Friday, July 04, 2014

Race Report: 2014 Peavine Falls Run

I completed the Peavine Falls Run for the fifth time today. Everything went so well, it is hard to say much. It was good to see a few of the folks I know from the community. I ran well, best in 3 years. As a reminder, I have included the elevation chart. This is a hilly course. Hard up, cool coming down and you get to do the last 1 to 1.5 mile stretch on a trail. Love this run and I'm pleased with the results.

The Details

July 4, 2014: Birmingham, AL
Oak Mountain State Park, 8.2 Miles
Peavine Falls Run
Distance:8.2 Miles
Time:1:16:08
Heart Rate:159
Pace:9:17
Weather:Scattered Clouds
Temperature-65°
Humidity-84%

History

Personal best at this race in red.
YearTimePace
20071:08:328:21
20081:09:298:25
20121:18:429:36
20131:22:0410:00
20141:16:089:17

Pictures



Sunday, June 29, 2014

Race Report: Chattanooga Waterfront Olympic Tri + IMChoo Preview

The Day Before: A Preview Ride of the Ironman Chattanooga Course

On the Ironman Chattanooga 140.6 Facebook page, there were a number of threads within which various members of the group were sharing a variety of options for doing a ride on the Ironman course while many of us were in town for the Chattanooga Waterfront Olympic Triathlon. One of the threads included consideration for a ride covering most of the course and a single loop of the portion that will be completed twice on the Ironman race day. So, I started an event and shared what information I could pull from the threads that were already in place and offered a central location for continued consideration of the same.

We had a great  turn out:


And, we had fun:

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting all of those that participated, but especially those that I rode most of the ride with. We had time to talk and get to know one another. It was a very positive group! I did not put much formality into welcoming all who showed up and did not give any kind of a introductory announcements, but one of the other riders that had ridden the course before did. And, she did a good job. If I ever host another event on Facebook, I think I should also accept that I should complete an agenda before the ride starts along the following lines:
  • Welcome all participants and if the group is small enough have each introduce themselves
  • Review the course about to be ridden to include participation from those that have ridden it before
  • Remind all to be safe and courteous
  • Thank all, but especially any that have take extraordinary steps to support the ride (like Brad Noble, SAG wagon operator for this ride)
Several of us thought the course was similar in difficulty to the course for Ironman's Augusta 70.3. It rightly deserves the description "rolling". The climbs are relatively short and generally not that steep. I used Osmo for electrolytes (thanks, Coach John Hanna). I had no cramping, fatigue, or GI issues. Given last week's aborted ride, this is encouraging. More on Osmo when I get to the race report below.

I did have several issues during the day though. First, I couldn't load the course on to my Garmin 910XT to help with turn-by-turn directions. Garmin forced me to update the Communications plug-in, and it just wouldn't find my device. Second, and related, I got lost right off the bat at this intersection:


Worse, I was leading. One person followed, I think his name was Keith (forgive me if you see this and I'm wrong. I have nominal aphasia). Sophia Lal, a friend from Birmingham, said they yelled at me, but I was apparently oblivious.

That was not the first time I got lost. But, I don't think I can take the blame for the next one. I was leading the pack I was riding with again. I pulled over at the correct intersection and noted that I was not sure which way to go. The pack said "this way". I'm not maliciously blaming them, but they were wrong. This is the intersection and one should bear left:


To make it worse, this led us into more of Chickamauga, the community that reportedly is awash with cyclist haters. The traffic on the diversion we took was busy and they couldn't pass even though we rode single file and as far to the right as we could. I regret that we took this wrong turn and likely annoyed a few more drivers. Although, the drivers along this diversion showed no signs of annoyance. But, we did encounter one driver that was apparently having trouble with a bird (one made with his own hand). It was flying feverishly in the cab of his car and he was honking furiously. We waved nicely.

I got in 70 miles for a planned 60 mile ride, met some nice folks, and had a good time.

After the ride, I had lunch at the Blue Plate with my family while we watched the World Cup. Then, off to Rock City:


Dinner at the Easy Bistro & Bar and off to rest for the night. Yes, these are our 2 favorite and oft revisited places to eat in Chattanooga.

