Mixed Monday emotions about the weekend...

We are busy today getting Zack ready for his trip to Spain tomorrow morning.  He is going with the Simpson College Madrigal Singers and they leave at 8 am on Tuesday.  I think he is about ready and I have some Euros in my wallet left over from my trip in March to Germany to start him off with some spending money.  He'll be back in mid-May just in time for Alexa's graduation from Indianola High School.

Most of the busy weekend was devoted to attending things.  Drake Relays, 25th Year of Service Celebration for Wendy on Friday night, 10 Year of Service Dinner for Rabbai David Kaufman on Saturday night, and Sunday was devoted to catching up and reflecting.

Alexa running in the 4 x 100 at Drake (lane 2)


 Speaking of the Drake Relays....      

Is the Drake Relay cash cow warranted or unwarranted?

Allow me to discuss and contemplate a bit on this very question.

The details...

2 adult tickets plus the online charge to buy the tickets so that one set of parents can attend just one session of the Drake Relays = $78  (more sessions = more $$)

1 very small cup of popcorn (and I do mean very small) = $3

$81 to watch your daughter run one event that takes 45 to 52 seconds

There were 80 teams of 4 girls enterend in the 4 x 100 on Friday night

That equals 320 sets of parents times the $78 pair of tickets cost for a grand total that = $24,960 for one High School Event (no popcorn or parking included in that cost).  Remember, this is Iowa.  What parents do not attend a sporting event (or any event involving their children) in Iowa?  Exactly.  The era of helicopter parents and traveling around to show choir, band, football, soccer, baseball, softball, you name it is what it is.

320 sets of parents forked over $24,960 for tickets to see one event that began at 5:15 and ended 30 minutes later with 10 heats of 4 girls and all of their parents attending!!! 

Plus each high school athlete entered at the Drake Relays must pay a $10 entry fee per event that they are entered.  I'm not sure if the high school athletic department pays those entry fees or if the athlete does.  So sticking with the 4 x 100 and 320 high school girls running in the event, that's another $3200 to tack on to the parents gate price for a grand total of $28,160 for round one of a 30 minute event (the 4 x 100).

And keep in mind there were 32 events for the high school athletes.  All those athletes and all of those gate tickets for the parents add up to quite a big pot for Drake.   Then the top times advance to the next day to do it all over again and pay up again!!!

The college athlete entry price is $30 per athlete per event.  Who knows about their parents if they attend or not, but it all adds up to a huge cash cow that we could argue is justified or unjustified.  And we all get sucked into it....  Thousands of athletes.  Thousands of parents.  We feed the Drake Relay CASH COW to say the least.

Is it priceless?  Is it worth it?  Is it a once in a lifetime expense that must be paid?  I don't know, but I remain skeptical of such an event that takes advantage of the athlete and the athlete's parents to that kind of cash tune.   Regardless, you do what you do as a parent.  And then there were other sessions to attend, more expense, more sunshine, more popcorn, and well.....it's over.  A rock concert is cheaper - trust me.

Alexa's group of 4 were seeded 16th out of the 80 teams based on their best qualifying time leading up to the Drake Relays.  They did not run as well on Friday night as they did the night before, but in spite of the costs associated with attending - they all had fun participating.  Color me tainted at the costs involved and the cash cow that Drake has going, but there's nothing wrong with an informed opinion, right?


Saturday Afternoon Ride  

After spending all of that Relay money, Tara and I loaded up the road bikes in the afternoon and drove to Martensdale to ride the Great Western Trail.  We rode to Mullets, had salads and beer, then rode back for a nice 3 hour pavement day.  Being the first warm weekend day, there were tons of people out on the trail.  Not to mention, there was a Bike Iowa organized Fat Tire ride that we passed in both directions which added quite a few out on the trail.  The Cumming Tap was hopping.  Orlando's Pizza was hopping.  And the wait for a table at Mullets was 35 minutes - so it was hopping as well.  It felt good to get out without layers and layers of gear on to keep warm.

Sunday Afternoon Ride

On less than 24 hours recovery, we headed out about 11 am on the road bikes to Carlisle and back.  I flip flopped my scheduled Saturday/Sunday workouts and once we got to Carlisle, I told Tara I needed to do a 60 minute race simulation Zone 4/5 workout.  I gave her a 10 minute start and I did some stretching and hydrating before launching into the pain cave.  This was against the wind all the way back to Indianola and combined with not being recovered from Saturday's longer Zone 2 ride and going up the hill against the wind - I was drooling and deep in the pain cave the entire 60 minutes.   Once home, the rest of the day and evening I felt like I had done an actual mountain bike race I was so tuckered out.  The good news is that I wasn't beat up from doing it off road on dirt.  The pavement and road bike worked my legs and lungs, but the rest of me was not bounced around so I will recover quicker from this effort.

After a turkey sandwich induced post ride, lazy Sunday afternoon nap, I went to Hy-Vee and got a couple of Smart Chickens to grill for dinner.

Here's the pair of ladies getting all roasted up on the grill...


And they are finished and ready to be pulled off the grill...


I peeled 4 potatoes, sliced them nearly down to the bottom, drizzled them in olive oil, sprinkled them with sea salt and fresh black pepper before baking them at 425 for 45 minutes to get a nice combination between baked potato and oven baked fries.  Yum they were good!!!


Loss of Raelene Best

Tara and I share our sincere condolences to the Best family on their loss of Raelene on Saturday evening.  Raelene was a colleague of mine at Simpson in the Music Department.  She accompanied quite a few of my students, taught piano, was our recruiter for prospective music students and was a real joy as a colleague.  She had been fighting cancer the past 2 years and lost the battle on Saturday evening.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family as they grieve for their loss.  

This is the third loss in our music faculty of cancer since I have been here.  Anne, Maria, and now Raelene...

So it is with mixed emotions I start the week this Monday, April 29th.


Track Meet Record and now we are off to the Drake Relays...

A bit of excitement in the family last night and again today for the speedster in the house.  Alexa is on the Indianola High School girl's track team.  Most of the meets have been canceled this spring due to cold and wet weather.  So all track teams are sort of suffering this spring as a result.  However, last night's non-conference meet was not canceled as weather was nice for a change (the one earlier in the week that was supposed to be in Marshalltown was canceled).  Alexa ran the 100 meter dash for the first time since 8th grade and she not only won, but set a new meet record for that event!

