Friday, July 12, 2019

It's NOT St. Francis Park

You don't look like a Saint.

The beautiful Mrs K and I went for a walk around St. Francis park last night explicitly to check out this statue.  As many times as we have been to this park, neither of us have seen it.  The statue is a tribute to David R Francis, a pretty big deal between the 19th and 20th centuries.

Francis was mayor of St. Louis, governor of Missouri, Secretary of the Interior, President of the World's Fair organization, and the ambassador to Russia.  Wow, that's a LOT of ground to cover in his 77 years.

What Francis was not, however, was a saint.

I have been calling Francis Park (the park in St. Louis Hills that bears David's name) St. Francis park since the beginning of time.  Well, since at least 1986 or so when I first saw the park and began hanging out there.  Just seemed right.  I mean, everything else around St. Louis is Saint-something.

The beautiful Mrs K has told me that she has repeatedly told me that it's not St. Francis.  I don't really remember her telling me that, but I'm going to believe her and just chalk it up to me being hard-headed (and perhaps hard-of-hearing).  She did grow up about 40 feet from the edge of the park, so it's best just to go with Francis Park.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Determined to Run Trails Again

Last November, I started having trouble with my right heel.  It came from running, I know that.  It persisted, so I didn't run again until February.  I got a few good runs in and some fun trail mileage until we went to Bentonville for my birthday in March.  I had one good run there at Blowing Springs and my left hip started hurting.  I was in pain for a few weeks. Wow, it was tough.  Since then, I have run very little but I so badly miss running on my favorite trails.  Top on that list is Beulah, which is in Greensfelder Park.
The trails are still too wet to ride but I knew Beulah would be ok to hike and run.  I decided today would be my Day 1 in the quest to run again.  Armed with knowledge about my previous injuries, I think I can get back into the swing like I was in 2017-2018 when I ran the Beulah 3-6-9 off-road race.
I walked and ran a little over 2 miles with no pain yet.  I was feeling very good, but I didn't push it any harder.  I want this running thing to stick.  I made it a point to visit the Beulah shelter, which is 50-60 yards down from the parking area.  It was the scene of the start and finish of the race, which was run at night, in 19 degree temps with sleet and snow.  It's quite a different situation today, but I have incredible memories of this place.
And of course there is the wonderfully rustic out-house between the parking area and the shelter.  I can't say that I have fond memories of this thing.  It's just a little TOO rustic.  But it does fit right in with the entire Greensfelder experience.

Caution: Graphic Photos and Facetious Content!

On our last day in Arkansas, we went to Hobbs State Park to enjoy the cool trails there.  After I got done riding, I experienced what I will call "The Great Porta-Potty Incident of 2019".  As I was getting out of my cycling clothes in the Porta-Potty, I scraped my knee on the toilet paper holder.  It bled a bit.  I wasn't sure if I was going to make it or not.  I considered calling an EMT, but I survived.
Meanwhile, the beautiful Mrs. K continued to complain about her minor injuries following a minor fall a day earlier.  Just a flesh wound, don't you think?
She also complained about this one on the shin/knee.  I can see how she might be a little annoyed by this one.  Much ado about nothing, I was thinking.
I could understand a little belly aching about this elbow.  I was pretty sure this one would clean right up, though.  I mean, really, did she spread a little jelly on this one to garner a little more sympathy??
And what's up with the black and blue and red fingers?  I mean, it was only a crash at 20 miles per hour on pavement.  For god's sake, woman, I scraped my knew in a PORTA-POTTY!  Doesn't that mean anything??

A week+ later and she's finally mended (mostly).  Me, on the other hand....I'm still having nightmares about the sharp edges in temporary bathroom structures.  Keep me in your thoughts!

