Junior hits 17 and the wife gets a tattoo!!!

I sang at a concert Friday night and when I got home, my wife shows me the tattoo she had just got "installed" on her leg up at a shop in Des Moines. A tattoo? I wasn't expecting that. She always had this thing put on her leg in temporary form during RAGBRAI and finally decided to get it permanently attached. Ouch!


Birthday festivities fill the household as Zack turned 17 today. The cheesecake just came out of the oven.

Before it gets all decked out....


And he has requested osso bucco for dinner tonight.

Time for Zack to open his presents...


Scored some stuff...


Like his Dad, he loves Shakespeare. So a comedy "The Taming of the Shrew" and my favorite tragedy "Macbeth" (although I love Caesar as well)...


Max offers to assist Zack...



Shirts, socks, Shakespeare, Cadbury eggs, a jacket, iTunes cards, a wallet, a belt, a Play Station game that he wanted and so on and so forth. He's happy, so that's good after we got it all wrong the past 2 years. Finally - we scored a success!!!


Global Warming not unhindered by our Iowa winter...

As I was out pedaling the bike this morning with the dogs for the morning ritual fighting -7 temperatures and dealing with my non-engaging Chris King rear hub in such climate, I couldn't help think that compared to year ago it seems like global warming is the last thing on my mind. Yet, data shows that in spite of blizzards and cold snaps in the U.S. and Europe, January was the warmest January on record throughout the globe (as was November). Here are the quotes from the link...

"January, according to satellite (data), was the hottest January we've ever seen," said Nicholls of Monash University's School of Geography and Environmental Science in Melbourne.

"Last November was the hottest November we've ever seen, November-January as a whole is the hottest November-January the world has seen," he said of the satellite data record since 1979.

It's not feeling real "hot" here in south central Iowa.... ;-}

No base work on the trainer today and tomorrow as I have to perform tomorrow night, so I'll pick it up again after a well earned 2 days off the bike.


Throwing down the plates and moving into the next phase...

I finally reached the "fun" part of my off season weight training. The part where I get to move some really heavy plates (albeit at minimal reps). I extended the hypertrophy phase as well as doubling the strength phase rather than race through the Dave Morris plan which is pretty much 2 weeks per phase for the weights. This is the first year I've done squats with free weights and not the Smith Machine. I slightly adjusted my weights down a touch to account for this and have enjoyed the free weights much better than the Smith. I feel like it is a better full body "big lift" doing it with the free weights as it engages the core of the body more due to the balance required. Score one for the new gym in the basement!!!

Tough Guy

I even did the "no-no" exercise (leg extensions) and was doing some heavy weight this morning on this exercise.


Base training miles are starting to add up in the basement (after 8 hours of base miles in the past few days, I'm taking the next two days off). As all those long base hours add up, so does my appetite! I have to be careful not to start going for 2nd's....let alone 3rd's!!!

Anyway, one more growth phase workout this weekend before I move on into the power phase of weight lifting and the drills on the C7i of transferring all the weight work to the pedals. In spite of all the snow out there, I'm sticking with my schedule and plan on being ready when mother nature is ready to have us all ride outside. ;-} That's hard to imagine with it being -2 this morning and all the snow on the ground. Yet, March is here in a few days....


Tara's new bike is finito....

The wife claimed she was due for a new big wheeled bike, so we spent some time combing the web and narrowing down her wants, needs and desires to come up with a bike that could do gravel, paved bike trails and the local singletrack and doubletrack at Lake Ahquabi State Park and Banner Lakes at Summerset State Park. She chose most everything on it - so she's tickled with the outcome. There are about 3 or 4 things are yet to arrive (Thomson seatpost, Crank Brothers Ti pedals, WTB Deva saddle and bar custom red bar end plugs to match the headset and seatpost collar).

Regardless, it's ready to ride and she's happy...






CurrentAir9 - B4 final parts arrive


Grounded by the SNOW!!!!

So much for my much needed and planned drive to Kansas City tonight to join the wife for some famous KC BBQ!!!! She's in KC for a special education conference and I had planned on driving down after work for dinner and to spend the night with her. Too much snow and conditions were such that leaving at 3 p.m. would have taken me several hours to get to KC. Zack couldn't even get the mini-van in the driveway tonight conditions were so slick.

What a mess....