Alexa owned that event in middle school with lots of wins and a couple of 2nd place finishes.  The last time she ran it was at the middle school state track meet in Ankeny as an 8th grader.  She got 2nd place in the finals that year in the 100 meter dash.  That summer, she unfortunately dislocated her knee playing in the neighborhood and her track days were over with rehab and her decision to move to soccer and cross country running.  This year, her senior year, she decided to go out for track again now that the leg has fully healed.  They have had her running the 200 meter, a bunch of relays - but no 100 meter solo where she was so good years ago.  I've been biting my tongue not to beg the coach to give her a chance to run it.  However, I'm not a helicopter parent and haven't spoken with the coach at all.  I'm just not that type.  The good news, based on her performance in practice, is she got to run it last night and BINGO - meet record and a win!!!  And her 4 x 100 team won as well!!!  Double BINGO!!!  I'm secretly hoping she gets to run it a few more times this season, but we shall see...

Today, she runs the first leg for her team of the 4 x 100 at the Drake Relays

She ran 4 events on that track 2 weeks ago at a high school/college meet and did very well (ran 3 segments of 200 meter on relays and the 4 x 100 where Alexa was really strong for her portion with a good time and baton pass).  So we are excited to attend and hope that she recovers from last night's meet to give it her best tonight.  The 4 x 100 is scheduled for 5:15 and she'll be running in the 7th heat.  Tara and I have tickets and will be sitting right in front of the portion of track where she runs her 100 meter segment.  Whatever happens, we're proud of her dedication this year to getting fast again


Wednesday early morning hours allowed me to stop howling at the moon and I actually slept 9 hours on Wednesday night.  This was partially due to a good weight lifting session in the evening where the ante was upped on the dead lifts and lunges.  My body needed the rest after two nights of poor sleep with the full moon, poor eating, Tuesday's Zone 5 intervals and the weights.  I didn't do my full hour of recovery spin earlier in the day as I was just too tired.  I did the two 20 minute dog walks on my bike spinning in an easy gear, but that was all.

Thursday was a scheduled Zone 4 Interval day and I did it out on the road bike.  I did 2 x 15 minutes and then 1 x 20 minutes with the rest of the ride being Zone 1 for a 2:10 total workout time ride.  I felt pretty good during and afterwards as my form is coming into shape.   My problem is that I find myself overeating this week.  Pizza on Sunday night, BBQ on Monday, left over BBQ on Tuesday/Wednesday, and Mexican on Thursday.  That's a bad diet and way off my Mediterranean focus.  This has set me back at least a week - if not more - on my weight loss goal.  Needless to say, I am turning that around today and should quickly be back on track for the two long rides this weekend.  I hope to end the week at a net-net zero gain/zero loss week if I'm lucky. 

Friday (today) is a recovery spin and some core work before heading off to watch Alexa run at the Drake Relays.

Good luck to all the Trans-Iowa Nutz who gather this evening in Grinnell for their gravel road adventure race this weekend.  And all the best for the event organizer - Guitar Ted - for a smooth running event that looks to be blessed with hero dirt and hero weather this year according to the forecast.


School year is DONE, Full Moon, and Zone 5 Intervals turn me inside out...

Tuesday April 23 - along with our lovely Spring temperatures in the 30's and barely over 40 - was just about my final day for the 2012-2013 academic year.  Well, more or less my final day.  The music faculty had recital and performance degree auditions as well as voice juries on Tuesday.  Today is an all college faculty and staff meeting.  Thursday I've got to stage a couple of students for a scene from Dido and Aeneas and The Ballad of Baby Doe for a concert coming up this weekend.  Thursday night we are attending South Pacific at the Indianola High School.

Friday we go to the Drake Relays to watch Alexa run and then rush right over to sing at a 25th Year of Service Celebration.  Saturday is Simpson graduation along with a trail work day at Summerset State Park.

Zack leaves for Spain on Monday (I think it is Monday) for the Madrigal Singers May Term trip, so we have to get him all packed and ready.  There are more faculty meetings before the end of May Term.  I will still be doing some lessons (about once a week), but for the most part - things have wound down for a bit.  I'll submit my grades tomorrow and do a year end inventory of things I need to do yet in the office and do some recruitment work.

I am going to attack my "to do list" and attend to 3 major projects for the May to August time frame.  More on those later. 

Full Moon Strikes My Sleep Pattern 

I am not one to sleep well at all in and around the full moon cycle.  Never have.  Never will.  The past 2 nights have had me up howling at it (3:30 am this morning) and tomorrow is the actual full moon for this cycle in April.

I'm sure I will howl for another night or two....


Bike Training

Monday was a maintenance weight lifting session.  I upped the ante with the amount of weight I did for the squats and bench press.  At least enough to be a bit sore the following day.  I also spent the hours of 10 am to 6:30 pm dilligently smoking ribs, brisket and chicken along with cleaning the house and getting things set up for my voice studio year end party BBQ.   They all came over at 6:30 for the meal with fun and fellowship to follow for a few hours as everyone blew off some steam.  I was exhausted by the end of it all and doing the final clean up before going to bed was the last straw before collapsing in bed.  It's always worth it though...

Tuesday's training session was an hour on the C7i exercise bike for a Zone 5 Interval work out.  I felt like this guy going into it thanks to Monday's festivities....


Two sets of 3 x 3 minutes with 3 minutes recovery between intervals and 5 minutes of recovery between sets.  I jacked it up and varied the cadence and power level to make it as "mountain biking specific" as I could.  One's pedal revolution cadence changes often on a mountain bike as does the power level, so trying to recreate that on the trainer in the basement was fun.  Not to mention, it kept me involved and interested through the pain as I knocked out the hour on the C7i watching the power meter and heart rate spike up and down throughout the work out.   I was pretty spent and glad to climb off the bike when the 60 minutes were up.  Then I showered and was off to work to enjoy some nice singing and playing.

The weather forecast is for temperatures to climb out of this morning's 20's (it's 29 as I type this) and head into the 30's and 40's right into the 50's, 60's and even up to 75 this weekend which will certainly pull us out of this cold snap.  It will also help spring things to life as all the buds and blossoms can come to life.

Just in time for May - how about that?



That's right.


I got a chance to get out on singletrack for the first time this year that didn't involve a race.  That's only the 3rd official singletrack ride of 2013 for me due to a long winter making things muddy or snow covered.  The first time was at Swanson Park in Bellevue, NE.  The second time was at Sylvan Island in Moline, Il.  And now the 3rd time was closer to home at Center Trails in Des Moines.

Brian Pottorff posted on Facebook Saturday that the trails at Center were good to ride.  And the flood (probably not the best term to use considering what happened to Banner this past week with the rain) of riders that turned out on Sunday with temperatures in the low 60's was quite a stir crazy crowd.  I had done 2 hours of road riding on Saturday in the cold rounding out the end of a R&R week with legs that felt flat (pffftttt!), but with the warmer temperatures and promise of dirt that could be ridden - I couldn't wait to do some riding on singletrack

First, I had some things to unpack and prepare....


