IMBCS Announces 2011 Race Schedule...

The 2011 Iowa Mountain Biking Championship Series:

IMBCS #1 - April 10 - Sylvan Island, Moline, IL
IMBCS #2 - May 1 - Decorah, IA
IMBCS #3 - May 8 - Camp Ingawanis (north course), Waverly, IA
IMBCS #4 - May 22 - Banner Lakes, Indianola, IA
IMBCS #5 - June 12 - Moorehead Pioneer Park, Ida Grove, IA
IMBCS #6 - July 31 - Camp Ingawanis (south course), Waverly, IA
IMBCS #7 - August 7 - Seven Oaks Ski Area, Boone, IA
IMBCS #8 - August 13 - Manawa State Park, Council Bluffs, IA
IMBCS #9 - August 28 - Sugarbottom Rec Area, North Liberty, IA
IMBCS #10 - October 9 - Lake Ahquabi State Park, Indianola, IA


Happy Birthday to Tara!

53 years young today!! Happy birthday and best wishes from....

Bruce, Zack and Alexa


Sunday, January 16: Recital Time!

I had my final rehearsals yesterday and today for Sunday's recital. I'll be appearing in Great Hall on the Simpson College campus at 7 p.m. with Cara Chowning at the piano.

The program will be as follows...

Bruce Brown, baritone
Cara Chowning, piano

in a faculty recital

Songs by Franz Schubert

Die Forelle (The Trout)
Ihr Bild (Her Portrait)
Die Taubenpost (The Carrier Pigeon)
Ständchen (Serenade)
Erlkönig (Erl King)

Four songs by Jacques Ibert

Quatre Chansons de Don Quichotte (Four Songs of Don Quixote)

•I. Chanson de Depart – (Song of Leavetaking)
•II. Chanson de Duc – (Song of the Duke)
•III. Chanson a Dulcinee – (Song to Dulcinea)
•IV. Chanson de la Mort de Don Quixote – (Song of the death of Don Quixote)

Ah, per sempre… Riccardo's aria from the opera I Puritani by Vincenzo Bellini

Another Reason I Don't Keep a Gun in the House by Tom Cipullo (poems of Billy Collins)

•1. Desire
•2. Embrace
•3. Cancer
•4. Flames
•5. Putting Down the Cat
•6. Another Reason I Don't Keep a Gun in the House

Dunkelrote Rosen (Dark Red Roses) - Karl von Millöcker
From the Operetta Gasparone

All are invited to attend and admission is free.


Winter has arrived...

The singletrack was nice last week, to say the least. Conditions did provide an entire month+ more of off road riding this winter compared to a year ago when things shut down in early December due to the amount of snow. So I can't complain for having an extra month of riding this year. That all changed this week with our first big snowfall coupled with school closings, snow blowers and shovels getting dusted off as mother nature reminded us what the white stuff is all about.

I was already prepared with a winter bike for my morning and evening neighborhood 20 minute dog walk/rides. I dub the type of riding I am doing on it now that winter is here as "snowglespeeding".

The snow monkey is doing fine with the duty thanks to the 2.4 Ardents:

Snow Monkey

Zoey waiting patiently for her post walk treat as I snap a few pictures yesterday:

Zoey Monkey

Post dog walk photo:

Winter Monkey

I enjoy the daily dog walks in the snow as I gingerly attempt to stay upright on the ice and snow. Not to mention, picking up the dog drops are easier in the snow as I can just grab a handful of snow with the plastic bag and tie it shut. ;-]


3 days of singletrack in the bag, now the snow is here...

I have to admit, I really enjoyed getting away from the off-season weight lifting routine in the basement the past 3 days to get out on the singletrack while conditions were perfect to ride. I think this is the first January since I've lived in Iowa where I could do that. I hit it pretty hard with 3 hour rides each day. 2 days on the JET to test the new XC super svelte race tires and 1 day on the Dos Niner. The pain was gone by day three and replaced with a grin as I even wrapped up the day by going out to Ahquabi for a lap to work on climbing.

