Manawa Mountain Bike Mayhem ends season...

The XC season ended for me yesterday with the Lake Manawa Mountain Bike Mayhem. It was a joint race for the Nebraska Psycowpath Series and the Iowa Mountain Bike Championship Series (replacing the joint Lewis & Clarke Kanesville Krusher). Going into the final race of the season, I was in 6th place for the Nebraska Series and 3rd place for the IMBCS in terms of points. My goal was to try and finish strong and at least not lose my place in the standings.

I know that fast and twisty is not my specialty on an XL 29"er with my height and all of the trees with the amount of lean I have to do to carve the turns, but I always try to give it my best shot. I had my narrow bars on and the Dos Niner performed in a nice agile way for me. Rear tire choice of a Crow was probably not the best choice as it drifted quite a bit on me on several of the sharp, fast turns. But I kept her on the trail and didn't go down. I only said "hello" to one tree on the first lap yesterday with a nice bruise and scratches to prove it. I like the Manawa course as it provides enough of a technical challenge with the logs and sharp turns as well as the constant demand on power to accelerate after all of those turns. There pretty much is little to no chance for recovery along the trail making it feel sort of like a really long time trial.

The sport category lined up and waiting to give it the gas...


Tom Winfield caught everyone with his camera as we took on some of the technical sections of the course...


The fun little "stairs" that had a couple of lines one could take to negotiate...


There was a crash during lap one by Doug Larson as he did an endo. We were at least 1/2 way through the second lap when somebody was waving his arms and told each rider as we passed him that a man was down and that he was - to quote the words he used - "paralyzed". I thought - "you've got to be kidding me". And then I thought deeper - "Please say it isn't true that somebody is hurt that severely out here in our little race." We all filed back over to the registration area and passed the ambulance and fire truck that had arrived. The race was halted as Doug was taken to the hospital.

Here's Doug cruising along in the race having fun before the endo...


We all wish Doug and his wife Mary a full recovery and the strength and patience needed during this down time. Our prayers and thoughts are with you.

The crash certainly was a wake up call that at any minute, something could go wrong with any of us out on the trail. The decision was made to restart the race in the same position and time differentials we had as we crossed the line after the first lap. And we would do 1 1/2 laps since we had already completed 1 1/2 laps in the sport class. I'm not sure how much time passed from the halt of the race until the restart, but it was sobering to get going again physically and mentally.

I would give it my all on the straight away and connector sections to catch up to the guys in front of me, and then slowly slip away in some of the tricky bike handling twisty sections.

I spent the day ducking my head, leaning left and leaning right in an effort to keep from banging into the "forest" as this course was not a tall rider friendly course.


I was unable to make any passes after the restart and pretty much held my position behind the guy I was behind right when the race was halted. We crossed the line a second or two apart. He was a podium winner in the sport masters category and I finished in 6th place for sport open. Andrew, Brandon and Keith were the podium spots for the sport open. Depending on how the drop rule of one's lowest scoring races works, that should wrap up Keith Snoop's winning of the Iowa series and Andrew's winning of 2nd place for the Psycowpath series. And Brandon should hold his 4th place spot for the Psycowpath series with his podium finish. Great job guys!! I held 6th Place for Sport Open in the Psycowpath Series. I'll have to wait and see where my points land me for the Iowa series.

Sport Open Podium spots yesterday (Brandon, Andrew, Keith):


Our family went out last night for a nice dinner and family time at Splash in Des Moines. Good seafood, conversation and fun was had by all. I know my wife will be pleased that I am home on the weekends now and not gone for an entire day attending a race. Well, until next year that is.... ;-


Birthday Weekend Racing...

The weekend of racing is over and my legs are gassed.

The rained out Psycowpath race on September 13th meant doing 2 back to back races this weekend for me. I wanted to compete in both since I have been racing in the Psycowpath and the IMBCS series all year. I had only missed one Psycowpath XC race due to a reschedule conflict on the same day as an IMBCS race. I didn't want to miss another.

I turned 47 on Saturday and "celebrated" by driving over to Branched Oak Recreation area north of Lincoln, NE for the Psycowpath #6 Capital City MTB Challenge. The drive was actually quite relaxing and beautiful as I had not been to Lincoln since the summer of 1980. I got there in time to do a pre-ride of the lap which was exactly 2.9 miles and filled with a couple of nice sustained climbing sections. The course was in good shape with plenty of ruts to keep one on their toes on the climbs and the descents. One sandy turn and one really sharp turn - both of which challenged all of us. Sport Category was going to do 6 laps plus a one mile gravel road climb at the start for a total of 18.4 miles. The weather was perfect and the conditions were ideal.