Specialized Renegade 2.3's and some test tires from Maxxis

I picked up some Specialized Renegade 2.3 XC Control tires to use as rear tires.  Nice low knobs with a low weight of 620g for a 2.3 29"er sounded fair enough to me to give a try.  Since conditions are not loose and dry like it was last year from the drought, I figured I would remove my Nobby Nic 2.35 from the rear of my RIP 9 and replace it with a Renegade 2.3 to see if I could XC up the rear end of the bike.  I prefer to ride the RIP on dirt for all non-racing rides to keep me nice and comfy with the amount of travel it provides.

Since I had not been out on dry dirt this year, it was the first time the RIP came out for dirt.  I threw on a new WTB Silverado saddle I've had in the parts bin all winter while I was at it.  The Nobby Nic was really glued on the Light Bicycles carbon rim and was difficult to get off.  The Renegade went on nice and tight and aired right up with a floor pump with ease.

Tread looks between an Ikon and a Raven 2.2...


Volume is not yet a 2.3, but maybe with time the tire will expand and grow to it's true size of 2.3.  The casing measures out at 57mm (which is only 2.24") after being on the bike for 48 hours.


Paired with the all-around Nobby Nic 2.35 up front, the Renegade 2.3 on the back of the RIP looks and feels like a pretty good combo...


I headed up to Center Trails and pulled into parking lot at the pool.  The parking lot was about as full as it can get.  Lots of people were out trying to enjoy a day that was nearly spring like for a change.  I got the bike out and headed up to the top of Roller Coaster to start my 2 hours of riding.  I hooked up with a few other riders over in Denman's and even though I was supposed to be out on an easy Zone 2 ride - the group ride mentality kicked in and the pace was over my limit of Zone 2 for the day.  Oh well, it felt good to work some Zone 3 and a bit of Zone 4 on the climbs as we did the full loop of Squirrel's Nest and back over to Hillside.  I liked the tire combination as I didn't lose any control since the front does the majority of work for that, and the lower rolling resistance and weight in the rear gave me a bit of hippity hop spring in my step.  There were lots of bikers, hikers, joggers, dogs, etc...all out enjoying the day and chance to hit dry dirt for a change.

I rushed home, showered and drove back up to Des Moines for a surprise 50th birthday party.  Tara and I got home and cleaned the house, did piles and piles of laundry, and got preparations under way for hosting all of my students for a BBQ tonight.  I'm smoking brisket, ribs, and chicken.  In fact, it's time to mop the brisket - so the rest of my day is smoking meat and getting things ready for tonight's party.  This is finals week and today is off for students and faculty to prepare for the finals.  


The Sun does shine and the Son does shine...

After 16 days of dreary, cloudy weather in April and only 3 days of sun - today has the sun out and shining again to help remove our gray depression.  And it's scheduled to shine again tomorrow!  It's just what we need, especially after all the rain and the flooding that is going on at the moment.  Summerset State Park is flooded and the river is scheduled to crest at 7 pm tonight, many highways south of us are closed, sump pumps are working in full force, the costume shop at Simpson got flooded yesterday, and I've heard of several basements in town that succumbed to the rain (we actually ended up getting more than 4.5 inches in Indianola - much more just south of us).

Banner flooding (photo courtesy of Bob Matthews)...


And our son, Zack, shone last night at the studio recital.  He sang very well and gave excellent performances of Après un rêve by Fauré, Luke Havergal by John Duke, Die Taubenpost by Schubert and the Count's Aria - Hai gia vinta la causa - from Le Nozze di Figaro by Mozart.  Proud parents and sister watched as he showed the growth of the past year in his delivery.  I was very pleased with all of my students with their recital presentations this past week, but it's hard not to be very proud of one's own son.  ;-)  I will upload the video this weekend of him for anyone interested in viewing.

Edit:     Here is the link to Zack's presentation.

I made it back to 182 and change weight wise, and remain on target for dropping my goal pound this week.  However, I don't know if I will achieve the weight loss this week due to it being a rest and recovery week.  Today's workout is only a 30 minute recovery spin and some core work tonight, so that's not much caloric burn.  The Psycowpath Tranquility Tire Tantrum race that was scheduled for tomorrow in Omaha has been postponed and rescheduled for May 4th due to the biblical rains, snow and muddy conditions.  So I can't count on the 2 hours of intense riding to burn the calories.  Instead, I will revert to my scheduled training Saturday and Sunday rides which are more low key to round out the rest and recovery week.  Then I will launch into a heavy build week on Monday which always helps me with weight loss.  So I may just have to be content with this week being stagnant at 182 pounds and be happy that I end the week not having gained any weight from the lower exercise load and intake of food I have been enjoying as my body recovers.

Who knows, though?  If I maintain my willpower today and tomorrow...



Readying the Ark!!!

The past 24 hours has been one of those near epic rains of biblical proportions along with the prerequisite thunder and lightening.  We've had a few of those epics since we've lived here the past 10 years to say the least.  Many have readyied their Arks due to flooding in various areas of southern Iowa.  Several highways are closed just south of us due to flooding.  The epic rains are usually a  4", 5", 6" or 7" rain within 24 hours and many speak of them as being a "once in every 50 or even 100 years".  But we've had too many of those in the past 8 years to call it such a rare occurence.  It's more normal now.  Looks like we got about 3" + yesterday in Indianola and the sump pumps are in full roar handling the load.  Not quite a full Ark alert yet, but getting pretty close to it.  I slept well last night knowing that the sump pumps are working.

Rain is still falling today and the snow that hit the west is moving through Nebraska right now and may come our way.  Needless to say, things are wet, green and when it all dries out - mowing will ensue and I've got to get the garden tilled so we can plant.  We were already tilled last year on April 10th and leaves were on the bushes...


The plot was ripe and ready for planting in 2012 by this time.

Plot is Finished

That was nice for last year.  But this year, as of yet, there is no green on any of the bushes yet, but the grass has been greening up and seems to be bouncing back from last summer's drought.  A day or two of sunshine and warmer temperatures should really explode the buds and get some leaves emerging.

Speaking of 2012 weather compared to 2013, we were already dining outside by April 2nd last year in 80 degree temperatures.

Tara is HUNGRY!,

No such luck this year as the forecast looks like we will be keeping the heat on this week and next (if not longer).  The garden may not get in the ground until May, but talk about being spoiled by last year's early arrival of Spring!!!  We are still in winter clothing and wearing warm winter jackets this year.  I'm contemplating wearing long johns today as the high is only going to be 40.  How's that for the latter half of April in southern Iowa?

Here's a clip from an article I read online today about the month of April in Iowa thus far....

Spring storms are nothing new for Iowans, but this April has been particularly dreary.

