Sunday, May 30, 2010

It Was A Beautiful Day For.......

Yesterday was an absolutely gorgeous day outside and what did I do, a 10 mile run, a 50 mile bike ride, nope I hoped in my car took a ride about 90 minutes south of here to visit a Benedictine Monastary and in Germany that means only one thing, beer.  God bless those monks.  The brewery we visted was the Weltenburg Kloster brewery We went down to Kelheim and got on a river boat, took a leisurely 40 minute cruise on the Danube River where we got an early taste of the beer whose brewery we were going to visit and ate a light lunch. 

We hoped off the boat right at noon and went inside to find out about the tours.  The 1230 tour was full so we asked for the next one which was at 2pm.  We wandered around the monastery, looked in the beautiful chapel and finally found a seat in the beer garden, where I tried two more of the monastary's excellent beers and plate of wurst and potatoes in a cream sauce.  Shantel split a plate of french fires with Macen and had a Radler (you'll have to wait a couple of weeks for a Radler explanation, I've got a review post scheduled).  Everything was excellent.

The time for our tour finally came and despite the fact that 90% of it was in Germany it was really interesting.  The brewery is a completely modernized/computerized operation.  Our guide, Josef, was exceptionally knowledgeable and kept apologizing for his poor English.  His English was still better than my German and he provided simple explanations of what we were seeing English so Shantel and I could follow along.  Josef did let us know that some time later this summer the brewery plans on having English text or placards to hand out to their German challanged visitors, so they get a better explanation.

About halfway through the tour we got to sample their Hefe Weissen, the Anno 1050, the Asam Bock, and the multiple World Beer Cup award winning Barock Dunkel.  We finished up the tour got our complimentary 12 oz glasses and returned back to the boat for the quick trip back to the car and then home to Vilseck.

The monastery was founded in the 600s and it is thought that the monks started brewing beer there in 1050, some people claim this to be the oldest monastery brewery in the world something that is disputed by the Weihenstephan Brewery which claims to have been founded in 768 and licensed as a brewery in 1040.  I really don't care which one is the oldest because they both brew darn good beers.

Let me tie this in to bike riding and running for just a second.  The Kelheim area and the monastery were a biker's paradise.  I saw more road racing/tri bikes yesterday than I have at any other time in Germany and about half the people at the monastery were on mountain bikes.  There were also tons of people running along the Danube.  One of the cool rides that we discovered, while wandering around, was from downtown Kelheim west and then up and over a small hill/mountain with switchback curves down to the river on the opposite side of the monastery.  Then all you had to do was wait for the ferryman to take you across.  It would have been a great ride and I wish I lived closer.

Here are some pictures.

The view from the river boat as we approached the monastery.  If you aren't in to biking or running the I really recommend taking the boat cruise instead of driving there.
This crest was on the tank on the main floor.  The inscription says For Mary and Jesus.  See God really does want us to drink beer, or at least the monks say so.

A couple of pictures of the brewing area.  Josef our guide was very knowledge and did his best to give us a quick English run down.
The area where the barley is stored and then poured into the brewing vats.
Wooden kegs.  I've never seen any of those, just the standard American metal kegs.  Kind of interesting.
The two glasses were what we sampled beer the beer from during the tour and got to keep the stone bierkrug in the middle is something I bought.  I'm a sucker for cool beer mugs and I really like the German stone ones.

I tried three of their beers, the Assam Bock, the Anno 1050, and the Urtyp Hell.  I had a half glass of the award winning Barock Dunkel during the tour but I didn't really take any notes on it.  I've get weekly beer reviews scheduled all the way out til Mid August so that's when you'll see what I thought of these.  To be brief though they were pretty darn good.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Veldensteiner Premium Pils

I've learned that I'm not a fan of German Pilsners since I've been here, most of the them are too hoppy and bitter.  This offerring from Veldensteiner is a little bit different not quite as bitter.  As you pour this one be careful or the head will take over the glass, don't worry though it disappears rapidly just like all of the other Veldensteiners, leaving tracing along the side.  A very clear light golden yellow.  I kind of got a hint of freshly mowed grass when I smelled it.  The taste as mentioned was well balanced with a small hint of bitterness just to let you know that you are sipping a pilsner.  Overall another excellent beer.

The Veldensteiner site describes it as a premium beer of top class exceptionally rounded flavor and mild hoppy bitterness that comes from the finely metered dose of Hersbrucker aroma hops.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Getting Ready For Deployment, Deployment Workout Thoughts, And Supplements.