The experts took off as a group with open and masters together. One minute later, the sport open and singlespeed categories took off followed by the sport masters a minute later. Our group worked our way into a pace line right off the bat for the mile climb on the gravel. I went into the singletrack in 4th position and we stuck closely together for the first half of the lap. When the lead riders of the sport masters caught up and a group of 4 passed on the left, I latched on and was able to go around the guy in front of me from sport open to put me into 3rd place. Because the loop was only 2.9 miles and we did a lot of laps (experts did 8), there was a lot of passing going on from various categories and it was hard to keep track of who was who after a while. However, I knew I had to conserve and use the strategy of spinning at a high cadence as much as I could to be able to complete in both this race and Sugar Bottom on Sunday. In spite of that, I rode lap one really hard to stay in contact with the first 2 guys in sport open.

Digging deep in lap #1... (Thanks to Mr. Tom Winfield for his excellent photographic talent and sharing at all these Psycowpath events).


I settled into a nice pace for laps 2 - 5 with my high cadence spin. Near the end of lap 5, I passed Brandon Harpster (2nd place sport open) who was pulled over on the side of the trail airing up his rear tire with a cartridge. After I crossed the finish line and began my final lap, Brandon caught back up with me and passed me. I upped my pace and gave as much in lap 6 as I did in lap 1. So much so that my stomach was feeling the effects of pushing that hard. I knew I had 3rd place locked up, so in spite of riding a very conservative race energy wise - I was pleased. I finished feeling strong and felt like I had left enough in the tank for Sunday's race.

Crossing the line for the finish of lap #6...


Result: Podium Spot for 3rd Place


By the way, Brandon got me by one position back in April at the Psycowpath #1 Maskenthine race as well. The same three riders finished in September just as we did back in April. So, not much has changed. '-)

April 5th, 2008 at the Maskenthine race:

6 Andrew Keffer
8 Brandon Harpster
9 Bruce Brown

September 20th, 2008 at the Branched Oak race:

1 Andrew Keffer
2 Brandon Harpster
3 Bruce Brown

Lots of climbs kept me in the pain zone a few times...


I drove back to Indianola and hopped in an ice bath for the legs in an effort to aid my recovery for doing the back to back race trick. We celebrated my 47th with a good meal, stories and fun at the family table. Then I hit the sack.

Sunday's weather was perfect. A little bit cooler than it was in Nebraska. I pulled into the Sugar Bottom parking lot about an hour before the sport class was to start. It was a big turnout with 53 or 54 lined up at the combined sport classes. Last year there were only 39 guys. I always prefer a start where the open and masters classes are separated so you know who is who and the bottleneck going into the singletrack is not such a mess. We had 50+ guys and I was probably lined up about 2/3's of the way back in the group. I had warmed up, but not overly so in an effort to conserve energy. My goal was to finish as best I could and improve upon last year's Sugar Bottom time and finish.

Off we went at our appointed time and it was a huge massive dust cloud. I couldn't even see and the air was not fun to suck in all that dust. I thought maybe I could pass a few on the opening gravel climb, but I pretty much held my place and only passed two guys before turning into the singletrack. At the first turn, you could see the long snake we had formed and it looked like I was in about 40th place with no where to go. The good news is this allowed me to do a very high cadence spin and hold my place in line while my legs and cardio got all warmed up. The group was literally still one long snake, but I could see that I was now in the 2nd group of about 12 guys with the first group breaking away. As usual, some of those that went out hard at the start of the race started to get passed. Within the first 1/2 lap, 5 or 6 guys were passed due to mechanical problems, crashes or simply burned out. I kept chugging along and finally decided to burn a few matches and pass a few riders. I did it one at a time on sharp corners or spots that provided a little bit of room to pass. By my count, I had moved up at least 10 riders during the first 1/2 of lap one. Nobody had passed me.