So far this month there have been 14 cloudy or partly cloudy days and just three clear days, according to the weather service.  Wednesday made its case for worst day of the month, with downpours causing flash flooding in southern and eastern Iowa. Then again, today could top it — up to 4 inches of snow forecast up north, and continued rainfall to the south.

It’s enough to make Iowans a little stir-crazy.

Yes - 14 cloudy dreary days with only 3 sunny days this month certainly has a Seattle feel to it....  

Spring Training Continues

In spite of the weather outside and the jam packed last week of classes schedule, I have managed to stay on target with my training.  I have been at school every night this week for 1, 2 or 3 recitals every night.  My students have a spring recital tonight, and tomorrow is the final recital to round out the season.

My recovery week has called for a pretty easy week and it feels great!!!  Eat.  Rest.  Eat.  Light workout.  Eat.  Rest.  Eat.  Oh yeah, a pound weight gain thus far because of it, but that's to be expected on such a light week with the intake I've been doing!!!  I've jumped up from 182 and change to 183 and change.  I better keep my fingers out of the snacks today and tomorrow!!!

Monday:  Maintenance Weights

Tuesday:  Got outisde for a 60 minute recovery ride on the road bike

Wednesday:  60 minute recovery ride on the trainer and Maintenance Weights

Thursday:  60 minute recovery on the trainer

There is an XC Race scheduled for Saturday in Omaha.  More rain and snow is in the forecast for today, so time will tell if the singletrack is in shape for Saturday's race or it ends up getting rescheduled.  I know the dirt around here is going to require many days of wind and sun to dry.  However, Omaha may have not been hit as hard as we were.  Two weeks ago as we were muddy and soaking wet here in Central Iowa, it was dry as a bone at Swanson in Bellevue. Wind and sun is in the forecast for Friday and Saturday - so things may just dry out enough to race.



IMBCS#1 - Sylvan Island Stampede Race Report

It's hard to believe that Spring is really here and racing has begun, but it has.

April 14th, 2013 was the 1st Race in the Iowa Mountain Biking Championship Series on Sylvan Island in Moline, Illinois.  The Sylvan Island Stampede kicked off the IMBCS this year and was a joint race with the Illinois series.

It's alwasy pretty cool to race on an island in the Mississippi River.  It's an XC course well known for having some sharp objects that can eat tires.  These objects include rock, concrete, metal, bricks, cobblestone, asphalt, some nice roots and the occasional mystery object.  That is all part of the allure of racing on that island.  The singletrack on Sylvan Island is well know for an odd mix in the dirt that allows it to mysteriously absorb water very well making Sunday's course in primo and ready to go condition in spite of all the rains that hit during the week.  There is a odoriferous impact to the island that reminds one of being in the oil fields or some such industrial location of the sort which all adds to the ambiance.

I got up around 6 a.m. Sunday morning, fed the dogs, made coffee, had breakfast, and took the dogs for their morning walk.  I had loaded up the car the night before, so I just hopped in after the dog walk and was on the road by 8:35.  I questioned my choice of attire when I stopped at a rest stop on I-80 and found the temperatures to be really chillyThe wind was howling out of the south and woke me up as the cold air hit my skinny legs sticking out of my shorts.  By the time I got to Sylvan Island and checked in, the weather had turned into it being a perfect racing day in the Quad Cities!!!  It must have been in the 60's at race time and maybe even up to 70+ during the race.

Knowing that Sylvan Island Stampede does not start in age class waves, but utilizes a mass start for the CAT II's, I headed to the line 25 mintues before the race was to begin to grab a primo spot.  That's a first for me to arrive at the line that early in any race.  At my age and with my bladder - it's not wise to hold off on any last minute opportunity to pee before the race starts!  In spite of going to the line early, imagine my surprise as I arrived and already found this crowd that had gathered 25 minutes before the gun was to go off.


What the heck?  Maybe I should have lined up an hour before.   There was a crazy wide line up with 4 or 5 guys on either side of the gravel path lining up in the bushes, weeds and trees.  I entertained the crowd with an Artie Johnson Laugh-In style fall when I tried to go around the end and through the bushes to get behind them and line up.  After that unintended cycling faux-pas, I lined up in what turned out to be row 5 of at least 8 rows if not more.  Looked to be about 70+ riders lined up for the CAT II start.  There was no marking for the width of the starting line area and to be honest, I think it needs some sort of marking or some sort of decorum.  But it is what it is:  The early bird gets the worm!

One year, after a very similar lining up occurence, they told the CAT II's that everyone had lined up at the wrong orange line and moved everybody back to a different orange line which allowed me to get a prime position in the 2nd row in the reshuffle.  No surprise that I finished 19th overall out of all 89 CAT II's that year as I experienced no waiting in the singletrack thanks to being up front in the group.  No such luck this year - even with my earliest arrival at the starting line in my racing history.  I was back in the middle of it all with no room to change my mind.

After various instructions on having fun, being safe and fair out there, we were off for 4 laps of leg busting racing.

The front end of the mass CAT II start for those fortunate enough to have been in the front row or two...


Along came the middle of the pack mass start crowd and me looking ahead to see if I could start moving forward...


They use electronic chip timing with the electronic mats that we ride over for our timing, so it would be very easy to start in age class waves to take care of the crowded mess in the huge CAT II field.  Even if it was as simple as "everybody over 40 in this wave and everybody under 40 in this wave" or something easy like that - it would alleviate the congested start.


Photographs are courtesy of astone4buyers.

Once we got into the singletrack, the long hurry up and wait Schlange or snake or Slinky effect was in full force during most of the first half of lap 1.  The open areas allowed for a lot of jockeying for position and passing for those willing to lay down the power and do the intervals.  I was able to pass quite a few during lap one when I could at those moments.  I settled in 3 riders behind Landon Beachy and hoped to stay with him for as long as possible since he rides a good pace and we have gone head to head before in several IMBCS races.

That group stayed together all of lap one and the same 4 of us were in line starting lap 2.  Landon sped up to create a bit of a gap and the guys in front of me were not sticking with him, so I passed two of them and was feeling pretty good with my form and pace when I suddenly heard a thump, thump, thump, thump, thump.  Great!  I looked down expecting to see a small branch in my wheel that would perhaps eventually snap and allow me to keep going.

But no, I saw a 2 1/2 foot tree limb wrapped in my drivetrain and wheel.  WTF?  Where did that come from?!!!? 

I hopped off and started counting the seconds to gauge how long I was off the bike.  A thousand one, a thousand two, a thousand three, the limb and the branches were all messed up around my front derailleur, chain, right crank arm and rear wheel.  A thousand, four, a thousand five, a thousand six - the two guys I had just passed went by.  Finally, at about a thousand 17 I had the limb out of my drivetrain without brreaking anything and hopped back on the bike to get going again.  Probably took 20 seconds total time to dislodge the limb and get going - which can be the difference in a mountain bike race.  I gave chase to no avail as Landon was way up ahead thanks to his gap and my dealing with the silly limb.

