Month: August 2014

Cooling your Beans!

For years I cooled my beans using a colander and a fan.  It worked, but there were a few flaws with what I was doing.  Among other things, I want to get more ‘professional’ in my roasting.  My cooling method was fine to show a friend, but I’d be embarrassed to show a theoretical ‘paying customer’ what I was doing.  I was hunched over on the ground trying to keep my colander balanced on the fan while using a wooden spoon to stir the beans a bit. 

I came across a remarkably easy to make contraption that works better than I expected.  You take a shop vac and connect the hose to a container.  In the lid of the container you cut a hole just big enough for a colander.  I made mine with the box that the shop vac came in and I used duct tape to hold everything in place.  As I perfect my procedure I’ll switch to a plastic container, but cardboard and duct tape are easy to experiment with (and cheaper).

To use the contraption, you want to suck air into the shop vac (as opposed to blowing air out).  In just a couple of minutes I am able to bring the beans down to the ambient temperature.  To remove chaff, reverse airflow for a bit until there is nothing else to blow away.

Now that I have a device that can consistently cool the beans, I can experiment with taste.  During one of my future roasts, I’ll pull out a cup of beans before cooling and then compare those beans with the beans that were properly cooled.

Ed

Las Vegas 100

So I’m thinking of running a 100k race in October – Las Vegas 100. I know, I DNFd doing a 50 Mile. However the race falls during a good time and they don’t have a 50 mile option.

First the course. It is a loop course in a park. When I first started thinking about Ultras, loop courses seemed boring. Perhaps loops are boring, but after running a 50 mile race I see a lot of advantages. The race advertises that the loops are 10, 7, and 5 miles long depending on the loop. But really, the loops are zig zaggy in the same desert lot so it really is 100k of mostly the same scenery over and over again.

So what are the advantages?

* There aren’t many Ultra races within 5 miles of my house. I can do this race with the only expense being the race entry fee and supplies.

* I saw how much work it is for my race crew (AKA Wife). In a point to point 50 mile race it is a long day for the crew, especially when she isn’t into racing. With a loop course, the aid station is always in the same place.

* The course is at a park. While I’ll be mostly running in the desert, the park is large, grassy, and has duck ponds (and other animals). My extended crew can picnic and play at the park.

* After awhile, the scenery doesn’t matter (I hope). It’s me versus the race.

* Loops = more people to talk to? In my last race, as the field spread apart, there wasn’t anyone around.

How am I going to avoid 2 DNFs in a row?

* Pace Pace Pace.  I’ve taken to wearing a heart rate monitor again.  I’m going to try and keep my heart rate down below 160.  Probably in the 140s.  Still trying to figure it out.  Regardless, the HRM will keep me dialed back.

* I’ve been running with a light total knee compression wrap.  It seems to be working.  It also helps to remind me from time to time to work on running mechanics.

* Caffeine!  Not sure how I’m going to do it yet, but hopefully caffeine will keep me perked up at the end.

* Training.  I’m trying to get my weekly mileage up to 50 miles and I’m more serious about the training.

Now I just have to find a pacer.

Ed