One guy I had passed earlier, went around me on the gravel road leading to the back 1/2 of the lap. I jumped on his wheel and stayed with him for the remainder of the lap. I went over the finish line for the start of lap 2 with him and then took off and left him. Another guy on a Sugar 29"er went around me crossing the finish line and I followed his wheel up the gravel road. Going back into the singletrack, we caught up with one of the expert women and the three of us pretty much rode all of lap 2 together. The guy on the Sugar passed her and was leading us, but we were all still together. She was a great bike handler and I was totally impressed with her riding. On our dismount at Cyclocross hill, I passed her on the foot climb grimacing all the way up the hill, but she got mounted up on her bike quicker than I did so the pass didn't hold.

The infamous Cyclocross Hill during lap one where I gave it a go...


I followed her closely for the remainder of the lap with the guy on the Sugar a little bit ahead of us. He was my goal to sprint by in the final section since he was the only guy who had passed me in the race that held. My legs were still working even though the twinges of cramping were starting to be felt when I stood on some climbs, but I didn't push myself into the cramp zone - yet.

As we came out of the singletrack and into the pasture with the sprint to the finish line, I was at the back of our little group of 3. I put the chain on the big ring and selected a small cog in the rear. I stood and mashed with everything I had and went flying by the other two going much faster and harder than I thought I could do. I held it all the way to the line and beat the guy on the Sugar by 4 seconds. He wasn't even in my category, but still - it's always fun to let it out when you can and end the race without letting any pass stand. I cramped right after I crossed the line as the effort was enough to take me over the edge.

End result: 18th Place Sport Open; 26th Place overall in the sport categories of 50+ riders.

My time last year was 2:21 and change. This year it was 2:04 and change. Granted, the final race times on this course were running about 5 - 8 minutes quicker this year with the way the course was set up over last year, but even with that factored in, I was pleased with my time as it was faster than last year. And that was pretty good considering I had raced the day before in Nebraska.

Hats off to ICORR and the trail crew for getting the course in such excellent shape. That was the best Sugar Bottom has been since I've ridden there starting in 2003. Trails were in perfect shape. Fast and fun with just enough technical challenges to keep you on your toes. And it was marked much better than last year. There were no questions about any corners. Great JOB guys!!! The full suspension Sugar was what I raced this weekend and I was glad to have the extra cushion to keep my lower back in check. It's a pound or two heavier than my Dos Niner, but was ideal for all the roots.

Next weekend is the final XC race with a combined Psycowpath/IMBCS season ending race at Lake Manawa. That's a very flat, but very twisty course that is going to favor bike handling and pushing big power on the flat straights. It will be hard to score high series points for me as the race will be well attended being in Omaha, but I'm plotting my strategy to finish the season strong. ;-)


Final 2 weekends of XC racing on tap...

I've prepped myself for the final races of the season, but wish that the rain cancellation and subsequent reschedule didn't have the cards stacked so I have back to back races this Saturday and Sunday. But, that's how it looks. Whether or not I do both the Psycowpath and IMBCS this weekend remains to be seen. For certain, I will be racing Sugar Bottom on Sunday and next week at Lake Manawa. I'll see how I feel at the end of the week. I know Sugar Bottom takes a lot of juice to power through with the climbs, roots and length of the course. The Nebraska race on Saturday is on a course I have never ridden, so I'm not sure what is required and how to pace myself for 2 in a row. So we'll see...

I hit the trainer hard yesterday with a good interval session before work. I know that these devices are not the most accurate measurement of wattage when compared with a power measuring device on a bike out on the road, but as long as I use the same trainers on a consistent basis I can measure improvement month to month and year over year - regardless of what the wattage says on the machine. My goal this year was to increase my tolerance at the lactate threshold and ride at a lower body weight than last year. I also was targeting working harder on the hard training days, and resting better between training efforts. Comparing my numbers this year to that of last year at this time, it appears I have reached most of my goals.

I rode at a weight of 185 - 188 last year and this year I have been riding at a weight of 179 - 184. With the carb loading and subsequent water retention, I've had trouble keeping my weight down at 180 for race day. I still would like to be riding at a weight 5 - 15 pounds less than I am right now, but that will be next year's goal. And I have room for additional improvement to increase my tolerance at LT next year. I know that a reduction of 15 pounds would mean a gain of around 50 watts on your typical mountain bike climb. I don't think any amount of training over the course of the next year is going to give me 50 watts!! But dropping the weight would. That would be most beneficial on courses with lots of climbing and would be ideal events to target, but I'll evaluate everything in a few weeks in preparation for next year.

Today is a scheduled "off" day, but I'm going to do an easy commute on my bike to work and back since the weather is ideal. Edit: And mow the lawn...