The train of riders was a long one...


I began the race with the arm warmers on because I was a bit chilly when I got dressed at the car.


Here I am in lap 2 - at my new weight - navigating one of the sharp bender drops and you can see I had warmed up enough that I gathered the arm warmers around my elbows to keep cool...


I managed to pass the two guys again that I had passed before the limb got stuck in my bike and kept slowly working my way up.  This course has no recovery as it is pretty much flat with lots of turns meaning you are always on the gas.  And the upper body is fighting the obstacles.  Combined, it makes for a hard effort that left me stiff on Monday.  I settled in behind another rider on lap 3 and he was going about the right speed for me, but I saw that at times we were just riding and not what I would call racing.  There was some of that in lap 2 as well and I promised myself this year to slap myself and get out of those situations ASAP.  What was I doing?!!!

So I snapped out of it a bit later than I should have and went around him as we crossed over the timing mat and sprinted full out down the gravel straightaway to begin lap 4 of the singletrack.  Now I was racing and not holding anything back.  I was pushing it to the point that control was right on the edge for every turn and obstacle, but I held the bike in check.  I was able to pass a few more.  In the final singletrack section I saw a pair of riders ahead of me and couldn't believe they were going slow enough in lap 4 that I could catch them, but I caught one on the final sprint to the line and could have passed the other one, but I wasn't aware where the finish line was and sat up for a a bit thinking the mat we had just crossed was the line.  Oops.  So I stood to pedal and crossed about a wheel length behind the rider in front that I could easily have picked off if I hadn't left my thinking cap back at home!!  No biggie, as it would have just been one spot in the overall.

There was Landon standing on the side with his bike visiting with somebody.  But his name is not in the results?  What happened Landon?  And there were a couple of other older guys just pulling off in front of me on the left as I began my cool down that were discussing "surely they had made the podium in the 50+ category".  I did some quick math and figured I could go ahead and head home as the intervals and workout were well worth the drive in addition to the sheer fun of racing on some fun singletrack.  However, no hardware for me getting off so far back at the line at the start.   I grabbed a banana, a bottled water and talked to Bryce Gilbert for a bit after the race.  Then I headed back to the car, got changed, loaded up the bike and headed back to Indianola.

Results confirmed my obvious deduction after crossing the line, I was a minute and 22 seconds back from any hardware this year...

Sylvan Island Stampede 2013

The good news is that even though I got 6th place this year (compared to 3rd place the last 2 years in the 50+ age class), I was 5 minutes faster for the 4 laps this year than last year.  However, I was some 40 odd seconds slower than I was in 2011 when I ended up in row 2 instead of way in the back.  That allowed me to rocket to the singletrack in the lead group.  So the misfortune of starting in mid-pack certainly counts for some time due to getting stuck back in traffic in lap one.  Reading through the finish times of all participants, I see there was a nice mix of competitors there from Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Minnesota and Iowa who showed up to enjoy the great weather and allure of Sylvan Island.  The results says my hometown is "Indiana".  I know my penmanship is bad, but is it really that bad? 

As usual, the Sylvan Island Stampede was a fun event and a heck of a workout that made Monday a slow moving day for me as I recovered from the effort.

Maybe next year I'll just have to camp out at the starting line.  ;-)


Rest & Recovery Week!

The first two weeks of the build phase in my training is now complete (which also included the first two XC races of the season).  Today begins a recovery week for me which will be welcomed and much appreciated to allow my body to catch up to the training stress I've been throwing at it.  There is a Psycowpath race scheduled for Saturday (Tranquility), but weather looks ugly for the week including snow, so we shall see how that develops and if the course is ready on Saturday.

This is the final week of classes at Simpson for the Spring 2013 semester (insert Handel's Hallelujah chorus from Messiah here).  Next week are final exams and graduation on Saturday morning before we launch into our May Term. 

I have a Studio Recital for 5 of my students tonight, and 7 more students will sing their programs on Thursday night.

Race Report from yesterday is coming once I get through today's crazy and busy schedule.

In the meantime, it looks like snow is headed our way today to put yet another smile on our faces.  ;-(


Certainly nothing compared to what hit the Dakotas, but April 15th and winter will just not get out of here.  Oy!!



Whew!  It's here.

Friday is always a welcome day in the training week because it involves just a 30 minute recovery spin in the morning and after work, some core exercises.  My body welcomed the arrival of Friday this week with open arms.  My body even enjoyed a full 10 hours of sleep last night which it obviously needed!!! 

Weight loss goal remains on track...

I weighed in at 182.8 this morning.  That's the first time I've gone sub 183 this year!!!  There is still plenty of extra - "extra" in the mid-section to chisel away to get down to my 178 target (and beyond).  So I remain on task hoping to get to target one by mid-May.

Winter or Spring?

That is the question.  Alexa's track meet was cancelled yesterday due to the temperatures being in the 30's with winds stirring up an even lower wind chill factor.  Rapid City got about 20 inches of snow this week and northwest Iowa got hit with snow, ice and winds that the news reported took down a lot of trees and powerlines.  We had plenty of rain the past 4 days, but today and tomorrow promises to be dry with the sun emerging to help dry things out before rain hits again later on Sunday.  The weekend weather looks like the Sylvan Island Stampede is set to go.  Ditto for those heading south to Kansas for the Bone Bender.

Assessment/Review/Survey Monkey rant...

I hope it is just a bad trend that is going to end soon.  I can't tell you how tired I am of assessing things, filling out surveys, being asked to fill out a monkey or interview on the phone a customer satisfaction response.  Damn!  It's gotten way beyond ridiculous!!!! 

I stay at a motel overnight and my email box is bombed for days with pleads that I fill out a satisfaction survey on exactly how my 8 hour stay - which involved a shower, some shut eye, and maybe 30 minutes of watching the news and a cup of coffee in their facility - went.  I eat at a restaurant and I'm asked to rate the food, the service, the decor, and the experience.  I get my oil changed and sure enough - the survey monkeys knock at the door, get in my mail box, ring my phone - all asking me to rate my experience.  Tell them how they did.  Assess their performance.  Help them out to do it better.  I take a flight on Delta and my email is hit up with requests to rate my experience.  Do they really want to know what it is like to sit in a way too small economy seat that they purposely turned into a sardine like environment in their quest to have more seats on the plane so they could make more money stuffing as many sardines in the can?  They aren't going to change their room for sardines in the flying cans no matter how many of us tell them the room we are alloted in economy class totally sucks in their little Delta Survey Monkey.  Please!  Save the email and save a survey monkey.  Better yet - toss all the Delta Administration into economy seats and have them fly over to Germany and back.  Assess it yourself and get back to me when you've done that.  I guess you now know what I think of the new seating in Delta? 

