of a cold vegetable chills me to my core and leaves me feeling cold for the duration of the day. For this reason Isa’s Autumn Root Salad with Warm Maple Fig Dressing really caught my eye.  It was still a salad packed with greens but also had the added benefits of a starch (sweet potatoes in this case) and a warm dressing. I knew I had to try it.

I had red onions on hand but no shallots, which presented a bit of a challenge. Usually I will say “Feh! What’s the difference?!” and use what I have, but in an attempt to glean some sort of accuracy I acquiesced. I bit the bullet and went to the grocery store. With a new shallot purchase in hand I forged on: this recipe must be made in it’s entirety!




First, the instructions asked to prepare the beets by roasting them whole for an hour or so and then letting them cool to slice. The sweet potatoes were prepared by slicing and boiling. Both the beets and potatoes came out lacking a little something that I think could only be textural. The lack of oil used made the textures all blend together. My advice is to slice the potatoes and beets together, (1/2 inch slices should work), to spray with olive oil, and roast them in the oven. This would take a ton of time off of the recipe (sliced beets roast incredibly quickly, whole beets not so much), reduce dishes, and add some crisp to parts of the potato for more textural variety.

The dressing was a warm amalgamation of dried fig, white wine, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, and spices. The result was incredibly rich, and offset the bitterness of the greens well. One caveat: the amounts called for in the recipe produced a relatively insane amount of dressing. I found that putting the leftovers on sandwiches,or boiling the mix in a big pot of lentils made for creative culinary exploration with what was left but one could easily half the recipe and do without the experimentation. The flavors are so strong that a little really does go a long way.




All in all, the premise of the recipe is simple: roast veggies, chill, simmer dressing, blend, mix together and I found myself a bit surprised that I had critiques when it came to the outcome of the taste. A few things I will say: The layout and instructions were very clear and concise, the ingredients were simple to find, the final product was satisfying to snack on. A bit of streamlining in the process of roasting could help exponentially as it would take this recipe from being a delightful seasonal accompaniment to any meal to  FAST delightful seasonal accompaniment to any meal. I would certainly make this recipe again but next time I will add my own techniques into the mix. A little Sriracha on top wouldn’t hurt either.


Recipe here.

Calico 50k Race Report

[Update Fri Jan 21 10:11am: Wanted to link a few other race reports with great stories and photos! Don’t Try This At Home at Runner’s World | Bourbon Feet (fast dude who wears the Air Jesus sandals!) | Kylie at | Trail Bum ]


In my continued attempt to not gain an unsightly amount of winter weight and lose all of my fitness I signed up for another ultra-run, the Calico Ghost Town 50k. The race is a benefit for Discovery Trails, whose focus is education about the Mojave desert. Their tag-line is Learning From Adventure, which I can get behind!

Speaking of adventure, I’m sure some people drive to a race, race it and then go home. Seems too simple. And boring, really. We make it a huge adventure: camping, stopping at places of interest on the way, eating at great places and generally using the race as an excuse to get away and do rad stuff. First on the list: stopping at a vegetarian restaurant. One World Cafe is in the burbs of the San Gabriel Valley, the part of the ‘Los Angeles Area’ that is the sprawl associated with my city. When I go on a long bike ride I head north, south or west, rarely east into Sprawlville. But when we’re driving out that way, it’s a treat to hit up one of the Supreme Master vegan restaurants.  And yes, they have a Supreme Burrito, but I stuck with the Pan-Asian stuff. I can’t get enough of these spots lately.

Calico ghost town is located half-way between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, in the Mojave desert.  It’s just too far to drive morning of without getting up stupid early. Last weekend Mike and I drove down to South Orange County to ride a PCH Randonneurs 200k that started at 630am. Needless to say, him and I did not start at 630am. At least it made us hustle to get to the first control before it closed. But then luckily we could take the remaining 110 miles at the Swarm! ‘Can Stop Will Stop’ chill pace. Riding in South Orange County is very beautiful, but the only photo I have is of this crazy cockpit:

Back to the run! We rolled up to Calico in time to check in for the race and scope the town. I’ve been to a few and I appreciate the throwback to olden times. We learned that Calico was bought and preserved by Walter Knott, the founder of Knott’s Berry Farm amusement park, who was a far-right wingnut that had racist policies at his amusement park. It has long since been sold to San Bernardino County, but we couldn’t help but notice that the Welcome sign was in English, French, German and Japanese, but not Spanish and that there was no brothel!

