I have never done both days at the Hermann Cyclocross race. I just don't have it in me. 2014 was different, though. I signed up for both days. The weather was cooperative, but the body was not. I knew as soon as I stepped out of the car that I was in trouble. I busted out and did what I could, and it was not as good as Saturday night. First lap shows me cresting the stairs (which were twice as hard as the stairs we ran Saturday night!).
The brilliant sun light could not coax any more power out of this body. Glad I did it, but my third place (in age group, sixth overall) shows that I was off the pace. Onward to La Vista next weekend.
I was the first guy to sign up for Hermann, so they gave me number 1. That's always a good start!
My two partners in crime, Hanna and Tyson, came with me to Hermann. Hanna is the official photographer, so she took a photo of me in my warm-up costume. I'm flashing her the horns, which she really thinks is funny.
Random shot of me, at least she didn't focus in on my nose hairs.
It was a killer five-way race at the front tonight. At one point, I crashed into another rider who had crashed in the sand pit. Ouch. Somehow, I fought back to the leaders, made a move, and finished 2nd. My heart rate hit 185 bpm for the last two minutes of the race, and averaged 175 for the entire 42 minutes.
Proof that at times, I have raced an actual cyclocross bike in cyclocross races. Tilles Park, October of 2005. The beautiful Mrs K took this photo of me crashing across a ditch close to McKnight road. If you squint hard, you can see Ethan Froese chasing Chris Harre in the background, about 30 seconds up on me. I'm riding a Ridley Supercross.
Dejected by the finish, I'm 5th place and I don't think I raced again that year.
Later in 2005, I had even less fashion sense, but I had a better bike. Cape Girardeau mountain bike race, August 2005. It was at the god-awful course on the backside of town. This is the start, with Bob Arnold and Paul Krewit visible behind me.
There was a ton of single track there, which I liked. But also a lot of weeds and stifling heat, which I didn't like.
Showing the guns with the sleeveless jersey subtracts a full 100 style points. The Santa Cruz Superlight added some points back.
Waaaay back in 2005...LOL...I raced at Castlewood in the spring. That's the old Stage 1 kit and a Salsa 26" full suspension bike. V-brakes, grip shift, 3 chainrings, flimsy Sid fork....what was this guy thinking??
Clearly, it was a nice spring day. So, why the knee warmers?
Never mind the odd equipment...I was winning in those days and the bike and kit didn't matter. I think I had more hair, too!
'Cross season typically gets started around these part in Alton. Wild Trak Bikes puts on a three-weekend series and it's a good one. The first is at Rock Bridge park, a historic place with much beauty and elevation change. The first photo shows me in my usual glory, taking a lap at the front and throwing caution to the wind.
The second photo is thoughtfully cropped to show my cool blue helmet and matching Gateway kit. Cropped because John Jones has sped away from me and on to first place, leaving me to toil away with a hard-fought second place. I was as good as I could be, which was second place.
It as s good Sunday for catching cool cars. A mile down the road from the old Ford rod that we photographed, Eli and I saw this beauty sitting in the parking lot of a Dairy Queen. It's a 1970 Challenger R/T.
This one is a convertible, and it's in darn fine shape. Can you believe that I didn't check which engine it had? It says so on the hood, but my crappy old iPhone didn't catch it in enough detail to tell. In any case, it was a good catch.
I could be completely wrong about the year, because cars older than 1960 are not that familiar to me. But Eli and I caught this one in a Schnucks parking lot today. It really was a beauty, with all kinds of killer suspension work and a really cool color.
Icing on the cake for me was the actual Ford engine. Usually, these rods are equipped with Chevy engines. This was a Winsdor of the 302 or 351 variety. Darn cool!
To a lot of Missourians, Johnson's Shut-Ins is a pretty common stop on the "Things to Do in Missouri". It shouldn't surprise you, then, that I've never been.
The beautiful Mrs. K and I took Hanna, Tyson, and Eli on Sunday. I was amazed. I was floored by the rock formations. I'm not one to love water, but this was different. Right click on the photos and they will be much bigger.
It was like hiking and lake swimming and creek walking all rolled into one.
Every where you turn, there is another rock face or drop off. It was a little intimidating at first. There was no way of knowing how deep the water would be at any one point...except putting your foot in and seeing where you'd touch.
I finally made my way all the way to the end of this photo. That's where the crazy kids (including Tyson!) would jump off the bluff walls and into the water.