Well folks I'm a little under 1 week until I get on that big old jet airplane and head off to the 'Stan.  For those of you who don't know this will be my first trip to Afghanistan.  I've absolutely had enough of Iraq after two tours, so I'm glad for the change of scenery.  What I'm not glad about  is missing out on a whole race season.  I managed only one half marathon this season and I'm shutting down my workouts when most people are fine tuning for an "A" race.   Don't even get me started on missing my family for a year.  Don't you all worry though I've got weekly beer reviews that will go out until at least mid August.  Even if I'm not currently drinking a beer you can read what I thought about it.

I've been working on a workout strategy that will carry me through the year long deployment and have me in tip top shape for racing season '11.  I plan on hitting at least one Ironman 70.3 race, a Marathon, and a couple of ITU Olympic distance races.  I think I'm going to focus on strength training for the first 6 months, switch to a strength/cardio for 2-3 months and then slide into a bike/run focused regime to carry me through the final days until I come back. 

In order to accomplish this I've loaded up my iPad with two decent Apps that I'll be checking out, both from Men's Health, the No Weight Workouts and 1000 exercises. I'm really looking forward to the Building Explosive Strength Fast and the Cardio Ultimate No Weight Workout from the No Weight Workout App.  I've also invested in a TRX strap system, with workout DVDs.  I used one of these for a little bit during my last deployment to Iraq and I liked it, I just wished we'd of had the DVDs that I splurged on to describe the workouts.  I'm also taking also taking a swiss ball and my fab abs workout book.  My core is my weakest area and if I can come out with a stronger core that equals success.  To complete my no gym needed workout gear I've also thrown in a jump rope.  Finally I might even throw a few weeks of CrossFit in just to break it up a little bit. Check the blog and if I've got good internet access than I'll be chronicling my workouts here.

One last thought.  I tend to take supplements when I'm in the middle of a good training phase, mostly what I take though is protein, although I've used a lot different stuff at any given time.  I've been thinking about trying a stack to maximizing my training results this year and I'm probably going to go with a BSN stack.  Something of a combination of their Fit Stack Advanced and their Mass Stack Advanced with only one type of protein, probably the TrueMass and not the Dessert Protein.  I want to build a little more muscle mass, cut body fat, but stay lean.  I'm a large framed guy who really just needs to tone up and put on a little bit of mass.  If anyone has any thoughts on combining these stacks and my goals let me know I'm willing to listen.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Nasty Weather Outside and a Lack of Motivation

I'm supposed to be on vacation and aren't vacations supposed to be nice weather.  Well I must of used up all of mine last week in Venice because the for the most part it's been rainy here and I haven't gotten out and done anything lately.  It didn't help that I spent all day on the computer today updating the layout for this blog and for our family blog.  I have a tendancy to be pretty anal and I want everything to look just right and be just right.  The old layout for this blog wasn't letting anyone post a comment and that was starting to drive me nuts so I went in this morning looking for a similar layout and then I had to spend a couple of hours adjusting the html code (I am definitely not a coder) and while I was doing it Shantel decided it was time to change the look of the family blog so I got involved in that project as well.  This blog still isn't exactly where I want it but you can post comments now and I added that cool background photo of beer and foam to the German Beers I've Tried widget and really like to get it on the beer reviews link page, so if someone knows how post a comment.  Shantel is happy with the way I made our family blog look so I guess even if didn't get a workout done today I had a productive day.

If you are looking for some sites to update you blog look here, here, here, here.  They were really helpful in helping me find layouts, backgrounds, widgets and code suggestions.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Veldensteiner Zwick'l

Another Beer from Kaiser Brau's Veldensteiner line.  This one didn't make me say wow like a couple of the others I've tried.  The head was soft, foamy, and dissipated quickly.  The body was a cloudy murky caramel color lots of bubbles. My sense of smell is not my strong suit and this one just smells like beer.  It tastes like well roasted almost burnt caramel, slightly sweet.  It finishes with just a hint of bitterness.  Not a bad beer but not my favorite Veldensteiner.

Veldensteiner describes the Zwick'l as amber, unfiltered, and naturally cloudy!  A light and sweet, straight from the bottom fermenting cellar directly from the storage tank and especially valuable with all the extra ingredients still.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Italian Beer Reviews

I promised a couple of Italian Beer reviews after we got back from Venice and here they are.  Before I get started though I wanted to say I thought it would harder to find Italian beers since wine is the drink of choice in the country.  I will admit that I saw a wider range of German beers in Venice than I saw Italian beers but I tried 4 different beers and there were still a couple of others that I didn't get to.  Now for the reviews.

Of course we had to go to the Hard Rock Cafe and get another pilsner glass.  The only beer on tap was of course Italian, Nastro Azzurro from the Peroni Brewery. They call it a Pale Lager I liked it.  It had a head that quickly disappeared and perfectly balanced flavor, not too hoppy, not too malty with what I thought was a slightly sweet aftertaste..  As usual I didn't much of the aroma.  Bottom line I was highly impressed with my first Italian beer. 

