Race Weekend on tap...

I have been busier this week - now that I am on summer vacation - than intended thanks to endless mowing, trimming, and weeding of my own yard as well as out at Banner mowing the trails.  Toss in a good dose of running errands and I think I need a time management consultation.  My "to do list" is so long, and this summer vacation is so short (due to teaching a May Term), I'm having to dive in daily without any down time.  Reminder to self: must add down time at some point.  At least a day or two of it...!!!

Instead of doing my scheduled one hour recovery ride on Wednesday morning, I mowed for 4 hours out at Summerset State Park (thinking it would only take me 2).  All the rain has boosted the growth expotentially the past 2 weeks to the point that it needs immediate attention to stay open for riding.


Then I had a 3 hour afternoon meeting at work, followed by an hour of upper body weights which left me tuckered out from a full day's effort.  Reminder to self:  Limit my trail work to 2-3 hours at a time only so I can still function and knock out my "to do list" at home.

Thursday, I got up and weeded my front yard, then mowed and trimmed it (as if 4 hours on Wednesday didn't satisfy me).  OK -  enough fatigue from mowing for a few days!!!!  After lunch, I ran an errand to get a new cooler for camping and picked up what I needed to cook dinner for the family last night.  Then I headed out to Banner for a 60 minute spin on the Niner RIP 9 to survey how much trimming still needs to be done out there as the jungle is growing in fast due to all of the rain.  Looks like about 45-50 man hours are needed to get the entire trail system in tip top shape.  That's enough for a CITA Saturday morning work day for sure...

Week 8 of my structured training plan Build, Peak, Race is the first actual week that the plan has a scheduled race built into it this Sunday.  And so it is as I will be heading to Mt. Kato in Minnesota to test my skills and fitness against the always competitive group in Minnesota.  There could be an additional challenge as it looks like a weekend with thunderstorms and rain showers.  However, the Minnesota Mountain Bike Series is a race rain or shine series - so the race will happen.  I'm not too excited about camping in a thunderstorm, but c'est la vie.  It's all just for fun and sport anyway.

The IMBCS fires up again next weekend with a FORC hosted event.  It will be a new trail for most of us, so that is always fun to look foward to racing at a new venue.

 IMBCS Joint Race

Today looks like more trail work for me (limiting my time to only 2-3 hours), packing up for camping, and doing some chores around the house.  I'm supposed to squeeze in my 45 minute XC Race Warm Up Practice as well.

Time to get up and make the coffee...


Sunday's 50 Miler...

Tara and I decided to work in a 50 mile pavement ride on Sunday between the thunderstorms.  It finished raining in Indianola a bit after 10 AM, so I walked the dogs and loaded up the bikes to hopefully time our ride before the next system moved in and dumped more rain.  We weren't really sure if the weather would hold for the full ride from Ankeny to Woodward and back, so we drove to Slater.  That way we could ride the northern half of the High Trestle Trail with thoughts that if it wasn't raining by the time we returned to Slater, we would ride the southern half to Ankeny and back.

The cement pavement of the High Trestle is so much more forgiving than the buckling black top of the Great Western and Summerset Trails that we frequent.  Combine that with a predominantly flat ride, and it was really a very easy ride to do as the wind was light and temperartures remained around 70 due to cloud cover.

We stopped for the requisite pair of photos before crossing the bridge...



And I snuck one in behind Tara crossing the bridge on the way West...


After we made the turn at Woodward, we stopped at the Flat Tire Lounge for a little refreshment along with quite a few others who were out enjoying a nice Sunday ride...


And of course, a few miles later in Slater after drinking a beer, one has to visit the King's Throne...


The weather was holding, so we rode on down to Ankeny to that end of the trailhead, turned around and used the tailwind to arrive back in Slater for a 3 1/2 hour round trip 50 miler.  It was a perfect RAGBRAI pace training ride for both of us.

We made it home in time to catch a IHS Senior Party down the street from us and got back to the house just before the second round of thunderstorms hit for Sunday.  I think we got about an inch of rain on Sunday in Indianola, and needless to say things are nice and green this Spring.  Today will be a little more low key as we putter around the garden, yard, and I smoke something on the Big Green Egg for Memorial Day.


