Friday, October 24, 2014

new adventure

After managing retail drugstores for a long, long time, Friday was my last day. I've known for a long time that I wanted to do something different, and I've finally found that something. I start training next week to be the bike shop manager for the new Scheels in Overland Park, KS. The latest edition of this awesome store, based out of my hometown, Fargo, ND, is set to open in June of 2015. I am so excited that I'm going to be part of it.


The next few months will have me going back and forth to Omaha to train in the Scheels located there. I'll make the trip up and down I-29 more than a Royals prospect. After training I'll be involved in setting up the new store, preparing for grand opening. Making a living helping others find the right bike for their adventures sounds like a blast.


Osco Drug and CVS Health have been great places to work, but I had no real affection for Tylenol or Head and Shoulders. But bikes? Mmmmmm bikes. I have often joked that I still didn't know what I want to be when I grow up. Maybe now I know. A great weekend to all of you, and if you're in Kansas someday, and you need a bike.........

Sunday, October 12, 2014

kind choices

I've always enjoyed cooking. Part of the reason is that I've always enjoyed eating. But I also like the creative process of putting ingredients together to make a sum greater than its parts. When I became a vegan I was presented with some new challenges when it came to cooking, but not as many, or as difficult, as you might imagine.

Over the last two years I've tried dozens of vegan recipes, many trying to re-create familiar favorites with animal friendly ingredients; Alfredo sauce using blended cauliflower, "meatballs" made from beans, and "cheesecake" using tofu.
 My culinary journey has also included sampling some meat substitutes. Mexican veggie protein crumbles make for great tacos, especially when you add lettuce, hot sauce, and some dairy-free cheese. Seitan works great for vegan hot wings, and as a replacement for beef in stew. Tempeh is a soy product than can replace meat in a lot of dishes. And I've recently found a real summer treat in Tofurky's Beer Brats.
And with a quick Google search you can find tons of recipes for things like sloppy joes made with lentils, and burgers from black beans and sweet potatoes. You can find recipes for General Tso's Chicken, minus the chicken, plus tofu or cauliflower. I've made them both and they were delicious.
I've made feta cheese from almonds and tried several dairy-free cheese options. Daiya is my favorite for shreds. And I love Go Veggie parmesan-style topping for pasta or pizza.

I guess what I'm saying is that there are a lot of choices we can make when we plan our menus, make our shopping trips, and cook our favorite meals that don't contribute to the suffering of any animals. Would you be willing to make a few changes? Can you make some kind choices?

Saturday, October 4, 2014

crmbt 2015 route

The Colorado Rocky Mountain Bike Tour recently announced their planned route for 2015. It offers 472 miles of beautiful alpine scenery and visits to some of the great cities in Colorado.

Day 1 - The tour will start in Gunnison, a place that's very familiar to anyone who has spent much time on Colorado bike tours. Riders will take US50 out of town and start a climb that is really tame, until it's not. Over the first 33 miles they will gain about 700 feet in elevation. Over the next 10 miles they will gain close to 3,000 feet, arriving at the top of Monarch Pass,  11,312 feet, before descending all the way to Salida.
Day 2 - From Salida riders will head north to Buena Vista on US285. They will follow that highway as it merges with US24 and cross Trout Creek Pass as the tour did this year. But instead of staying on 24 at the split, they'll follow 285 to Fairplay, where they'll turn onto CO9 for the last leg of the day. Highway 9 will take riders all the way to Breckenridge for the next overnight, but not before a climb over Hoosier Pass at 11,539 feet. This will be the first time CRMBT has ever done Hoosier Pass.
Day 3 - The third day will feature some classic Colorado riding, including two-thirds of the Copper Triangle done in reverse. From Breckenridge riders will follow the bike path through Frisco to Copper Mountain and all the way to Vail Pass. The screaming descent will be on the road that I-70 replaced in the area, now closed to traffic! Frontage roads and bike paths will get them back to US24, this time heading southwest to Leadville, the highest incorporated city in the US at 10,152 feet. It's pretty impressive to be at that altitude and look out and see mountains towering above.
Day 4 - After averaging 74 miles for the first three days, riders should be warmed up for the "Queen Stage" of the tour. After heading south to Twin Lakes, the route heads east/northeast crossing Independence Pass, 12,095 feet. From there it's a long, winding road, downhill, to Aspen, then back on a bike path almost all of the way to Glenwood Springs for a much-deserved rest day.
Day 5 - Rest day in Glenwood Springs. Riders might visit the hot springs, do a little rafting, or just relax, maybe with a short ride on the trails around town. Whatever they choose, this is a great place for a day off....in the middle of your vacation.