Birra Moretti's Doppoi Malto was another excellent beer.  I didn't take too many notes on this one but I remember it as being slightly sweet and not all bitter.  It went very well with the bruschetta that we were eating at the time.  There were no glasses available so I could not pour it to check the head or  the aroma (not that I could of smelled it anyway) Once again I liked it.  In fact I liked it so much I thought I picked it up again to have later that evening.  But what I got instead was a Birra Moretti Ricotta Original.  I was slacking that evening and did not make any notes at all, but I do remember not being disappointed about picking up different beer.

The final beer I tried was a Castello Premium Lager.  This was a little more hoppy than anything else that I had tried in Italy.  Once again I was slacking and didn't take very many notes. 

So I hope everyone enjoys my notes, or lack thereof, on the beers I tried in Italy.  The bottom line though is that I was pleasantly surprised to find some quality beers in a country more known for it's wine than it's beer.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

35 Mile Bike Ride To Celebrate The End Of Vacation

What a way to come back from vacation, a 35 mile ride on a beautiful spring day here in Germany.  I checked the weather this morning with the sun shining in the windows and was horrified to see that there was a 60% chance of rain showers this afternoon.  So since I'd been promising myself a long bike road both today and tomorrow after gorging myself on gelato, pasta, bruschetta, beer, and wine in Venice I ran out the door and hit the road.  And yes if you were wondering I WAS that bad in Venice, after all I'm going to Afghanistan in a couple of weeks and where can I fsplurge on any of those things in that lovely country.

Here's the data for the ride.  The map at the end shows only a 32 mile loop but I conveniently leave off the start point of my house, so no crazies can find it.

Distance : 34:98mi
Total Time: 2:14:50
AVG Speed: 15.6 mph
Total Calories: 2342
AVG HR: 149 bpm
Max HR: 183bpm

Zone 1 Time: 1:19 Distance: 0 ft
Zone 2 Time: 7:46 Distance: 1.4 mi
Zone 3 Time: 46:29 Distance: 14.7 mi
Zone 4 Time: 1:14:38 Distance: 18.4 mi
Zone 5 Time: 5:48 Distance: 0.8 mi

Thursday, May 20, 2010

New Allegations Against Lance Armstrong

I gave some serious man love to Lance Armstrong yesterday and now this story comes out. I know that the Tour organizers and the UCI tested the heck out of Armstrong and he always came out clean. Sounds to me like Landis is just trying to drag others down with him. Anyone else have thoughts.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Giro d'Italia

ARGH!  Talk about poor vacation planning.  The Giro d' Italia goes through Mestra, Italy, not too far from the Marco Polo Airport on Sunday 23 May.  We fly back to Germany on Friday 21 May.  Not that I'm a big cycling fan but watching the peleton of one of the Grand Tours of cycling would be insanely cool.  I'm trying to lay the ground work with Shantel to at least go watch a stage of the Tour de France before we leave Europe.

I'm not even sure who I would root for if I did watch the Giro.  Everyone knows I ride a Cervelo Dual, and I'm lusting after a Cervelo P3 and the Cervelo Test Team is riding the Tour of California with the Radio Shack Team and my favorite cyclist Lance Armstrong.  OK I know that's not very original but the man's a machine and you've got to respect him no matter what the French think of him.  Just another reason to despise the French, they can't win a war on their own and they disrespect THE GREATEST cyclist of all time.

I've sampled a few Italian beers so stay tune later this week when I get home and I can download some pictures and post the reviews.


Monday, May 17, 2010

We're Headed To Italy This Week

The family and I are headed to Venice, Italy this week for one last vacation before I deploy, yes I know it seems like we've been on vacation constantly lately but when you are told to take leave you take it.  So I'm going to be looking for some Italian beers to post to the blog.  I didn't do a very good job of that when we went to Paris so we'll see if I can't improve on that. 

That also means no workouts until at least Saturday morning.  I'm wanting to take it easy and let my calf heal up a little bit and really just enjoy some time with the family.  Besides I'm wanting to drink more beer since I won't be able to do that for a year and I will be able to work out for that year.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Veldensteiner Original Lager

I went into the local Getrankmarkt, literally drink market and more like a liquor store with an emphasis on beer instead of liquor, and they had several different varieties of Veldensteiner Beer from the Kaiser Brauri in Pegnitz, Germany.  So what else could I do but make up a variety rack of the all the different beers and bring them home to drink on.  I've been slacking a little on the review postings since I've went through most of that rack but I intend to catch up before I deploy. Here's this week review Veldensteiner Original Lager.

