10/27/13

Seasonal Hibernation Feeding Frenzy.....!!!!!

It's fall.  I love fall.  Crisp air with bright blue skies.  The harvest.  The colors.  The crunch of leaves beneath your bike tires.  The squirrels and chipmunks scurrying about getting themselves ready for winter.  And - the food.  I love the food and eating in the fall.  And watching football and the World Series.   Ah...

Comfort food like pot roast, bread, potatoes, chili, cookies, apple crisp.  Yum, it's all been good this past week.  But maybe it has been too good.  It took me the better part of 3 months to drop from a weight of 185 to 179/180 combining exercise and diet.  How long did it take me to go back up to 185 from 180?  About a week.  Or so it seems...

That's right, if it was not nailed down (food that is), I could be found eating it the past 2 weeks.  Ideally I cut about 100 calories a day to drop weight, but this past week I was adding way more than 100 calories to my daily intake.  Chips and salsa at La Casa.  Cookies.  Ritter dark chocolate bars. A cup of chili with my lunch sandwich.  Okay - enough is enough. 

Time to rein it in!!!  My goal this coming week is to knock that off.  And to fend off this fall hibernation increase in appetite, I am slowly boosting my hours on the bike and hitting the weights.  I managed to climb back up to 6:25 this week after my dwindling hours made me sit up and take notice as the belt started to feel tighter around the waistline.

Week of 9/23 - 5:15 hours
Week of 9/30 - 4:25 hours
Week of 10/7 - 3:15 hours
Week of 10/14 - 6:05 hours
Week of 10/21- 6:25 hours

Next Sunday is the time change where it will get darker earlier in the evening.  So I will have to get my lights charged up so I can ride after work.  I also put in my first session in the basement on the C7i this past week and imagine many more of those sessions are coming due to the time change and weather preventing early morning and early evening rides.  However, I will fight to ride outside as much as I can, for as long as I can before the snow hits.

I'm really enjoying riding the Roubaix with the Continental Twister Pros.  It allows me to ride on some of the singeltrack at Banner, hit the tamer gravel here in Warren County, and not lose any pace on the pavement.  I might just leave these tires on all fall and winter to deal with the debris on the roads and paved trails.

TwisterPro

The Twister Pros are actually officially labeled as 700 x 32c, however they only measure out at 30mm width at the knobs on my wheels.  I think that is typical for Continental tires of a decade ago to be a bit undersize.  Regardless, they provide great traction on singletrack, pavement, and grass, but could use a bit more volume to handle some of the huge gravel they dump on the Warren County gravel roads.  A simple tire swap might just turn the Roubaix into a "one bike does it all" for my typical training and fun rides around here.  Too bad they didn't have size huge last year or this year in a model that came with disc brakes.  That would have been the perfect bike for me. 

Last week of October is on tap as we slide into November this week.  Enjoy the fall weather, riding - and of course the food!!!!




10/24/13

Cyclocross: Maybe I wasn't so crazy....

In spite of the past two days bringing much needed rain to central Iowa, I tinkered with my tire pressure on the Roubaix for the Continental Twister Pro tires to dial in a more forgiving ride which I have now tested out on my twice daily dog walks this week.  I had hoped to go for a solid road ride Wednesday after work, but the rain came down too much in the afternoon for me to face getting bundled up and riding pavement in it, so I lifted weights instead.  I need to get the lights charged up and ready as well now that it is getting dark so early and the time change is coming soon.

-
I was reading about bikes for cyclocross racing and stumbled upon a few sites that met my way of thinking:  use my mountain bike to do a race, convert my road bike for the dry races, or the more expensive option of buying a cyclocross bike.  So maybe I wasn't so crazy after all in my thinking of the most cost-efficient way of doing a race or two.  If it's dry - I've got the Roubaix to ride.  If it is muddy - I've got the mountain bike.  There are 3 other local cyclocross races coming up in November/December that I might be able to doTwo are in Altoona and one is in Urbandale - so who knows?  Maybe I'll give it another shot.