Hoping Ike turns EAST!!!

It's been raining for over 24 hours and once again, the sump pump is "on duty" in the basement doing what it is supposed to do. I sure hope Ike turns enough north and east to keep us out of the 4 - 6" path of rain expected to hit the upper Midwest. Although I do want to test my new downspout system, I don't really want to take on another 4" rain this year to saturate my basement - especially now that the new carpet, paint and molding is already installed. Midwest Basements are finally coming by on Wednesday to make a diagnosis of our drainage and basement to see what more we could improve upon for the future. So I am hoping Ike turns east with plenty of breathing room for us here in central Iowa. We are under a flood watch from all the rain we've received the last few days as it is. 4.5" in the past 3 days. So we do not need Ike!

The Psycowpath Race in Nebraska was canceled today and rescheduled for Saturday, September 20th. That means a race on Saturday and on Sunday this coming week. Ouch! That will certainly test my conditioning. I'll be hitting the bike today for some more training to substitute for the missed race today.

Indianola High School Homecoming game last night against Sioux City East. We won 28-8 and have opened the season with a 3-0 record. There were a lot of fumbles last night in the game from both teams as the rain just continued to strengthen during the game. Zack will quarterback the two JV games this week against Ottumwa and Des Moines Lincoln. Weather looks good for those provided Ike turns east so the Monday night game against Ottumwa can be dry. The JV won their opening game this week 31-6, or maybe it was 34-6 - I forget.


Breaking out of Midpackitis...

You've got to love it when a confluence of events comes together which allows you to snag 1st place at a race. In my case, a few of the youngsters who are hot riders in the Sport Open category were no shows yesterday and I had a good enough run to best the rest of the sport open guys that did show up for the IMBCS #8 Science Center TT. End result: 1st place. Now wouldn't you know it, I finally get a first place and no sport open guys are acknowledged for the prize table. My chance to snag some Oakley's and I'm like the overweight sophomore girl sitting in the bleachers at the high school dance where nobody asks me to dance. ;-)

The weather was great on Sunday and I arrived just in time to do a pre-ride of the race route a little before 10 am. I had the Sugar 293 as my choice to help soak up the roots and bumps. I'm glad I chose it as I could stay seated and hammer away. A few technical spots that gave everyone a challenge, but the rest was sweet and fast singletrack. My turn came to go and off I went in the big ring spinning up the pavement to the orange cones to turn into the track. The pre-ride took care of any questions I had about where to go, but after the 2nd climb that finally led us into the roller coaster I ran into fellow MOB team member Scott Sumpter coming up the hill as I was bombing down it. He wondered if he was going the wrong way and I said "yes". I guess he missed a turn and all those bright pink flags. Come to find out, so did Paul Varnum and Steve Fuller. I guess pink ain't their color. ;-)

I had a pretty uneventful loop of the time trial and was conservative on the tough corners, but let it fly whenever I could. I mixed high cadence spinning with monster mashing and flipped back and forth between the two depending on the terrain and what was coming up next. I didn't even try the big log on the hillside and used the alternate route around it. Everything else I took on at full steam. The race seemed to be over in no time as I crossed the line with a time of 25:15 and I was happy with not hitting a tree, falling or getting muddy. After the awards, I headed home to shower and go with the family to my daughter's soccer match in Polk City.

Today, I enter my 3rd week of building for my season ending peak. I could already tell things were firing a little better yesterday, so the last two weeks of training are starting to show. I hit the trainer this morning for 4 reps of 8 minutes on, 6 minutes off of SMSP intervals after a 20 minute warm up. I was sweating buckets and hope I didn't ruin the new carpet. I've got to get some exercise tile to put under the exercise bike to catch my drips.


VP Candidate Sarah Palin - for what it's worth...

I take this email with a grain of salt, but it is making the email rounds these days. So I'm tossing it up for view. Whether it is a lady with a beef, a resident of Alaska simply providing her point of view, another angle to consider or whatever, I guess it is always interesting to read various points of view. I am much more focused on the tops of the tickets and the issues than stuff like this, but here it is....

By the way, I'm more concerned with the little $$$Cash Counter over on the left that just passed $551 Billion spent to date on a totally pointless war than I am about Sarah Palin's dirty laundry.


Other e-mails are specific to her sex: Rumors of affairs, or that her child isn’t her own, and digitally altered images purporting to be pictures of her nude, or in racy outfits or dressed in a bikini and holding an assault rifle.