The Race

Up at 4:30, out the door at 5:15. I rode from the Chattanoogan, where we boarded, to transition. Let me say, this hotel is awesome. My original reservation for the Ironman Chattanooga was here. I have moved to the Courtyard Marriott that is right next to transition. The location will be better, but I like the Chattanoogan better as a hotel. Back to the race report. I simply placed the bike on the rack and set my bag down. My first goal was to get some breakfast. I had already drank 20ozs of Osmo's Preload hydration, but nothing solid yet.

Over to the Starbucks at the Courtyard Marriott. The first thing they said was "we don't open until 6:00". I was hoping to be prepping my transition area and getting on the bus around 6:00. But, I had to eat and assumed if they didn't open to 6:00 a line would form. So, I went around to the lobby entrance with the intent of just waiting. Upon arriving there, the attendant inside said, "come on in, we will take care of you." I was extremely grateful and said so. A banana, cup of coffee, and a yogurt. All good and ready.


I returned to transition, set it up unceremoniously.  I included a 12 oz bottle of Osmo Hydration to drink between the bike and run. My bike's Aquacell's 15 oz secondary chamber was loaded with Osmo too. The 35 oz chamber was just water. Since this was only an olympic distance, I didn't bother with solid fuel for during the event. I got on the bus and went off to the swim start.

I saw Sophia and a number of other Vulcan Triathletes from Birmingham and some of my new friends from the ride the day before. I relaxed, I even squeezed in a brief nap, and waited for the start. The start was smooth and Therese Bynum, the race starter, called me out by name with a nice greeting as she said "Go!". I was too flabbergasted by the moment to properly return the greeting. But, I did have the wherewithal to start the watch's recording and start swimming. I had a little trouble getting my breathing started, but I quickly got in the rhythm and just swam. It is amazing how sometimes I just sort of have to kickstart my respiratory system into breathing out in the water. The swim went well. And, Vulcan Tri caught me exiting the swim:


I really need to lose weight. To me I look a little too much like a barrel with arms and legs. But, I'm feeling good and running up the stairs strong.

I had a smooth transition and headed out on the bike. I no issues on the bike except for the time I went to take a sip of Osmo. I sucked, but nothing came up the straw. I pulled the straw up a bit and here came some liquid with what felt like sand into my mouth. The Osmo was not dissolved and was settled on the bottom. Nice! But, it all goes down the same whole. I tolerated it  and just rode on feeling good the entire ride. The second transition was also smooth and I took off on the run. I felt like I was running smooth and steady. Again, no issues. I had a good race. In fact, I improved 10 minutes over my previous best time here (ignoring last year's duathlon).

Results

June 29, 2013: Chattanooga Waterfront Triathlon
Olympic
Time: 2:51:17


a
SwimDistance: 1.5K, .93 miles
Time: 34:21
TransitionTime: 3:02
CycleDistance: 25 Miles
Time: 1:25:15
Rate: 17.7
TransitionTime: 2:48
RunDistance: 6.2 Miles
Time: 1:03:19
Pace: 10:10
WeatherMostly Cloudy
Temperature: 73.81°
Humidity: 90-89%

History

YearTimeSwimT1BikeT2Run
20113:24:3633:274:181:26:572:461:17:09
20123:19:3532:474:031:29:363:401:09:31
20132:51:1718:08*2:48*1:24:592:121:03:12
20143:09:3634:213:021:25:152:481:03:19
Fastest component in red.
* Can't compare to previous years as the swim was cancelled and replaced with a 2 mile run.

Finished


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Drivers and Sports Nutrition: Post Mortum

The following is copied and edited from a post I placed in my local tri club's Facebook page (Vulcan Triathletes), my personal Facebook timeline, and in a post here. It offers a personal experience that relates to 2 common themes we triathletes like to opine about (drivers and nutrition). I got reminded that good people are in lots of places and that it is true that training and nutrition practices are varied and ultimately personal. I read a few studies and conversations over the last few years that indicated that a good deal of the information about the electrolyte replacement and sports drinks was wrong. Thus, I quit using them and focused more on drinking to thirst and eating "real food". Thus, I also dropped my previous reliance on GU and Stingers, and replaced it with homemade concoctions like this one.

