Monday, November 23, 2015

Bubba Cyclocross Race at Suson Park

 At first I'm like - BRRRRAAAAAAP!
 Then I'm like - GRRRRRRRRR!

Thank you to Mike Dawson for capturing every important moment in my quest for another 8th place in the Bubba series.  It was cold for me to be out on a bike, but I was so glad I went.  The course was hard, hard, hard.  Surprisingly, there was NO MUD.  A little soft in spots, though, which made for some tough going.  Over a thousand feet of climbing, too.

Two races to go, the last of which is at St. Vincent Park.

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Holly Mighty Demon Needs a Rebuild

 It's mighty big, alright.  The Holly Mighty Demon on the Cobra replica is a 750cfm monster.  It runs really rich and leaks a lot of gas.  It's time for a rebuild.
It was harder to pull the tool box from the trunk of my car than to pull the carb from the intake.  I love old tech.  I wish I had the time and patience to rebuild the carb myself, but I think it deserves a professional job.  I'll have it back on the Cobra in less than a week.  Then we can see how this beast runs with a full set of lungs.

Hair Cut

 About every other time, the Beautiful Mrs K will cut Eli's hair instead of taking him to the salon.  It saves money.  And she's pretty good at it.
Look at all that hair!  And that's only half of what I swept up when she was through cutting.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Car Watching - Ferrari FF

 Behold, the Ferrari FF.  It's an odd duck, mostly because of it's semi-hatch back shape.
 Above the menacing quad exhaust tips is a sight that stirs memories of the BMW M coupe, only not as cool.
 But it is a Ferrari, and as such it's a high performance tour de force.  See those brake calipers? See those rotors?
 It's called the FF, short for Fast Four...meaning it has four seats.  So four people can enjoy being thrust down the road by 651 horsepower from the 6.3 liter V12.
In fact, Ferrari says it will make it past the 200mph mark.  Awesome.  Really awesome.  It's hard to argue with that sort of performance.  But maybe with that sort of speed, no one will notice the ugly butt on this thing. 

Monday, November 09, 2015

Queeny Park Cyclocross, Part Two

 We visited Queeny Park for the second time this year in the Bubba series on Sunday.  However, it was not the same course, or even in the same part of the park.  It was a power course, which I have no business on.  The above photo, taken by the renowned Mike Dawson, makes me look fast and intense.  In fact, this was a point in the race that I was intensely going backward.
The laps were extremely fast, and the only slow part was this steep hill that we mashed up 10 times.  It was my saving grace.  I managed 10th place out of 23, actually not bad considering the course.  Onward and upward, as next weekend houses the infamous Concordia Seminary course.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Car Watching - 1974 AMC Gremlin X

 Yes indeed, this Gremlin is thought of as one of the ugliest cars to come out of the 70's.  But, I don't think so.  Yes, it's got a strange "hit in the back by a large truck" look, but many of the hatchbacks that came to the states from Japan and Europe had similar profiles.  This beauty is a 1974 Gremlin X, and it's go a mean V8 under the hood.
 The X was just an appearance package, but it gave the car a sportier look.  The body and brilliant blue paint are a real eye-catcher.
 The bumpers had not grown too large on AMC cars by 74.  And the little bulge in the hood makes it look like something's going on under there.
 Sporty wheels with chrome trim rings are cool, too.  I wish I had gotten a good picture of the interior, which was awesome in it's 70's austerity. 
About what was under that hood....the cool chrome pipes that stuck out of both sides of the car just in front of the rear wheels were a nice tip off.  Gremlin's came with a LOT of six cylinder ho-hum.  After all, the Gremlin was supposed to be an economy car that went up against imports.  But some Gremlin's came with 304 V8's. This one?  It's got a healthy 343 from an AMX, the owner himself said so.  It sounded glorious as he rumbled away from the store.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Cyclocross Racing - Sylvan Springs

 Fun, fast race course at Sylvan Springs this past Sunday.  I thought for sure that I would be off the back. So I start fast.
 Quickly relegated to third behind Chris Harre and a charging Josh Johnson, I started to wonder why I had chosen to wear a long sleeve.  Hey, I was cold when I started.
 I unzipped a little every lap, usually after I was passed by someone.  However, the fast course kept the wind in my hair.  Actually, on my scalp.  My Gateway Cycling socks, courtesy of Justin M are looking good here!
I didn't unzip this far to keep my female fan base satisfied.  But I did manage a 7th place, better than I ever have at Sylvan.  Pretty close to 6th, but I ran out of talent.

Thanks to Mike Dawson for again providing proof that I was there.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Cyclocross Racing - Bubba in Chesterfield

 Another 'cross race, another fast start for me.  I was actually not first going into the first obstacles, but that changed in a few seconds.  I was really having a great time on the flowly, extremely bumpy course that circled the lake.  Felt great leading the group of 24 strong.
Then, I looked up and realized I was riding a mountain bike in a cyclocross race.

Sixth place was the best I could do this week.  I did have a small battle going on for fifth but the younger man took the last paying spot.