“People tend to pay attention to the things that are very basic,” said Mikkelson. “A long, detailed analysis of a candidate’s voting record gets out there and people’s eyes kind of glaze over, but put some simple issue out there and people will seize onto and circulate stuff about.”

(There is one exception to this pattern: A long, often accurate e-mail criticizing Palin’s policy and character by a Wasilla Democrat, Anne Kilkenny, has circulated extremely widely.

This following email, is the "often accurate" one sent by Anne Kilkenny from Wasilla, Alaska - according to the above story link.

IF YOU MAY BE CONSIDERING THE McCAIN/PALIN TICKET, or know someone who is, this is a must-read.


I am a resident of Wasilla, Alaska. I have known Sarah since 1992. Everyone here knows Sarah, so it is nothing special to say we are on a first-name basis. Our children have attended the same schools. Her father was my child's favorite substitute teacher. I also am on a first name basis with her parents and mother-in-law. I attended more City Council meetings during her administration than about 99% of the residents of the city.

She is enormously popular; in every way she’s like the most popular girl in middle school. Even me n who think she is a poor choice and won't vote for her can't quit smiling when talking about her because she is a "babe".

It is astonishing and almost scary how well she can keep a secret. She kept her most recent pregnancy a secret from her children and parents for seven months.

She is "pro-life". She recently gave birth to a Down's syndrome baby. There is no cover-up involved, here; Trig is her baby.

She is energetic and hardworking. She regularly worked out at the gym.

She is savvy. She doesn't take positions; she just "puts things out there" and if they prove to be popular, then she takes credit.

Her husband works a union job on the North Slope for BP and is a champion snowmobile racer. Todd Palin’s kind of job is highly sought-after because of the schedule and high pay. He arranges his work schedule so he can fish for salmon in Bristol Bay for a month or so in summer, but by no stretch of the imagination is fishing their major source of income. Nor has her life-style ever been anything like that of native Alaskans.

Sarah and her whole family are avid hun ters.

She's smart.

Her experience is as mayor of a city with a population of about 5,000 (at the time), and less than 2 years as governor of a state with about 670,000 residents.

During her mayoral administration most of the actual work of running this small city was turned over to an administrator. She had been pushed to hire this administrator by party power-brokers after she had gotten herself into some trouble over precipitous firings which had given rise to a recall campaign.

Sarah campaigned in Wasilla as a “fiscal conservative”. During her 6 years as Mayor, she increased general government expenditures by over 33%. During those same 6 years the amount of taxes collected by the City increased by 38%. This was during a period of low inflation (1996-2002). She reduced progressive property taxes and increased a regressive sales tax which taxed even food. The tax cuts that she promoted benefited large corporate property owners way more than they benefited residents.

The huge increases in tax revenues during her mayoral administration weren’t enough to fund everything on her wish list though, borrowed money was needed, too. She inherited a city with zero debt, but left it with indebtedness of over $22 million. What did Mayor Palin encourage the voters to borrow money for? Was it the infrastructure that she said she supported? The sewage treatment plant that the city lacked? or a new library? No. $1m for a park. $15m-plus for construction of a multi-use sports complex which she rushed through to build on a piece of property that the City didn’t even have clear title to, that was still in litigation 7 yrs later--to the delight of the lawyers involved! The sports complex itself is a nice addition to the community but a huge money pit, not the profit-generator she claimed it would be. She also supported bonds for $5.5m for road projects that could have been done in 5-7 yrs without any borrowing.

While Mayor, City Hall was extensively remodeled and her office redecorated more than once.

These are small numbers, but Wasilla is a very small city.

As an oil producer, the high price of oil has created a budget surplus in Alaska. Rather than invest this surplus in technology that will make us energy independent and increase efficiency, as Governor she proposed distribution of this surplus to every individual in the state.

In this time of record state revenues and budget surpluses, she recommended that the state borrow/bond for road projects, even while she proposed distribution of surplus state revenues: spend today's surplus, borrow for needs.

She’s not very tolerant of divergent opinions or open to outside ideas or compromise. As Mayor, she fought ideas that weren’t generated by her or her staff. Ideas weren’t evaluated on their merits, but on the basis of who proposed them.