Sunday, June 09, 2019

Bentonville Before Starting the New Job

Loaded up and truckin'! Before starting my new job with Trek Bicycle next week, I had a gap after leaving my last job.  The beautiful Mrs K and I decided to use that gap to trek down to our new home away from home, Bentonville, Arkansas.  We talked it over with some friends and despite the big threats of rain, we all went in on an AirBnB RIGHT in downtown Bentonville.  It turned out to be a great decision because the rain had yet to materialize.
It was a fantastic little house, and after a lot of laughs we all headed to bed so we could get up and hit the trails.  Naturally, I was stressed about the rain so I bolted early in the morning to hit the Back 40 trail.  I had a fantastic ride, 24-ish miles of sweet single track similar to the Ozark Trail.  No rain!  Alas, there were hundreds of thousands of spider webs.
I met Mrs K and the rest of the crew for some more riding around Bentonville proper.  The All American trail is a dirt trail that parallels the concrete bike path around town, and it has the sweetest switchbacks and some really cool jumps.  We ended up in Slaughter Pen, hitting the features there and the downhill jump course.
We also had to hit the local bike shop.  Our main man Chris had broken a seatpost and it wasn't available.  We made the most of it by sampling the local wares.
The Beautiful Mrs K prepares for yet another mountain bike ride.  As you can see, our AirBnB house was super bright and a great place to stay.
I caught Deanna flying down the big jump track at Slaughter Pen.  She's getting better and better at mountain biking.  She had much more fun this time...despite having a pretty big wipeout.  It rained pretty big on Friday so we took to the bike paths.  We had just started down the swoopy switchbacks out of the downtown area and she slid out big time at 21 mph.  Honestly, she was a mess.  Both arms, one leg, full of road rash.  Plus she jammed her right fingers so badly they turned black and blue.  We did ride 15 more miles that day, through the flooded tunnels and over to the pump track at Blowing Springs.  A trip into CVS, bandaged like a war veteran, she was good to go!
Not to be deterred by heavy rainfall or damaged bodies, we all went for a hike to check out Coler.  It's a rugged trail that's only minutes from our house.
Just hiking up the trail (the heavy duty features are at the top), we encountered so many cool details, like the armored sections.  Up, up, and up it went.
Standing on top of the massive steel and wooden structure, one can imagine that it takes a lot of guts to do some of this stuff. This wooden ramp cuts off, letting the rider open-air for a moment before landing on a huge slab of rack and then into a jump line.  I didn't get photos of our line down, but let's just say it has some absolutely amazing berms and jumps on the way.  It was just too wet to ride this time.  Next time, we're doing Coler first...if only for the trip downhill.
 I don't know how she does it, but Mrs K was determined that we go out on the town.  Our basic destination was the Bike Rack Brewery, and once we got there we decided on the Holler for burgers and beers.  Bandaged up, she and Valerie beat Chris and I at shuffle board.  This is only slightly embarrassing, as I really didn't care about winning or losing.  I was more entertained by her.
Our main goal for Saturday was getting to Hobbs State Park for the grand opening of the new trails there.  There is quite a network of singletrack there, but we were worried that it would be too wet to ride.  Not so.  Not only was the drive there very pretty, but Hobbs is one gorgeous place and the trails somehow drained off most of the water.  I say most, because I hit a lot of mud holes.  However, there were throngs of people there enjoying the trails along with me, so I took those puddles in stride.  I ended up riding a lot more than I thought because I had no idea where I was going. I ended up with 63 miles (40 off-road) and 4200 feet of climbing for the few days we were there.  Plus some great hiking (2 miles and 223 feet).

All said, we had a blast.  We rode bikes, ate some amazing food, stayed at a really cool house, drank some good and bad alcohol, learned how to apply Tagederm, and laughed a hell of a lot.

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Webster Groves Pump Track

There is a super short pump track in Webster Groves.  Who knew?  My brother in law Kevin knew about it long before I did.  Eli and I trucked over with our BMX bikes and found this wee little bundle of fun to be a blast.  He's still learning but he's getting the hang of it. Remember, the beauty of the pump track is how little you have to pedal to go max speed.
The corners are naturally really tight, with vertical tops.  But they're really, really grippy so you can put your faith in your tires.  Trouble is, you run out of turn really fast. 
A couple laps and I was going as fast as I could possibly go. Which probably doesn't seem very fast unless you're the one on the track.  It's only about 24" wide in the straights so speed is both your friend and your enemy.
In other words, going as fast as possible in the corners means the speed is too fast for the making the straights.  At least for now.  I'd like to see how fast FAST is.

Utah Whirlwind Tour

Very recently, I took an early morning flight to Salt Lake City, Utah for a job interview.  No, the job isn't in Utah.  But I couldn't pass up this job and I couldn't pass up the trip.  The interview was super positive and super short, which meant I had hours to drive the rental car to see the sights.  I drove straight up the canyon to Brighton, Utah. This 15 mile drive was breath taking.  There was drizzle and low hanging clouds in Salt Lake, and that gave way to moments of sunshine and brilliant blue skies.  As I drove higher, that turned nasty with dropping temperatures and driving snow.  I'll just leave you with photos, which I'll admit are very amateur and tourist-like...but I am an amateur and I am a tourist!  Yes, I'm lucky enough to have gotten the job, too!