Thanks again to Mike Dawson for taking cool photos of weekend warriors!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Newest Area Mountain Bike Trails

Way, way back off of the Al Foster Trail, way, way back from Castlewood you'll find two of the finest mountain biking trails that we have available in the St. Louis Area.  Rock Hollow (or Zombie to those that know the old wives' tales) and Bluffview are amazing little trails.

I say little because they are still fairly short, only a couple of miles each.  Those couple of miles are action packed, though.  Consider Rock Hollow as sort of Greensfelder-like, and Bluffview similar with a little less rock.  Both are out-and-back for now, but there are plans for extensions that a lot of us are eagerly awaiting.

Actually, the trails don't have to be hard to access.  Lots of people go to Castlewood proper and ride all the way back, but you can get there pretty easily by parking at the lovely parking lot off of Old State road or park at Sherman Beach and ride a mile or two of Al Foster.

It's worth your time.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Queeny Park Bubba Cyclocross Race

 It's been more than a year since I've raced cyclocross.  I wisely chose Queeny Park and the Bubba series to make a return.  Great course for me.  And I'm not looking too bad here with my Giant helmet, gloves, and sunglasses, eh? It pays to show up to the dealer camps, I tell you! (Mike Dawson photo credit)
 Naturally, I started fast.  Naturally, Josh started slow.  That part played out pretty much as it always does, but I was able to dig a 4th place finish out of it. (Mike Dawson photo credit)
Who can resist racing on a day like this?  It was wonderful.  (Barry Bean photo credit)

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Car Watching - 1967 Ford Fairlane 500

 I'm a Ford guy, and this Fairlane is one of my unicorns.  I have always been blown away by the stacked headlights, the fastback roofline, and the sort of "7/8 Galaxie" sizing.  This is a 1967 Ford Fairlane 500, and it's owner has taken such good care of this baby.
 It's hard to find a bad angle on the '67, and the body on this one is so delicious.  I like the personalized plate (curiously, only on the front??).
 A little exhaust pipe action peeking out from below the fender just behind the rear wheel.  No gaudy big dual pipes here, just classy.  There are dual pipes, just understated.
 Right click the photo to get a full-sized look.  You can see the gravel reflected in the chrome. 
 There's that other pipe peeking out.  See the body and paint on this thing??  Damn fine work.
There's my stacked headlights.  And that "289" emblem.  The Fairlane had similar engine choices to the Mustang, as were transmission choices.  This was probably a normal 2V engine from the factory, but I would not doubt if somewhere along the way it has been beefed up.  Even so, it would have had 200 horsepower (gross) from the factory with it's 3-speed Cruise-o-Matic automatic transmission.  There were fire-breathing Fairlanes, such as the "R" code 427's, but that's collector stuff and this one is such a perfect every day car.  The interior was fine, too, but those photos turned out badly.

I'm in lust with a green Fairlane and I can't do anything about it.  I hope this one, which is for sale, goes to a wonderful new owner who cares for it as much as this owner has.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Car Watching - Ferrari 360 Spider

 What did my eyes spy one evening last week ?  Why, it's a Ferrari, of course.  A 360 Spider.  Hard to believe that this car is 10+ years old.
 This gorgeous 400 horsepower attention-getter can go 180mph...just what you need to dry your hair with the top down.  The owner of this beauty has a 1980's sense of humor, too.  Where are Crockett and Tubbs when you need them??
I had to get another shot of Ferrari's V8 car with Big Shark's V8 in the background....because both are incredible chick magnets!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Council Bluff and the Spiders

 I took the chance on the beautiful Friday to drive down to Council Bluff Lake to ride the trails.  I arrived a bit before 11am and it was pretty much a ghost town.
 This time, I remembered cash and payed my fee with dollars instead of change, like last time.
The trail itself was in much better shape and I knocked off more than 5 minutes from my Burnin' Race Loop time versus last time I was here.  Look closely at this photo, though.  You'll see my huge frustration with this trip:  spiders.  Well, not exactly the spiders themselves.  The webs.  If I told you I had a thousand webs cover my face while I was riding, it's probably low-balling the total.  There were more spider webs than I have ever encountered riding mountain bike trails.  I must say at times there were spiders hanging from my helmet, my arms, my clothes, and my legs.  Now...I'm not particularly bugged by spiders, but I am not a big fan of them.  And no-way-no-how am I a fan of them hanging all over my body while I'm trying to negotiate rocks and logs and turns.  I was so creeped out and itchy when I got done that I took a bit of a shower at one of the faucets at the camp site.

Car Watching - Noble M400

 I keep saying that Chesterfield is a great place to spot really cool cars.  Today's example is a Noble M400.  From the land that brought us fish and chips, the Noble is a mid-engined car that takes advantage of all that the world market can bring.  Namely, it puts a Ford 3 liter Duratec engine behind the seats.
 But it's not your dad's Duratec.  It has hotter cams...and two turbos.  And a ridiculously tall wing.
Those twin turbos give the wild little M400 more than 400 horsepower.  What's that, you say?  Lots of cars have 400 horsepower these days?  Sure.  But what do those cars weigh?  My guess is that they weigh a lot more than 2400 pounds, which is what the Noble weighs.  Do the math on that.  Zoom, zoom indeed.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Growing Kids!

