Where the hell is winter?

This warm weather at the beginning of winter is tempting me to do too many hours on the bike. Highs in the 40's every day and dry. Not frozen enough to keep the dirt worth riding, so skinny tire road riding to build base is about all that is available - or some fun Iowa gravel riding. Certainly iPod riding at its best.

We had a great trip out to the Black Hills for Christmas. My Dad's 85th birthday, my nephew's wedding and Christmas all were back to back celebrations while there.

Zack and I sang a duet in church on Christmas Eve as a "surprise" gift to my Dad and Tara. We had Christmas Eve dinner at my Dad's apartment, Christmas dinner at my Dad's retirement home dining hall and pizza that night in his apartment (managed to squeeze in the matinee showing of Mission Impossible as well). We skied at Terry Peak on the 23rd and 24th, and I got to hit M Hill on my Dos Niner to tackle the climbs with snow and mud. Nothing like a 30-45 minute climb right out of the parking lot with no warm-up to remind yourself what riding at a higher altitude is like. Temperatures were in the 50's in Rapid City, but windchill was about 8-10 degrees on the ski slopes which made for chilly conditions.

The long trip out and back was mitigated by traveling at European Autobahn speeds and listening to XM Satellite Radio's Metropolitan Opera channel. Based on the trip out and back, we now are calling the trip a "3 opera travel time" trip. Yup. It takes 3 operas to drive from Des Moines to Rapid City and vice versa. La Gioconda, Eugene Onegin, and Hänsel und Gretel were yesterday's delights (with the Hänsel und Gretel being a live broadcast from the Monday night Met's performance). I won't mention my speed, but I trimmed about an hour off the usual speed on the way home.

Tonight we celebrate the final night of Hanukkah with friends coming over for a party and Latkes. Tara made the chicken liver last night and we are heading to the store to get everything else in a few minutes.

According to the forecast, I may have to wait until 2012 to see winter. But that's okay, I can pedal off some of the holiday cheer I have put around my mid section as of late...

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