High on the hog

Soma Double Cross

The Soma Double Cross in semi-touring configuration at Blodgett Peak Open Space.

Yesterday was a rare day indeed, one largely free of responsibility for Your Humble Narrator (save for meal preparation), so I pissed off for a couple leisurely hours of cycling.

I chose the Soma Double Cross, which had been undergoing refitting for touring before the plumber took his monkey wrench to my plans for a little post-Tour getaway; I had reattached the rear rack, but hadn’t gotten around to the low-rider or fenders.

The Double Cross is not particularly light, but neither am I, so who cares? I felt like riding it, I felt like climbing some middling hills, and the ride proved as delightful as free beer on a hot day.

You may be disappointed to hear that there was some performance enhancement involved. Before heading out, I ate a sandwich of Niman Ranch applewood-smoked ham and Alp and Dell Muenster on rustic Italian bread. That little piggy (and not all that little, either) sure flattened out those inclines. A sign of the Aporkalypse? Perhaps.

Thank Buddha that nobody from USADA was around to catch my Zoom-Zoom impersonation. My sweat smelled like bacon, which is a dead giveaway that I’m on The Program again. They don’t even bother to draw blood once they get a whiff.

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31 Responses to “High on the hog”

  1. Sharon Says:

    Looks like a fun ride Patrick.

    BTW, RIP to JJ Cale. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WUeOEkl270

    He lived a full life, but as Warren Zevon said you gotta enjoy every sandwich.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Sharon, it was. All the body parts functioned more or less normally for a change, even the squishy bits between the ears. Nobody tried to run me down or even shout at me. I didn’t fall over of my own accord. If I’d had another sandwich I’d still be out there.

      R.I.P. indeed to Mr. Cale. I tweeted about his departure earlier ā€” linking to the same video ā€” and then got lost in the weeds of weekend work. The good ones leave us too soon. Justin Bieber will live to be a thousand.

  2. Patrick O'Brien Says:

    See ya J. J.

    “Well I got that green light, baby, I got to keep movin’ on”
    From “They Call Me The Breeze”

    Is that Palmer Park in the background?

    Well, the Saga is calling, and that call is being answered.

  3. Patrick O'Brien Says:

    Oops, just read the caption. Duh.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      My Soma Saga touring bike, stripped of racks and fenders.

      How are you liking that Saga, Patrick? I’ve been riding mine again lately, and I think I want to make a change in the cockpit. I originally set it up with Nitto Randonneur bars, which are turning out to have a bit more extension and a skosh less bar-top real estate than I like. Believe I’ll swap them dudes out for some traditional drops.

    • Patrick O'Brien Says:

      The Saga is great. The welds and paint job are much better than the old 520, and the ride is smoother. The bars are stock Bontrager drop bars from the 520. The cockpit looks much like yours. My stem, a Salsa, may be a little shorter than yours. Overall, the frame upgrade from the 520 to the Saga was worth every penny.

      • Patrick O'Brien Says:

        Damn I’m wordy. Bottom line is that I could live with the Saga as my only road bike. Right now I am.

  4. Larry T. Says:

    Nice to see you got outside on a bicycle of all things. Always enjoy reading about “pedala forte, mangia bene” even though neither of us likely ride all that hard these days. The riding might be hard (the last ride I did in Italy was up the Mortirolo) but I don’t think either of us is very “forte” anymore (if ever)… but we can still hold our own when it comes to “mangia bene”, right?
    Had the folks who look after our shack in Iowa while we’re gone over for some chow last night – prosciutto e melone (La Quercia, right here in Ioway makes some damn good stuff) followed by a pile ‘o panzanella (Tuscan bread salad) then grilled zucchini, melanzane and peperoni, roasted potatoes with rosemary and a couple of fiorentina steaks. All washed down with one of our favorite wines – VITIANO…and a very special bottle of Sangiovese smuggled in directly from the maker in Toscana.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Sounds great, Larry. One of Herself’s childhood chums is visiting us, so I laid a bike-racing recipe on her last night, from “The Feed Zone Cookbook” ā€” angel hair pasta with bacon, diced tomato, olive oil, slivered basil and sweet corn, plus a little lemon juice drizzled on and Parmigiano-Reggiano grated on top. Easy and quick to cook, and makes for good leftovers.

      • khal spencer Says:

        Sounds really good. Can you set two more plates and hold the bacon?

      • Steve O Says:

        That’s not a bad little book. Everything we’ve tried so far has been quick and light.

        Although … I still haven’t manned-up and tried a poached egg on oatmeal.

      • Larry T. Says:

        Something even easier (and without bacon) is to mix up the same tomato stuff you’d use for the classic bruschetta al pomodoro (fresh chopped tomatoes, basil, garlic and the best extra-virgin olive oil you can find – then let it sit for an hour or two in the fridge) and toss that into the hot pasta. Angel hair tends to end up a sticky mess so I’d suggest spaghetti or linguine. (‘Muricans have a fascination with angel hair pasta that escapes me….you really don’t see it on the menu at eating places in Italy much)

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Without bacon? Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

        But I hear you on the angel hair. That stuff winds up looking like one of the cats coughed up a blond hairball, and all the other ingredients wind up pooled at the bottom of the bowl.