Day 6 - This day won't be the longest, or highest elevation day, but it will be beautiful. A little more bike path, some coke ovens, and McClure Pass, 8,866 feet. Then a nice descent, and an ever warmer ride into Hotchkiss.
Day 7 - The route on the final day will take riders through the Black Canyon of the Gunnison River. It's a beautiful place to ride a bike. There's no mountain pass, but they will climb to over 9,000 feet and summit at a trail-head that's called Hermit's Rest, if I remember correctly. There are spectacular views and a pretty good descent back down to US50. From there they'll ride along the Blue Mesa Reservoir and Blue Mesa. By the time they bid adieu to the reservoir they'll only have about 10 miles left to Gunnison.
Riders will roll into Gunnison with 472+ miles and 7 mountain passes under their belts, lots of great memories, and if they're like me, a whole bunch of pictures. If this sounds like fun to you, check it out at CRMBT. Get signed up early for the best rate.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

fast against slaughter

Tomorrow, October 2nd, I will be fasting. I've pledged to participate in #FastAgainstSlaughter as part of World Day for Farmed Animals. I learned about this event through Farm Animals Rights Movement (FARM). The date for the fast was chosen because it it Ghandi's birthday.
The purpose of my doing this is twofold. First, I want to raise awareness. Health and environment aside, billions of animals are killed for food every year. Billions. And I truly believe that most consumers have never really thought about that. If they did think about it, learn how the system works, look inside factory farms to see where their food comes from, they would make a change.
Second, I want the day to serve as a reminder to me that the choices I make, and the encouragement I give others, is important. This is not simply about eating meat or not. It's about a system that has devolved into something bad, where cruelty and abuse are all too common, hidden from the light of day, figuratively and literally.
_____________________________________________________________________

  " Most of these animals are raised on factory farms, where they are confined, mutilated, and bred to grow so large, so quickly, that many of them literally suffer to death."
_____________________________________________________________________

As a species, we have evolved to be able to control many other species. With that power comes responsibility. We are part of a system that is unsustainable. For our health and our environment we need to rethink the choices we make, mostly out of habit. But, tomorrow is about the animals. It's about our accepting that responsibility, and committing to humane treatment for all animals.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

pragmatic vegan - ditch dairy

It would definitely be easier, more convenient to be a vegetarian, rather than a vegan, sometimes. And I will admit I miss cheese more than meat. But something that started out about me, then about the world in which I live, has ended up being about animals.

 I've always thought of myself as an "animal lover". For most of my life I've shared my home with dogs. I've even met a few cats that I like. But for a long time I never thought about being against cruelty to animals, and being part of a system that is nothing but cruel.

Factory farming has given animals less space, often keeping them indoors their entire lives. It has shown little regard for their welfare, or for that matter, the consumer's welfare, using barbaric means to move sick or "downer" animals into the food chain to save their profits. And ultimately, no matter the quality of their existence, animals have their very lives ended for our pleasure.

Some would reason that continuing to consume dairy is "kinder" than eating meat. But if you look at dairy production, you'll see it's anything but kind. First, what could be more painful to a mother than having her newborn ripped from her only hours after birth? But a dairy cow's milk is a product, not to be wasted on her young. Male calves are often stuffed into veal crates, sealing their fate to a completely miserable, and mercifully short life. Females face the same sad lives as their mothers.

Dairy cows are repeatedly inseminated to become pregnant again and again, so they'll keep producing milk. They have become replaceable parts in the factory, and when they are "spent" after only a fraction of their natural life expectancy, they are sent to slaughter as well.

Undercover videos show workers abusing animals in deplorable conditions. That is what factory farming is! That is what it does! If you want to continue to consume dairy, take time to watch what happens on a dairy farm. At least be an educated consumer. But, if you are open to taking a step, let it be this one. Ditch dairy.

If you can't give up cheese just yet, how about starting with milk? Their are many wonderful substitutes: "milk" made from almonds, coconut and soy. Their are some dairy free cheeses too, and they're getting better all the time. If you can't give it up, how about cutting down? Every little bit helps if we do it together.

If you want a glimpse into the dairy industry, please read this:

Grace was treated like trash