Classes End!!! That's just about a wrap...

May Term Classes ended yesterday with the students and I striking the set, costumes, and props for opera workshop.  Then we administered a 3 hour exam to the students (a bit long and strenuous, but it was a 4 credit college course that covered a lot of material).  Following the test, we held a subsequent postmortem meeting with the faculty involved to review what went right, what went wrong and how to improve opera workshop for next time around in May of 2016.  By the time I got home around 3:45, I was ready to not think and just stare at the pavement.

And I was very hungry as my weight has dropped to 166 in spite of fueling myself quite well.  It feels like my body is settling into what an ideal race weight is and it is no surprise to me that it is getting very similar to what I weighed when I ran long distance races back in the 80's.

The last 90 days progress thanks to following the calories in vs. calories out guidance here

2014 Weight Loss

The last 90 days of focusing on a keeping just enough of a calorie deficit to shed the weight and fuel the training...

2014 Net Calories

The past 90 days of calories burned through exercise...

2014 Calories Burned in Exercise

Back to Friday after getting home from work...

I headed out on the bike for a 2 hour ride that included race starts to jolt my system a bit.  Although I have 3 mountain bike races, and one gravel race under my belt for this year, I realize that it is very difficult to replicate the start of an actual race in practice.  This was the first time in my training this year that I had race start practice scheduled, so I gave it my all.  Finally by the third race start I was pumping out what felt very similar to an actual start (the first 8-10 minutes) of a race.  Ouch!   

I came home and immediately fired up the grill to grill some turkey filets which coupled well with broccoli, spinach salad, and some multi-grain bread that was fresh out of the oven.  I was out like a light by about 8:45 PM and slept until 8:15 this morning.  I guess that says what state of fatigue a cummulative week of training combined with the performance/dress rehearsal week of Opera Workshop had left me in by Friday night.

Today is mowing, puttering, a ride on dirt, capped off this evening with our usual Memorial Day Weekend couples party at the home of the Hades.  I may try to throw a nap into the mix as well based on how I feel.  I have a huge "to do" list of things that have been left alone for weeks, if not months, due to the intensity of the academic teaching calander.  I don't have too much time to let that sit any longer before launching into attacking the list.

Here was my week of training... 

Week #7 of Build, Peak, and Race

Monday:  Lower Body Weights
Tuesday:  Zone 5 Intervals
Wednesday:  Upper Body Weights/Recovery Ride
Thursday:  Recovery Ride that was a bit too long!!!
Friday:  Race Warm-Up and Race Starts
Saturday:  XC Warm-Up and Race Starts with Technical Skills
Sunday:  LSD ride Zone 1 and 2 (will do this with Tara on a nice long ride weather permitting)

Tomorrow and Monday I will grade the final examinations from May Term, then we have a full faculty meeting and workshop day on Tuesday to round out the academic year.  Grades are due on Wednesday and we will meet to discuss that before submitting the grades for our class.

All the best to everyone this weekend as we join in honoring those who died serving our country.


Smoke, Meat, and Power...

Yes, I know that I have chosen an odd title for a blog post that means nothing to anybody but me.  However, that's what my weekend consisted of this time around. 

After a 2 hour opera staging rehearsal on Saturday morning, I was scheduled to do a power test to check my training level progression.   I had a little lunch after rehearsal, then tinkered around the house waiting for it all to digest.

Once I was ready to go, I did my usual 45 minute warm-up on the road bike.  I timed it perfectly to arrive back at the house on minute 44 and ran downstairs to hop on the trainer that I had all set up for the test.  Doing it on the trainer removes all elements of wind, hills, etc...so I get consistent power levels for the test on the LeMond to compare to prior tests.  The legs were feeling pretty good coming off of the R&R week, but make no mistake - doing the power test requires focus and is a nice mind over matter exercise to complete properly.  Just as the test ended, my heart rate was pegged at 180 and I was more than ready for the 30 minute cool down spin.  I had not had this good of a test since way back at the beginning of January coming off a high altitude vacation at Vail where my legs were jumping on test number one.  If felt like I had done well and I was anxious to plug the data in and see if any progress had taken place since the last test.