Well, that was then, and this is now. I have NEVER cramped during exercise before and I have been during endurance training and events for over 20 years. I have never had GI issues, thus I think I started fixing something that was not broke. And, this happened, here's my post from this weekend [Sunday, June 22, 2014] with some edits:

I learned today that Birmingham, Alabama does have some very caring people both on bicycles and in cars. During a long ride today, I started having some cramping near CR-25 and Elliott heading towards CR-41, about 52 miles in to my planned 60 miles. I stopped and cooled down a bit, then completed the climb over the mountain towards 41. I turned right on 41 where 2 cyclists were stopped and chatting. They said "stay strong", I feigned a good "oh yeah". Within 1-2 miles (about 55 miles into the ride), my right leg cramped from inner thigh to foot. I stopped, but could barely hold the bike up. My right leg was locked in a full extended position and I could do nothing about it volitionally. My left leg wasn't as bad, but was cramping some too. The 2 cyclists (wished I had gotten their names) were there within seconds and noticed that I needed help. One of them did the needful, held me and the bike while I very awkwardly got off the bike and went to the ground to gain my composure. I was about to just fall.

Meanwhile, 2 cars pulled over gave me cold water and both offered to take me home in their cars. Max Whitfield, who lives at 41 & 25, took me home. I have recovered okay, but I couldn't possible express the bounty of my gratitude to the 4 caring, loving people that rescued me when I really needed it. Now, to analyze what I did wrong to end up in such a state. There are drivers in Birmingham that care about us. Max is one of them.

I am putting electrolytes back on the endurance nutrition plan for long workouts and paying a little more attention to pre workout caloric intake. I ate too lightly the night before this ride. At 30 ounces per hour I think I was drinking enough liquid. I am now experimenting with some of the products that have been mentioned here.

Glad I have time to adjust and look forward to NO more cramps. For all those people that shared their war stories about cramps with me previously, if I was not sympathetic, I will be next time.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Thanks to The Caring People of Birmingham Alabama

I learned today that Birmingham, Alabama does have some very caring people both on bicycles and in cars. During a long ride today, I started having some cramping near CR-25 and Elliott heading towards CR-41. I stopped and cooled down a bit, then completed the climb over the mountain towards 41. I turned right on 41 where 2 cyclists were stopped and chatting. They said "stay strong", I feigned a good "oh yeah". Within 1-2 miles, my right leg cramped from inner thigh to foot. I stopped, but could barely hold the bike up. My right leg was locked in a full extended position and I could do nothing about it volitionally. The 2 cyclists (wished I had got their names) were there within seconds and noticed that I needed help. One of them did the needful, held me and the bike while I very awkwardly got off the bike and went to the ground to gain my composure. I was about to just fall.

Meanwhile, 2 cars pulled over gave me cold water and both offered to take me home in their cars. Max Whitfield, who lives at 41 & 25, took me home. I have recovered okay, but I couldn't possible express the bounty of my gratitude to the 4 caring, loving people that rescued me when I really needed it. Now, to analyze what I did wrong to end up in such a state.

There are drivers in Birmingham that care about us. Max is one of them.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

2014 Raleigh Ironman 70.3 Race Report

Pre-Race

I got to incorporate a trip to my daughter's, Lydia's,  place in Charlotte with this trip to Raleigh, NC. She is having a house built in the suburbs of Charlotte, actually in South Carolina. So, we got to go on a tour of her house with the builder. This is her first house purchase, so she is super excited. The house is coming along very well. Her closing may be impacted by a nesting bird, however. The housing for her electric meter has been established as a nesting spot for a bird and the nest has eggs. Apparently, the builder cannot disturb the nest until after it is abandoned by law. It was a joy to see Lydia so excited about this major milestone in life.


We also took the train from her house to uptown Charlotte and ate some barbecue at a location which had earned several "Bob Awards". I lived in Charlotte in the early '90's. It has changed! I loved the vibe of the city and it was just spectacular to get to spend some time with my daughter. This was Thursday and Friday.

