29"er Day!

That's right, leap year 2012 - February 29. MTBR.com is giving away a free 29"er today to honor February 29th. Not a bad way to acquire a Camber 29 for some lucky soul out there.

29"er giveaway

21 more days of winter. Today looks to be sunny and mid 40's, so I'll be outside on the bike for at least 2 hours before work today racking up the volume.


Happy 19th to Zack!

My son's 19th birthday today, so we were up last night making a cheesecake from scratch. I bought some fresh fish and the meal is all planned to celebrate tonight.

I drained the tank in my legs the past 2 days on the bike and will take today off (outside of the dog walk recovery rides). Sunday was 54 degrees on the bike, and yesterday was about 16 degrees cooler, but the wind provided added effort on my morning 2 hour ride. Today will be back up around 50 degrees, but my legs are tanked and need 48 hours of recovery before I hit the volume again on Wednesday morning. Wednesday and Thursday look to be 50 degrees as well. Not that we've really even had winter this year, but spring is 22 days away.

Off to work I go...


Spring Break is coming...

My wife is finally happy that she is no longer an "opera-widow" with me being gone every night and on weekends. This week, however, still has me at work every evening and weekends (auditions and sample lessons last weekend and again this weekend). I had rehearsal on Monday and Tuesday nights for the Robert and Clara Schumann concert that was held last night (I played the part of Robert Schumann), I have a concert to attend tonight, a faculty/student concert on Friday night at Simpson, and a dinner party on Saturday. Finally, on Sunday, I can be home for a bit - or so I think... . Regardless, that is the way for college music professors. It's an intense semester usually involving 6 if not 7 days of the week during the semesters.

Simpson is on Spring Break starting at 5:30 p.m. a week from Friday. I haven't even thought about what I am going to do during spring break, but maybe I can start to figure that out. Probably end up doing the taxes, finishing to do lists around the house, putter with the bikes, work on a new course for next fall, and of course - cook.


Base training has a few more weeks to go. The weather has been so good this "winter" that I have done the majority of my riding outside. Yesterday was in the mid 50's and I got 2 hours in before work. All in all, base to this point has been pretty good for me considering my schedule (work, wife, kids), but I have failed to make my initial goal of at least 6 hours on the bike each week outside of the 3 week Christmas Break and now that I am in February realizing I need to knock my numbers up to hit my goal... However, add in weights and core work and those weeks with shorter hours do start to look better in the journal I keep. The below numbers are only for base work time on the bike. I don't include my two daily dog walks which is about 40 minutes per day, but it is at recovery pace so not worth counting as any sort of volume.

November Weeks (hours on the bike)

1 - 4:20
2 - 7:15
3 - 3:30
4 - 2:00

December Weeks

1 - 3:20
2 - 5:10
3 - 4:00
4 - 8:15

January Weeks

1 - 9:25
2 - 6:25
3 - 4:45
4 - 1:50

February Weeks

1 - 7:40
2 - 3:40
3 - 7:10
4 - 4:35
5 - 10:40

The good news is that I have ridden enough to whittle down my weight and will start the racing season at a lighter weight this year than any previous year. I did fight the bulge after the ever delightful pumpkin pie season, but the bulge is now all gone. I should be able to wrap up February hitting my goal for 3 of the weeks and have time in March to make my goal thanks to the opera being over and a bit more time frees up - including after work to help me make my volume. Pretty low numbers - even for an amateur, but 8-10 hours just has not been in the cards this winter based on my work/life. I might be overly optimistic, but this week and next begins a raising of my weekly hourly goals to finish out the final base month as April and racing approaches. Then I will turn to a a different balance of volume intensity.

It's time for the morning bike ride/dog walk. Looks like it is raining outside which means rain gear for me.


Opening Night - Cosi fan tutte!!!!

It's finally here!

After weeks of rehearsal, production meetings, problem solving, lack of sleep thanks to the late night rehearsals - Cosi fan tutte opens this evening at 7:30 p.m. on the Simpson College campus in Lekberg Hall.

Opening Night

I'm very happy with this one because the challenges of Cosi make it a unique piece to produce. It can be problematic for any opera company to produce, so the challenges of the piece frustrate anyone who decides to perform it. It also involves an emotional journey for the young lovers which is a style of acting and challenge none of the college students had faced before in prior productions they were cast. I think they are all rising to the occasion and ready to display what they have learned. The decision to embrace the Lekberg space is successful (in my opinion) and the minimal set design with enhanced lighting takes advantage of the architecture of Lekberg and creates a wonderful visual for all.

