April Illinois Cycling Attempt

I’m not sure if it’s just Illinois or if it’s the entire midwest. The weather and magnitude of wind has progressively gotten worse and more intense just over a few years. I’m really getting fed up trying to maintain a hobby and lifestyle of cycling in Illinois. And the key to good longer rides is to remain comfortable, whether it be dry, cool and warm enough. It is extremely fun to ride with the wind, but a cross wind or head wind will take a toll at your (my) mind and your (my) body. It is easier to put up with bullshit on a short commute to or from work, but the long rides will never be perfect in Illinois.

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I’m going to try and put this month of April frustrations in terms of cycling into words, if possible. In early April, I rode in barely above freezing temperatures counties away from home while the wind happened. The wind happened and destroyed. This wind was so strong. It was swaying trees as if they were rubber and shattering them like twigs in a lawnmower. And the very next day, I rode straight into the wind and it was so difficult and draining that it took me an entire day to travel what should’ve taken 5-6 hours if someone could’ve flipped the off switch to the wind.

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I’m not a weak person, physically, but that weekend riding took it all out of me mentally. I did not ride for six days. Six days off of a bicycle is way too long for me. The weather became more normal and I just went about my business, riding a little here and there. Mostly commute rides until my next weekend off where I attempted bigger rides. The wind that Friday cut my bigger ride short and was followed by bike problems ending my ride horribly short. The next day I rode with a friend and grabbed a few beers. It was a good ride and a good day until that person bit the dust pretty hard trying to ride over cleanup attempts of tree debris from the crazy wind weekend that I rode through counties on the I&M Canal.

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The next week in April consisted of commutes with some of those commutes taken the long way. I went for a joy ride, maybe two. I worked my ass off and spent some time at the bike shop.

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This last week of April has been cold. It has also been windy and extremely uncomfortable. I’ve been commuting strongly and was planning a long ride today, April 30th, to end on a strong note. Nothing will literally dampen outdoor fun like cold rain. I may get out just to get out, but cold rain makes any kind of ride pretty short.

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Either Illinois is by far the worst state in the USA in terms of politics and weather or it’s a conspiracy of weeding out the good residents by spraying chemicals into the atmosphere to control the weather like the lucid drugs they feed these Illinois politicians to make sure Illinois is a horrible state outside of Chicago.

Or is this an accidental effect from putting chemicals in the atmosphere from factory farming resulting in this intense Climate Change. Is it windy in the West? Is shit just hitting the fan everywhere and scattering more shit everywhere only spraying that shit farther and farther every time. Is it a cycle of shit? How long before we are knee deep in shit? I want to move to Mars.

I’m ending this month on a salty note, but hard fought, mentally draining and painful kilometers.

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#RideOn

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Tempeh Sandwich 

VeggHead BeerCyclist 2.28

Tempeh Sandwich

Yesterday I awaited the arrival of my new FatBike shirt that I had ordered earlier in the month. I love technology and being able to track a package. You know, to see all of the fabulous places it has seen before finding a new home. The USPS tracking number revealed that it would be delivered the 27th, but when I checked at 4:00pm yesterday it was saying it was in Peoria, IL some 60 miles away. My question is if I have to wait until Monday. Delivery should have a universal law. That if you order a delicious just Cheese pizza, FatBike tires, t-shirt or whatever you might order for delivery and it gives you an estimated time and it is late, you should get a nice discount or credit. Or if it take two plus hours for a pizza to be delivered and I pay with my credit card and have already added a generous tip, but have passed out because I only order pizza if I have been drinking and the two hours is a long time to keep drinking on an empty stomach and then I cannot answer my on-silent phone or (not on-silent) door bell, don’t take my money and the pizza. Just leave the pizza on the porch. It’s cold enough in Illinois winter to basically refrigerate or freeze it. 



Today I used leftovers from things that I have made recently that need to be used up and can’t survive much longer without getting shot in the metaphorical ass with the PED, preservatives. No one likes waste. It’s not cool. I used the Angry Stuffed Habaneros stuffing, various veggies, cheese that I had left, tempeh, thousand island and the homemade Bleu cheese. 

Also, this morning I came across this:
It was clever, hilarious and awesome. I had to share it.

I thought of a new name for the Cheese stuffing, Pepper John Cheese. Jack sounds like a clowns name as it isn’t as common and as serious as John. I like Pepper Jack Cheese, but it is a choking joke compared to my Pepper John Cheese if they competed against each other on the Scoville Scale.

