Thursday, February 15, 2018

Riding and Going Nowhere

 Dreary and warm ride down to Jefferson Barracks park this morning..
 Sylvan, this park holds a special place in my heart.
 I rode around the skate park.  Love the berm action!
 My shit bike is positively light weight compared to this monster.
 Calm and very low, the Mississippi river.
 The start of the greenway.
 You can really see how low the river is here at Carondelet.
 A good read.
Fascinating bridge that ends at the overlook.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Trail Running. Or What To Do On Mountain Bike Trails without a Bike

A few months ago a running race caught my eye.  Running never usually catches my eye.  But this run was on the Beulah trail at Greensfelder, which is where I ride my mountain bike quite a bit.  What fun!  A caveat was that it was at night.  And a timed event, sort of like endurance mountain bike events.  You could run for 9 hours (what the hell??), 6 hours (you kidding me?), or 3 hours, everyone ending at midnight.  Ok, still sounded like fun.
I talked a few of my coworkers into doing the race.  Sometime in December I started running a bit so that I could do this thing.  I didn't really run enough but I did some strong runs and really thought I was solid.  I got a sinus infection two weeks ago and that made me fear the worst.  I did the race anyway.  I hadn't run much over 10 miles until last night, but it wasn't the distance.  I just suffered from the word go.  I muddled through and finished 3 laps, right at 13.1 miles.
 Strava was very impressed.
I did finish in the top ten.  Top five would have been nice.  But it really, really was all I had.  No more.  No mas.  Finished.  Done.  It was right around 20 degrees at race time.  My water froze.  I kicked a rock in the most technical section and yardsaled, full spread eagle, at about the 2/3 point. And the third lap saw quite a bit of freezing drizzle and snow, which made the last rocky section really treacherous.

I was the first old guy to finish, though.  And there was some 63 year old dude only a couple of places behind me!

Overall I would say that it was a great experience.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Hanna Turns 18 only Once in Her Life!

Hanna turned 18 last week.  Which means she can vote, go to war, and probably do a lot of other adult things.  Besides that other important stuff, we toured Webster University which offered her quite a scholarship.  Curiously, they even had her name on a parking space in front of the building!
After the tour, it was time to get down to business.  We went to lunch with the family and there was this cake.  Since cousin Max has his birthday only a few days from hers, quite often we celebrate them together.  This cake was quite cool, because he turned 20 and she turned 2018.  Get it??
The obligatory posing with the cake.  Someone made it a point to point out that although Hanna played soccer and Max played football, no one knows why there were basketballs on the cake.  Food for thought.
 And then my three kids posed together.  They are good kids.
And then I had this abnormally cute photo of Rex that I had to share and this is as good as any place I can think of to put it!

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Idle Hands Don't Get Much Done

 Obligatory dog photo.  Rex is omnipresent in my daily activities.  Isn't he cute?
The basement has been a constant struggle for me over the last few years.  It has been a dumping ground, even though there are perfectly good shelves that I built ten years ago.  I made strides toward getting things organized.
The bench top was 18 years old.  It has moved into and out of four different houses.  It was nasty.  I haven't finished it yet but a new top is right around the corner.
And yes, the Christmas inflatables are finally dried out and stored away.  Man, these things get nasty.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Last Post of 2017 - I Know You're Happy!

As you may know, I'm fond of my daughter. One of my Christmas gifts this year was a canvas photo of the two of us.  It's wrapped around a wooden frame.  Thank you Flannery Allison, who also took the photo.
This 1999 Big Shark Racing jersey has made it back to me.  At some point over the years, I had given it away to someone.  Who gave it to someone else.  Who then gave it to me.  It's kind of like a lost puppy (or a bad penny!) who found his way back home!
Baby, it's cold outside.  That means I'm on the trainer.  You probably can't tell, but that's Micheal Rassmussen dropping Alberto Contador in one of the final stages of the 2007 Tour.  I finished the year off with minute on/minute off intervals.  Yay!  And yes, that's a Mustang clock.
 I mentioned it was cold outside.  Yep.
But I've never seen a day too cold to run stairs.  I haven't ridden my BMX bike to the stairs in a couple weeks, which hurts my heart.  Certainly today wasn't a day to ride to the stairs.  So I drove.  I'm good with that.  No ice or snow on the steps...I did bring a broom last week to sweep, mind you.

