I didn't get shot and it felt great...!

Who would have thought that December 18th in Iowa would be 47 degree, sunny and a perfect day for a 30 mile bike ride? Today was the last day of shotgun deer hunting season, and I needed to pedal out some of the caloric sins from the previous night. We were at Joel and Deb Hade's annual Christmas party on Saturday night from 7 to midnight. Much food, drink, music and fun was had by all. There must have been 60+ people there, plus the high school choir sang. We did carols and I sang Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire for everyone. I think we've attended this party 8 years in a row and always look forward to it.

So. The need to work off the meatballs, cheese, sweets, wine, and whatever else I consumed - a bike ride was in order. I donned an orange safety vest over my team's bike kit to hit the pavement on the road bike. I figured that would keep the shotguns pointed away from me and I wouldn't be mistaken for a deer.

The pants I wear are all starting to feel a bit tight, so I took advantage of the weather to get out for some miles and burn some calories. 11:35 start time and the legs felt good. Speed was way up thanks to riding the skinny tires on the pavement. When I turned north on the Summerset Trail, the wind was at my back and I was flying. I only saw about 3 hunters near the bike trail and figured I was safe with the orange vest. Wind was howling and I was flying - I mean flying!!! - with very little pedal effort (zone 2). I rolled into Carlisle between 40-45 minutes later, stopped to drink some water and snarf a GU. The roadbike on pavement certain was less humbling than the previous day's ride on singletrack with the freeze/thaw conditions and my weak legs. Today, I felt super fast.

Sunshine, exercise endorphins, 47 degrees in December - what was not to love?!! I turned around and headed back south dead into the teeth of the wind. I dropped the chainring down to the middle ring (whatever that is on a road bike) and kept telling myself not to be a hero. Just pedal at a pace and effort that would allow me to survive the wind and keep it as a base ride. The winds on the prairie can be unforgiving, but I got down in the drops and moved forward at survival pace. Once I got near Summerset, I was in the cover of trees and hills again, so the wind was not so fierce to buck.

I rolled in to the driveway after the 30 mile trip ready for lunch. A can of one of those lean soups and a bagel with a few cookies for recovery while I watched KC beat up on the Packers. Then I showered, put the suit on and went to the Indianola Concert Association's Christmas Concert (featuring a student of mine from Cape Town, South Africa). The concert was 2 hours, 23 minutes long with all of the acts they had lined up to perform holiday music. Big surprise at intermission is I ran into Barb and Ray Tininenko in the lobby. I didn't realize they had retired to Iowa and they said they had been coming to the concerts in Indianola for years. Barb used to play piano/organ at my Dad's church in Williston, ND and I went to school with their kids Brent (in my class) and Roxanne. Barb accompanied me oodles of times at that church way back in the 70's, so I was shocked to see them. Then I remember she was originally from Iowa and had attended Drake. It was nice to catch up with them and say hello during intermission.

After the concert, we picked up some food from the grocery store to make dinner (salmon and orzo).

All in all, a great Sunday in December. Perfect weather. Perfect bike ride. Perfect concert. Perfect dinner. Now the finals for the Iron Chef cook off are on the Food Network. That's a nice way to start the Christmas Holiday break from Simpson.

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