2/28/11

Happy 18th to my son!!!!

My son, Zack turned 18 today.

We had a big blowout dinner party at a Japanese restaurant with a group of 11 on Saturday night.

The Birthday Group

Zack and the guys await the Japanese feast...

The Guys Take on Japanese Food

Our chef provided just the right amount of show and comedy to keep us all thoroughly entertained for a fun evening and meal...

Chop, chop

While we were there, 5 girls came into our house and decorated the basement for Zack's party. When we walked into the house and headed to the basement, Zack showed his surprise...

Zack is surprised!!!

Our good friend Lisa made a wonderful chocolate cake with raspberries which the girls got set up with candles while we were out at the restaurant with the rest of the friends. We got home, went to the basement and Zack was pleased with the effort. Fun was had by all and the guys spent the night at our house and the gals just down the street at another house. Tara made eggs, bagels and bacon for everyone in the morning (try feeding 10 teenagers all at once).

Zack blowing out the Bird-Day candles...

Blowing out 18 of 'em

Today - the actual birthday - he got his gifts and dinner with the family.

2/25/11

Timing and what not...

Ah...it's back. Winter, that is...

SnoyVey!!!

We were hit hard with the slickest streets we've had in a long time last night. Funny thing is, 10 miles north of us at the airport in Des Moines they had zero snow - or at least none on the ground to speak of, but we got hit in southern Iowa with some good stuff. Alexa got stuck in the van after school and just parked it in a driveway of a friend's house. The kids had the annual February Follies concert last night at the high school, so after the concert we drove over in the 4 wheel drive to get the van. I drove it home avoiding all hills, and even with my years of ice and snow experience - it was difficult to get the van home as the city had not yet plowed or sanded. Maybe the Tiger Paw tires I put on this summer were not that great of deal after all....

Big news is that Zack is attending Simpson College Music Weekend to check out the music department and see what it is all about as a possible major. He's been cast as Harold Hill in The Music Man (April 28/29/30) at the high school and is studying voice with me at the moment in preparation for that. This is all brand new to him and we are working through the possibilities. I'm being careful not to rush to any judgement, but spending time seeing what the potential is and trying to unlock it. Alexa is in the musical as well and as a result, will not be able to do track and field this year because of the conflicts of rehearsals and practice taking place at the same time. So she is going to play soccer instead.

On to what was - or so we thought - the end of winter.

I did my usual off season ballooning up in weight with good eating from October to January and have been busy the past 2 months in the basement gym as well as getting outside for the occasional ride. I am ahead of schedule compared to prior years for getting in some base miles and the weight lifting/training is just about to roll over into maintenance phase as I gear up for interval work. I turned up my hours last week to the point that a calorie deficit kicked in for the amount of training I was doing and that has helped shed the first 4 pounds of winter girth I added. Still plenty to go, but the process has turned the corner.

I was able to sneak in some singletrack this week before the snow hit. Timing with the temperature was important to pull this off. Luckily, everything had melted last week as temperatures approached 70. That left the dirt a muddy mess, but low and behold the temperatures dropped back into winter mode this week. And with the thermometer dipping below freezing at night, I have been able to get up early and ride Banner Pits and Lake Ahquabi while the ground is still frozen. Without the freeze, neither trail could be ridden. So timing has been crucial to be able to sneak in the pre-spring singletrack rides this week. It's brutal riding on frozen dirt as there is no give, so why I chose not to ride the full suspension yesterday at Lake Ahquabi is beyond me. I had fun, but my teeth and kidneys are jarred from the effort.

I'm afraid the fun I was having this week timing the freeze/thaw cycle will have to be put on hold for Lake Ahquabi until the few inches we received last night melts. So, I either head north to Des Moines to ride since they got no snow, or I will wait for conditions to be like they were this week to do more of the early morning singletrack adventures at the trails closest to me. Not a problem as I can slip back to the basement gym to assume the position of pre-season preparation and waistline trimming...

Exhausted