The Veldensteiner web site describes the Original Lager as "Brewed in the good Franconian brewing tradition, classic aged, mild, tart and refreshing with a rounded hop finish."  I followed the how to instructions I found the other day and this is what I thought.  A slight head that dissipated quickly leaving light tracing on the sides.  A pale golden color with lots of bubbles, the beer would foam up slightly when swirled.  A faint earthy aroma was given off when swirled.  The taste was well balanced when swirled in the mouth finishing with some slight hoppiness.  A very drinkable beer.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Bike Ride

I went for a ride this morning and had a great ride with a couple of nice climbs and at least two fast downhills.  This route had hardly any traffic on it and is definitely one I'm going to repeat.

I used Map My Ride to build a route and then imported it into my Garmin ForeRunner 305 before I took off.  I've used this function a couple of times to download rides made by somebody else, but this was the first time I've made my own route.  It worked like a charm except for the part where what I thought was paved road turned into gravel.  I managed to find my way to where I wanted to go and then went back in and adjusted the route so any one else who used the route won't have the same problem.

The one issue I had is that for some reason my 305 did not record any of the specific data for the ride that it normally does.  This might have been operator error but I'll try it again and see what I come up with. 

I mentioned on Thursday having some issues with my calf and I was going to see how it worked while riding.  Well surprisingly enough there were no issues while riding.  I'll probably just get my Cardio from bike rides up until I deploy in order to give my calf some time to heal.

Below is a map of the ride I did.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Regimental Run

We did a Regimental Run this morning and I ran with one of our Troops that had finished in the fastest time during the last run.  We had a pretty good run this morning but unfortunately there was another Troop that beat them out.
I've been struggling with a nagging calf injury.  It doesn't hurt while walking or even when I run but it really tightens up and starts to hurt after I run, even if I stretch it really good.  I'm going to lay off the running until after I deploy and maybe do a bike ride this weekend to see how it feels.

Here's the data from the Regimental Run this morning.

Distance: 4.18

Total Time: 35:41
AVG Pace: 8:31
Total Calories: 640
AVG HR: 173 bpm
Max HR: 197 bpm

Mile 1: 9:10
Mile 2: 8:36
Mile 3: 8:11
Mile 4: 8:20
.18 Mile: 7:23

Zone 1 Time: 0:06 Distance: 56 ft
Zone 2 Time: 0:07 Distance: 69 ft
Zone 3 Time: 3:03 Distance: .3mi
Zone 4 Time: 16.57 Distance: 1.9  mi
Zone 5 Time: 15:45 Distance: 1.9 mi

Sunday, May 9, 2010

How To Sample A Beer

As I've mentioned before I have no clue how to be a true beer connoisseur.  I pretty much just judge a beer on whether or not it tastes good.  Well while browsing the net the other day I came across an article on how to sample a beer.  So I'll try to follow these guidelines for the next few different beers I try. 

Once you've got a few ounces of liquid in your glass, evaluate the brew the way beer judges (and writers) do: Look at it, smell it, sip it. Does the beer look cloudy or clear? Is it golden or black or something in between? Does the carbonation produce a foamy head or leave a thin lacing at the top?
Next, give the beer a swirl and put your nose close to it. Beers give off a range of aromas, from fresh-cut grass to molasses. What do you smell?

Now the fun part: drinking. Swish the beer in your mouth so it hits all of your taste-bud sensors. Can you taste bitterness (from hops) and sweetness (from malts)? Are they balanced, or does one overwhelm the other?

Taken from here.

A Work Out Instead of Beer Drinking

Some of you all who follow my blog have given me some subtle hints that there seem to be more beer drinking than working out be posted to the blog. You are absolutely correct. I haven't hung up the running shoes yet, but since I cancelled the Prague Marathon I haven't been working out much more than some regular PT sessions. I've actually been pretty busy with the PT and we did our PT test the other day and I scored 259 points from 59 push ups (84 pts), 65 sit ups (87 pts), and 14:36 on the 2 mile run (88 pts), not exactly where I would like to be I should have been under 14 min on the run and between 65 and 70 for both the push ups and sit ups.  I'm chalking the run up to it being a chilly morning and never warming up and I just need to do more push ups and sit ups.

I did get out this morning and do a ride.  It ended up raining on me but I still had a good ride.  Here's the data.

Distance : 23:85mi
Total Time: 1:36:21
AVG Speed: 14.9 mph
Total Calories: 1418
AVG HR: 144 bpm
Max HR: 173 bpm

Zone 1 Time: 4:03 Distance: 0.5 mi
Zone 2 Time: 16:19 Distance: 4.8 mi
Zone 3 Time: 30:43 Distance: 9.4 mi
Zone 4 Time: 41.32 Distance: 8.8 mi
Zone 5 Time: 4:28 Distance: 0.6 mi

Here's a map of the route I took, courtesy of