Being vegetarian or vegan equates to a possible black hole equivalent emptiness inside from the personal hot wing boycott. I was never a huge wing fan. Especially after butchering whole chickens a few times. For the record, I have never killed a living animal. And never will. Butchering (already dead) chickens and its disgustingness helped influence my vegetarian transformation. I am also not a huge fan of meatless meat replacements. I have eaten some and will continue to eat some. Some are made right and are organic, Project Non-GMO Verified and preservative free. Most are packed with preservatives and additives. Still very much better than eating meat or fish or aliens, pets and or other humans. 
After the Angry Stuffed Habaneros laughed at me and called me cowardice and other self-esteem crushing names, I wished I had some celery. 
By the way, the band Defeater, has an intensely awesome song Cowardice on their Travels album. Check it out if that’s your thing. It’s a loud to some people song. 
I’ve heard many of times milk is the best thing for you after your mouth is on fire. It will help to literally put out a fire if your mouth has flames on it, but milk is gross. I stopped drinking milk years ago. Also, I have a video of myself eating a raw Habanero and then eating a raw Bhut Jolokia, also known as a Ghost Pepper. This was in 2012 a few months after I moved back in with my parents after College. I almost thought that I needed a Hospital run. My mom actually took the video.
Suck it, Angry Stuffed Habaneros. 
Pepper John Cheese Stuffing ingredients:
-Cream Cheese at room temp
-PLAIN Greek yogurt
-Crushed Sunflower Seeds
-Garlic/Onion powder
-Sea Salt/Pepper
-Sugar
-Dry or Fresh Dill
-Deseeded Diced Cucumber 
-Super Diced Carrot
-Super Diced Sharp Cheddar
-Super Diced Habanero super deseeded
Pepper John Celery ingredients:
-Pepper John Cheese Stuffing
-Additional Sunflower seeds
-Organic Celery, rinsed and cut into thirds
Only two steps:
-Spread the Pepper John Cheese Stuffing onto the celery as if it were peanut butter.
-Slightly push sunflower seeds on Pepper John for looks, protein and texture.
While we’re on the topic of Habanero again, I had a Ballast Point Sculpin IPA this month that was outstanding. It wasn’t the regular Sculpin, but the Habanero Sculpin. It was very well balanced with the habanero and hops with some nice citrus notes. I might have a small tolerance to heat, but it was a delicious Hopanero IPA. I recommend it with a meal. 
Veggie Tempeh Baked Sandwich 
This sandwich was Dry. No oil or butter was used. The wonderful parchment paper offers a peaceful nonstick surface for all of your cheffing needs. I hope no one thought I meant dry like prohibition Dry. 
Homemade Bleu Cheese ingredients:
-Veganaise
-Gorgonzola 
-Soy Sauce
-Sriracha
-Sour Cream
-Butter
-Milk
-Apple Cider Vinegar 
-Sea Salt/Pepper
-Fresh Dill
>Mix 
Vegan Thousand Island:
-Veganaise
-Sriracha
-Celery Seed
-Garlic, caramelized 
-Sea Salt/Pepper/Sugar
-Paprika/Garlic/Onion Powder
-Balsamic Vinegar
-Diced Hot Peppers (I used Habanero)
-Deseeded Cucumber, diced
>Mix while listening to good tunes
I used leftover marinaded Tempeh from Vegan Reuben’s that I made last week.
Marinaded Tempeh ingredients:
-Tempeh, sliced
-Water or Veggie Broth
-Garlic, halved
-Onion, sloppy choppy
-Soy Sauce
-Sriracha
-Sea Salt/Pepper
-Thyme/Savory
Step One, Step One, Two, Three:
-Add Water or Broth and heat
-Add everything else and create boilage
-Cover and extinguish fire. Let cool completely and save your Tempeh. Depending on how thin you sliced it, it might be flimsy.
Save the remaining liquid if you’d like as it has a decent start to being Homemade Veggie Broth. Discard veggies or eat them. Use your imagination.
Ingredients for sandwich:
-Cucumber, deseeded and sliced
-Radish, rinsed and sliced
-Cheddar, not rinsed and sliced from block
-Mozzarella, sliced from block
-Homemade Bleu Cheese 
-Roasted Onion slices, raw if preferred 
-Avocado, Californian and extra large, sliced
-Thousand Island, made at home
-North American Cheese, I split one slice into equal quantities for three sandwiches
-Tempeh, pre marinaded 
-Rye Bread
Steps: 
-Take two slices of good Rye. I always go the seeded route. On one side spread the Vegan Thousand Island and on the other slice, spread the Homemade Bleu Cheese. And broil for a couple of minutes infusing the inside of your sandwich.
-Get your veggies and Cheese all ready to assemble your sandwich
-I started with Thousand Island side and put down a layer of Cheese including the small amount of American
-I generously put the Tempeh on top of the cheese layer
-More Cheese (I don’t put a lot of cheese just layers of Cheese spottiness)
-Cucumber and Radish
-More Cheese
-Onion and Avocado
-Remaining Cheese and Finish with Bleu Cheese slice, Bleu Cheese side down/inside
-Put on parchment paper
-Bake each side of sandwich at 350* F for 12-15 minutes (implement visual check intervals)
-Cut diagonally and plate
-Grab a good Beer, take a pic and enjoy!
I did not ride yesterday as something came up. Today is the last day for me to reach my February goal of 250 km’s. All being outside in a cold winter month. Strava does a MTS challenge, Monthly Training Series, that I always participate in. I need 30 plus km’s today. The route is depending on the wind, but it’s super sunny! Thanks for reading. Tomorrow, it is March! #RideOn