-
What Kind Of Bike Do I Need for Cyclocross?


The Three Options:

  • a cyclocross bike
  • a modified mountain bike
  • a modified road bike
  • (Note: To race in the Elite class in UCI-sanctioned races, you must have a bike with drop handlebars, 700c wheels and tires no wider than 35 mm.)

  • Well, there you have it.  It's confirmed that I am not crazy.

    Option one would be nice, but seriously - Tara and I already bought road bikes this year.  Combined cost of the two and as a percentage of our annual income works out to be plenty of money already being spent this year on new bikes.  Additional cost to me for this option:  $1000-1500 if I wanted to get an entry level Cross bike with disc brakes (that is if I could find one in size HUGE).

    Option two is not a problem as I have a mountain bike or two already to go with plenty of tires to swap around based on course conditions.  And I experienced this option last year in the Night Cap on the Dos Niner.  The suggested modifications for converting a mountain bike include removing the bottle cages, and running skinnier tires.  Not a problem.  Additional cost to me for this option:  $0

    Option three I have already experienced last weekend at the Night Cap.  The modifcations to a road bike they suggest included running knobby tires (check with the Twister Pros), using mountain bike pedals (check since I run XTR's on my Roubaix to begin with...), and removing the water bottle cages (haven't done that yet as the Night Cap didn't require any run ups).  Additional cost to me for this option:  $0

    It does look like I have room to go up to a 32 or 33mm cyclocross tire on my Roubaix, but not sure a 34mm would fit.  Only one way to find out.  In the meantime, and to keep it cost-effective, I'll just keep experimenting with the tire pressure on the 10 year old Twister Pros.  I bought them - believe it or not - to mount up on the Mavic SpeedCity wheels to use on my 26" Trek 8000 mountain bike in Vienna back in the spring of 2003 to ride and train on the roads and fireroads.  They were about the largest knobby tires I could find in Vienna at the time that were in stock and would fit in the frame of a 26" mountain bike using 700c wheels. 

    I haven't used the Twister Pro tires since then as that experiment actually led to me buying my first 29"er that year via a Surly Karate Monkey.  So it's nice I'm using the tires again as they have plenty of tread left to use up.  Of course, the rubber is now over a decade old after hanging on the garage wall for so long...

    I've got the front tire at 38.5psi and the rear is set at 42 psi.  Although the carbon post from Specialized is forgiving on my Roubaix, I could easily mount up the Thudbuster ST which would give me some squish relief of a cyclocross course pounding.  I could also use a saddle with some more padding than the minimal road saddle on the bike.  All of that would be an option to add some comfort and rear squish to the Roubaix as a cyclocross bike.

    P1010002

    Either way, option 2 and 3 have got me covered if I choose to try another cyclocross race or two this season.  In the meantime, the sun is out again today and it looks like a morning ride is in order before work...


    10/22/13

    Fall riding and the experience of a cyclocross event...

    It is fall riding season for me.

    What does that mean?  Well, according to my weekly hours on the bike - not much riding at all.  Fall was officially ushered in on September 22nd and my weekly hours dropped precipitously as listed below.

    Week of 9/23 - 5:15 hours
    Week of 9/30 - 4:25 hours
    Week of 10/7 - 3:15 hours
    Week of 10/14 - 6:05 hours (thanks to my fall break and a cyclocross race)

    I had 2 weeks in March that were both below 5 hours, but the rest of the year never dipped like the past month has shown.  Obviously, directing the opera put a big limit on any free time for workouts - so it was expected and the timing fit fine as things wound down cycling season wise.

    The past week was my effort to ramp it up just a bit and hit my minimum of 6 hours.  I will begin my off-season weight training program come November which I am ready to do as I have been surviving on weekly maintenance sessions.

    I could use it too, as my back and everything else got pretty beat up this past week.  I had Thursday off from teaching thanks to our fall break.  So the weather was sunny and 65 which had me head out on the Summerset Trail and to Banner riding my Dos Niner with the big volume Renegades listening to my iPod for a dose of motivational music...