Fortunately, my numbers did improve from the previous test and are now at their highest levels I have seen for 2014 (I'm still pretty average, so no worries there) and this requires a slight adjustment to my training zones which ups the ante going forward this season.

Sunday had me up early as I was scheduled to grill 2,400 kebabs for the Jewish Food Fair in Des Moines that my wife was co-chair of this year.  The weather was perfect with sunny skies and temperatures were reigned in with a nice range from the upper 60's to the low 70's all day.  I got the grill warmed up and started grilling the first batch of goodness at 10 AM to have ready for the crowd that would hit the 11 AM opening of the event.  Outside of a 20 minute break I took to eat a little plate of food, I went straight through until 4 PM on my feet knocking out the 2000+ kebabs.  This meant I sucked in a lot of smoke, got grease all over myself, and put in a good day of honest work.

After I did the first batch of kebabs by msyelf, there were two of us going at it non-stop with about 80-100 kebabs grilling at a time...


Roger and I surrounded by smoke and meat...


Alexa managed to capture me still smiling at about hour #4...


The finished product went in the aluminum pans and a "runner" would take them up and put in them in the warmers on the food line along with the other items (brisket, kebabs, Israeli salad, salmon spread, bagels, noodle Kugel, chicken liver, hummus, pita, Matzah ball soup, beer, wine, desserts, etc, ...)


I spent about an hour or so cleaning up the grill and leaving it better than I found it after the event was over before heading home.  I immediately headed to the shower to remove as much of the grease from my hair, face, and arms as possible (without resorting to Dawn dish soap for help).

Then I hopped on the bike to unwind and do my 2 hour Zone 2 weekend ride.  I was using the new training zone parameters from Saturday's power test, so the new Zone 2 was a bit more work than it has been in the past on the lower end.  Of course I was a bit tired from the day of standing on my feet and grilling, but I managed to push it along for the ride to Carlisle and back with a couple of loops on the blacktop of Summerset State Park keeping in mid to high Zone 2 most of the time.

I took another shower to take on the remaining grease that was mixed with my workout sweat, and decided not to make any dinner.  I wound down on the couch with Tara reviewing how the food fair event had gone.  She did such an amazing job the past year planning it, lining up the sponsors, organizing the volunteers, etc... and everyone was tickled that it went really, really well.

We had both eaten so much all day, that she just sipped on tea and I had a small bowl of cereal and yogurt to recover and relax before we literally passed out from exhaustion.

Opera Workshop Performance #1 this evening in Lekberg Hall at 7 PM, and #2 on Thursday (same place, same time).  Classes end on Friday, and we have a few faculty meetings early next week before it is officially summer break for me.  There is a huge list of "to do" items for me at home that have been put on hold, so I will be busy attacking those for a good month, if not more.


R & R Week in the bag...

I am wrapping up week #6 of the structured build training period, and it happens to be a rest and recovery week.  In spite of it being an R&R week, the busy schedule at work this week with the class I am teaching for the month of May (Opera Workshop), has been draining when in combination.

Monday:  leg weights
Tuesday: recovery spin
Wednesday: upper body weights
Thursday:  XC race warm-up practice
Friday:  core work/short recovery spin
Saturday:  power and HR performance test
Sunday:  Zone 2, two hour ride

Sunday finds me grilling 2,400 kebabs for the Jewish Food Fair from 9 AM - 4 PM outside in the nice sunny, 70 degree forecasted day.  So we shall see if I have anything left to complete a 2 hour Zone 2 ride after that. 

Tara is the co-chair for the food faiar event this year and has been working and organizing this event since last summer.  All the television and radio spots have been done this week, all the elements needed for the event finish arriving today and tomorrow, and it should be a great event.  It's open to the public and features great food, music, drink and fellowship.  Come one, come all!!!

