Friday’s Workout

A short but effective workout

Double XP for all Watopia Tour rides or races! This marks the 8th day in a row that I have been on Zwift. I have done stage 3, 3 times: 1 race and 2 group rides. This was one of the easier ones, the ride. But there is a climb up the volcano. Saturday stage 4 starts. Not sure what I will do Saturday as I’ve been Zwifting a lot.

Map of route.

I loved doing this stage 3 times. This was the climbs and the volcano equals about 600 ft climbing each time you do it. So I got about 1,800 ft elevation climb towards the Tron bike challenge.

Thursday’s Workout

Yesterday was a Zwift day. I decided to do a good ride, but a bit of a recovery day, as I’m starting to feel it in my legs. It was the 8th day in a row on Zwift for me. I usually have a lot more breaks, where I’m at the gym.

I wanted to get the Absa Cape Epic Race kit for doing one of the events. I was able to unlock, but after completing the Absa Cape Epic Mission, I wasn’t super excited about getting back on the super slow mountain bike again. That mission was 9,350 ft of climbing. I finished it earlier this month. But for doing it I received 100k drop points, unlocked the Scott Spark RC mountain bike and was entered to win the bike in real life. Worth the pain for sure.

Map of the ride

This was a ride and not a race. It has a very long lead-in and then two laps around the lake.

Pretty good workout!

My next ride will need to be another recovery ride. 🙂

Today’s Workout

Today was a race day for me on Zwift. So, depending on who you listen to Zwift Power or Zwift, you get two different stories about how I finished. I either finished in 100th place out of 132 racers in my division (Zwift) or 20th out of 29 (Zwift Power).

Overview of results from

The race was on Watopia and was the “Whole Lotta Lava” Route. Which as you can see is 7.63 miles and 503ft of elevation gain (there is a lead-in, where you get the extra distance. I stopped immediately after the finish and collapsed on the floor :-).

Map of “Whole Lotta Lava” Route on Watopia

Above is a map of the route. As you can see you start in the city, in the upper right of the image above and race towards the volcano, when you get there you start to circle up at an average of about 3.5% incline. You get to the top and power down all the way.

The red line is heart rate, blue is cadence and white is power, below all that is the grey, which is elevation.

I pushed hard on this race. My average watts were 157, which is a push for me. In places, I pushed very hard, hitting 535 watts.

How did I do, again depends…

Zwift places me in 100th place. It’s a nice round number!

Zwift’s got me in 100th out of 132 riders. But not all the riders are on Zwift Power, which you have to sign up for. That is used as the official standings.

On Zwift Power, I got 20th out of 29. Not great, but a good effort for me. I pushed hard all 36 minutes of the ride.

But wait, there’s more…

Yoga Time!

Yoga is a great way to wind down after a hard race on Zwift or anytime for that matter. Describing Yoga as advanced stretching is probably underselling it, but that’s how I think of it.

Yoga set-up

Yoga is great because it is so easy to set up and you hardly need any equipment at all. Read this older post to see what equipment I use.

Zwift in the Age of COVID-19


I’ve wanted to write about Zwift for a long time now. I’ve been using it for just over a year.

A Brief Overview of Zwift:

For those of you that don’t know what Zwift is, it is a game, that you playing using a smart trainer.

#interbike2015 #wahoofitness + #zwift get connected and take your indoor cycling experience to a new level“#interbike2015 #wahoofitness + #zwift get connected and take your indoor cycling experience to a new level” by Glory Cycles is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The smart trainer (pictured above) sends information to a computer (desktop, phone, tablet or apple tv) that allows the Zwift program to know how fast you are spinning that back wheel and what kind of power (measured in watts) you are putting into it.

All this information from the smart trainer allows Zwift to simulate what a ride would be like in one of their virtual worlds. When you go up a hill the smart trainer makes it harder to pedal, when you go down descents, it gets easier to pedal.

You can add additional sensors to get more information and make the ride more real. There are also trainers that don’t touch the rear wheel, but instead connect straight to the chain and you need to remove the rear wheel, these are called direct-drive trainers and are more expensive.

Rollentraining mit Zwift auf Canyon-Bike“Rollentraining mit Zwift auf Canyon-Bike” by wuestenigel is licensed under CC BY 2.0

In regards to the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic. Zwift is here at the right time with a great tool to keep people fit and active. This tool allows a bicyclist (and runners), to continue their training or just get on for a quick ride or workout.

