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Our Weekend, Week 2 (plus week 1 catchup)

We’ll start at the beginning…of the new year!

2016 started with a very tired and lazy day for us, as it usually is the day after New Year’s. You can read about why we were tired and our plans for NYE here. We had a great evening, and my dad was with us in Sweden for a few more days, which meant more freezing temperatures and another frozen ride for him! We also played boule at Boulebar in town (on Saturday 2nd) and then ate some French cuisine there after we had played. Sofi won both games, well done to her! 😀 Unfortunately we then had to go home and it was so cold! We ended up squatting on the bench at the bus stop so our feet weren’t on the ground and our ankles weren’t getting a chilling wind on them!

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I finally got my saddle for my new bike, so my dad and I took some pictures of that one day while Sofi was meeting her friend Alex who has now moved to Brussels.

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After my dad left, on Epiphany I went for a long ride in -12°C! It was organised by Komet Club Rouleur (the guys who do the Thursday sprint sessions we do in the summer), and the plan was to do 120 km, but I knew that was daft when it was so cold, so I turned back early and did 70 km total. It wasn’t as bad as I had expected, but I was glad to not have been out any longer as well!

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After that, Sofi and I both started back at work on the 7th, for two days before the weekend. On the Friday it snowed a lot though, and I was hoping it would snow overnight as well so I could have a snowy ride, and a snowy ride I had! I rode for 40 km in the snow in the forest. It was -5°C and there was a LOT of snow. It was really fun, especially on my cyclocross bike (I had used my mountain bike in the snow previously). 😀

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On the Sunday, Sam and Caroline dropped Leo off on their way to Norway to ski. We were going to have him all week!!! I was wanting to have another ride, but I felt a little bit unwell…not sure if it was similar to what Sofi had or because I had been out in the cold for too long the past few days. So it was a day spent working and wrapped up on the sofa for all three of us, which Leo particularly liked!

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During the beginning of the week, the temperature started to rise, causing the snow to melt, but by the middle of the week it was getting much colder again and we even got new snow. So it was nice to see the shift from white to green to white again. The temperature was consistently cold during the nights though, and now the water in the harbour has frozen and you are able to walk (and skate) on it!

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During the week, we made a delicious Spinach and Ricotta tortellini, and we will post the recipe this week! 😀

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So, finally at the weekend of week 2! Friday was our last day with Leo, and we love looking after him because he is easily the best, sweetest, most well-behaved dog ever! Sam and Caroline were coming back from Norway in the afternoon/evening, so we offered to cook them dinner for when they came to collect Leo. We made our delicious Vietnamese Bun Cha with sticky tofu, and they loved it as much as we did. We weren’t sure what to make because we thought they could be starving but at the same time they might have gone to a fast food restaurant on the way back so might not want something too heavy. So we went for something that is both light and filling! 🙂

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For dessert we had ice cream and made a warm raspberry sauce to have on top of the ice cream with some chocolate pieces and crushed cashews. Delicious!

On Saturday, Caroline and Leo were competing in an agility competition, and we said we wanted to come and watch (and support them). So we went with them in the morning and stayed until after Leo’s run. It was amazing watching all these dogs (and their owners) compete. There were dogs of all sizes, and some of varying degree of ability. Leo came second in the first competition (he was joint first on point because he had no faults, but was second based on time). 🙂 In his second competition, he was unfortunate to jump over one obstacle the wrong way, causing him to fail. (The dogs run out of a tunnel towards the obstacle, but are supposed to go around it and then jump over it from the other side and enter the tunnel again.) He did so well otherwise though and was very quick – it would have certainly been another podium for him were it not for that 😦 Caroline clearly is a dog expert – Leo really is well trained! 😀

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After we got back, we made a butterscotch tart to take round to Malin and Evan’s for dinner. I also did a 45 min high-cadence session on the rollers, because I was finally feeling better again. (I also did a session on Friday before we started cooking.) Malin and Evan had prepared a delicious Moroccan meal for us, with spiced rice (with sultanas), chick pea balls, and two sauces. Yum! We then had the butterscotch tart for dessert with some vanilla quark on the side.