So that is it for 2017.  It has been awesome and awful, just like every year! 

Friday, December 29, 2017

The Hazards of Driving a Car Past it's Prime

The Fusion has 157,000 miles on it.  It has been exemplary in it's service, but the miles...the miles.  They are adding up and now is the moment that anything except total engine failure can happen.  And it always, always, always happens when it is BUTT ASS COLD outside.  Cue the massive coolant leak that popped up today.  I made it home from Chesterfield with the heat going in and out, a sure sign that there wasn't enough coolant to do the job.  I pulled the old jalopy into the garage and figured out that it wasn't major, but a major pain in the butt.
It's called a Water Outlet.  Pretty simple, but it plays a big roll in passing coolant between the head, the radiator, and the heater core.  Apparently it's a common failure in the 2.5 liter.  I was so worried that the freeze plug you see above that nice little clean coolant passage was the culprit.  Nope.  But it was a bear to get everything out of the way to remove this thing.  I pinched my right index finger with needle nose pliers in the process.  Grrrrr.
This is the dumpy little creature.  Not much to it.  Plastic, with a giant red O-ring to seal it to the head.
And that O-ring is what fails.  You can see the distortion.  This part cost $35 and the coolant was $30.  The price of my time and my pinched finger cannot be calculated, however.

Monday, December 25, 2017

A little Christmas Past

 What would Christmas be without a little blast from the past?  Enjoy the walk down memory lane.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Closing out 2017 With a Photo Essay

 I tried to expand my horizons a bit this December.  Yes, those are old running shoes, and I'm standing on some hallowed ground....
 ....the parking lot at the Beulah Trail inside Greensfelder.  There is a trail run here in February and I'd like to do it.  It will probably prove too much for me but a guy has to have goals, you know?
Speaking of Greensfelder, there has been some pretty big controlled burns there lately.  The bowl inside the Scenic Loop is pretty burnt up.  It looks eerie and cool at the same time.
Another look at the burn.  There were enough leaves on the mountain bike trail to warrant a burn there.  Just sayin'.
I did some more plumbing work, too.  It's amusing to me that pulling the cover off to expose the plumbing is usually harder than unclogging traps.  Deep down I know what the black stuff is in those traps, but I don't let myself think about it.
I parked next to a fine Bonneville last night, whose owner did a bang-up job of keeping the passenger side mirror on with just a dab of glue.  Well done!
Some poor soul found Xmas shopping too strenuous and it looks like a call went out to the paramedics.  This happened right outside the shop yesterday.  Hope everyone is alright and the ambulance ride doesn't cost more than a luxury vacation to the Bahamas.
I cut a big hole in a wall the other day.  Not because I wanted to take a look at these wires.  I wanted to install a doggy door.  The wires said otherwise.  Until you've done this, I don't know if you can possibly feel the disappointment I felt RIGHT AT THIS MOMENT.
 I felt better after patching it up.  It still needs a coat of paint.
 Every time I go to visit my Dad's gravesite at Jefferson Barracks, I get lost.  It's a big maze over there and for the life of me I can't get the streets straight.  So I took a photo of the map at the entrance and went with it.
Boom.  Found it pretty quickly.  I didn't end up on the other side of the cemetery this time.  I thought the rows and rows of head stones would be depressing in the snow, but quite the opposite.  It was a beautiful sight.  It was very peaceful.
I said a few words to Dad and brushed the snow off of the stone.  I cleared a little snow out and called it good.
I had a great workout on the trainer.  I think it's silly and awesome to be in great shape with no races or reasons in sight.  I did my hour of power and came out really well, even including my warmup.
Oh, I'll take that 20 minute power inside of an hour workout.  I had a Monster Mean Bean for breakfast, I'll have to remember that the next time I go for a power test.
And some creative person built this creepy little snowman on an outside table at Bread Company.  Good job on that.