The goodie bag was provided by an outlet mall which may have something to do with the pose I’m striking.

Checked in for the race and content with seeing most of the town we headed down to the campground to set up camp and make dinner. As I’ve said before, I love when you can camp at a race start! So Max, Donovan and I got a fire going and whipped up some pancakes and beans in honor of Burro Schmidt, whose tunnel we visited the last time we drove out to an ultra-run.  I was nervous about making pancakes on a camp stove! The first time I ever camped in my life was at an Earth First! forest defense thing in Pennsylvania and I was blown away that you could camp and still eat pancakes. Still, I had never done it. The photo below is proof that it can happen!

Even though we were in bed at a reasonable hour, that 6am alarm felt too early. We sprung up and got water going for coffee, took down on our camp and drank said coffee in time to swing by the bathrooms (to avoid a Have To Poop scenario like my first ultra) and run to the start with a whopping 4 minutes before the gun. Nice. Max had hurt his ankle the day before so he decided not to run. I’ve never run with Donovan before but we decided to stick together as we both had sub-6hr times in mind. Ends up I avoided the dreaded Have To Poop scenario, but he did not! Two times ducking into the desert for him would be the difference in our times. Now I had looked at the course photos from the website, but I was not expecting the course to be so beautiful. It was magnificent! We ran through red canyons, down washes, over tight, rolling hills, through two tiny tunnels (!!); much of it with unbelievable views of or from the desert mountains. There was a technical section that took me ten minutes to slowly climb down using my arms on rocks for balance. SO fun. Not sure I can go back to road running….

At mile 22 I decided I was going to run every hill that was left. Felt good to push. Since I train on hills a lot just because of where I live, that came easy, but I’d struggle to keep people I had passed from catching me on the down hills or flats. Still, my descents definitely improved from the Ridgecrest run last month. So I’m rolling along, feeling good, running everything and I get to the last aid station. Now one note about this race is that it is supported by the locals. The folks at the aid stations are not runners. They were SUPER FUN. They loved it. Constant jokes (‘We got some meth in the back if you need a boost!’). So at the last aid, I say, ‘3.1 miles, right?’ Nope, 4.5 miles. Oops. I’m tired, it’s getting hot. I have no idea what time it is. Whatever. I run past some dudes in 4×4 trucks playing on some hills. They say hello. Then I see the campground! Sweet. The course went through it, which is now two out of two times that has happened. Should we make it a ritual to sleep on the course?

A few more ups and downs and then I’m in town and I see Max! He jogs along for awhile and then splits off to meet me at the finish. I pushed on the last hill to pass the triathlete I’d been back and forth with. Holding him off on the descent I cross the line at 5 hours and 47 minutes. Stoked (ended up 31st out of 121).  Donovan crosses 5 minutes later and we head into the saloon for our post-race meal. The young lady working was kind enough to give us french fries instead of pizza….

On the way home we stopped at Viva La Vegan, an all vegan grocery store in the Inland Empire that has a grip of frozen pizzas (good for National Vegan Pizza Day):

But I bought some chocolate hazelnut butter and we finished the drive back to LA for some pizza from a pizza shop.  This race is part of the So Cal Ultra Running Series, which I signed up for, just for fun. I was already to tell you about the next crazy run I’m signed up for, the Twin Peaks 50-miler, but I just found out that it’s postponed until October! Wtf? Look at this elevation profile:

I’ve been gearing up for this and using it for the fear I need to train properly and now it’s not happening! Bummer. It was scheduled for February 12th, what should I do instead?

2010: Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer #5

All race-day photos from Shawn Bannon’s amazing Flickr set which I recommend you watch in slide show. While you are at it, check out his great food blog Little Vegan Planet and his fiance’s beautiful Cute and Delicious vegan blog.

Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer is a 10-stage hill race I have been organizing in Los Angeles for the previous 5 years (see 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 or my Feel My Legs tag) based on Danny Chew’s Dirty Dozen race in Pittsburgh. It’s simple. Find the hardest/steepest hills in the area and each one is a stage. We meet up, ride as a group to hill one, race up it where the first five people get points. Then we group ride to hill number two, where we do it again! You can see the most recent map of the ten hills here (which somehow has 39,000 views?).