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Yesterday (Sunday), Sofi finally trained for the first time this year as well! She had been feeling better on Thursday/Friday, but I told her to wait a couple more days just to be certain. We did a tough Sufferfest session (me on the rollers, her on the turbo trainer), and then Sofi went out for fika with her friend Sanna. I stayed at home where it was warm – it was -12°C again yesterday!

For dinner, we made a delicious leek and cauliflower pasta bake we had been meaning to make for aaaages from a Jamie Oliver magazine we bought last January (the same one that had the original Bun Cha recipe actually!). It was absolutely delicious and we made enough so that it would last us a few days because I was meant to be at a meeting with my cycling club tonight and will be out at meetings on Wednesday and Thursday with the cycling club as well. We will definitely post this recipe next time we make it, because although there are a few different elements to prepare before baking, the flavours and textures are well worth the effort!

We booked some flights to go and see Sofi’s friend Alex in Brussels for April, to coincide with the Tour of Flanders! Our spring is certainly looking very busy…

Tonight we went for a walk along the river and had a little fika before coming back to dinner and writing our blog posts. We are both exercising tomorrow morning: Sofi will run and I will cycle, and then we will both do a short circuits session. Hopefully we can stay fit and healthy again now and get back to regular training and delicious food!

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We hope you all have a good week!

/Jason

P.S. If you haven’t read our post about our goals for 2016, do that, and tell us what your goals are as well.

Our Weekend – Week 20

This weekend was another long weekend, and we spent it in Italy watching the Giro d’Italia! 😀

We flew to Rome on Wednesday evening, and met Jason’s mum at the airport. Jason got an early birthday present from me (Sofi) for the trip: a nice Paul Smith canvas bag with a cycling print. He really loved it! 😀

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On Thursday we spent the day trying to see as much or Rome as possible. Jason had never been before, so he wanted to see the main things before we headed to our next destination in the evening. We started at the Colosseum and then worked our way through the sights of Rome, Apart from the Fontana di Trevi, which was under renovation, everything was spectacular, and the weather really helped make Rome look pretty. After some lunch, we headed to the Vatican City, and went in St. Peter’s Basilica. Jason thought the Vatican was huge, he had seen it on TV and in films, but was really impressed by all of it.

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After having had enough of Rome, we got in our hire car (a beautifully-white Fiat 500) and headed to Fiuggi, where we would be watching the Giro. It was only an hour’s drive and we arrived at a town that was dressed in pink and all ready for the Giro. In the evening we went for dinner and had a stroll through town.

The next day I went out for a very early morning run. I really can’t sleep for long in the mornings and I usually go up at 6 as my body clock is set for that and ultimately I wake up about that time. I don’t mind though, since I love going out in the early morning in a new town. Cycling is a great way to experience a new place and so is running. You just let your eyes take you around a new place and it doesn’t even feel like you are exercising 🙂

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After that we had breakfast and walked around town again, taking pictures of all the Giro displays that were in every shop. By now, they had also put up the barriers for the finish line (which was almost directly outside our hotel) and some of the sponsor tents. We walked to the only real tourist attraction which is a site where they have fountains where you can drink Fiuggi Water. It is natural water which has healing properties.

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After that we went to the hotel across the road and spent a few hours in the spa 🙂 Then we went for lunch before finding a good spot to watch the finish. We decided to stay at the 75 m mark. The atmosphere was great and so many people were there to watch. Even though it is a long wait there are so many things to look at and it never gets boring just to stand around for hours. You can follow the race on big screens and see when they are getting close.

They finally arrived and we saw an Italian rider win the stage, which made the crowd happy. We stayed to watch the podium ceremonies and even got Elia Viviani’s autograph on Jason’s mum’s Team Sky cap. In the evening we just went out for a nice walk and an Italian dinner.

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On Saturday morning me and Jason woke up early again and went for a run. We were trying to spot where the teams had been staying overnight. It was a bit early to see any of the riders but some mechanics were out working on the bikes.