This is the only photo that I caught all three kids together in the rocks. They were much faster than I through the maze of rocks and water.
Rex wasn't allowed in the actual rocky sections, but he did get to explore the river upstream. And then he slept for a full day.
Every year since 2005, we've had kids in the Gateway cup races. Hanna and Tyson started then in the 4 and 5 year old groups. Eli started just a couple of years later in the little guys group. The older kids have become too old for the kids races, leaving Eli as the only one. Fine by him.
He and I did sprints one night a couple of weeks ago, and he's taken that bit of instruction to it's obvious conclusion: he's one fast kid in a straight line. He mopped up on Friday night at Lafayette Square, and did the same thing on Saturday at St. Francis. Then a funny thing happened....he didn't race The Hill. That's the one place we have never missed. But, we did a family outing to Johnson's Shut-Ins so that's compensation. Still, it was a little weird to miss The Hill.
Tyson doesn't really look ready for school at 6:30am, but he was. Carrying on with a long tradition of dogs checking out the first day of school photos, Rex assumes Rosco's old position in the little window in the background.
Breaking with the doggy-in-the-window tradition, Rex came outside to sit with Eli while he closed his eyes for our photos.
We actually took Eli inside on his first day of school, which would have embarrassed Tyson to the point of death. It was a good morning.
When our water was off last night, the beautiful Mrs K brought home a water jug from her mom's house. The moment I saw it, I was transported to 1964. Not that I remember 1964, but that's when Coleman made this hefty jug. And it's still perfectly functional.
I find that a lot when visiting the in-laws. Like the board games and records from the 50's. It's like they have a time machine sometimes. It makes me wish that things were still made to last....and it makes me wish we could take care of things better, because lord knows we don't.
After a couple of weeks riding the rockiest trails we have to offer, I switched gears yesterday and today to ride the trails with dirt. In small part due to my spine, but mostly because cyclocross season is approaching, I thought it best.
Yesterday, I hit Creve Coeur and today I rode at Cliff Cave. At Cliff Cave, I chose the new 'cross rocket ship. 18 pounds of aluminum 27.5 hard tail. Yes, 27.5. I have felt the last couple of years that the 29er I had been using was just too much bike in the twisty turns and transitions. I didn't want to give up the 18-wheeler type roll that the 29er gave me, but I didn't want to drag that big rig through corners, nor did I want to accelerate that thing again. 27.5 is a compromise. Overall tire diameter is the same as a 700x33 'cross wheel, so I'm still good there.
And fun? Yes. I have a rigid carbon fork again but 1x10 drivetrain, an upgrade from last year's set up. I had so much fun this morning at Cliff Cave that I nearly decapitated myself when I neglected to duck a low-hanging limb.
Truly, I doubt I will place any better on this bike than the other. But it will be a better tool for the job, I think. The placing is more dependent on the motor anyway.
It's impossible for me to tell if a "Cobra" is a real Cobra or a kit. Regardless, this one was DEE Lux! It said 427 on the fender and if I had the time, I would have walked around it and took some better photos. As it was, I was taking these from inside my car.
Nearly flawless, which leads me to believe that it's a kit. Whatever it is, it's still hot! Vroom.
It's been a dusty week at the local trails. I was lucky enough to ride off-road 4 times in the last 8 days: St. Joe mtb race, Blue Ribbon at Castlewood, Chubb Trail, and Matson Hill on Sunday. All of these trails exhibit the raw, rough, technical traits that I have loved over the years.
I'm hurtin'. My neck and back are toast. The years have not been kind to my spine! But I wouldn't trade the experience. I need to work on some physical issues that will help, and I will probably change some fit aspects of the bike to make things more back-friendly.
....and I'm probably going mountain biking again tomorrow!
Rolling through Shrewsbury, this super clean Mercury caught my eye. Normally, I call them all Montego's. I always forget that the Comet and Montego were twins down to the trim levels, much like their cousins, the Fairlane and Torino. My 1968 Torino had the same body lines, although I like the grill and tail better on the Mercury cars.
This baby was in magnificent original condition. Great paint, no wrinkles, no visible rust, no ugly aftermarket wheels, no big exhaust hanging out of the back. The first photo shows a bit of very light gold pinstriping on the hood.
This view is the best. While the entire car says "1969", this view exemplifies 60's American automobiles. Who knows what is under the hood? Being a '69, it could have been a 250 6-cylinder, a 302 V-8 (most likely), a 351w (maybe), or a 428 (probably not).