Eric Schlange of Zwift Insider writes more about this in his article, “THE UNFOLDING STORY OF COVID-19 AND ZWIFT“. Eric mentions that those who are part of group rides in real life can now invite their group to a group ride online, so they can continue to ride together. No, this isn’t the same as the outdoor ride with your friends, but it is much better than nothing at all.

Also mentioned in Eric’s article is the fact that as we have seen many, if not all bicycling and running events canceled throughout the world, there is a place for these events to happen on Zwift. No, it’s not just like the real thing. Of course not, but it is a great alternative to nothing at all.

Zwift is a great alternative to an outdoor ride, the gamification of it makes it even more appealing to old gamers like me. If you are a cyclist a runner, or just someone that is now confined to your home, Zwift is an excellent solution to getting some exercise and having some fun. I hope you can get a trainer because like everything else, these are no in high demand. Ride on!

Top 7 Veestros

Veestro is a plant-based meal delivery service. The meals that you get are fully made and only need to be reheated. You can reheat your meal in the microwave, stovetop or oven.

The meal plan we subscribe to is called the A La Carte Plan. You can choose which meals you want sent to you. I have been receiving the Veestro meals for about a year now. I stole all the images from Veestro. Below are my favorites:

Southwest BBQ Chick’n

Number 7 – Southwest BBQ Chick’n (360 calories w/ sauce)

The BBQ sauce on this is not very spicy and has the right amount of sweetness for me. This also comes with some mixed veggies on the side and some fingerling potatoes. This meal is best prepared in the oven.

Breakfast Burrito

Number 6 – Breakfast Burrito (390 calories)

The sauce on this is basic tomato sauce, nothing fancy, but it does deliver on a very good wet breakfast burrito. Those aren’t eggs either, yummy tofu is seasoned well in this meal. This meal is best prepared in the microwave for a quick meal, for drier/crispy tortilla reheat in the oven. I usually can’t wait in the morning. The potatoes that come with this are heavily seasoned, which is not depicted well in the image above.

Veggie Empanadas

Number 5 – Veggie Empanadas (400 calories + 270 for Chimichurri sauce)

I love eating empanadas, but I hate making them. Veestro has your back again! You get three of these beauties which are best reheated in the oven. I don’t like oil heavy sauces, so I don’t use the Chimichurri sauce. I live to eat this with Bitchin’ Sauce.

Country Fried Chick’n

Number 4 – Country Fried Chick’n (360 calories + 80 for sauce)

One of my true favorites. The gravy here has whole mushrooms in it so, it looks very different from what is pictured here. This meal is best reheated in the oven so the outside of the chicken is nice and crunchy.

Chinese Eggplant StirFry

Number 3 – Chinese Eggplant StirFry (630 calories)

This is by far the heaviest meal by calories. This meal has a peanut buttery meal. I reheat this on the stovetop and its very delicious! The sauce makes this dish!

Oatmeal Breakfast Pie

Number 2 – Oatmeal Breakfast Pie (310 calories)

This is such an easy meal to reheat. Just pop it in the microwave and it is done in minutes! I also like to cut this in smaller pieces and add almond milk and other toppings. This is a great breakfast!

Chick’n Nuggets

Number 1 – Chick’n Nuggets (300 calories + 60 for sauce)

These are so good! They are comfort food for me for sure. The sauce on these is again so very good. Not too sweet and not too spicy. These are best reheated in the oven.

Book Review | The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life

The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life by Leo Babauta

The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life by Leo Babauta seems to be recommended reading by every other minimalist. I finally got to it and I’ve got to say his book is minimalist at only 105 pages.

All good stuff in here and it’s a great primer for starting out or just seeing what this minimalist thing is all about. Not to mention a good quick read. Nothing crazy in here either which I really liked.

Some of Leo’s favorite blogs:


2019 Books in Review

In 2019 I read 54 books. That’s 8,579 pages. For audiobooks, I listened to just under two days of audio. 30% of my reading was graphic novels, of those mostly Star Wars comics from Marvel. Following closely was Kindle books at 28% of my reading. Followed by audiobooks and finally, hardcovers mostly form the library.