    Dos2

    The bike is very nimble, fast and turns through the tight and twisty quicker than my full suspension Niners.  I really enjoyed doing about a lap and a half at Banner on the Dos before turning south to head back to Indianola on the Summerset Trail.  I got in 2.5 hours which was the most in one ride in quite some time for me.  The addition of the big volume Renegades at a comfortable psi make me rethink my options of racing this bike more often next year.  The main issue is the fight with my lower back and the shake up of the body that comes with riding a HT.  I did get a bit more beat up on the Dos riding at full speed than my JET 9.  And that delays my recovery and ability to do the next workout, but I think with a few tweaks I can mitigate that a bit.  Tweaks would be a bit lower psi than I was running (I was way too high as I didn't use my guage when filling up before riding) and maybe even a more forgiving seatpost.  I can't blame my core as it has been in great shape all year.  It's the bouncing the back takes that tweaks it.

    Why did I pull the Dos Niner out?  My thought was to race it on Saturday at the cyclocross race.  I had raced it last year since I don't own a cyclocross bike...

    270471_10151139218492815_1204043503_n

    ...so I figured I would do the same this year.  The bike as pictured weighs 23.87 pounds which is not too shabby for a size XL 29"er. 

    I took Friday off outside of the dog walks on the bike to recover from Thursday's effort.  Having the day off from work, I decided to mow the lawn, trim it and then went into tinkerer mode with my road bike.  I had a 10 year old pair of Continental Twister Pro cyclocross tires in storage and since my Roubaix has a relaxed geometry, the Zertz inserts for absorbing bumbs and chatter, a tall head tube and clearance for the tires - why not mount up the cyclocross tires and just race my Roubaix for a cyclocross race that was forecast to be dry?  It weighs 19.5 pounds and would be that much less to lift over all the barrier crossings during the race.  I knew I was in no condition to compete, so why not have some fun and try the race with my drop bar bike.  This, in spite of Sterling Heise who sold it to me at Rassy's calling me crazy for doing so!!!

    I was up at 6 a.m. on Saturday to head up to Mullets in Des Moines to have breakfast with the BikeIowa Team and set up for the big event:  Oakley Night Cap Cyclocross.

     Mullets Breakfast

    We got to work by about 8 a.m. and dove in setting up the course, the registration area, the podium area, etc... .  I had to leave around noon to go home and shower before driving to Marshalltown with Tara for a wedding.  The wedding was at 2 and I had packed my bike and clothes to head directly back to Mullets for racing and to help out with the event.  Of course, I had officially warmed up for the race at the wedding reception with a pair of Fat Tires as we waited for the wedding party to arrive at the reception (waited 90 minutes for them to arrive!!!!).  I arrived back at Mullets just in time to pick up my number plate, get into my kit and do one practice lap.  Again - I was ridiculed for my choice of a road bike.  Hey, c'est la vie.  It didn't feel too bad out there on the course considering me being used to suspension when riding off road.

    The Roubaix with the iddy biddy cyclocross tires on it - because it is what I had on hand.

    P1010001

    There were 100 of us lined up for the combined CAT 4 and CAT 5 race.  I was in the CAT 4 group and about in row 4 or 5 at the start.  On the opening flat start, I quickly realized the beer warm up combined with my choice of bike was not the best combination.  Goal was not to finish DFL, but just to have fun and enjoy the event.  All went well as I negotiated all of the turns and barriers well enough to stay upright, but the ride was bumpy and jarring.  I was too afraid of a pinch flat and ran the psi pretty high to prevent it.  There is room for a 34mm width tire in there, but obviously it would only be for dry course conditions since this bike does not have cantilever brakes and any room for mud build up.  Since the Night Cap was being held in dry conditions, I opted to give it a whirl for my one annual cross race.  Who knows?  Maybe I'll try another in November if all the stars are in alignment.