Southern Central Iowa has been devoid of very much snow this winter, but that all changed this morning as it is snowing and we should get an inch or two today/tomorrow. Cold temperatures will keep it around through next week. It might still be an easy ride before it all gets packed down and turns to ice. I hope the county clears the bike path again like they did the last time it snowed in December. It's much more fun to do training rides outside than in the basement.

Upcoming Event

Bruce Brown, baritone and Cara Chowning, pianist in a faculty recital on Sunday, January 16th at 7 p.m. in Great Hall on the Simpson College campus. Songs by Schubert, Ibert and Cipullo, and arias by Bellini and Millöcker.

I even managed to get most of the French songs memorized for my concert next weekend. One more French song to go which I will hit hard today. Then it is simply repetition work, fine tuning of the memory, experimentation with dynamics, phrasing and general musicianship. My first run-through with the pianist is Sunday night. I hope to be able to run the concert with her at least 4 or 5 times.


Back in the states...

One never has words to describe that transatlantic flight process. No matter how many times I do it (well over 40 times at this point), I almost always dread the time in the air. Why? I swear, the leg room gets less and less each and every year. So playing sardine for a flight form Vienna to Frankfurt, a flight from Frankfurt to Chicago, and a flight from Chicago to Kansas City is always 12 hours or so of non-fun for my long legs. It's not too bad if one is 5'3" - 5'8", but for anyone over 6 feet tall it is torture that you pay for in the price of a ticket.

We had a great time in Vienna. Maybe too good of a time. ;-] Lots of performances, visits with friends, good food and drink, museums, the zoo (twice) and memories. It was nice to be back in the big city where the most common mode of transportation is walking and public transportation. I think I averaged about 4 or 5 miles of brisk city walking every day which kept me in shape.

We got home late Monday night and are back into our routine here as the kids started school on Tuesday. I start work next Monday, but am busy memorizing my recital material this week by forcing my brain to try and work at it. The French songs are going into the noodle a lot slower than the German, Italian, and English songs.

Surprised that there is no snow on the ground outside of a few remnants here and there from earlier in December. I headed out on the JET 9 yesterday for a 2 1/2 hour ride to combat the jet lag. I got to Banner Pits and flew over a huge snow bank to get on the singletrack which was 99% devoid of any snow. Dry and frozen solid dirt covered in leaves, twigs and off season "stuff" is what I found. I was elated the singletrack was in great condition and did 2 full laps at Banner hopping over the fallen trees and really giving the Maxxis race tires a good test. I ran these tires in one race last fall and was trying them out before the snow hit, but didn't have a chance to get enough ride time on them to write a good review for Maxxis. Yesterday and today will help me solidify a better review and test their limits. The weather report says snow tomorrow, so today's ride may be it for a while on the race tires.

I purchased a Sachertorte in Vienna to bring back to the states and enjoy.


It's one of my favorite desserts from Vienna and I didn't get a chance to have a slice while there as I was too busy eating Apfelstrudel and Tiramisu to get any Sachertorte. Tara hates it because it is so dry, but I love it with coffee. Anyway, Zack and I cracked it open yesterday at lunch and each had a small sliver. I wrapped it up and put it way back on the counter so the dogs couldn't counter graze and grab it. While I was out on my bike ride, Zack came home from school and cut himself another sliver, but he failed to push the cake far enough back on the counter. Guess what? Max hopped up and got the cake. When I got home from my bike ride, I saw that Max had eaten the entire Torte!!!!! Well, at least I had a small sliver. Max, however, enjoyed the full 35 Euro 8 slice Sachertorte. I'll either order one online to make up for it, or just wait until May. I'll be back overseas in May for the month and can have a slice then.

It was nice to have open, intelligent discussions with friends and colleagues in Europe. Three of my colleagues that I sang with quite a bit over the years passed away last year (2 with lung cancer and one with a heart attack). It looks like I will be singing at a festival in Poland this summer and or next. Details to be worked out over the next month or two.

All in all a very good trip for me, Tara and the kids. Thanks to our hosts - Sima and Ahmed - you both made the trip for us easy, excellent and fun.