Alexa arrived home last night from college for the summer.  So we had a nice family meal and reunion as the "nest" is full again for a few months.


Bon Weekend to all...


Psycowpath #3 - Platte River Battle Royale Race Report...

The Nebraska Psycowpath Series fired up again yesterday at Platte River State Park near Louisville, Nebraska for race #3 in their series for this 2014 season.  I really enjoyed that venue last year and couldn't wait to get back and hit the swoops, techincal challenges of the rocks, and smile enducing gully downhill run through the rocks at full big ring speed.

The weather was perfect with temperatures in the upper 70's to low 80's, and enough wind to keep us cooled off a bit when we were out in the sun.  I arrived about an hour before the race, checked in and did my warm up before heading to the starting area where Psycowpath Director Ryan Feagen was staging each category.  Our group got called up and I lined up right next to the main competition in my age class this year - Mark Sullivan (won the first race), and Tom Jeffreys (won the second race).  In the first Psycowpath race at Swanson, they had pulled away from me in heavy traffic and bested me at the line by 3 minutes, 48 seconds and change.

And after a 15 second count down, we were off (I'm #306 in the black)...


I was determined to keep Mark and Tom in my sights during this race, and not let traffic/passing separate us like I did at Swanson.  So, on the opening climb I kept only a few riders between them and myself.  At the top of the climb, I quickly jumped a couple of spots ahead before heading into the singletrack to settle in a spot or two right behind Mark.  Tom was a few spots ahead of Mark and we were off into the woods.  I heard Tom's voice on one of the turns we were working our way through ask the rider in front of him if he could get around him, so I knew the screws were about to tighten. 

After the first 8 minutes or so, things settled into a great race pace as we worked our way around a few slower riders.  It wasn't long before some carnage started to take place with people falling.  Crashes with people trying to pass and getting tangled up.  And suddenly, there was Tom who had to pull over on the side of the trail with what appeared to be a mechanical with his bike.  I asked him if he was okay, and I don't know if it was his chain, or derailleur or what, but I went around him and sped back up to try and latch onto Mark who was now in the lead.

Edit:  The rider in front of Tom had gone down causing Tom to try to go around him and he caught his rear derailleur on some dirt which bent things enough it didn't work properly.  New rear derailleur, derailleur hanger, and chain will be needed.

There were two racers between myself and Mark.  The one directly in front of me was not doing so well in the technical sections of the trail, but I remained right on his back wheel waiting for a safe spot to pass - or at least an opportunity.  That opportunity eventually unveiled intself when he went down hard on a sharp left switchback turn.  Between he and his bike - the entire trail was covered.  I asked him if he was okay, and he said he was.  I managed to power up and over the side of the bank to get around him without losing any momentum to stay in pursuit of Mark.  Things continued to settle out with us catching up to slower traffic from previous wave starts, and the passing game began where you have to be careful to wait for safe spots, announcing your intention to pass and the usual courteous handling of each situation.  As I said, I was determined not to lose sight of Mark, and I figured by now Tom was catching back up to us provided he had fixed whatever it was that was wrong with his bike.

We hit the technical rock section, and everyone in front of me was dismounting so I did as well and ran the bike through the majority of that section.  One guy ran past me in this section and looked to be the guy who had fallen on the switchback a bit earlier.  Once we got out into the open section of the trail crossing a field, I passed him back and was following Mark as best I could.  The descent down the gully that I remembered from last year was dry, fast and picking your line proved to be crucial.  I saw a female rider stuck in the rocks and I called out my intention to pass her on the left which worked just fine.  Then I saw a couple of riders down on the ground with a group around them tending to them.  As they were being taken care of by spectators, I kept on riding.  I hope everyone ended up being fine that was involved in that crash.

I caught back up with Mark as we went up the added new climb for this year's course which took us back up, raised my heart rate to 175, and then had us flying right back down on another fun, and super fast descent into the finish line area.  I hit some soft dirt during that descent and just about washed out the front end, but counter-steered quickly enough to keep upright.