Lydia and I getting ready to order dinner.

Queen City Q & Note its Bob Awards :)

On Saturday, I got up and headed to Raleigh from Charlotte. The drive was uneventful, I was able to immediately check in to my room upon arrival. After doing so, I headed over to registration, it was just after lunchtime; I had not eaten. This is the panoramic view of the line:

Panoramic View of the long and circular line for registration
I anticipated a long wait, but it actually moved along pretty well. I was registered by around 1:30. With a goal to swim for 15 minutes, bike for 30 minutes, and to run for 15 minutes. The day was drawing short already. But, I was starving, so I had a salad in the bar. The bike portion of this race is a point-to-point. So, you have to drive out to the origin to put your bike in transition. So, I loaded up the bike and took swim gear. But, upon arriving, I notice that swimming from the planned race start is not permitted. Further, the road is narrow, full of traffic, and I had already witnessed one car rudely pass a cyclist. I did not feel that I could safely ride here. So, I bagged both the swim and bike workouts for the day. I did run later and that helped to calm my nerves. I did text and see Aaron Whitley, a fellow E3Tri athlete. We planned to meet for dinner that night.

On the way back from dropping the bike off in transition, I stopped at a Kroger store and bought an apple, 2 individual servings of almond butter, a clif bar, and some granola mix that included quinoa, oatmeal, chia seeds, and such as ingredients. Breakfast and pre-race snacks ready to go. I had failed to prepare my own energy bites which I usually take on long events these days. So, I purchased Stinger Waffles and Espresso Love Gu's to enable me to alternate between these two items every 30 minutes during the ride and run. Nutrition ready √.

I met Aaron and 3 of his friends (Adam, David, and Sarah) for dinner hosted by the hotel restaurant after my 15 minute run around downtown Raleigh. Typical pre-race fare, salad, pasta and some chicken. We ate and talked triathlon. I jokingly told Aaron if I saw him on the course, I would run him down and pass him. Ha! He out performed me by an hour. I knew he would, but more on that later. We agreed to meet in the lobby in the morning and off to our rooms. I slept good.

The Race


I had put my running stuff in T2 the day before, but I confirmed that it was still there and noticed that many people had removed the stuff from the bag and set up transition in typical fashion (stuff set out and arranged to ease donning in a hurry). I did the same. I ate my apple and almond butter, bought a mocha at Starbucks, and met the crew for the bus ride to T1. Upon arrival, I checked on the bike, borrowed a pump to pump the tires, and set up the stuff there for rapid donning after exiting the water. Then, it was time to wait. I bumped into Stephanie Farrington who is really responsible for my choosing to do this race. So, this race was a big deal for her! But, unfortunately she had apparently eaten something the day before that was not setting well with her. She was going to start the race anyway, but her confidence was shaken. I found Aaron and crew and we chin-wagged until it was time for the waves to start.

I was in the first non-pro wave. This means I will be swam over a lot! And, yes that is exactly what happened. This is the first race where I took a pretty good slug to the face right on the right eye. Thank goodness for goggles. It smarted a little, but not bad. The arghy-barghy in the water seemed to be more frequent and intense that I normally have to tolerate. But, the only time I really got annoyed, I bobbed my head up and actually got an apology from the offender. I thought that was super nice. He was not intentionally running into me. I am just there and here he comes. If I had tried, I could have counted the waves that ran over me. I could basically feel it. First the swell of the super fast folks in the wave, then the pace of the marauders would gradually decrease. I would get a few minutes of peace with no one running over me, and here would come the next wave; pattern repeats.

I felt like I was swimming smooth and well for me; I am slow. I am happy with the swim results.

I made a stupid mistake in T1. I ran right passed my bike, by a long shot, and had to turn around. Beyond that, transition was uneventful and smooth. The plan on the bike was 20 miles smooth, 30 miles pushing hard, and 6 miles smooth and easy to prepare for run. I think I did that. The course was a bit challenging and at times we had a pretty good headwind. I saw one guy crash. Emergency services were there immediately; they got to him before I rode to where he was and I was pretty close to him. It looked like his rear derailer knurled up and went into his spokes. Physically, I think he was okay. That would suck! There was a more serious incident during the race though. A cyclist was seriously injured as detailed in this news report. Fortunately for me, I and my equipment faired well.