    What's a barrier?  It's something you have to dismount your bike and carry it over while running.  The dismount and remount requires a nice bit of energy which I have not trained for this fall, but it didn't really matter for me in this particular event as my goal was pure fun.  Here's a shot from earlier in the day of my teammate testing some of the Cross Mafia barriers near the bandstand that everyone had to run over...

    CrossMafiaBarriers

    Gone was last year's Death Spiral...

    NIGHTCAP DEATH SPIRAL

    ...but, there were plenty of similar miles of tape, twists, and turns to negotiate.  The last couple of laps, my back started to reject my Thursday training ride on the Dos Niner, all the lifting and help with set up, and the absolute jarring from the bumpy course that my Roubaix did well to absorb, but my back did not.  Back, hands, arms, neck were all scolding me.  My Twister Pro tires were on the skinny side of a cyclocross tire (casing width of about 28mm, and tread width of 30mm), so I couldn't really air them down enough to absorb the trail like those with full 34mm tires were able to do.

    Regardless, I was just out supporting the event and having fun.  I went down once when I hopped off my bike to cross a barrier and my foot got caught in the spokes of the front wheel of a rider behind me.  I couldn't get my foot out of his wheel and down I went.  No harm done, and fun was had by all.  I did manage to avoid being DFL in the CAT 4 group.

    I witnessed an unfortunate thing in the final CAT 1 race that began at 10 p.m. near the finish line.  I had been standing and talking with Bob Matthews for most of the evening and we were watching the three guys in the lead Kevin McConnell, Mark Savery, and Brian West.  They had been a three man train the entire race, exchanging positions a time or to, but Kevin was in the lead and had a nice 20+ foot gap going into the final two turns before the finish line.

    BikeIowa had set up a beer garden in the middle of the course so folks could get close to the stage for the live bands and to heckle the riders.  This involved walking across the course to get to the beer garden.  Just as Kevin rounded the corner for the final two turns, he yelled out at three gals who were crossing the course on their way to the beer garden to get out of his way.  Unfortunately, they did not and he plowed right into one of them (a gal we all know and is a friend of mine on Facebook, but I won't mention her name here).  Down he went hard while Mark and Brian passed him as he was on the ground to take 1st and 2nd.  Kevin tossed his bike in frustration and the crowd was shocked at the 3 ladies who were not paying attention and ruined the race's outcome.  Too bad for all of those involved, but it does possibly point to a different set up next year or at least course marhsals monitoring who and when spectators cross the course.

    We had 310 riders participate in the event which set a record!!!

    After the final race, I headed out to take down signs, tape, stakes, packed up the PA system, podiums, extension cords, etc... .  My witching hour came at 1:15 a.m. when I could no longer bend over or move.  I pulled the plug and headed home knowing the 30 minute drive being so tired would be difficult.

    My back and body enjoyed a relaxing do nothing day on Sunday to recover, but I did head out for a 95 minute recovery ride on the Roubaix to get my week up to 6 hours of on the bike time.  Monday was limited to my two dog walks on the bike as my back is still recovering.

    Fall pleasure riding will continue with an attempt to keep my hours up - and my weight down!!!









    10/15/13

    Operatic videos of me are coming to life...

    Thanks to my colleague, Dave Camwell at Simpson College, a few video clips of me singing opera are coming to life.  Dave has powerful video editing software on his Mac, and we were able to get sample one cut today to post on my faculty biography page over on the Simpson.edu website.

    Here's a clip of me singing Dottore Malatesta's aria from Act I of Don Pasquale by Donizetti...



    Hopefully we will be able to cut a few more things for variety's sake in the very near future, but today was a start to get something posted up on my bio page.

    Other items I have are clips of me from Don Giovanni, Le Nozze di Figaro, Boris Godonuv, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor, La Boheme, Faust, and some recitals, etc... .

    Regardless, the Pasquale clip is pretty typical of my opera singing.  Thank you Dave for the help as my $39 video editing software I downloaded online couldn't handle the job.





    10/11/13

    Opera Opening Night at Simpson College!