While Sarah was Mayor of Wasilla she tried to fire our highly respected City Librarian because the Librarian refused to consider removing from the library some books that Sarah wanted removed. City residents rallied to the defense of the City Librarian and against Palin's attempt at out-and-out censorship, so Palin backed down and withdrew her termination letter. People who fought her attempt to oust the Librarian are on her enemies list to this day.

Sarah complained about the “old boy’s club” when she first ran for Mayor, so what did she bring Wasilla? A new set of "old boys". Palin fired most of the experienced staff she inherited. At the City and as Governor she hired or elevated new, inexperienced, obscure people, creating a staff totally dependent on her for their jobs and eternally grateful and fiercely loyal--loyal to the point of abusing their power to further her personal agenda, as she has acknowledged happened in the case of pressuring the State’s top cop (see below).

As Mayor, Sarah fired Wasilla’s Police Chief because he “intimidated” her, she told the press. As Governor, her recent firing of Alaska's top cop has the ring of familiarity about it. He served at her pleasure and she had every legal right to fire him, but it's pretty clear that an important factor in her decision to fire him was because he wouldn't fire her sister's ex-husband, a State Trooper.

Under investigation for abuse of power, she has had to admit that more than 2 dozen contacts were made between her staff and family to the person that she later fired, pressuring him to fire her ex-brother-in-law. She tried to replace the man she fired with a man who she knew had been reprimanded for sexual harassment; when this caused a public furor, she withdrew her support.

She has bitten the hand of every person who extended theirs to her in help. The City Council person who personally escorted her around town introducing her to voters when she first ran for Wasilla City Council became one of her first targets when she was later elected Mayor. She abruptly fired her loyal City Administrator; even people who didn’t like the guy were stunned by this ruthlessness. Fear of retribution has kept all of these people from saying anything publicly about her.

When then-Governor Murkowski was handing out political plums, Sarah got the best, Chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission: one of the few jobs not in Juneau and one of the best paid. She had no background in oil & gas issues. Within months of scoring this great job which paid $122,400/yr, she was complaining in the press about the high salary. I was told that she hated that job: the commute, the structured hours, the work. Sarah became aware that a member of this Commission (who was also the State Chair of the Republican Party) engaged in unethical behavior on the job. In a gutsy move which some undoubtedly cautioned her could be political suicide, Sarah solved all her problems in one fell swoop: got out of the job she hated and garnered gobs of media attention as the patron saint of ethics and as a gutsy fighter against the “old boys’ club” when she dramatically quit, exposing this man’s ethics violations (for which he was fined).

As Mayor, she had her hand stuck out as far as anyone for pork from Senator Ted Stevens. Lately, she has castigated his pork-barrel politics and publicly humiliated him. She only opposed the “bridge to nowhere” after it became clear that it would be unwise not to.

As Governor, she gave the Legislature no direction and budget guidelines, then made a big grandstand display of line-item vetoing projects, calling them pork. Public outcry and further legislative action restored most of these projects--which had been vetoed simply because she was not aware of their importance--but with the unobservant she had gained a reputation as “anti-pork”.

She is solidly Republican: no political maverick. The State party leaders hate her because she has bit them in the back and humiliated them. Other members of the party object to her self-description as a fiscal conservative.

Around Wasilla there are people who went to high school with Sarah. They call her “Sarah Barracuda” because of her unbridled ambition and predatory ruthlessness. Before she became so powerful, very ugly stories circulated around town about shenanigans she pulled to be made point guard on the high school basketball team. When Sarah's mother-in-law, a highly respected member of the community and experienced manager, ran for Mayor, Sarah refused to endorse her.

As Governor, she stepped outside of the box and put together of package of legislation known as “AGIA” that forced the oil companies to march to the beat of her drum.

Like most Alaskans, she f avors drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. She has questioned if the loss of sea ice is linked to global warming. She campaigned “as a private citizen” against a state initiative that would have either a) protected salmon streams from pollution from mines, or b)tied up in the courts all mining in the state (depending on who you listen to). She has pushed the State’s lawsuit against the Dept. of the Interior’s decision to list polar bears as threatened species.

McCain is the oldest person to ever run for President; Sarah will be a heartbeat away from being President.

There has to be literally millions of Americans who are more knowledgeable and experienced than she.

However, there’s a lot of people who have underestimated her and are regretting it.


•“Hockey mom”: true for a few years

•“PTA mom”: true years ago when her first-born was in elementary school, not since

•“NRA supporter”: absolutely true

•social conservative: mixed. Opposes gay marriage, BUT vetoed a bill that would have denied benefits to employees in same-sex relationships (said she did this because it was unconstitutional).