Now, temperatures are rising to 48 degrees today and with all of the snow melted - I'm going for a morning ride before work to wind down a bit....


The School for Lovers...

Today is the 48th day of Winter and this week is floating along around 30 degrees which is more in the "norm" for this time of year here in Iowa. The snow we received on Saturday has melted off of the streets and sidewalks, but a few inches on the ground at least finally gives us the appearance that it is winter.

Riding has moved inside as of this weekend with rides on the C7i while watching television.



I am swamped with directing Mozart's Cosi fan tutte (or the subtitle of The School for Lovers) at Simpson College. I get home about 11, fall in bed and get up and repeat it all the next day. 10 more days of that and then the performances begin on the same exact dates and weekend as Cosi was performed 6 years ago at Simpson.

That production was a modern setting of Cosi and performed in the basement little theater of Pote on the Simpson Campus. This production is set in Naples, Italy in a hotel in the time frame of mid-20th Century. We will be performing this in Lekberg Hall in the music building at Simpson. Rather than "fight the space", we have decided to embrace the architecture of Lekberg Hall and center the production around utilizing what Lekberg is, rather than what Lekberg is not. Our set designer studied the space and came up with an abstract design that blends with and utilizes the Lekberg Hall space as it is.

This is really the continuation of a break through for Simpson Opera performing in Lekberg that we first started with The Magic Flute last year when the designer and I decided not to fight the smallness of the space, but simplify things and embrace it. The problem before that in the few productions that we did in Lekberg (Falstaff, Prima Donna, Il Campanello) was the set overwhelmed the stage and playing space and looked as well as felt crammed in there in an attempt to turn it into the same as a larger performing space such as Pote.

I spent a lot of time discussing things with the designer and we agreed on the symmetrical aspects of Cosi - dramatically and musically. Sometimes that symmetry is lost in a production of Cosi, but here we point it out in color, staging, and design. I have been striving to use the space with the dramatic staging and playing of the opera to utilize the space in the best harmonious manner so that we are not ignoring our surroundings at all, but embracing them and including the audience in the experience.

We have opened up some traditional cuts, and altered others in our hopes of telling the story as clearly as we can. The translation is a British version and although filled with sayings and vocabulary that may not resonate with American audiences (words like "barmy") as some other translations, I have paid attention to utilizing it at every turn.

Tonight, we enter into the final polishing rehearsals of the dramatic and musical flow as we start running the two Acts each night while working our way to the weekend's technical rehearsals and addition of costumes. It promises to be a very charming chamber performance of the work. We will be using a woodwind quintet, a string bass, and piano for the chamber orchestra. The chorus acts as both hotel staff and hotel guests and play the pivotal role of changing the scenery as we move from location to location within the hotel.


Did you see your shadow?

It's official. Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow and signaled that we have 6 more weeks of winter.

Talk about a rotund critter!

6 More Weeks of Winter

Hell, I'd see my shadow at that weight as well and want to crawl back in my hole to hibernate while sleeping off that kind of a serious food coma he's still mired in...

65 degrees on Tuesday, 58 degrees Wednesday, 57 degrees today...

Sure, I could handle 6 more weeks of that. ;-]

However, it won't be that way. We'll see snow this weekend and temperatures down in the 30's which is more February like before next week warms up a bit.

Last chance for a nice sunny ride this morning outside before the winter weather returns and pushes me back in the basement on the trainer. One more cup of coffee and off I go before heading to work.


60 Degrees sets a record for today!

I took advantage of the weather and did a 2 hour ride before work today. Hard to imagine that February 1st had the thermometer hit 60 degrees today, but it did.

I took the dogs for their morning walk, then headed to Carlisle and back on the Summerset Trail for a nice base building ride. I'm making up for last week's dismal training and have managed 5 hours, 20 minutes so far this week on the bike. All but 25 minutes of it outside.

Tomorrow's Groundhog Day looks to be equally nice weather-wise before some winter snow passes through this SuperBowl weekend. I'll see if I can get a pair of hours in before work - or at least an hour.

Enjoy the weather!