My sights were set on Mark.  I saw him make the turn to start the 2nd lap about 5-10 seconds or so in front of me.  I gave chase on the opening climb again to keep in contact.  We had a lot of riding left to do, so I debated on letting it all hang out on this climb, or just to stick behind Mark.  I stuck behind him and started playing the mental game of asking myself "how bad do I want this?" as motivation.  Every time Mark would pull ahead or gain some ground, I would fight right back and be on his wheel.  This cat and mouse game went on for all of lap 2.  I bobbled a bit in the big descent through the rocks by picking a bad line and had to put a foot down and work myself back out of the rocks and onto some dirt which cost me a few seconds.  Mark was ahead of me on the final big climb and I gave it all I could.  I caught back up to him by the top of the climb.  He took off down the final descent and I put it in the big ring and gave pursuit.

The final section into the finish line I sprinted and was suprrised I caught up with him so easily.  I wasn't sure where the finish line was, if we were to go straight, or turn to the right like we had with the lap and I saw the chute narrowed just as the official motioned for us to go straight.  I was right next to Mark about 1/2 bike length behind him when I pulled up out of fear of locking our handlebars going into the narrow chute.  I smiled and as we crossed the line, I heard Ryan announce something over the P.A. System about how "...I wasn't willing to sacrifice my Fine Arts career for a risky pass at the line..." which is about the truth.  I had a similar sprint to the finish and pass at a narrow chute finish line in a Minnesota race a couple of years ago where my bars locked with the rider I was passing when he moved into me, and I went down so hard I passed out from hitting my head on the ground so hard at the line.  I was awakened by a police officer who was on duty at the race asking me if I was okay.  That was all running through my mind yesterday when I saw the situation unfold.  At least I'm sure it contributed in my decision to pull up right at the end when I was in full sprint mode.  I was happy to be in the hunt, for sure, compared to the race at Swanson where I was nearly 4 minutes back. 

Oh well, we were scored one second apart in the final times and it was really fun racing to be that close.  Here we are on the podium after recovering from the effort. 


We found out that Tom had to DNF, so something must have been wrong with his bike (edit:  derailleur/chain/hanger).  Mark had Tom by 1 second in the first race, and he had me by 1 second in this race.  So he remains the man to beat this year in the Psycowpath series!!!

Kudos to the trail crew and hosts for such a fun race at this great venue!!!  Anyone reading this that has not raced at Platte River, needs to add it to their schedule for next year.  What a challenging and fun course!!!  I was joking with Karmen Woelber after the race that after a month of racing on courses like Lewis and Clark, Seven Oaks, Platte River, Ponca - that she will be more than ready for Mt. Kato in Minnesota that is coming up and is always a favorite when it comes to lots of climbing.

After the awards were handed out, I headed home and arrived in Indianola just in time to go downtown to join all the riders that had done the R.A.W. Ride as a fundraiser for Warren County bike trails.  Tara had done the ride, so we split a pizza, had some beers, visited, and then hit The Outside Scoop for opening day to top off my calorie replinishment from the race.


Performing tonight...

Singing Tonight

I'll be performing 4 very haunting songs based on "spirits" this evening that my colleague, Dr. Ron Albrecht composed.  Information can be found here.  One is a Native American poem, one is about the Holocaust, one is about Monsters in the Room, and one is about Spirits.  The music I will be singing with has all been produced using soundscapes and is very unique.  In fact, according to Dr. Albrecht, this has never been done at Simpson before.  So here's to a First!!!  The program will be in a lecture recital format and should only last about 30 minutes.  Yesterday's dress rehearsal was all about getting the electronic equipment set up and the balance correct.

This performance is all part of our May Arts Festival going on for 3 weeks at Simpson College.  There are 3 events today.  One at 11:45 involving Indian Dance in Harris Hall, another at 3 involving Jazz in Dirlam Lounge, and then the event I am singing in is at 7 in Lekberg Hall.