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After breakfast we checked out of the hotel and drove up to the old town to watch the start of stage 8. After checking out the start village we went to the car park where the team buses would be and hung around there. It is a great opportunity to see the riders getting prepared. We were going to see if we could take a picture with Tobias Ludvigsson, the only Swede in the Giro. He cycles for Team Giant Alpecin and his coach lead one of the rides at the training camp Jason went to a few months ago. Tobias was really friendly and let us take pictures and chat with him and he also gave us some signed team caps 🙂

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Then we went to the Tinkoff Saxo team bus to try to spot Alberto Contador, who is the current leader of the Giro. I had a team cap that I was hoping he would sign. I wasn’t too hopeful that he would actually have time or interest to do that since he is very in demand and needs to focus on the race. He unfortunately suffered an injury on stage 6 where he dislocated his shoulder. You could tell that he was suffering and needed help putting his rain coat on. It is really impressive that you can go on riding with an injury like that. His goal this season is to win both the Giro and the Tour and he is obviously very determined to do that. When he came out of the team bus he did an interview for Eurosport, and we were next to the interviewer. Jason’s mum was even under the umbrella the interviewer was standing under, right in front of Contador. Just as he was about to leave, Jason used his best “por favor Alberto” and managed to get Contador to sign my cap! 😀 😀 I like Contador because of the way he rides, and Jason always compares his style to mine. He is a really good climber, and I try to be as effortless as him when I climb hills and mountains.

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We then saw the riders start the race before having lunch and exploring the old town.

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In the afternoon we drove to the coast near Rome and relaxed near the sea with an ice cream. After that we headed to our hotel for the night, where we had a very lovely last meal in Italy. In the morning we had a very early start to get to the airport and fly back home.

We had a wonderful trip, and we both love Italy not only for the food but the scenery (and cycling) as well. We were inspired by our long weekend in Italy and made spinach and ricotta ravioli for dinner on Sunday and a delicious melanzane for dinner tonight. Tomorrow is Jason’s birthday and it will be more Italian food then as well!

This week we won’t ride much because it is the Gothenburg Half Marathon on Saturday. But after that we will be back to riding again.

We hope you all have a nice week!
/Sofi and Jason

Our Weekend, Week 13

Another week down, and for us it was another weekend apart 😦

Sofi has been at home, still nursing a cold and looking after our friends’ dog, and I have been further south in Sweden for a training camp with our cycling club.

The training camp was from Thursday to Sunday, with three days (Fri, Sat, Sun) of organised rides. I took the train after work with Evan on Thursday, and then we settled in before having dinner and finding out what was going to happen over the weekend in a bit more detail.

We had decided to ride with the race group, because Mattias Reck, trainer for Team Giant Alpecin (the guy who also spoke at the seminar at Chalmers the week before), was going to do a session with that group on the Saturday. So our Friday ride was a 110 km ride with 7 tough climbs on Hallandsåsen (a ridge in that part of the country). (The other groups did a 100 km flat ride on the Friday and were tackling the climbs – either 5 or 7 over 50 km or 70 km respectively – on the Saturday.)

The group we had was really good and the roads and climbs were fantastic. I had only ever ridden here once before (when I cycled 258 km from Gothenburg to Helsingborg in September), so for me it was nearly all new! I really enjoyed the climbs, and especially enjoyed my new bike, but I couldn’t push myself as hard as I had hoped because I was still feeling the after effects of my cold, and couldn’t get my pulse over 170 bpm (my max is just over 190 bpm).

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On Friday evening (after a recovery sauna and shower) there was dinner and then a quiz, which my table won!

On Saturday Mattias came down in the morning and told us the plan for our ride. He is really enthusiastic and, as a coach to some of the best sprinters in the world, he really knows his stuff. The plan was simple: cycle hard! We were going to do lots of speed work with some sprints thrown in (as attacks). We ended up doing 130 km on some great roads.

After the last tough interval of speed and sprints, we had a very steady climb, which I did at a nice steady pace with Mattias, giving me a chance to speak to him and listen to more of his wise words 😀

I felt much better during Saturday’s ride, although once we reached top speed and when I did my sprint attacks, I could feel I was still lacking some aerobic capacity, but otherwise I had no troubles. But I will say that Reck wrecked us #getRecked 😀

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After dinner on Saturday, Mattias held a talk. He discussed how he and the other management work at Giant Alpecin, and then discussed how his riders train and how he can monitor them and so on. It was really fascinating, just like it was the week before. He clearly has a wealth of knowledge and it would be interesting to have an even longer presentation by him.