I buy an article of clothing at a store and the follow up calls and surveys ask me to rate the shopping 'experience' as if it was some glorified human interaction that took place which actually has signifianct importance in my life.  If I don't answer any of them, they send more emails informing me that they noticed I hadn't taken the time to do it yet.  Really?  They noticed?  I finally picked up the phone yesterday after about the 33rd call from somebody reading off a prepared speech to talk me into spending 7 minutes on the phone with her to rate and assess my health insurance company.  I told her "no thanks, I couldn't AFFORD 7 minutes out of my day to help them with their assessment because I was too busy assessing other things that were higher up on the list".  She said she'd call back at a more convenient time.  I said there would never be such a thing and not to bother.  She said she would call back later.   Geez.  I wish I could assess that conversation!!!  

I am asked at work to assess myself, to assess my students, to be assessed by my students, to be assessed by my peers and by the administration.  We are asked to assess our teaching, our program, our competition, our work environment, etc... .  We have all become assessment junkies wandering around with no purpose but to rate and assess everything.

How much assessment could an assessmentchuck assess, if an assessmentchuck could chuck assessment?

What I want to know is if a human being actually took the time to follow through with every assessment we are asked to assess, how much time do we waste on a daily basis, a weekly basis, a monthly basis, and an annual basis filling out survey monkeys, answering questions, and in general - wasting our time with assessment?  It's a trend that has to end as it is hampering our production.

Now.  Let's see how many surveys, emails, phone calls, junk mail, etc....I get today involving assessement.  I guarantee you I will get quite a few...


Did that really just happen?

Did I just take another step into the area of being a handyman? 

My wife thinks I already do meet the qualifications, but it felt daunting to take on a dryer with a sock stuck down in the lint trap since I don't know anything about dryers.  Heck, I didn't even know it was called a "lint trap" until I started searching around on the internet.


After multiple calls to various appliance repair businesses and leaving message after message, I gave up and typed in "sock stuck in dryer" or some such wording into Google.   Low and behold - I hit a question and solution page that gave me detailed instructions on what to do for the exact model of dryer that we have (Kenmore 600).  I took the back off of the dryer, unscrewed the fan/motor unit that attaches to the bottom of the "vent trap" and found the sock all wrapped up in the fan blades along with a bunch of lint, and various things that have fallen out of pockets over the years.  I put it all back together and presto - the dryer was up and running like nothing had ever happened.  Probably even better now that I cleaned all of that lint out of there.  Saved quite a chunk of change doing it myself as the diagnostic quote was $59 - 79 for a dryer repairman to come out to the house.  The repair allows me to include messing with an appliance in my handyman portfolio of accomplishments.

Being a handyman is like cooking:  if one can read the directions, you can do it. 

Losing or Winning?

Last week was the week to go sub 184 and I finally made it.  Sticking with my one pound a week goal of weight loss (or as close to it as I can), this week is the week to go sub 183.  I am 183.4 this Thursday morning (Thursday is the mid point of my training week).  If I could just keep my fingers out of the goodies after all of these recitals it would be a lot easier to see 182.x register on the scale!!!  Last night's extracurricular, post-recital treat was a wonderful red velvet cake ball dipped in white chocolate and a glass of punch with a strawberry floating in it (that was spiked with Champagne)!!!  It was good, and didn't set me back too much.  

Interval Training

Today was another interval session on the bike in the basement before work.  4 x 4 minutes of Zone 5 stuff.  You know, the kind of intervals that have you questioning a lot of things and challenging your mental state to make the numbers.  These were scheduled with shorter recovery periods (incomplete recovery) between and I found myself having thoughts of cheating on each of the recovery periods as they came along.  However, by the time the recovery period was over I launched into the next one and completed the intense workout.  I've got to take that effort and level of pain out to the race course for sure!!

Speaking of intervals, the upcoming race at Sylvan Island this Sunday is a rather odd XC race course that pretty much is best described by saying it is a bunch of sprint intervals linked together with some twisty turns thrown in between the sprints due to the course design (it is flat and the flow is.....well not sure there really is any flow).  It's always a mess at the start because they don't believe in age class waves at the start line.  Everyone just clumps together as one big group and goes on the gun (usually about 80-90 guys in my wave).  Temperatures will elevate into the 60's for it, but who knows how wet it will be?   

Alexa has a home track meet tonight which is senior night/parent's night.  Tara is in New York City, so I will be there representing tonight to watch Alexa sprint and walk the walk with Alexa when they have the parents come down on the field for introductions.  The weather sure does look ugly for a track meet - 41 degrees.  Hard for the muscles to work well in that kind of frigid for the runners.  I'm going to bundle up in long johns, rain gear, hat, gloves, boots - whatever it takes to stay comfy...


Pumping iron....and pumping water!!!

I am moving forward this week with the build, peak and race plan.  This is week 2 of that and I did slighlty alter Monday's schedule due to the 75 degree pleasant weather.  I had to, right?


Pumped my iron in the morning with an hour of legs, upper body and core maintenance work.  The session went fine and did the trick to fire up my metabolism for the day.

After work, I grabbed the road bike and took off for a recovery spin not knowing how long or how far I would ride.  This was not scheduled, but I figured since I raced on the weekend instead of the back to back days of long rides that were scheduled it would be okay.  I had a tailwind, so I was able to spin in Zone 1 all the way to Carlisle enjoying the weather and being outside.  I turned around at Carlisle and went to an easier gear, got down in the drops and kept it on Zone 1/edge of Zone 2 to head back through the wind.  About 1/2 way home I met Tara who was out for her post work ride.  She asked me to turn around and go with her.  We had a nice visit and ride in the weather knowing the rest of the week's weather would not be conducive to riding outside.  I ended up with a 2 1/2 hour "recovery ride" which is no longer an official recovery ride - but my legs were up to it.  We quickly showered and went to a student recital at Simpson.  After the recital we came home and baked some salmon for dinner.

Pumping water alert:  A big storm hit Monday night after the NCAA final game.  Thunder.  Lightening.  Rain.  Hail.  The whole ball of wax.  How did the water pumping team do in the basement?


On tap for today was a  Zone 4 interval workout.  I did this indoors before work watching the news.  I targeted the upper end of Zone 4 on all of these intervals and felt pretty good at the end of the session before heading off to a long day at work.  Needless to say, my metabolism was fired up from the effort!!!

