New products, cold runs…and homemade cheese balls!

After getting back from Vegas on (yet another) redeye and going straight to work, I was exhausted come Thursday evening and Friday.  Which might explain why I managed now almost three straight days of falling asleep early, and sleeping really long…like, 2PM on Saturday long.  But, to my body – that’s only 8AM Auckland time!

2PM is also a great time to take photos of products with natural light, so both The Girl and I have been knocking out product shots given the massive influx of new items to review.  Here’s a quick sneak peak:


(A&D ANT+ Blood Pressure Monitor, 4iiii’s Heads Up Display System, Outside Interactive Treadmill Running Simulator Videos, Recon Instruments Mode Live GPS Ski Goggles, Garmin FR910XT Quick Release Kit and extender/fabric straps)

I’m particularly proud of The Girl’s discovery on how to photograph the inside of the Recon Instruments LCD screen – which is super easy/clear to see with your naked eye, but it’s really tough from a camera perspective.  More once we finalize this technique a bit more.


But, before we knew it we had to stop and run downtown to go see this years Warren Miller ski movie.  As longtime readers know, I’ve long since seen the Warren Miller movies – even as a kid.  I was bummed that due to my travel schedule this fall, I missed the local showings in November/December – but thankfully they added a last minute one here this weekend in DC.  Score!


The show was great, definitely better than some of the more recent years.  Felt like they seemed to get the content back to where it used to be – good stuff.  Makes me want to go skiing!  Thankfully…next weekend. :)  Or…actually, the weekend after.  Either way, soon!

Before I knew it, it was late Saturday night – and my desire to run in the cold and dark DC wind was fairly limited.  So I jumped on the trainer instead.  This would be my first ride on the CycleOps PowerBeam Pro – and so far I’m pretty happy with it.  They sent me out a unit in late November to try, in conjunction with their upcoming computerized training software. 


While the software won’t be out till next fall, it has given me a chance to play with with the Joule 3.0 (the larger one) – which works incredibly well with its ability to control the unit (increase wirelessly the resistance).  Thus far, I’m happy in the fact that it ‘just works’ – and I was able to quickly get on, start my ride, and not have to deal with any impediments.


More over the coming weeks on the trainer, then, the LeMond Fitness Revolution trainer.

Finally onto Sunday.  This brought a cold and windy 11-mile run.  Albeit, not quite as bad as it would have been on Saturday night – it still wasn’t the warm tropical waters and coconut trees of Bora Bora.


And the pace was good, in the mid-7’s.  Still a bit of fatigue to overcome, but that should happen in the coming days and weeks.


But finally – the moment you’ve all been waiting for: Cheese balls.

For Christmas my sister-in-law (yes, it’s weird saying that) gave me this totally awesome cheese making kit.  As regular readers know – I love fresh mozzarella cheese!  And if I can perfect making it at home, then it’ll go great with the fresh pasta I always make.


Now, I’ll be doing a follow-up post on this once I perfect it – but I figured I’d give you a preview.  The whole process took about 45 minutes.  The box says 30 minutes, and I’m reasonably sure I can get it that faster once I get the hang of it.



You’re supposed to be fairly choosey when it comes to the milk.  They recommend local over non-local, and trying to get regular pasteurized over ultra-pasteurized.  I ended up having to buy it in glass jars, but it was nice and local!


In the end, I got three cheese balls of varying sizes from 1 gallon of milk – which is crazy!  Everything else is included in the kit.


And, here is my final product!


It was ‘good’, but I still need to work on the creaminess angle.  I think I may have over-worked it – oddly enough, in my quest to not overheat it.  I believe had I heated it more initially, I would have been able to work it less by avoiding repeated trips to the hot water.  Any folks that have tips here I’d love to hear them!  Especially for example, where to buy Water Buffalo Milk for Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella.

And yes, that’s one of my most treasured new books above – Mozza – a book completely and totally dedicated to the consumption of fresh Mozzarella.  I bought it back in November, and have been carefully charting my journey through it. You just wait, creations abound!

With that, ready for another busy week ahead!  Thanks for reading all!


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  1. Wes

    I think that’s the first time I’ve seen somebody wearing that long sleeve Rev3 shirt. A fashion statement it is not :-)

  2. I wear mine (LS Rev3 Quassy shirt) all the time! It has been great for this weird non-winter winter weather this year.

    Ray – the cheese process looked intriguing. I may have to try it at some point.

  3. Sorry…that’s the Knoxville shirt. :)

  4. You’ve got to try to find a farm that will sell you un-pasturized milk. Technically, I don’t know if a farm can, but it makes for much better cheese! I know you can buy it in Canada, but the pesky FDA and USDA gets in the way with those darn public health regulations ;)

  5. I’m curious if the Powerbeam Pro is ANT+ or not. I picked up a nice CycleOps 400 Pro spin bike and while it has ANT+ plastered all over it and a Joule on top, none of the sensors or powermeter appear to ACTUALLY be ANT+ because my Garmin will not pick them up. Can’t find anyone in any of the usual places who has made that work, either. And the PowerAgent software is less than enthusiastic about exporting workouts to something standard that I can import into Garmin Connect or Strava. It would be *great* if you could yell at CycleOps about that. Standard ANT+ devices, please! I know controlling the resistance would still require the Joule, and that’s fine…

  6. Just thought you should know the best local milk in the D.C. area is available at Giant Grocery stores. I work for a local farmer-owned cooperative that supplies all of Giant’s regular label milk. The ultra-high pasteurized and flavored milks aren’t in that category, but the regular gallons and half gallons come from farms all within a 150 mile radius, give or take from the DC area. It’s processed in Landover, Md. and distributed to the stores. Turn around time from farm to plant to store is potentially under 48 hours. Homestead Creamery milk is also good milk, but it has to travel further to get to this area. And to clarify, it is illegal for farmers to sell raw milk to customers in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia. You can buy it in Pennsylvania from licensed producers. However, as someone who was raised on raw milk but knows the risks and no longer lives on the farm in the same environment as the cows, I caution you to stay away from raw milk. The risk for a foodborne illness is too great in my opinion.

  7. SSB

    mmm…. cheese. if you can find a water buffalo to milk, that’s supposed to make the best fresh mozzarella. Would make for a great blog post too!

  8. Be careful! It’s illegal to make your own cheese in some states.

  9. Eli

    Water buffalo in the US? There are Bison farms in MD. As to raw milk: link to

  10. RainMaker, any updated thoughts on the PowerBeam Pro and their upcoming software for next fall, i.e. will it support a VR experience? I’m seriously looking at the Bushido but am a little spooked by all the negativity in their (Tacx) user forums. Thanks. Mark

  11. I think it’s good stuff – and lots of potential. I’ll try and include some sneak peaks of it in my Monday post…just for you! (Mon Feb 6th).


  12. Thanks RainMaker! Looking forward to it.