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Sunday was a wet day, so instead of cycling, me and Evan decided to get an early train home 🙂 Once I got home, me and Sofi went into town to the new Specialized store that opened this weekend and I bought her two new pairs of gloves (and we both got a free water bottle for checking in on Facebook), then we had lunch at Vapiano before heading home to spend the afternoon resting and recovering!

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I definitely need some rest now though, as my cold was holding me back and I want to be better when I’m cycling in England next week with Sofi, my dad, and my sister 🙂


 

So what did I (Sofi) do at the weekend? 🙂

I was at home, taking care of the dog, and just trying to take it easy. I was ill at the beginning of the week and when I went back to work on Thursday it was because our third year students were having seminars the whole day and I was one of the persons leading one of the groups 😦 So Thursday and Friday were a bit tough since I was still  ill.

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On Friday my friends Sanna and Srdan came over and I cooked them a nice meal and we talked all evening.

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On Saturday I met my friend Malin for lunch, we then went to Hagabadet (a very nice spa in the centre of Gothenburg, and they have opened a mini spa opposite us now as well) for an afternoon of just relaxing in the sauna and in the pool. We both bought magazines to read as well but we had too much to talk about so we didn’t read them at all 🙂 After a few hours there we came back to my place and took the dog for a nice long walk. We then made a delicious dinner, a vegetarian bun cha. We talked and watched a film and then that day was over too.

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My Sunday was spent with Jason when he got home from his training camp ❤

 

We hope you all did something fun this weekend!
/Jason and Sofi

 

Our Weekend, Week 12

Oops, we’ve been a bit quiet on our blog lately. This weekend and the last half of last week I (Jason) have had a bad cold, which Sofi started to feel symptoms of on Friday. So we have been feeling sorry for ourselves rather than sharing our love on the blog! Sorry about that. Our week last week started out well – we ran twice and I got a ride in as well.

My cold started on Wednesday night after I got home from a really fascinating seminar about cycling at Chalmers University in Gothenburg. The title of the seminar was “Become a better cyclist through scientific training and better equipment”, and the speakers came from various walks of life relating to cycling and training, but certainly the two most interesting speakers were the two coaches from Team Giant Alpecin (one of the top teams), Mattias Reck and Teun Van Erp. They made professional cyclists and the training they do more understandable, as well as how they are able to coach them and predict which of their three big sprinters will perform best after a particular distance or a particular amount of climbing in a stage – really fascinating to see the power output differences from these different things!

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I felt my cold once I got home – that uncomfortable scratchy throat feeling. I hoped some tea with honey before bed might help, but when I woke up the next day it felt like I had been hit by a train! Sofi, being the sensible and caring soul she is, told me to stay home and rest. I did just that, but hoped that I would be better in the afternoon and could take my new bike out for a spin (it is waiting to be ridden by me 😦 ), so I changed my wheels and brake pads, put on some bottle cages and some Garmin sensors (new speed sensor on the wheel hub, and my Garmin Vector pedals) and mounts. I could tell after doing those small little things I wouldn’t be better.

Friday was a total write off as well, and when Sofi got home, I could tell she was starting to feel bad as well. That was not a good thing – Lisa and Tommy were coming this weekend because we were all running a preliminary 10 km race for the Gothenburg Half Marathon in order to improve our start groups. (If it’s your first time they put you in the lower start groups, and that’s never cool!)

Lisa and Tommy came just after lunch, so me and Sofi bought fika for when they got here. (See how unwell we were – usually we jump on any chance to bake!) After fika, we went to one of the shopping areas south of Gothenburg to pick up our start numbers and to browse a few shops. Then it was back home and time to think about carb loading 🙂 After much discussion we decided on a salsa di noci (walnut pesto) lasagne, with the sheets made of spinach pasta. It was absolutely delicious!

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On Sunday we had a bit of a lie in – the race didn’t start until 13:00. We then had breakfast and a small lunch before getting ready to leave. It was much colder on Sunday than it had been the rest of the week, but that usually isn’t too bad if you’re planning to run at pace. However me and Sofi were still not feeling too well and I think I spent about 20 minutes blowing my nose and clearing my throat before I left (mainly so I wouldn’t do it on the people behind me during the race!).