There just was not time for dinner with all of the recitals, rehearsals, convocations, etc...so I grabbed a quick meal at La Casa that is off the charts for my training at the moment - but the Zone 4 had worked up my appetite.  A quick burrito and the no-no basket of chips and salsa before heading back to a studio recital, and then a dress rehearsal for a senior voice student's recital in Great Hall.  That finished about 8:15 and I got home around 8:30 where Tara informed me she had a wonderful meal for me.  Ooops!  I forgot to tell her I was working late and would not be needing dinner.  Oh well, there will be some nice leftovers for me today.

Pumping water alert:  A big storm hit Tuesday night as we slept.  The wind sounded like a freight train and I shot upright in bed remembering exactly what the tornado sounded like in 2010 that buzzed our backyard.  This was just a strong wind, but let me tell you - one never forgets!!!

The radar image below had finally blown out of our area after dumping 2 inches more on us.

Tuesday Night's Storm

PUMPING WATER team is working great!!!

These guys did not get much of a workout last year due to a lack of rain and the drought.  So I have wondered how they would actually function when put to test after all the woes we had in previous years before getting the additional interior drainage track and pump system installed in the basement.  We've had some major dumps the last few nights which kicked the pumps into action after being dormant for so many months.

This is what we added in 2011, but was not really tested much at all last year....


It's been a champ during the snow melt and early season rain storms!!!

Here's the pit sump-pump on the other end of the basement that was upgraded in 2011 and punched correctly 2 years ago to function like it should have in the first place...


Both have been champs during the recent storms and Team Pump is working!!!  They better be for the amount of money we had to spend to get a working solution.  They both have back up battery systems, alarms and are supposed to work for up to 6 hours if the power ever goes off.  I'm hoping that doesn't happen, but the additional upgrade would be to get some sort of a generator in place in the event a major storm knocks out our power.  To date, that has not happened.  But it is storm season and tornado season has officially begun. 

Zack accidently dropped a sock down the slot for the dryer vent last night which means I have to deal with that today.  I tried taking it apart last night and had no luck.  I've got a call into a repairman hoping he calls me back today for an appointment.  How a sock fell in there, I have no idea.  But it is preventing the dryer from functioning.

Looks like rain all day with snow tonight and more rain and snow tomorrow.  Maybe I shouldn't have put the snowblower and shovel in storage this past weekend........


XC Race #1 for 2013 report...Psycowpath Swanson Shoot Out!

It almost seems hard to imagine that the long winter we just went through actually gave way to spring temperatures and trails that were dry enough to actually ride to begin the 2013 XC racing scene in the Midwest.  But it did.

First up was the Psycowpath Swanson Shoot Out XC race in Bellevue, Nebraska on Sunday.  Following Saturday night's concert, I didn't get to bed as early as I should have, but the race was not until 2:10 p.m. on Sunday, so I had plenty of time to sleep in, get packed and drive over for the start.   I drove through rain on I-80 to get there, but a bit before Omaha the rain stopped and things were sunny and dry.

I arrived, checked in, got suited up and started my warm-up.  Temperatures were warm enough for short sleeve jerseys and bibs.  A bit humid, but pretty comfortable riding conditions.  My legs felt as good as they could after 12 weeks of base and the first week of build phase #1.  The first races of the season occur during a build phase as my "bigger picture" remains on target for later in the season.   

There is some good new competition in the 50+ age class this year as a few new riders have hit the 50 age barrier and moved into my age class.  Joe Schmidt from Des Moines was there and he rides in the Comp Class in Iowa, Mark Sullivan who beat me at Ida Grove last year by 44 seconds was there, and a couple of the top CAT 3 50+ racers from last year have moved up into the CAT 2 50+ group.  So this actually is an excellent development to have an increased talent pool in the Psycowpath Series group of 50+ CAT 2 riders.  It makes it worth it on a competitive level.  Jerry Hoff who won the age age class last year was racing the Marathon race on Sunday, so he was not in the mix for the XC race this time.

My wave of 40-49, and the group of 50+ racers lined up and took off around 2:10 p.m. as scheduled...

Swanson Lining Up

I eyed Joe and Mark and on the start followed Mark in the opening sprint.  I passed a few in the opening 200 yards before we settled into the singletrack.  For the most part, this was my first dirt (that wasn't frozen or muddy) for the year.  So I was prepared to be cautious in lap one and get my feel back.  The legs were responding well, but I found myself stuck behind a strong rider who I couldn't get around on the climbs or the flats due to his power, but he was slow in the technical sections where I would catch up to him.  I settled in behind him for far too long and lost site of Joe and Mark.  Eventually I asked to get by and got around him.

Lap two was a bit more open now that we were all spread out and I was able to move quicker through all of the the technical sections.  The Maxxis Ikon 2.35 up front and 2.2 in the rear was a perfect combination for the conditions.   Tom caught me in my virgin white skin that hasn't seen sun for about 6 months...

Psycowpath #1 - Swanson

I think I was surprised in lap 2 that my legs and power felt so good for this point in the season.  So I started to up my pace and was passing people I had caught up to from previous start waves as well as those who had been out there for 2 1/2 hours in the marathon race.  I could tell my lighter weight combined with the training I've been doing was beneficial on the climbs.  Should be even better if I hit my target weight goal.

Lap 3 I decided to put the hammer down and see what the legs could deliver.  I also tossed out my early season inhibitions in terms of bike handling and got in a groove.  Crossing the pavement road near the top of the race course, I spotted Mark Sullivan ahead of me.  And he spotted me and took off.  There was about a 100 yard gap between the two of us and I set about closing that gap in a manner that wouldn't drain the tank.  I figured it was for a podium spot, but I didn't know if it was for 2nd place (Joe was out of sight) or 3rd - not knowing what some of the other riders new to our class look like.  Coming off the top section of the race course back down into the low areas, I was flying.  Suddenly, in the middle of the woods, there was a dog - a collie - barking and chasing me.  He went right for my foot and I managed to shoo him off, yell out and stay upright.  I finally caught up to Mark after closing the gap and settled in behind him to catch my breath and recover.

Swanson Blur

Knowing that one of my strengths in the past has been finish line sprints, I felt I was in good position to have a go at it.  However, making the final sharp left and steep hill turn out of the singletrack - I misjudged how Mark was going to climb that short steep hill as there was a female rider in front of him and we all got a bit jammed.  My front tire buzzed his rear tire hard.  It didn't throw him off, but it forced me to have to unclip and put a foot down.  By the time I got going again, he had a good 15 yard lead.  I gave chase, but he turned it up a notch.  I heard the loud speaker announce Joe Schmidt's crossing the finish line just ahead of us, so we were in the hunt.  I caught up to Mark again on the final sharp right turn just before the finish line.  I went into final sprint mode, but quickly realized I didn't' have the top end as I haven't trained any of that yet this season.  I was on Mark's wheel to the finish line and gaining inch by inch in diesel mode, but needed about 30 more feet of length than there was to have even come close to passing him.  So I settled for 4th place (come to find out when results were posted) by about a wheel or 1/2 a bike length.  Mark told me after the race that he nearly busted a lung on that final sprint.