•pro-creationism: mixed. Supports it, BUT did nothing as Governor to promote it.

•“Pro-life”: mixed. Knowingly gave birth to a Down’s syndrome baby BUT declined to call a special legislative session on some pro-life legislation

•“Experienced”: Some high schools have more students than Wasilla has residents. Many cities have more residents than the state of Alaska. No legislative experience other than City Council. Little hands-on supervisory or managerial experience; needed help of a city administrator to run t own of about 5,000.

•political maverick: not at all

•gutsy: absolutely!

•open & transparent: ??? Good at keeping secrets. Not good at explaining actions.

•has a developed philosophy of public policy: no

•”a Greenie”: no. Turned Wasilla into a wasteland of big box stores and disconnected parking lots. Is pro-drilling off-shore and in ANWR.

•fiscal conservative: not by my definition!

•pro-infrastructure: No. Promoted a sports complex and park in a city without a s ewage treatment plant or storm drainage system. Built streets to early 20th century standards.

•pro-tax relief: Lowered taxes for businesses, increased tax burden on residents

•pro-small government: No. Oversaw greatest expansion of city government in Wasilla’s history.

•pro-labor/pro-union. No. Just because her husband works union doesn’t make her pro-labor. I have seen nothing to support any claim that she is pro-labor/pro-union.


First, I have long believed in the importance of being an informed voter. I am a voter registrar. For 10 years I put on student voting programs in the schools. If you google my name (Anne Kilkenny + Alaska), you will find references to my participation in local government, education, and PTA/parent organizations.

Secondly, I've always operated in the belief that "Bad things happen when good people stay silent". Few people know as much as I do because few have gone to as many City Council meetings.

Third, I am just a housewife. I don't have a job she can bump me out of. I don't belong to any organization that she can hurt. But, I am no fool; she is immensely popular here, and it is likely that this will cost me somehow in t he future: that’s life.

Fourth, she has hated me since back in 1996, when I was one of the 100 or so people who rallied to support the City Librarian against Sarah's attempt at censorship.

Fifth, I looked around and realized that everybody else was afraid to say anything because they were somehow vulnerable.


I am not a statistician. I developed the numbers for the increase in spending & taxation 2 years ago (when Palin was running for Governor) from information supplied to me by the Finance Director of the City of Wasilla, and I can't recall exactly what I adjusted for: did I adjust for inflation? for population increases? Right now, it is impossible for a private person to get any info out of City Hall--they are swamped. So I can't verify my numbers.

You may have noticed that there are various nu mbers circulating for the population of Wasilla, ranging from my "about 5,000", up to 9,000. The day Palin’s selection was announced a city official told me that the current population is about 7,000. The official 2000 census count was 5,460. I have used about 5,000 because Palin was Mayor from 1996 to 2002, and the city was growing rapidly in the mid-90’s.

Anne Kilkenny

August 31, 2008


Busy Weekend Ahead...

It starts today at 3 pm when I rush out of the office to meet up with my "date" for tonight's football game. Indianola is playing Sioux City West at the Morningside College football stadium tonight in Sioux City. Another father and I are car pooling up to Sioux City and will hopefully arrive in time for a little bit of the tailgate party we parents are having before the game. We should get home in the 2 - 3 am time frame.

Saturday is a good chance to demo the '09 Trek/Fisher bikes in Des Moines as the factory demo truck will be in town from 10 am - 3 pm. I plan on test riding one or two of the new '09 29"ers. Then I am attending my colleagues Green Card party in the afternoon and am supposed to wear something "green" in honor of the event.

Sunday is the IMBCS TT in Des Moines at 10 am and then it is back home for getting things moved back into the basement now that the new carpet is finally installed. It will be nice to reclaim our living room and garage that have been used as store rooms for the entire basement. Also on tap is to move my daughter to the basement bedroom and move the guest room upstairs to her bedroom. I'm not sure we'll get everything done this weekend, but at least we'll get a good start on things.

Looks like rain off and on all weekend, so we shall see what that does to the bike demo, the bike race and of course tonight's football game. I best throw the raincoat, hat and umbrella in the car for the trip tonight.


The Ubiquitous Blog Tag

Yup, "ye ole blog tag" courtesy of Bidwell.

What was I doing 10 years ago?