There is no entry fee. No prizes for first. Most years there is an award for everyone who finishes and in 2010 it was this patch:




[Update Saturday Jan 15th, 7:15am, In 2010 all entrants received this spoke card by multi-race finisher and Midnight Ridazz regular, Creative Thing.  The photo is of Jack Lindquist’s piston tattoos. Thanks Creative Thing!!]



Back in 2007 the race was held close to Valentine’s Day and I wanted a design related to love- love for bicycling. My great friend Chris, who is the design force behind much of the Swarm! stuff, and I worked out this one:

Which, minus the cog, I got tattooed on my leg later that year (by my good friend Thomas Hooper).  Since then two close friends have had it tattooed on them, one of which is Jack, who won this race the first 4 years I held it. It’s also where the name of this website comes from! Lacy, in a discussion about what name to use, suggested something that is already important to me. Why not one of my tattoos? And since Out Of Step is obviously not my original concept, I went with True Love.

Eldred Street. So much steeper than it looks.

Enough with the back story! For the first in time in all five years of this race, Jack was not there and therefore obviously could not win. Instead he sent his housemate, a former BMXer and MX racer whose focus now is single-speed cyclocross. Ty (below, on notorious Fargo St) took some early hills, faded briefly, but then with a strong showing on the last few gobbled up enough points to take the win. Could not have gone to a nicer person!

As always we start with more folks than we finish with and a few newer riders are left in awe of the difficulty of this race. The feedback on the MR forum was fantastic. The last climb is in Elysian Park and we ended with a big vegan picnic/bbq. Thanks to everyone who comes out and races and supports! I wouldn’t bother putting this on (I lose money!) if it wasn’t for the stokedness of those who ride it. More photos from Bootykika if you’re interested and the date for 2011 is yet to be announced….I’m working on it!

I’m trying to force out a smile here, on the top of Baxter St.

Best of 2010: Party-Hustle-Pancakes-Zarathustra

I’m a little slow,  I admit it. While better bloggers were re-capping there ‘best of 2010’ I’m here doing it near mid-January. And, honestly, I hope to get them up before February! Such is life.  What I would like to re-cap here is how fantastically a few of us brought in Spring last year. It was a weekend that encompassed so many ideas and actions that are dear to me, that I look back and I cannot believe it all happened in a 24 hour period.  First I have to clarify that bicycling here in Los Angeles in amazing. I’m not just talking about the mountains and the beaches. While those are great, what makes bicycling here truly extraordinary is the potential of what can happen under the radar.  As cyclists in a car-oriented city we operate in the margins. And it’s great!

That weekend was the second annual Los Angeles Street Summit and I had been asked to be a part of it. I decided not to contribute directly, but how about the post-summit party? Most def. And we’ll call it the Party Summit!

What is a flier without an obscure reference? We poked fun at a certain LA DOT employee who used the term ‘infeasible’ to describe possible biking infrastructure on some LA roads in the LA Bike Plan.


We rented a space, organized food, set up Gold Sprints and started inviting folks. I’ve a foot in the advocacy world and also the social world here. I think they don’t know enough about each other, which is why we (the bike club Swarm!) organized the party. We also had already planned our bike race/stair-climb event (an AlleyCross CycloCat?), Thus Climbed Zarathustra (read about 2006 and 2008 races) for the following day. We knew it’d be a busy weekend.



But then a few weeks before these events our good friends from Wolf Pack Hustle told us about their insane idea for a bike race. So insane it was beautiful. See the Sunday after the summit was the LA Marathon. You know, where they close the roads so at 7am 25,000 runners can run through the streets (paying over $100 each!). They told us they were going to host an unofficial bike race on the course at 4am! No traffic. No lights. Unbelievable.

Our party ended about midnight. After cleaning the space we had only a few hours before the Wolf Pack Hustle race. Without anyone saying it, we knew our house would be a base. About a dozen of us rode from the party to our place thinking about how, in some ways, the night was just getting started. Some people slept a precious few hours. The rest of us ate tacos and drank coffee!

At about 4am we rolled the few miles to the start. The scene was unbelievable. The corner of Sunset Ave and Fountain Ave was filled with over 400 cyclists! Not just the corner, but the entire street. It was beautiful. Don from Wolf Pack Hustle had stayed at our house and was therefore late (hey, it’s how we roll!). We chat with people we know. Others had stayed up all night too. SO exciting. Kids are on carbon bikes with race kits and others  in cut-offs with no helmet on converted fixed gears.


I think this video really captures the race! And a few of us make appearances.