Top 4 spots in CAT 2 50+.... (note:  not much time separating 2/3/4 positions)

Top 4 at Swanson 2013

The course was not exactly the same as last year, so it is hard to compare times, but that's 5 minutes faster for me than the first Swanson race on opening weekend last year, and a few seconds slower for me than the closing race at Swanson later in the season.  Yesterday, it looked like a section of the forest had been mowed or clipped to the ground (or an Alien Craft had landed and leveled the forest) and some of the familiar sections had us riding through some wood chips.  And the bottom section before the grass meadow portion to the finish line was a bit different.  So it is hard to compare the courses from last year to yesterday's course.  Close to the same, but not exactly the same.  

A good race for sure and it's nice to know there is increased competition this year in the 50+ age class.  Game on!!!  The winner of our group was newcomer Thomas Jeffreys who was the CAT 3 50+ overall series winner last year.  Congrats Thomas!!!  And I know big Andre Rethman - who is new to the 50+ CAT 2 group this year (he came in 2nd in the CAT 3 series last year) - will be a contender.  He has huge, powerful legs and dusted me at the Iowa Games last year with the power he can put out.

Plenty for me to work on these next weeks to up the game a bit.  That being said, I feel better and faster this year than last at this point of the season following base.  There's no better race specific training than actually racing - so I know I worked all the zones in this race!!!!  I cooled down on pavement doing gentle Zone 1 spinning for 20 minutes.   Then I drank a recovery drink, got changed and headed back to the food area for a burger.  I went out in the woods to help the kid's race as a course marshal before packing up and heading back to Indianola.  I got home about 7:45 and sat down to a big salad before taking a shower and unpacking the car.

Kudos to Ryan and Roxzanne Feagan for doing such a fabulous job running this series.  They both have my tremendous respect and kudos for what they do.  Hosting Lake Ahquabi has given me a total new outlook on what it takes to put on a race and do it well.  The Feagans do it well!!!

On to build week #2 which begins today with maintenance weights.  Tell me the 75 degree temperatures this afternoon are not tempting me to go out on the bike.....  I guess I could manage a Zone 1 recovery ride to take advantage of the weather before it turns cold again for the rest of the week.


Bloch Sacred Service Concert Tonight!!!

Tonight's Concert 

The Earnest Bloch Sacred Service - or Avodath Hakodesh.  (composed in 1933)

Time:  7 p.m.
Temple B'Nai Jeshurun
5101 Grand Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa

A reminder to those attending that the bridge is closed at Grand Avenue and Highway 28 (about 1/2 mile west of the Temple).  There is a detour marked, but taking Grand Avenue from the downtown Des Moines side would be much easier and less confusing.

Here's a photograph of Earnest Bloch...

Ernest Bloch, Oct. 1948.

Here's a photograph of the cover of the score...


 The concert is open to everyone and is free.  Reception to follow in the fellowship hall.



My weight weenie parts can now relax....

The good news is that most of my weight weenie bicycle parts can breathe a sigh of relief.  Some of them have a rider weight limit in the 185-189 range, so now I am officially below that. 

The scale reports that I am spot on 184 this morning.  It dipped down to 183.6 briefly yesterday.  It seems every pound is a battle that takes a week to fight and overcome the goal to drop based on the formula of losing one pound per week as a healthy way to proceed. 

The one I am still worried about are my Ti spindle Xpedo pedals.

Xpedo M-Force 8 Ti

Why am I worried?  Because the company clearly states...

*Titanium spindles have 180lbs weight limit.

I'm close.  Really close.  And I will be there - eventually.  Then my pedals can also relax.

Why the fascination with weight?  

The power to weight ratio for a cyclist is a gauge of how one will perform compared to others.  It is a ratio where you take the amount of watts you can produce for a certain time period and divide that by your weight in kilograms. 

Here is a chart that shows the results.

It is no secret that I am fighting to climb from the lower ranges of that chart to move up the ladder through training and weight loss.

The climb has been gradual over the past 6 years where I have moved from...

Untrained to
Fair to

I am now trying to move from Moderate and claw my way up to the next rung on the chart which would be at least the lower end of Good.  My weight loss is something I can do to help achieve this goal.  The work I have been doing on my sustainable power production this year will help a bit, but the weight loss combined with that is what will really move me from Moderate to the lower end of Good.  Everything else being the same, if I weighed 165-170 (what I weighed when I was a runner back in the 80's and early 90's) I would be there.  But I weigh 184.  And that takes a lot more power than I can produce to go up the hills and stick with the lighter riders.  So the battle of the bulge continues to improve my power to weight ratio and has my goal set on 178 as primary point #1.  Obviously, a drop from there down to the 170 area would be even more beneficial.  But first things first.  Get down to 178.  If I stay on track, my goal is to be there in mid-May (using the formula of dropping a pound a week).

I weighed in at the Doctor's office yesterday at 187 fully clothed with my suit/tie/jacket/wallet/shoes/car keys/cellphone which was good to see.  They said I was about 10 pounds above that the last time I weighed in fully clothed at the Doctor (over a year ago).

Spring is trying to unleash...

I had a chilly spring ride in 25 degree temperatures yesterday.  Should be in 50's today and 60's the next 3 days.  This is why I went to see the Doctor yesterday.  I needed to get a new prescription for the allergy medication as I know things are about to explode any minute and my prescription from last year had expired.  I want to be ready when it hits in full force.  

In the meantime while waiting for spring to appear, I remain in training. 

Monday - Maintenance Strength Training

Tuesday - 90 minutes outside on the bike with 36 minutes of Zone 4 and five hill climb full out intervals

Wednesday - 60 minute recovery spin Zone 1 and Maintenance Strength Training   

It's Concert Time!

We had our final dress rehearsal last night for the Earnest Bloch Sacred Service.  It went really well from my standpoint and the music is so lush and gorgeous.  I still am working on pronouncing the Hebrew correctly and will work on a few words and sounds I have been struggling with the next few days to get better for Saturday night.

The performance is Saturday night at 7 pm - Temple B'nai Jeshurun on Grand Avenue.  I am the baritone soloist and we have 10 voice majors from Simpson stacked in the choir so it really sounds good.  And the Temple is beautiful.  The piece is not that long (should take about 40 minutes) and will be followed with a reception in the fellowship hall.  So come one and come all as it is open to the public.  No tickets needed as I believe there will be a Freewill Offering taken.

It won't be as green as this photo taken in front of the Temple, but it will be warm inside.