Bike Training

Here I am in the middle of Week #5 of my Build, Peak, and Race 12 week program.  My weight is maintaining in the 168-170 area.  I felt a bit cooked in the legs on Monday after Sunday's race at Boone, so I skipped the lower body weight lifting knowing I have another race on Saturday.  I did a nice recovery spin, did some upper body weights, and spent plenty of time with the foam roller instead.  I got back on the normal schedule Tuesday and knocked out the Zone 5 intervals on Tuesday, and did a nice 110 minute recovery spin last night after work with Tara.  It was perfect as Tara didn't feel too energetic and because of that, I averaged 105 bpm with the heart rate crusing along in Zone 1 for the majority of it.  

I will time today's Threshold Intervals as best as I can to allow for proper hydration to recover for tonight's performance.  If the weather does not allow me to do these outside on the road bike (big storms are headed our way), then I will do them in the basement on the LeMond.


IMBCS #1 Seven Oaks Race Report...

The Iowa Mountain Biking Championship Series kicked off its 12th season yesterday at Seven Oaks Ski Area in Boone, Iowa.  74 racers showed up to test their mettle on the always challenging trails at Seven Oaks.  These trails feature plenty of twists and turns, ups and downs, all while requiring intense focus to keep the rubber side down.  In terms of mountain biking, it is about as tough a trail as it gets here in Iowa.

IMO, we were welcomed with perfect trail conditions (tacky from the recent rain) and 48 degree temperatures at the noon start for the CAT 1/COMP/CAT 2 start.  Brrrr...!  Ron DeGeest and Kyle Sedore were hosting their final event at Boone after all of the years they have put into working on the trail and hosting events at Seven Oaks.  It was a bittersweet event because of that, but as usual - they nailed it and had the course set up in an exceptional manner with a nice finish line climb to the very top of the ski hill which aided chief scorers Steve Fuller and Nick Wooley by giving them ample opportunity to read number plates and get the results marked down with no problems.

Newcomer to my age group was the just turned 50 racing age Joe Short.  Landon Beachy, Paul Varnum, Sterling Heise, Andre Rethman, etc...were also there and we had 21 start in our wave for CAT 2.  I was in the 2nd row of the starting line at the top of the ski hill where we had a nice gravel road opening segment to jockey for position going into the singletrack.  I went into the singletrack in about 8th or 9th position feeling pretty good with the race start as Andre, Landon, Paul, Sterling were all behind me.  I wasn't sure how my legs would do coming off the hard training week and how I would hold up on the climbs after the weight loss.  It didn't take long for me to feel the positive benefit of being 20 pounds lighter on the climbs.  We immediately caught up to the CAT 1 Women's Field and worked our way through the field trying to execute passes on a course that is technically a nice challenge and requires waiting to get around another rider until a safe place presents itself.  I was able to ride a couple of climbs that others were walking, and went around several riders here and there to keep my pace high and stay in contention.  Ron Cooney was behind me encouraging me to pass a couple of riders we were stuck behind at one point, and I got around them and took off to build a gap between myself and Ron that eventually turned into a 5 minute gap.

The shakeout continued for a good portion of lap 1 as we worked our way through all of the switchbacks, climbs, and backside of the ski mountain.  I was feeling strong and used every opportunity I could that played to my strengths to open up a gap and move forward from whoever was behind me.

Photo Courtesy of Eric Roccasecca

I was passing riders from earlier waves and knew I was still in the top 1/3 of our start wave.  I finished the first lap feeling strong and took off in the 2nd lap egging myself on to not let up and slip into an easier effort pace.

Photo Courtesy of Eric Roccasecca

I wasn't sure if I was in 1st or 2nd or what for the 50+ group, but didn't worry about that as I was more interested in just pushing myself.  The conditioning and new lower weight proved beneficial in the 2nd lap as I caught and passed riders from the COMP wave that had started ahead of us.

I crossed the finish line with a time of 1:32:23.  That was 7th out of our start wave of 21, and 2nd in the 50+ age class.  The climbing work on the legs and lungs at Seven Oaks had me tuckered out at the end, but in a good way.  The cooler temperatures contributed to keeping me fresh.  Joe Short won my age class and had me by 4 minutes and 28 seconds.  Landon, who has been tough for me to beat in past races, came in 10 minutes and change after me.  In talking with him, he didn't do his usual off-season training during the cold winter and had not ridden at Boone in many years.  Knowing Landon, he'll be in much better form at the next race or two!!!