T2 was smooth and I headed out on the run. The goal for the run was to start out easy and pick it up every 3 miles based on RPE. I tried to do that, but I don't think I did very well. But, except for a couple of water stops where I walked to ease chewing up some nutrition, I never walked. I was passed by Aaron and I yelled from behind him, that I was coming to get him. I saw several Vulcan Triathletes including Scott Grumley, Russ Bailey, and Stephanie. She did push through and finish the race. Scott and Russ looked good too. I would call my results steady and par for the course. I would like to have felt like I really picked up the pace every 3 miles in the run, but that was not quite in the flow on this day. I saw Aaron in the area just past the finishing chute. I said I would see him later. Off to the room to get a quick shower before my late checkout time of 3:00 pm ends. The next time I saw Aaron, he was passing me, AGAIN, on interstate out of town. A good day down and a long 9 hour ride home.

June 1, 2014: Raleigh Ironman 70.3
Time: 6:40:13


SwimDistance: 1.2 Miles
Time: 45:29
TransitionTime: 4:02
CycleDistance: 56 Miles
Time: 3:09:58
Rate: 17.7
TransitionTime: 5:10
RunDistance: 13.1 Miles
Time: 2:35:34
Pace: 11:52
WeatherGenerally Clear
Temperature: 57-76°
Humidity: 83-37%

Sunday, May 18, 2014

REV 3 Triathlon Knoxville

First, the bad news: my buddy from my graduate school days at Virginia Tech, Steve Clarke, was not able to make it to the race due to injury. :( I was really looking forward to seeing him and enjoying the new camaraderie based on a shared interest in triathlon. But, we will meet at another race in the future.

Pre-Race

I drove up the day before with the intent of picking up my packet, biking 30 minutes, running 15 minutes, swimming 15 minutes, and having dinner at the event banquet. I expected to chill and relax the rest of the day. Ha! I never had a dull moment. I got there right about lunch time. The hotel was not checking people in yet, so I parked, secured the bike, and headed to registration. World's Fair Park, the setting for event was at the base of the hotel on the opposite side from where I had parked and entered the building. But, there was another event in the part of the park into which I entered from the hotel. After wandering around seemingly aimless for a few minutes, I finally asked one of the vendors at the setting in which I was wandering if the event had anything to do with a triathlon. She directed me to another part of the park.

Having located registration, I painlessly registered. The swim practice time was about to expire, so I immediately grabbed my wet suit and headed for the water. I got my planned 15 minute swim in just in time and it was 2:00. I tried to find the expo as I realized I needed a light jacket for the ride in the morning. I had failed to note the weather before leaving home. It was now predicted to be cooler than it was when I checked the forecast a few days earlier. I needed to get a 30 minute ride in so I looked up nearby bike shops. If found Tennessee Valley Bicycles. They were super friendly and sold me a light, solid black jacket. It would do. I now just keep it in my "Tri bag", a bag I reserve just for races.

Swim done, ride done, time to run for 15 minutes. Done. Checked in to the hotel, carted all my stuff to my room and applied the various stickers to the bike as required. Off to transition to park the bike. The afternoon is spent and it is time to get ready for dinner.

While standing in the food line, I contemplated where to sit for dinner: a empty table, a nearly full table, or a table with a sole occupant. I chose the latter. I met Dave Miller from Maryland. He was there for the championship race for the 50-54 age group. A few other folks joined us and we talked triathlon to include some younger person's comment "I wonder what is the average BMI in here." We do like to find ways to make ourselves feel superior. Ha! The dinner was good and Rev3 put on a good presentation including speeches by 2 pros. This is the last year for pros in Rev3. Yet, all handled it professionally. The pros were introduced with appropriate reverence and they showed appreciation and regard despite acknowledging this was their last time as pros at this event.