Let's see....September 1998. I was totally immersed in my professional singing career at the time. I was living and working in Vienna, Austria. I was finally fluent enough in German to be feeling comfortable in work and social situations. We had just moved from our apartment on Gentzgasse in the 18th district to a walk out apartment with garden on Maulbertschgasse in the 19th district at the edge of the Vienna Woods. Making the decision to sign another 3 year contract with the opera, we purchased a brand new Honda mini-van to become more "mobile" with our children and see more of Europe. I was singing about 2-3 opera performances per week 10 months out of the year. Between that, I was devoted to my 5 year old son and 3 year old daughter and spent a lot of time hauling them all over Vienna on a bike seat and hitchhiker.

What are five non-work things on my to-do list today?

1. Finish getting all furniture and objects off of the basement floor so the carpet installers can begin their work tomorrow morning bright and early.

2. Take the dogs for a walk in the rain.

3. Talk with my son about his football participation and some realities that have come up that are on his mind about playing football.

4. Have lunch with a colleague to talk about the Gorilla Ape Trust.

5. Listen to some music.

Snacks I enjoy?

Almonds. Oatmeal cookies. Raisins. Apples. Cherries. Grapes.

Things I would do if I were a billionaire?

Create and open my own small to mid-size professional opera company. That would include building a building, hiring a staff, develop the marketing, creating seasons and goals for the company, audition for casting, and develop a young artists training program on site as well as an educational wing of the opera company that would tour and bring opera into the lives of those not fortunate enough to be able to afford or travel to see a live performance.

Set up some trust funds devoted to academic and talent scholarships for those wanting to attend college. Donate money to organizations I believe in and support. And of course, enjoy a few things I currently don't get to enjoy with my family. My wife would want to open her own restaurant and I would make sure my children pursued their dreams.

Places I have lived?

Beresford, SD
Claremont, SD
Rapid City, SD
Williston, ND
Nacogdoches, TX
Forest Hills, NY
Astoria, NY
Manhattan, NY
Houston, TX
Walnut Creek, CA
Vienna, Austria
Indianola, IA

Jobs I have had?

Ranger Band (played tuba)

Red Owl Grocery (short order cook in the restaurant)

Kentucky Fried Chicken (chicken cook)

Country Kitchen (midnight shift cook)

K-Mart (stock boy)

Cathedral of St. John the Divine (sculptor's assistant/gopher)

St. Thomas Episcopal Church in NYC (bass singer in the choir)

Max's Opera Cafe (singing waiter)

Houston Grand Opera Studio (baritone young artist)

Houston Grand Opera; Texas Opera Theater; Bronx Opera; Opera Festival of New Jersey; Mississippi Opera; Knoxville Opera; Eugene Opera; Festival Opera of Walnut Creek; Sacramento Opera; Glimmerglass Opera; Des Moines Metro Opera; Chautauqua Opera; Opera Northeast; Vienna Volksoper/Staatsoper; Vienna Kammeroper; Innsbruck Landestheater and probably a bunch of others I have forgotten at the moment (baritone soloist in oodles of operas and performances over the past 22 years)

Assistant Professor of Music (teaching voice and directing opera)

There. Tagged. Labeled. And done.


Labor Day and September...

I missed racing this weekend, but there was plenty to do here at home. I'm anxious to hear the results of the Boone and the Dakota 5-0. Everyone is feeling healthy today in our house, so my nursing duties are over and our routine can get back to normal.

Zack's varsity football team won their opening game against Hoover on Friday night with a final score of 51-14. Their fallen teammate has still not awakened in the hospital from last Tuesday's blow to the head during practice. Continued thoughts and prayers for his recovery occupy the entire community at the moment.

I managed to get some training in at Lake Ahquabi yesterday by doing 3 full laps. My time was about one minute slower than my race time in spite of all the bumped up training. My legs felt good at times, but it was hard to keep a simulated race pace going for all three laps. Nevertheless, I felt I needed to be out there and pushing myself to keep on pace for the season ending races. I lifted weights today (upper body) and did my first cross training of the fall season. I ran for 2 miles and worked up to a 7.5 minute mile pace. I'm sure my knees, back and legs will be talking to me tomorrow after that.

The rest of my Labor Day weekend involves a lot of labor. I will get all furniture removed from the basement today in preparations for the carpet installers who arrive on Thursday to install the new carpet and remove the flood damaged carpet. At least it is cool in the basement which will be nice on a hot and humid 90 degree day.