There’s a first time for everything

Everything we do in life has a beginning…a first time. It’s scary! But without those experiences, where would we be? Stagnant and with no new hobbies, friends or memories. One beginning this new chapter in my life, I’m all about first time experiences – everything is new. Today I took my shiny new bike (who has officially been named Big C) on my first group road ride. It was quite the experience!

I met up with the Baltimore cycling club in the suburbs for a ride through Loch Raven. When I arrived, I signed in and met with the group leader, a tiny, 70-something lady. She immediately asked why I didn’t have cycling gloves, padded shorts and what seemed like a gazillion other pieces of gear I had never even heard of. WOAH! I had no idea how intense she was going to be and she seemed concerned that I may not make it the entire 33 miles. Because I’m so out of shape, obviously. I was close to just forgetting the entire ride when another nice lady came over and handed me a pair of cycling gloves and assured me I would be fine.

I will spare you all the details, but I rode 33 miles with 3 elderly cyclists at around 10-12 mph and learned every technical detail about biking gears and how much technology has changed. Shoot me.

At the 20 mile rest, the leader who was so skeptical of my ability said ‘wow, you’re so strong! In a year you have the potential to be an amazing rider…you just know nothing about your bike.’ Well, there’s a revelation – I knew I could do the ride, but I have to learn how to use my bike…hence my presence here today. Duh.

All in all, it was an absolutely gorgeous ride through Loch Raven reservoir (must do a picnic there soon) and I learned so much about riding. Plus, I feel more confident on the bike while commuting and am more willing to try more group rides. I’m so thankful I had the guts to go for it, even with the leader’s doubts about me. It’s all about taking chances, putting yourself out there and knowing what you’re capable of.

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I have to admit, I am completely wiped out from the ride! Although I complained to myself the whole time about how slow we were going, 33 miles is a long way regardless of speed. So I settled for a simple dinner that turned out to be full of flavor! Thanks to Real Simple for the recipe. I found it in my binder of recipes I have saved from my magazines over the past couple of years. The book usually just stays on the shelf and I resort to Pinterest for recipes. Lately, I have resolved to remember to use the book! I’m so glad I did!

    Grilled apricot pork tenderloin with quinoa and grilled plums

Serves 4

Boneless pork tenderloin (about 1 1/4 lbs)
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c apricot preserves
1 tbls white wine vinegar
4 plums, quartered
Salt, pepper to taste
1 c uncooked quinoa

Cook quinoa according to package directions.
Meanwhile, heat grill to medium -high. Cut pork into 1 1/2 inch cubes and toss with 1 tsp oil and season with salt and pepper. Mix apricot preserves with vinegar and set aside. Grill, turning often, until cooked through, about 10-12 minutes. Baste with apricot mixture with about 2 minutes remaining to cook.
Toss plums with remaining 1 tsp oil. Grill about 2 minutes per side.
Serve quinoa topped with pork and plums.

This dish has such a great sweet flavor that’s perfect for this season – not summer but not quite fall.

I served it with one simple roasted summer squash.

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Happy grilling 🙂 And please, go do something adventurous! Try something you’ve always wanted to do without fear! I promise the feeling of accomplishment afterwards is so worth it…

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