A little shopping for yogurt, banana, and a clif bar for breakfast. Time to sleep. I readied all the rest of my equipment and put on the race tats. BED, ahhhh.....

P.S. The course was described as challenging!

The Race

Up at 5:00. Coffee and ate the yogurt, banana, and clif bar. On with the one piece tri-kit from Vulcan Triathletes, grab the gear and off to transition. Pumped the tires, set up the bike and running gear, grabbed what I needed for the swim and off to the dock. I chummed up with several fellows in my swim wave, especially Kevin Hall. It was sort of like kids on a playground making instant friends that dissolve nearly as fast as they form when play ends and parents take you home. I would see David and Kevin later in the day. Kevin passed me on the run and wished me well. I saw David after the race and we ate lunch together and reminisced on what we had just done. The swim went smooth. The bike lived up to the description, it was challenging as you can see in the following elevation chart of the course:


But, the bike performed flawlessly and I enjoyed the ride. The run was steady, but I did have to hit a porta potty. 

The Results

More detail online

May 18, 2014: Rev3 Triathlon Olympic
Time: 3:14:22
a



SwimDistance: 0.93 Miles
Time: 34:25
TransitionTime: 3:47
CycleDistance: 25 Miles
Time: 1:30:56
Rate: 16.5
TransitionTime: 2:12
RunDistance: 6.2 Miles
Time: 1:03:02
Pace: 10:10
WeatherGenerally Clear
Temperature: 54-58°
Humidity: 89-67%


Saturday, April 19, 2014

2014 Statue to Statue Race Report

The Race

I had a great race. I have done this race several times before and I didn't not set a personal record today, but still I ran strong and well. I saw a number of my running buds and it was nice to have a good chin wag. I got on the first bus from the finish to the start. Yes, you park at the finish and ride a bus to the start for this point-to-point race. On the way to the start, I realized I forgot my earbuds. So, I rode the bus back to the finish, got my earbuds, and rode the bus to the start again.


I did complete a faux pas at after finishing the race. I saw a man I was sure I recognized, but I couldn't quit place him. Somehow, my brain settled on he's a veterinarian our the animal clinic we frequent. So, I asked the man if he was a vet. He said, "no, I'm an Episcopal priest." Then, I realized he was the priest at the church our family attends!

The Details

April 19, 2014: Birmingham, AL
The Ellis Porch Statue to Statue
15K, 9.3 Miles
Distance:9.3 Miles
Time:1:25:27
Heart Rate:156
Pace:9:05
Weather:Mostly cloudy
63.0°
58% Humidity

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Old Howard Century Ride - 105 Miles: New Stuff, Mad Stuff, Bad Stuff, Good Stuff

The Ride

I rode in a car to the starting position with a couple of friends that live in and near my neighborhood. It was nice to leave the driving to someone else and to have companionship for the ride to Marion, AL from Birmingham. We left my house at about 6:40 am and arrived in time to pick up our packets, pump up our tires, mount gear, get to the starting line, and attend the pre-ride briefing. Not rushed, but not much time to spare.

This ride represented the opportunity to achieve several objectives for me (results in red):

  • Try out new tires: Specialized S-Works Turbo's 700X24c which have lower rolling resistance that I have used in the past and a fatter profile - Unable to evaluate
  • Try out my new homemade nutrition instead of my old practice of Espresso Love flavored GU - Success
  • Try out my new fit on the bike - Success
  • Try out the new wider seat which was loaned to me as part of the fit (he measured my butt and gave me a wider seat....trying not to think about the implications, personally) - Success, it does fit my as...
  • Find out if I can ride 100 miles and run a little given the fall Ironman Chattanooga event I'm training for - Success
I achieved all of those objectives, but it was NOT smooth sailing for all of them. The biggest and most prevalent issue for the ride was a combination of rear brake friction and rear wheel to frame friction. After about 10 miles on the ride my rear wheel started emitting a chirping sound, like a bird. So, I pulled over and adjusted the brake which helped, but the chirping returned quickly. I pulled over and investigated again. I discovered that the back wheel would not freely spin. It was rubbing against the frame. So, I loosened the skewer, moved the wheel back a little, and tightened up the skewer again. Unfortunately, this process continued for 5-6 more episodes until a fellow rider helped me by holding the wheel center and back so I could very securely tighten the skewer. Needless to say, this created some frustration, thus "mad". On the flip-side, the purpose of trying these things here, was to not try them in an Ironman race. So, SUCCESS.