    Tonight is the opening night of the double bill that I directed at Simpson College.  It features a cast and crew of over 50 students who have worked tirelessly the past 6 weeks preparing these productions to perform.  The 12-15 hour days the past week or two have left me running on fumes, but it was all worth it to see the growth each of these students went through during the process.  They are ready for an audience!

    Speaking of audiences - you can get tickets here.

    We had our final dress rehearsals on Wednesday and Thursday night, and below are some photographs taken during the rehearsal.

    The opera Suor Angelica (Sister Angelica) is by Puccini and is set in the 17th Century in a convent just outside of Siena, Italy.  Women were oft sent to convents in Italy during that time period by families that did not have enough money to pay the dowry for each of their daughters to be married.  Many of these families could, however, afford a smaller dowry for entrance into a convent.  Others were there due to having a child out of wedlock which brought shame upon their family.  So they were sent "away" to the convent.  Some were there due to being orphans, or the death of their parents.  

    Sister Angelica lost her parents when she was a toddler and was raised by her Aunt.  Angelica has a child out of wedlock and is sent away to the convent.  A full seven years later, her Aunt visits her in the convent for the first time to ask Angelica to sign over all of her inheritance to her younger sister Anna Viola who is getting married.  The money will be used to pay for Anna Viola's dowry.  The Aunt also informs Angelica that her son died 2 years ago of an illness.  Having lost her family, her son, all of her money, and being shamed by her Aunt leaves Angelica so distraught, that she opts to commit suicide by making a deadly potion.  It's quite a moving piece and the ladies are doing so well in delivering this drama that I know the audience will be moved.

    The Mistress of the Novices instructs

    The Nuns have Food!

    Curlew River is an opera based on an ancient Japanese Noh play.  Benjamin Britten saw the play 2 times during the course of a week while visiting Japan in the 1950's.  He was so moved by the play and the style of acting that he had the play adapted to be Christian based and set in the Fenlands during the 15th Century in England.  It has never been performed at Simpson and we think this is the first time in Iowa that this piece will be performed.

    The play is performed by a group of monks who travel from their cloister to tell parables.  Curlew River is one of the parables they tell and they arrive and perform their parable before the audience.  The story is narrated by the Abbot and stars a Madwoman seeking her son who was kidnapped one year ago.   She has been "mad" out of guilt and wanders the land searching for her lost son.  She arrives at the Curlew River where a Ferryman operates a boat that crosses the river.  She, along with a traveler, ask for ferry service to cross the river.  Once the Ferryman agrees to allow them on the boat, he tells a story of a man who was with a boy, actually took his ferry one year ago to the day.  The man was mean to the boy, and the boy appeared quite ill.

    The Ferryman tells the group in the boat as they cross the river the story that the boy died and was buried on the opposite side of the river near the bank.  His grave has become a spiritual refuge for many to go and visit.  The Madwoman puts 2 and 2 together and realizes that this is her son that has died and was on the Ferryman's boat with the kidnapper one year ago.  The monks encourage her to pray at the grave along with them and the spirit of the boy appears and informs his mother that she doesn't need to worry.  He comforts her by saying that some day she will join him in heaven and all will be right.  Hearing this, the Madwoman suddenly becomes sane again in a tremendous release of her guilt.  The characters in the parable resume their monk robes and end the opera just as they had begun it.

    It's a stunning and unique piece that the men have worked really hard to learn.  The music is very difficult and has a learning curve way beyond the normal undergraduate scope.  Yet, they have embraced the challenge of not only the music, but also how to portray the drama in the most natural way we could come up with during the rehearsal process.  The professional orchestra sounds incredible and is enjoying playing this unique score.  Not to be missed!

    The Madwoman seeing birds flying around the Curlew River...

    The Madwoman sees a Curlew

    The Ferryman navigates the Curlew River with a boat load of customers...