Much visiting, celebrating, and recapping of races took place in the parking lot for a couple of hours before the awards presentation and everyone headed home.  I met Tony Branch who leads the NCJC Youth Off Road Riders's group.  He is a youth leader from Iowa City who had come to the race with 7 youth riders in a van pulling a tricked out trailer to haul all of their bikes.

The trailer (pretty sweet trailer, huh?) was funded through a donation/fund raising campaign. 


Here are some of the youth off road riders group on the start line at Boone yesterday...


They will be attending all 7 IMBCS events this year and have a great story to tell.  It's quite possible that IMBCS is poised to promote youth involvement in mountain biking and this might spark some future endeavors for IMBCS.  Kyle provided free entry for them to his race which I thought was a wonderful choice.  I would like to see IMBCS come up with a plan and sponsorship/fund raising to help cover entry fees for youth riders.  Paul Varnum suggested equipment donations as well for the riders.  More on all of that later.  It was very exciting to see this group at the race and to hear they will be attending all IMBCS races this year.  They have 31 total in their group.

Kudos to Kyle and Ron for your excellent work - not only in yesterday's race - but for all the years of hard work at Seven Oaks in trail maintenance, trail building, and hosting spectacular events.  Talk about Hall of Fame contributions from both!!!!   


Race Weekend is on tap...

The opening 2014 IMBCS race will be tomorrow at Seven Oaks Ski Area just outside of Boone, Iowa.  The weather looks like it will be very enjoyable with temperatures in the 50's and low 60's.  PERFECT!!!

That is a far cry from racing there in the middle of summer when it can easiy be in the upper 80's and 90's with high humidty.  Racing in the high heat makes all the climbing even more difficult.  I'm not saying the climbing will still not be a test, because it will.  However, at least the weather won't be a factor for making our heart rates even higher than they would be in the heat.  It would be great to see a huge turnout at the race because this is the last year that Kyle Sedore and Ron DeGeest will host this event after all of the years of hard work they have done.  Kudos and thanks to both men for all of their hard work, dedication, and what they brought to Iowa Mountain Biking and IMBCS Racing!!!

It would be a huge boon (pardon the pun) to all mountain bikers to see somebody else step up and take over trail work at Seven Oaks and consider hosting a race next year.  I'm hoping that happens so we don't lose the venue for riding or for racing.

In terms of my conditioning, I'm really hoping that I feel the difference of riding up the hills without carrying this extra amount around with me this year...


It won't solve all of my genetically limited woes, but it does improve my power to weight ratio a bit.

This weekend marks the end of week #4 of the 12 week build, peak, and race plan.  My legs are a tad cooked from the work they have done this week, but it is all in an effort to build to a peak for a later point in the racing season.  I had a nice recovery ride yesterday keeping the heart rate and wattage as low as possible.  It felt like I was barely crawling along, but it did help work out some of the stiffness in my muscles from the hard intervals I did on Tuesday and Thursday.  Another short recovery ride is on tap for today with a few minutes of higher effort to prepare for tomorrow's race.

Today is Simpson Graduation, then I head up to Des Moines to make over 1000 kebabs to send to frozen storage for the upcoming food fair.  This is the second round of doing that and I know I will be tired from standing on my feet and working with the meat all afternoon - so I should sleep well tonight.  I need to work in mowing the lawn at some point this weekend as well!!!!

I also have plenty of work to do on finishing up the syllabus for the May Term Opera Workshop Class today and tomorrow.  I got a huge chunk of it done yesterday, but need a few tweaks, proofing, scheduling, and updates before it is ready to print out on Monday morning to hand to the class.  Then Monday begins 3 weeks of condensing an entire semseter into one intensive course as we put in long days from 10 to 10 to accomplish our course objectives.

Bon Weekend to all!