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I was planning to run the quickest, then Sofi and Lisa were expecting to come in together a few minutes after me, and then Tommy a few minutes after them. There was quite a strong wind blowing against us for a lot of the course, which made things tough, and the cold weather made breathing a little hard. I ran it at 46:04, which was just over my goal, but I could barely breathe on the last few km and I couldn’t get my pulse up or sprint at all. Sofi got a stitch and pain in her foot so told Lisa to go ahead after 5 km. Lisa came in at 49:49, which is what they had both planned to run (sub 50′). Sofi came in a couple minutes later at 53:30, and Tommy came in at 56:49. I think we should all be proud of those times (that’s actually my fastest 10 km, although I know I can do sub 45′). Sofi was disappointed, but she did very well considering she has only run twice (both times last week) before the race, since injuring herself at Christmas, and she did have a very bad cold.

After the race we went back home and showered, and then Lisa and Tommy headed back to Helsingborg. Malin and Evan then came over to watch Milan-San Remo. After watching the cycling, Malin and Evan headed home as well, and then me and Sofi crashed on the bed. I think we both knew that our colds were going to come back with a vengeance after the run, Sofi’s more so than mine. Yesterday was another day spent home sick, and today will be a similar story, although I think I might head to work, as I feel better.

We hope you all had good weekends and were able to stay healthy and cold-free!
/Jason and Sofi

Our Weekend, Week 11

This weekend was quite long. Sofi came to England Thursday evening, and we went straight out for dinner with my family, at a nice Italian restaurant in Woking. The food was great, but it was especially nice to have everyone (most people) together!

On the Friday me and Sofi cycled to see my mum in Sunninghill before she and Jeremy went up north for the weekend. We had a nice lunch and fika with them 🙂 My dad then met us in Sunninghill and we cycled back to Woking through the army ranges near Farnborough. It was a lovely ride with great weather 😀

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In the evening me and Sofi made dinner for my dad and Lesley, and Jasmine and Nick. We made melanzane for starter and then made gluten-free pesto pasta for main. (Recipe for gluten-free pasta will be up soon.) We then had rum baba for dessert, with a gluten-free sponge my sister had made – delicious!

On Saturday we had a nice ride to Seale. It was me, Sofi, my dad, my sister, and Iain (one of my dad’s regular riding buddies). It was a fairly cold ride, but my sister did really well and our average speed was much higher than the weekend before 🙂 We stopped at Seale Tea Rooms, and had a nice warm drink and some cake – that’s the main reason for riding a bike though, isn’t it!

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After our ride we packed and then headed to Harrow on the Hill, where we were staying for the wedding. The Saturday was the traditional ceremony in a mosque, which was interesting to experience. Neither of us had ever been to a Muslim wedding before, so it was nice to see how it was similar and different to what we consider “normal” weddings. After the ceremony we had a nice Indian meal in the mosque. For me, it was really nice to hear what people had to say about my friend Sameer, as I could only agree with all the nice words that were said! 🙂 Neither of us had met his bride Madiha before, but she seemed really lovely and people only had nice (if not nicer) words for her too.

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Sofi in a nice Indian shalwar kameez 😀

After the ceremony was over and most people had left, we went back to our hotel to change before heading to the local pub for a drink and to talk. (Sofi hasn’t been able to talk to me face to face for a week, so she had a lot to say! 😉 )

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The wedding reception was on the Sunday and the invitation said “13:00 sharp”, so we were there at 12:55 and were surprised to find we were the first people to show up! After speaking to the caterers, they said most Muslim wedding receptions start 30-60 mins later than advertised. So we waited for more people to come before we went in 🙂

Both Sameer and Madiha’s families were very hospitable and caring, and looked after us (as the only real outsiders) during the whole weekend. It was really nice to get to know some of them and find out more about both Sameer and Madiha this way too. Sameer and Madiha looked great, and we were the first people to get a picture with them as a newly-wed couple (mainly because we had to leave to catch our plane back to Sweden).

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We hope they have a wonderful honeymoon and can’t wait to invite them over for dinner once they get back to Sweden.

It was a great weekend, and a great week as well. Today we went for a run after work and then made our quick Asian salad. Not a bad start to the week 🙂

We hope you all had nice weekends!
/Jason and Sofi