    The Ferryman navigates the Curlew River



    A final thanks to the tireless crew.  Alan Edwards is our guest scene and lighting designer from New York City.  He has transformed Lekberg Hall into a clositer and lit it beautifully.  Ken Duschek was the technical director who built the set.  Two students of mine, Tyler Frankhouse and Trevor Halder have put in countless hours along with Chris Heineman to make these productions a realityJanie Westendorf has costumed the show within our budget and our student costumer Katie Malone has been busy with alterations and keeping everyone happy in their costumes.  Alan, Ken, Tyler, Trevor, Chris and I have lived in Lekberg Hall the past week getting the final details of the set, props, and lighting turned into reality.

    If any of you have interest in opera, I highly recommend catching one of the performances this weekend.  Tonight would be the prime seating availability according to what I have heard about ticket sales.  I have thoroughly enjoyed working with these students and am proud to see the growth each and every one of them experienced with their stage craft and musical skills.

    10/9/13

    IMBCS Series Results for 50+...

    IMBCS is in the books for 2013.  There were 10 events that were all able to take place thanks to Ma Nature being agreeable this year.  I was able to race in 9 out of the 10 events this year and met some good competition along the way at all of them.

    As I mentioned in my September 25th post here, I knew my name at the top of the point standings would not last long.  Sure enough, Tom Jeffreys from Nebraska toed the line at Lake Ahquabi along with James Hopson, Jerry Hoff, Andre Rethman, Brian Swain, Al Boone, Sterling Heise, and others.  I knew that Tom just needed a 6th place finish or better to win the IMBCS series to flip flop up to the top of the list.  I was fighting for 2nd place with Andre and we both had bonus points going into the race and our placing in the final race could very well determine who got 2nd and who got 3rd.

    Even though I was physically "bushed" from late night opera rehearsals and getting things organized and ready for The Mullet, I toed the line with hopes of racing well.  I won it last year, but this year with the competition I simply had a goal of finishing in the top 3.  At the gun, James Hopson and Tom Jeffreys - and Andre took off like bats out of hell.  I held back knowing it was a grueling course.

    I pushed it on all the hills during lap one and could see Andre up ahead of me within striking distance.  Kim West was racing in the CAT 1 50+ group and his bike frame broke during warm ups.  Luckily, he was able to borrow somebody else's spare bike and still race.  I caught up to Kim on the descent into the finish line near the end of lap 1.  Here I am following Kim while shooting the shit with him....

    Following Kim

    At the beginning of lap 2, I caught up with Andre Rethman and stayed on his tail for the majority of lap 2.  My strategy was to see if I could pass him in the hilly sections, but I was content to hang on his rear wheel all the way to when we descended to the finish line area and entered the final maze before the finish line.  He was going slower than I was in the turns and I decided to sprint at the end of the maze to the finish line up a short climb around the final turn.  I waited to see if he took the inside or outside track and he swung wide giving me the inside track.  I hammered the pedals and was able to get him by about 8" to a foot at the line.  Whew!

    Andre had a great season and I think we were both happy to do as well as we did behind Tom who won every race he entered in the IMBCS except The Mullet which was won by James Hopson (congrats James!!!).  The winner of the series gets free entry into the 2014 IMBCS events and I was able to enjoy that this year.

    Here are the final points for the IMBCS 50+ CAT 2 crowd....

    IMBCS CAT FINAL STANDINGS 50=

    I was very pleased with my training and racing this year as I had no DNF's and enjoyed the peak and races around that peak in my first ever structured training plan.  I raced in fewer events this year than last and never felt burned out during the season.  I ended the season at my target goal racing weight, but know that I could adjust that goal a tad lower for next season.

    But enough about all of that.  Now it's time to simply enjoy fall rides for a month or so with no particular plan to follow.  Road rides.  Singlespeed rides.  Trail bike rides.  It will be a fun month to unwind and not worry about anything.

    Except this weekend's operas.  Sister Angelica and Curlew River - directed by me.  Two must see operas that will leave a big impression on you as they are that good.




    10/7/13

    Mullet Fall Classic Post Race...