 My oldest and prettiest is a Sophomore this year.  She acts like a COLLEGE Sophomore, but it's high school.  This beauty is playing volleyball again, and yes, she has a driver's permit.
 Tyson doesn't like having his picture taken, so it's rare to catch him with anything except a scowl on his face.  He's getting pretty tall, and he's playing baseball and soccer as a Freshman in high school.  No, he does NOT drive yet.
 Eli.  What can be said about Eli that hasn't already been said?  He's going into 4th grade and his fashion sense is without question.  In a Kakouris tradition, there is a dog peering out of the window on the first day of school.
This little dude plays baseball and basketball.  Kinda funny to see kids this size heave the ball at the basket, but they really try hard.  I'd love to have those shoes in my size!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Visiting Copper Mountain - Strictly Business, of Course!

 Due to the graciousness of Giant Bicycles (and my own employer), I was invited to attend "The Link".  It's a yearly thing where Giant gathers dealers together to see and ride the new stuff.  It's always an amazing shindig.  I visited The Link in Park City, Utah in 2013.
 For 2015, The Link was at Copper Mountain, Colorado.  That meant arriving at Denver International Airport on Sunday.
 The drive up highway 70 was different this time around.  When we did our family vacation in Colorado in 2012, we drove up this same stretch of highway and it was brown, brown, brown from the dry weather.  This time, it was green, green, green except for some of the pine trees that have been damaged by the Japanese beetle.
 The view from my incredible hotel room.  Green.  Mountains.  Ahhhh.
 First order of business on Monday was to ride bikes.  I busted through the killer catered breakfast and hit the trail with this Anthem.  A carbon fiber version of my own bike, it also sported the new Shimano Deore XT 1x11 drivetrain and carbon wheels.  Excellent.
 I climbed up the Colorado Trail from the Copper Mountain resort.  I stopped quite a bit on the way up to snap photos, as well as catch my breath.  Copper starts at 9700 feet.  Altitude kicks my ass.
 Super thoughtful sections of wood keeps the flow.  What an awesome trail, and, at least in this section, it's very well maintained. 
 Would you love to flow an awesome machine down this stuff?  Don't worry, it's not all groomed like this.  There are rocky sections, roots, pine needles...
 Pine needles.  Grippy.  And they smell good, too.
 Right-click this photo and view it in it's largest state.  That little creek is overflowing from all the rain.  It was raging.  The killer little bridge over it was icing on the cake.
 Lacking even more air as I closed in on 11,000 feet, this view took more breath away.  That raging little creek is calmer here as it comes down this pass.  That bald mountain up there is above the tree line.  Looks so close...but it's so far.
 I finally turned around as I heard thunder rumbling in the distance...and I ran out of steam.  And air.  Coming down was a blast.  So much fun.
 I snapped a great view of the bikes as they were gathered.  There were so many top-of-the-line bikes.  Giant really, really spares no expense so that it's dealers can try out the best.
 Tuesday afternoon, I wanted to ride the lift up and try out some of the "downhill" trails.  I hate chair lifts.  I hate heights.  But the top of this mountain is at 11,500 feet, and there isn't any way I was climbing all the way up there to bomb down.
 This was my Tuesday ride, a carbon Trance with more XT 1x11 and lots of travel. 
 At the top of the lift, this is what greeted me.  Right click this one, it's beautiful.  From here, the Elk Alley trail took me back down to the lodge.  I am not one to extract all of the downhill goodness from a bike with long travel.  But I was grinning ear to ear.  After reaching the bottom, I decided to hit the Colorado Trail again, this time with the Trance.  It climbed very well, despite inches more of travel than I can possibly use.  I got about 40 minutes up...
 ...and then the crack of thunder raised the hair on my arms.  No rain yet, but the air turned a blue color.  Very, very eerie.  I booked it back down, which was super fun on the Trance.
 And more rain came.  Still a beautiful place in the rain.
 I was able to hang for a few minutes with BMX Hall of Fame member Perry Kramer (of PK Ripper fame!)  He has an encyclopedic knowledge of the first days of BMX.  An absolute treasure and a pleasure to talk with.
 Blue skies on Wednesday.  I only rode a little bit, as the trails were quite soggy.  So, I took in the beauty of the resort and the mountains.
 This could be a post card.
 That big snow mound at the base of the mountain is used by the Woodward people.  There are little practice jumps for snow boarders.
 Another picturesque view from the grounds.
 What would life be like if our trails looked like this after it rained...every day?  It's crazy, it rained every day, and only early in the morning would the trails really be soggy.
One last view.  The beauty and the beast.  That should be beasts, as the mountains AND the weather can be beasts.  Love this place.  Loved the trip.  I hate flying, but it was more than worth it.