        I made this dish a couple of times according to recipe and then tried versions with spaghettini, spaghetti, linguine and fettuccine. The latter two were best, I thought.

      • Steve O Says:

        Angel hair … It’s all marketing. If they called it wombat nest pasta, no one would touch it.

      • khal spencer Says:

        We generally default to linguini or penne rigate for our pasta dishes. Seems to work with just about everything, including freshly made bruschetta al pomodoro tossed with linguini, freshly grilled vegetables, and a hard cheese. Washed down with Trader Joe’s finest reds.

        Sorry to offend the meatitarians, but my better half has been vegetarian since she went to John Woolman School in Nevada City, where those who ate meat had to kill and butcher their victims, er, I mean meals. I guess the last straw for her was when they named their pig Arnold (per Green Acres) and then were faced with slaughtering it. Then she spent some time back in India with her Hindu grandmother and pretty much gave up on the idea of the Great American Diet.

        Me? I cut way back on dead flesh when I got tired of blowing away deer, and am down to a fish meal every few months just so I can tell people that I’m not really a vegetarian. Frankly, the hardest part is not having access to the great Italian sausage I used to get in Buffalo and Rocky Point, LI. Having said that, there is a very good meatless variety made by Field Roast.

      • Patrick O'Brien Says:

        Oink, for oink’s sake?

        Blonde hair ball. That picture will take weeks to get out of my head. Thanks, Dog.

        How about making that with farfalle?

      • Patrick O'Brien Says:

        Yea Khal, we have been having 2 or 3 meatless days a week here as well. Other than that it’s almost always chicken. I haven’t eaten bacon in months, maybe years. Now if someone would offer me some elk tenderloin, I would be all over that like a duck on a june bug.

      • khal spencer Says:

        I’ve been thinking seriously about elk tenderloin ever since I inherited my uncle’s Model 70 in 300 H&H Magnum last year….

      • Larry T. Says:

        Sure, I have decency! If it’s BACON you want, whip up spaghetti al’ amatriciana (though the classic is bucatini) with bacon (guanciale is the classic though I cheat with pancetta more often than not) onion, red pepper flakes, garlic, diced tomatoes, grated pecorino romano and a bit of heavy cream. You get great taste and all the artery clogging you desire with this dish, depending on how much of the fat your pour off after frying up the pork and before adding the rest of the ingredients. This recipe would certainly NOT be in the “Feed Zone Cookbook” however.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        “Everyday Italian” by Giada De Laurentiis has a recipe for salsa all’amatriciana that I’ve used before. Her version uses pancetta and puree instead of diced tomatoes, and does without the heavy cream. Not bad, and insanely simple to prepare, like most of her stuff. I like her all’arrabbiata, too, for the same reason. Lazy man’s cookery that still tastes good.

      • Larry T. Says:

        Pretty much the secret of Italian cooking – start with high quality ingredients and don’t f__k them up. The dairy element is essential to an authentic pasta al’ amatriciana though. I saw an Italian TV show once where a shepherd cooked his up out in a pasture over an open fire, using a bit of sheep’s milk!
        Our favorite cookbook remains Nick Stellino’s Cucina Amore.

  5. sachiwilson Says:

    I’m surprised you haven’t applied for a TUE for pork products.

  6. Ryan Surface Says:

    In the wise words of Homer (Simpson not the Greek Dude) “hmmm bacon” sounds like a great pre-ride meal and a fine ride. Glad you got out on the bike. I just built up a Soma Smoothie as my “go fast” ride and its not carbon fiber light but as you say “neither am I”. I think a Carbon rig would quiver in fear if my clydesdale ass started to throw a leg over.

  7. Grumbly Oldguy Says:

    RE; Naming “pets”
    My nephew named one pig Carnitas & the other Choriso, while the steer was named Chuck. Packages were labeled appropriately in the freezer.

    “blonde hairball” sounds like an ex-…

  8. Boz Says:

    Stop with the bacon already. My recent bout of kidney failure due to an asteroid sized kidney stone left me with some drastic dietary changes. Doc – do you eat bacon? Me – love bacon! Doc – not anymore. By the way, any of you see my left kidney laying around anywhere? The doc asked me if I had been to Thailand and woke up in bathtub full of ice. Strange to discover you were only born with one kidney at this age. Had to almost die to find out!

    • Larry T. Says:

      Had one of those a few years back – thought I was gonna die…then feared I wouldn’t! Nobody said anything about bacon though I do take some RX potassium citrate pellets twice day – forever I guess. When I think of the pain, it’s easy to remember to take ’em. Since then, no stones have turned up on any scans. Hope your lone kidney continues to work Boz!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Jeez, guys, you just made me cross my legs and squeal like a preteen girl.

      Boz, croaking is strictly forbidden. I have too few readers as it is. Don’t make me stop this blog and come back there.

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