    The Mullet Fall Classic 2013 is in the books!

    Final Racer Tally:  168 paid to race in the various categories, and we had our first ever kids race with 8 kids toeing the line of the Iowa Trail Bombers course.  Together, that equals 176 sitting on bikes for the day at The Mullet!!!!

    Depending on how you tally it, we were 4 riders less than last year's 172, but also with the addition of the participants in the kids race - we were 4 riders more than last year.  Either way one looks at it, it's pretty much a wash.

    I consider it an excellent turnout.  Especially considering the weather forecast and prior 2 days of rain might have kept some tucked in bed on Saturday.  And Morgan Cross was going on in the eastern part of the state which had 111 racers toe the line including quite a few familiar names on the Morgan Cross results list that have done The Mullet in the past.  Certainly a good day for racing in Iowa with 287 foks out racing on dirt!    

    Mother nature - for how many years now? - was very, very, very kind again this year. I don't think I could have imagined better course conditions after the 48 hours of rain leading up to it.  And the sunshine made for a beautiful day of racing (no matter what season) and excellent conditions for the post race party.  Great view.  Great weather.  Great people.  Who could ask for a better way to spend a Saturday in October?

    I didn't get a chance to thank everyone properly when the big crowd was there due to the wait for the results. So, here goes: A big thanks to my Indianola crew of Bob Matthews, Al Boone, Bryce Gilbert, and Ron Cooney. A huge thanks to Angie Fry Boyens for organizing the potluck. Also I want to thank Elaine LeMay Kay for T-Shirt distribution and organization. And thanks to veteran Mullet helper Nick Woolley who makes it down every year from Webster City to kick in tireless hours of physical help - all with a smile and great attitude!!! It takes a lot to pull off a big event and I really could not have done it without your help. 


    And thank you to "Ed"!  Ed made a garbage bag run, and then later a charcoal run for the 150 hot dogs that arrived for the potluck.

    Also, thank you so much to the Iowa Trail Bombers and their leader Stephen Schmidt for being there, providing the course marshals, tear off tag collectors, and running our first ever kids race which was great to see them going through the maze!!! We've got to get more kids races going at all of our Iowa events for sure.

    And thanks to Sterling Heise and Rassmussen Bike Shop for the use of the P.A. System, and providing gift certificates for the Juniors and the Comp class (Comp winners - I forgot to give you your certificates, so look for those in the mail from me). Thanks to GU for being a sponsor and provided all the product.

    Thanks to our USAC Officials, Jeff Mertz, Bruce Pesch, and Deisha Reynolds. It's not an easy task scoring an event with multiple races going on all at the same time.

    Thanks to Josh Shipman, Park Manager, and his DNR staff for allowing us to use the venue. It's a lovely park and hopefully, after the clean up, we left in good shape for all park users.

    A final thanks to all those who chipped in and helped with clean up, course tear down, loading, garbage patrol and an excellent effort to get the park back into shape.

    I forgot to announce the winner of the Mullet award for this year. Todd Shenker took top honors for his mane.

    10/2/13

    The Mullet Fall Classic...

    Final preparations are underway - both for The Mullet Fall Classic and the 2 operas I am directing at Simpson.  The set and lighting designer arrives today from NYC and will be staying with us for the next week as we finish the set construction, and light the shows.  We are into full runs of both operas every evening this week which is a good place to be as we move into our technical rehearsals and dress rehearsals for production week.  There still remains some tweaking and growth to be done, but that is all part of the process.

    This weekend last year, the weather looked like this for the weekend race:

    Mullet Weekend

    This year, the weekend looks very similar temperature wise:

    Mullet 2013 Forecast

    Hopefully, the amount of rain we receive on Thursday and Friday will be absorbed and the event's route will not need to be altered on Saturday for the race.  Regardless, it is a "rain or shine" event and I remain optimistic we can pull it off as planned.

    Needless to say, I am running on fumes and will come up for air on the morning of October 14th after the race weekend and opera production week are both over...