Although, I took advantage of the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and 1 whatchamacallit bar at the rest stops, all the rest of my nutrition was my homemade concoctions. I didn't notice any difference in how I recall feeling as a contrast against the same practices in the past where GU was the option. For liquid, like last year, I only consumed water. All Good!

I felt good on the bike and I believe that I was more comfortable overall than on the previous configuration. Thus, I would call the fit a success. The concluding run was slow, but no problem. Good enough for first one this year off a very long ride.

My car-pooling mates were kind considering that I finished after them given the frequent "stop and fix the wheel" episodes. They even graciously waited while I ran.

The Details

April 12, 2014: Old Howard Century + 15 Minute Run
Marion, AL
Time: 6:16:11

Cycle Distance: 105.5 Miles
Time: 6:35:36
Rate: 16.0 mph
Run Distance: 1.31 Miles
Time: 15:09
Pace: 11:32
Weather Generally Overcast, but clearing
Temperature: 61.9-80.1°
Humidity: 100-40%

Sunday, March 09, 2014

For JUST 1 Cup of the Most Expensive Coffee in the World

I had read about Civet Coffee after hearing about it on NPR's "This American Life". It doesn't come without controversy and naysayers. But, I have been intrigued and curious for some time. So, when Touch of Modern, the source for a daily shopping email I receive, offered a package from ValBeMar
that contained enough grounds to make a 8-10 oz cup for $25, I went for it; you only live once. I received my single serving of Kopi Luwak Friday. Immediately, I started thinking when do I make this? Do I wait for a special occasion? Do I need to prepare my palette? How? What's the best way to make a single serving of coffee from grounds? Oh, the thoughts one will put into making a $25 single serving of coffee.

I decided I would be fluid as to when, but that it would have to be on a morning when there was no rush, no hustle and bustle, an easy starting day. Well, I overslept and missed the opportunity to join the Sunday morning running group I sometimes run with. The time has just sprung forward. And, I can run when I want to. Today was the day, Carpe Diem! I made the coffee.

I had done a little research and discovered the recommended way to make the coffee requires a Syphon Brewer. You can buy yours here. I didn't. After doing a little research which amounted to watching some YouTube videos. I decided to use my French Press:
Those are expresso cups and we got about 3 cups worth from the press. Thus, the following should provide a sense of scale for both size and price:
8 Bucks Worth of Cat-Poop Coffee
Okay, I know you're on the edge of your seat. It was good, very good. It was not 8 bucks worth of good though. I'm not a great describer of flavor, but I love coffee and have sampled many. This coffee was rich in flavor without any bitterness. The aftertaste was equally smooth, pleasant, and lasting just enough to earn appreciation without boredom, leaving you ready for the next sip. I would also agree with ValBeMar's description:
ValBeMar Kopi Luwak Kayumas is a full bodied coffee (almost syrupy) with a rich, heavy taste and hints of caramel or chocolate. Many describe the aroma as earthy, musty, and complex. - See more at: http://www.valbemar.com/our-coffees/kopi-luwak/#sthash.pCqHdpNq.dpuf
Betsy, my wife, had a dilemma. She normally doctors her coffee up with sweetener and creamer. But, adding something to this coffee seemed to be the equivalent of putting steak sauce on a steak. In Texas where I grew up, one only puts steak sauce on bad steak. The flavor should come from the meat. A little salt and pepper perhaps, but that's all. While Betsy liked the taste of the coffee, she was still impelled to "doctor" it up. She did. She liked it, but didn't find it superior to some coffees we brought home from Costa Rica during our vacation there last year.

So, there you have it. Very good. Too expensive. Get a good, less expensive Costa Rican coffee, but if you see a good deal, you too, should try it.