Since the semester is finally over, for the past week I’ve been able to put more time and energy into Ironman training. In January I was going to sit down and write out a training plan that would take me through race day, August 30th, but that never happened. Ditto for February, March, and April. So now it’s May and I still have no training plan. But I have a vague sense of what I should be doing, so I decided that today should be a difficult bike workout to wrap up the training week, since Wednesdays are going to be my off days for the time being. I went online and chose a route called “Philly Dirty Dozen Hill Climb,” figuring it would be a good one to do since the Ironman Canada course has a LOT of climbing. I wrote out a spiffy cue sheet for myself and taped it to my aerobars. Said cue sheet would prove virtually useless.
Long story short, I got incredibly lost, and definitely biked more than a dirty dozen hills trying to figure out where I was. By grace of some velocipedic miracle, I found my way to the Schuylkill bike path, and from there I was fine.
I may not be very good at finding my way around the Philadelphia suburbs on a bike, but there is one thing I am pretty good at, making harissa:
I used a recipe from Saveur when I made this batch the other night, but there are a million different versions out there that are basically a riff on the following: rehydrated dried chiles, cumin, caraway, coriander, olive oil, salt and pepper, all whirled together in a food processor. It goes with pretty much everything–eggs, potatoes, pasta, meat, bread, grilled or roasted vegetables, whatever. Plus, you can make a big batch and keep it in a container in the fridge, covered with a layer of olive oil, and pull it out whenever you want a taste of Tunisia.
It’s Italian Idiom of the Day time!
rispondere picche–to turn someone down flatly (spicche = spades)
Speravo di ottenere il suo permesso, ma mi ha risposto picche. I had hoped to get his permission to do it, but he turned me down flatly.
When I was 15 I asked a girl to the winter formal, e lei mi ha risposto picche. We reconnected years later and discovered that in the meantime we had both come out. The moral of the story is that everything works out in the end.