There’s no need to go into too many details of the race. I was in the front group with a few friends and about 12 other riders. We were the ones to alert the crews setting up that hundreds of cyclists would be descending on them. And to learn that not all the lights/roads were closed! It was fast. Really fast.  And SO fun.  The course was not easy to navigate and we ended up making some wrong turns and having to correct. We even opened a closed gate to get through the cemetery and stay on route. Near Santa Monica we caught a group that did not do this (I’m looking at you Mike Sz and Bryan Novelo!) and our pack doubled in size. It was foggy and cold as we neared the ocean.

How far to the finish? Which way do we turn? Working together was less readily happening as we approached the finish and everyone looked for an advantage. Metal hit metal and some folks went down hard at 25+ MPH (no one was hurt!). We were on edge.  At Ocean Ave the route was not marked and the way toward the finish was taped off. What to do?? A few went right through it, knocking down the traffic barriers and almost taking a few of us out. The group got split up and Jon the Roadie (a real Cat1 racer) easily won the sprint.

It almost seems silly that this was one of the best times I had in 2010.  But it had all the right factors: bikes, racing, diy, free, friends, illegal, fast, adventurous and close to home. What more could you ask for? It was an absolutely exhilarating time and whenever I hear anything about the LA Marathon I don’t think about the three times I’ve run it, but about this race.  We hung at the finish, with the strange sensation of dripping sweat in the cold fog, till all of our friends came in.  Everyone was so stoked. We re-grouped and started the ride back home before they did the awards.

By now the sun is coming up and the cops are enforcing the closed course, kicking us off whenever we try to utilize the empty roads. We were all smiling about our experiences and enjoying the early sun that warmed us and the quiet city. We got home and decided to make pancakes. I was the most awake and least cold so I took control of the stove while others huddled in blankets on the kitchen floor. I’d pass down each pancake as it came off the grill and some were topped with peanut butter while others may have been topped with leftover icing from the cupcakes the night before….

I slept a few hours before heading to the Silver Lake dog park for the high noon start of Thus Climbed Zarathustra. Steevo, who was visiting from PA and came to the party but not the Marathon Crash Race, headed over with us (he also wrote about the state of cycling and riding in the Santa Monica mountains while he was here). It was a small group, but a whopping 5 of us did all three races in 16 hours: Gold Sprints, Marathon Crash Race and Thus Climbed Zarathustra and were all given prizes.  I cannot say that I enjoyed racing to and carrying my bike up 10 stairways (many with over 100 steps!) as much as I would have on some actual sleep, but I still had fun. After the race we chilled in the park and decided that dinner at the all-vegan, all-you-can-eat Happy Family was in order.  The best ending to one of the best 24 hours periods of 2010!

Another video


Today was my first day at home where, after some early morning work commitments, I had free time, alone, in about a month. Splendid. So I did like all dreamers do: I looked at stuff I want to do on the internet!  First was some scheduling of rides that I did need to do in the Spring to qualify for Paris-Brest-Paris, a 760-mile ride in France that is older than the Tour De France. I was there in 2007 and I wrote about my wonderful experience. It’s an out-and-back with 5000 other riders from all over the world! You only have 90 hours to finish, but the terrain is not terribly difficult. I had no problem getting two full nights of sleep and finishing a half day before the cut-off.

2007 Paris-Brest-Paris Self-Portraits

This is what I’m thinking about fewer than six hours before my alarm goes off and we drive (gasp!) to Orange County for the first qualifying ride, a 200k. But that’s not all I looked at today. I also perused thee site for ultra-light, rack-less bike touring bags, Revelate Designs. Yes, rack-less! Amazing. While obsessing over the beauty and specs of these fine, handcrafted bags I had the realization that I was doing the same thing ten years ago when I preparing for my first bike tour. Ten years!  I had bought a $50 Panasonic road bike from a friend’s dad and, knowing nothing of camping or bike touring, was scowering the internet for information to prepare for a 3300-mile solo bike tour from California to Pennsylvania. What better way to celebrate graduating college?

Buying travel gear makes me giddy. What they say about anticipation is true. I lie awake at night and think about the possibilities that exist in the world and getting the right tools for the adventure is like figuring out a puzzle. It’s becoming more clear! Sure, I’ve bike toured, but there are always new adventures to be had that are similar enough. More on that soon.

Looking forward to 125 chill, ‘base’ miles with Mike tomorrow. What are you up to?