Top 5 all time for snowfall here in the Des Moines area!!! And more snow due on Sunday and Monday.

Good news! After months of applying for various local jobs, my son finally got a job in this toilet of an economy. He just finished his 2nd shift at Subway. More important than making a bit of coin for his own spending money, we wanted him to get a job to learn the value of what it takes to make a buck. Slopping ingredients on a 6" or 12" bun isn't exactly rocket science, but it teaches him the value of earning a buck and the reality of working with an eclectic and diverse cross section of Americana. I worked at Red Owl Grocery Store, Kentucky Fried Chicken, K-Mart and Country Kitchen during my high school days to "learn" all of that.

Oh well, a little wine and some Olympics to watch Bode Miller snag another medal for the US Ski Team.


Dogs won....

I gave up on the Chris King hub for this morning's ride and took the Dos Niner for the morning bike ride with the dogs. I wanted to see if the DT Swiss 240 would engage in the cold morning temps. Yup. No problem as it didn't skip a beat. But the Maxxis Aspens were not so adept on the snow and ice as the 2.4 Ardents are on the RIP. So the dogs handily beat me this morning as even with my best bike handling skills, I couldn't keep up as I bashed through drift after drift.

I've been so busy directing the opera and rehearsing until midnight and on weekends, that I have not sent my hubs off to the wheel builder. I need to find time to take the wheels apart on the Dos Niner and send the DT Swiss hubs off to Mike Curiak so he can lace up my new set of race weenie wheels for me. I'm going with the NoTubes Crest rims and finally saying good-bye to the Salsa Delgado Disc rims which have put in plenty of years of service for me. I took a pretty hard crash when I slipped off the trail in a WORS race in 2008 that ended up with my front wheel having a pretty nasty wobble and a big flat spot on the rim wall. I pounded out the rim wall with a wood block and hammer and trued up the wheel best I could. Even so, the LBS said it was not repairable or trustworthy, but I got it into line well enough to get another season and a half of racing out of it. But I feel it is time to "upgrade" to the new Crest tubeless rims with the 21mm inner rim wall cavity.

Confused and dazed is how I feel about all the fork and hub choices with the 9mm, 15mm TA and 20mm TA. My Dos has the 9mm, my RIP the 15mm and now Niner is giving those of us in the JET 9 recall an option to buy the new REBA XX with a 9mm or a 20mm option. The DT Swiss front hub is not able to convert, so I'm stuck with the 9mm on the Dos. I do have some hubs that can convert around (Flows on I9's, Blunts on Kings, and an AC that can go ac/dc with 9mm or 15mm). One more thing, but since I'm still square taper, ISIS, and Octalink - why not take on a bunch of hub standards while I'm at it....

More $$$$, more parts, more fiddling around time.

The Mikado opens tomorrow and the students are ready for an audience. I'll get to sleep after being up every night since January 11th rehearsing until all hours of the night. I am pooped....


Snow, snow, snow, snow, snow....

Oy! Shoveling snow last night at 10:30 pm so I could take the garbage out before going to bed was not a fun endeavor in the wind and blowing snow. Although the amount of snow that fell was not the largest amount we have received this year (I think it was only 6 - 10"), the way the wind blew and how things unfolded created the largest drifts in our driveway this winter. It took me over an hour to clear the drifts and get the walks opened up. Nothing like a workout right before going to bed. It looks like we'll have a respite from snow until Friday when the next batch hits us. The driveway is officially a mess and pavement won't be seen until temps climb higher.

Indianola schools sent the kids home yesterday at 1:30 p.m. due to the snow and today there was a 2 hour delay before school started. They've missed 9 days of school to date and the school board voted to lengthen the school day and all classes to make up the days so we don't have to go beyond June 11th for the make-up days.

I've managed to whittle away all the holiday weight I had gained. I am now back down to my fighting weight thanks to all my trainer rides in the basement, weight lifting and daily morning 20-30 minute rides out on the snow with the dogs. This morning was sub zero again and the Chris King rear hub was not engaging very well at all in the cold temps. I keep telling myself that it will all be over in just a few more weeks.

Three more dress rehearsals of The Mikado this week before we open on Friday night. I haven't slept much this entire month working 7 days a week and all the late night rehearsals. Combined with the winter weather, and I am tuckered out....