Talk about a conglomerated blog post title!
Zack entered the Schubert Club competition in St. Paul. The first round was on Saturday, March 8th, so we drove up on Friday night after school/work was out and arrived at our motel around 10 PM. We had dinner and hit the hay. He sang on Saturday morning at 10:07 and was allowed a 5 minute time slot to sing as much of his two numbers that he could. He sang all of Schubert's Die Taubenpost, and started the Count's aria from Le Nozze di Figaro in the middle in hopes of getting the final presto section done within in the 5 minute time limit. The judges stopped him right before the last phrase with the top F#!!! Oh well...I guess we timed that out incorrectly.
The good news is, that he got an email when we got home that he had made the finals (11 singers made the finals in the advanced division). Since he just turned 21 on February 28th, he's the youngest in that division. Nonetheless, it's exciting he made the finals and returns to sing again (without a time limit) both of his numbers on Saturday, March 29th. Another former student of mine who is in graduate school at the University of Minnesota also made the finals. So that's exciting.
Spring Break, March
This is the Simpson Spring Break week, so I get to do taxes, ride my bike, cook, work on Winterreise with Zack and recharge my batteries to combat this bronchitis I have.
I pretty much have to pay my respects to all my fellow Minnesota cyclists on the severity of the winter they have endured. True, I've complained along with everybody else down here in southern Iowa about the winter we have gone through, but it pales in comparison to what they have had up in Minnesota. There is still about 3 feet of snow and ice on the ground in that area and temperatures are still low enough not to melt any of it. It looks like the tundra and will be quite a bit of time before it all melts and folks can get out to ride "safely". We stopped at REI on the way out of town and they haven't even started to set up the bike stuff yet (like they already have in Des Moines in stores like Scheel's) as the REI is still set up for snowboarding and skiing. Buck Hill was full of skiers and boarders enjoying the Saturday temperatures of 20 degrees and nice amount of snow.
In spite of March being here, we are officially still in winter until Spring hits on March 20th. Yesterday and today are giving us a nice taste of Spring, but a storm with snow will move in tomorrow for a couple of days. Looks to warm up into the 50's again by the end of the week.
Lots of snow still in the fields and ditches from Ames on north up to the border. We are pretty fortunate down south of Des Moines as we are pretty much 95% melted and experiencing some Spring like weather for a few days. Yesterday hit 57 and today will hit 65.
I took my 2nd outside pavement ride of the year yesterday for a nice 2 hour Zone 2 ride in howling winds. It's hard to imagine I have been riding in the basement on the LeMond for 3 months, but welcome to winter 2013/14!!! I hope this week is the turning point for much more outdoor riding. The first mountain bike race is scheduled 3 weeks from now in Omaha provided things dry out enough in time. So it's time to get some outdoor pavement miles. As good as riding indoors is to build my base, outside is a bit of a different ball of wax.
Here's an attempt at a video to show the conditions of the Summerset Trail that runs from Indianola to Carlisle....
I met my 2 hour goal pretty well and enjoyed riding outside. The wind made it a nice grind home from Carlisle as I was riding dead into it.
I saw a lot of walkers out yesterday - especially near Indianola and Carlisle. I didn't see very many cyclists out enjoying the conditions. Perhaps many don't know that the trail is clear of snow and ice (except for one spot in the Summerset State Park area). That should all be melted by the end of Monday just in time for more snow (1 - 2") falls. It's not my favorite time of year to ride a road bike outside as the streets are covered with the sand and grit they dump on the streets all winter long. It seems like they don't clean that off of the streets until later and later every year, so it's here for another month or two making bike maintenance a key priority to keep the grit from lessening performance. It's one of the main reasons I really wanted a road bike with disc brakes, but they just weren't really available in my size last year when I purchased the Roubaix. This year, there are plenty of Roubaix models with disc brakes to choose from (along with other brands and models as well), but I already have my bike. So, rim and brake pad maintenance will remain routine maintenance for me to ride outside this time of year.
Here's the date from yesterday's jaunt...
I got home, showered and we headed up to Des Moines to celebrate Zack's 21st birthday as we didn't have time to do that last weekend during the opera. He wanted to go to Splash, but they were closed. So we hit up Exile and had a great time.
Spring Break Continues....
More on tap for today in terms of riding the bike. The wind is calmer today and if temperatures hit 65, I might be able to even ride with bare legs and arms!!!! I'll probably use a long sleeve jersey or arm warmers though. And I am diving head first into the taxes to get things all spread out on a few tables and start organizing it all - painful that it is...
On tap for tonight - smoking 2 organic birds on the Big Green EGG!!!!