Speaking of the library, I saved $557.13 by visiting the library and not buying those books. I was gifted one book and an author reached out and gave me their book as well.

I read almost twice as many books in 2019 as I did in 2018. Most of the books I read this past year were actually published in 2016. My average book length was 209 pages. My average rating for books on GoodReads was 3.7. Overwhelmingly the books I read were written by US authors (37). And although I want to read more books by female authors, the books I read were by men (44 to 10).

My favorite books in 2019 (in the order I read them):

  1. Becoming by Michelle Obama
  2. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
  3. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  4. Star Wars Vol.1 Skywalker Strikes by Jason Aaron
  5. The Public Library by Robert Dawson
  6. The Little Free Library Book by Margret Aldrich
  7. We are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast by Jonathan Safran Foer
  8. Tales from the Open Road: The Adventures and Misadventures of RV Living by Joe Russo

Vegan Food Review | Sweet Earth Breakfast Sandwich

Sweet Earth Harmless Ham and Chickpea Patty
Sweet Earth Harmless Ham and Chickpea Patty

This sandwich is smaller than most traditional breakfast sandwiches, which is okay if you’re not starving. It contains 270 calories. 8 grams of sugar and a total of 33g of carbs. 14 grams of protein are in there as well. As the vegan phenomenon picks up speed these frozen convenience foods are coming out at an incredible speed. While that’s nice for people who are converting, it’s not really all that healthy. If you want to cut out things from your diet that is not healthy, don’t start by purchasing foods that come in wrappers. Buy some vegetables and fruit and eat those. It’s cheaper and better for you.

Ingredients List

Silken Tofu(2) (Water, Soybeans(2) Calcium Sulfate, Glucono Delta Lactone), Onion, Water, Vital Wheat Gluten, Canola Oil(3), Maple Syrup(1), Chickpea Flour, Tomato Paste, Apple Cider Vinegar, Garlic, Sun Dried Tomatoes, Agar Powder, Sea Salt, Vegetable Mix (Red & Green Bell Pepper, Onions, Carrots, Celery), Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Nutritional Yeast(1), Natural Flavors, Natural Hickory Smoke Flavor, Spices, Cane Sugar(1), Baking Powder(2) (Corn Starch, Sodium Bicarbonate, Monocalcium Phosphate), Gochugaru Chili Flakes, Basil, Paprika, Dried Purple Carrot Juice Color, Allspice, Cloves, Dill, Citric Acid, Granulated Garlic, Turmeric, Roll: Water, Whole Wheat Flour, All Purpose Flour, Cane Sugar(1), Durum Wheat Flour, Oat Bran, Flax Seed, Rolled Oats, Canola Oil(3), Sea Salt, Baker’s Yeast. (1)Organic. (2)Non-GMO. (3)Non-GMO Expeller Pressed.

There is a lot of “stuff” in this for the size of it. What did it taste like? As you would imagine it was kind of bland. I was excited about this because I haven’t had a breakfast sandwich since I went vegetarian, but this didn’t taste great. I will say that I’m not hungry after eating it so at least it was filling. Everything in this seemed to have the same texture. It went from frozen to ready to eat in a really fast 1:15. the bun was really soft, kinda like a potato bun. There is dried tomato kinda sauce on it. Right in the center perfectly squirted on by some machine in a factory. The chickpea patty, taste like it, chickpeas, which are okay, but I’m not a huge fan. the chickpea patty didn’t taste like much but a pasty, dry, chickpea paste. The Harmless Ham texture was okay, a little too soft to approximate actual ham. It didn’t have that burst of flavor that you would get with real ham, that comes from fat and salt. The bottom bun got that hardness in the center that sometimes happens with food overcooked in the microwave. I have to say though it was nice to have a change in texture.

All in all, I won’t be getting this again, but as I browse the Sweet Earth website I see they have another breakfast sandwich that is sadly, not vegan. It’s called, Benevolent Bacon: Egg and Cheddar. I’ve had the benevolent bacon before and I liked it. While this has real egg it looks like the same bun as the chickpea patty, not a good sign. It also has cheese, so I don’t think I’ll give this one a go after all. Before, I leave you I will say I like a lot of the Sweet Earth foods. Especially the Big Sur Breakfast burrito, it’s vegan and it’s delicious.