Sunday, February 26, 2006

cali forn i a

the wife and i are going to california for a week. she's got a job thing, and i have nothing to do but ride. i know, i know, life is rough. i'll be sure to post some interesting drivel when i return, along with a buildup of the new blue cannondale, and i believe i now have all the parts for the scott, too.

asta...ok, ok, i'm not cool enough for a cool good bye. i'll just see ya'll next week, and then i can get a full report on the froze toes race, a race i no longer miss!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

weekend chores


hanna is brushing up on her homework before getting dressed for her modeling class today. mrs. k is going to have to take her, though, because i have a date with a bathroom at mom's house. my brother is going to help me tear it out...that should be a treat.

later today, we're going to pack out clothes and i'm going to put my road bike in a travel case for our trip to san diego tomorrow. mrs. k has work training there, so i'm going along for the ride, well, so i can ride! also, i don't know what to do with myself when the mrs. is not around. she suggested i come along, and who am i to say no?

Thursday, February 23, 2006

not quite like elmer fudd

this is rosco's morning ritual. he bounces out to the edge of the deck and sits quietly, very, very still. he hardly moves a muscle. now and then, he'll rotate his ears a bit, maybe tilt his head. he's hunting squirrels. when the moment is right, he bounds off of the deck, hitting only 1 of the 5 steps going down to the ground, and the chase is on. if acceleration was the only factor, he'd catch them. but short legs don't win dog/squirrel races.

meanwhile, back inside.......rudy is rooting for rosco. really.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

scales

i took the scale apart to give it a proper build-up. i took the opportunity to put the scale on the scale, and it came out to a whopping 2lb 6oz...egad! that's light! that there carbon fiber stuff is awesome! i was just going to put it together with the same build kit that it came with...you know, fox f80x, juicy carbon disc brakes, ritchey carbon post and bars, etc. but then, i thought, why not go for really light? i'll post it up when it's done, because i'm hoping for sub-21lbs out of this thing. i should be able to do that without sacrificing much strength or durability.
my next bit of erotica, if you can call it that, is my new road frame. it's a 2006 cannondale caad8 frameset, to replace my 2005 saeco caad7 frameset. yes, yes, perhaps not erotica to most. but, i fit the 55cm cdale like a glove, and this is the official big shark racing team bike....not that i'm on big shark racing.

my saeco frameset came with an aluminum steerer tube fork. i'm a fan of it because it's reasonably light and quite stiff. i'm also a bit of a stick in the mud for durability. i'm touchy about the whole clamping down the stem on the carbon steerer thing, but the new caad8 frameset comes with not only a carbon steerer, but it's full carbon, even the tips. yikes. time to get over my fear of lightweight stuff, eh? this thing came out to be only 3lbs, 5oz. on the scale...that's frame and fork!

i'm sure local riders are going to get tired of the bsr cannondales around here, but i like the look of this version...sort of a blue/black fade. another version that will be seen around town is a brushed aluminum that i think is equally attractive.

Friday, February 17, 2006

to infinity, and....


spurred on by my hour-long hyperactive ride yesterday, i set out to do some AT intervals today. not outside, of course. it's like, what, 24 degrees this morning??

i did my classic interval-day warmup, which is 25 minutes long, gradually increasing the gearing every few minutes. i stand every 5th minute on the trainer to keep life as i know it in the family jewel department. i have settled upon 166bpm as my AT heartrate...no, i don't have a power meter, so i am resigned to using such old school methods.

in my present state of tune, 166bpm corresponds to 53/17 @ 95rpm. actually, i may be moving beyond that, as today i had no trouble doing the drill, which is 5 minutes at AT, followed by 2 minutes of rest, times 4, for a total of 20 minutes at AT. i am very curious about using a power meter to track progress, however. i read all over the net about riders and thier outputs and would love to track my own improvements that way.

i could see it now... "honey, i'm going to spend $xxx on a power meter, so maybe we should cut back on the heat and maybe tell the kids that they should put water on their cereal for the next couple of months, oh and you should catch a ride to work because gas is getting pretty expensive..." uh, no.

i'm excited to be "training" again. i haven't really done any organized training in the last few years. maybe 2006 will be a great year!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

stormy days and bbb porn


continuing the non-winter st. louis winter, today's 70 degree temps prompted me to bust outside and get some hard pedaling done. i rushed home from work, wind whipping the car from side to side as i drove.

"if i can just start pedaling the bike, i won't care if it rains on me!" i kept repeating this mantra the whole way home. i dove into the cycling drawer, pulled out my shorts, knee warmers, jersey and socks...."if i can just start pedaling..." i kept looking outside. still filtered sunlight! whoo hoo! a quick check of the temperature gauge, 69 degrees still! yeah!

wisely, i chose the big beautiful bike, the "ugly porn" bike i own. it's a 6 year old homegrown that i have built up and torn down and built up again 20 different times. it becomes whatever i need it to be; makeshift cyclocross bike, fill-in lightweight hardtail, street bike, commuter bike. now it's the street bike. why a street bike? you ever get to ride for just a little while, and really don't have time to GO anywhere? perfect for the street bike. kinda like a bike messenger's bike...it can go anywhere, anytime. it's ugly and worthless, but still a good bike. with the clouds and forcast being what it was, this was the bike o' the day.

i busted out of the driveway, not heeding my own wise words ("a warmup is a good thing, always!") and rolled the throttle back. damn, it's warm! damn it's windy! i big-ringed it down the familiar route away from the house, in sort of a panicky way. i knew it was coming, and i wanted to be well under way when the weather got bad.

i felt sprinkles 10 minutes into the ride, but, no matter. i was RIDING! i told myself that a few more minutes, and i would be ready for some serious intervals. a few more rain drops, and i was ready for some serious intervals NOW! 20 seconds all-out, 44-11. i was able to get in 5 of them, then it started raining HARD! Whoa, tornado sirens! Weird, cold wind gusts blew across the warm road, making completely different climates, sometimes withing a few feet. What the hell??

i was already blown when i turned towards home...i guess my adrenaline from the rushing around made me oblivious to how hard i was going in the intervals. the wind was biblical, luckily it was a cross-wind, but that made staying out of the road really tough, especially since i couldn't see 10 feet in front of me. i could've sworn that it was hail and not rain pelting my body. another shot of adrenaline, this time from fear, enabled me to do a couple more flat-out intervals on the way home. wind-assisted, i was battling it out with a camry on hegee road...damn, i wish i could feel this good on race day!

i limped up my street, which is only a slight uphill, like i was climbing mount everest. i was soaked.

the rain stopped right about the time i hit the garage door opener. yep, pretty typical. the temp gauge reads 48 degrees. cold fronts and warm fronts certainly living up to the hype today.

gotta love st. louis weather.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

the eyes have it


have you ever looked at a light bulb too long? or, better yet, gotten an accidental eyefull of the sun? you see spots. sometimes for a couple minutes. annoying, ain't it?

i've been seeing a spot in my right eye for about 6 weeks now. it started right after the first of the year. it's front and center, covering about 10% of my field of vision in my right eye. i got worried about it, so i went to see an eye doctor a couple weeks ago, and he referred me to a retina specialist. my eyes were poked, eye-dropped, flashed with incredibly bright light...i had dye injected into my arm which made me super-nausiated instantaneously. i got to see really cool pictures of my eye, sort of like xrays of it in color, showing vains and even the optic nerve, and a tiny little black dot...the results were "central serous retinopathy."

the black dot on the picture was a "leakage" of blood from a vessle behind the retina. the blood pools a tiny bit behind the retina and distorts vision. it's common (although i've never heard of it, have you??) and usually takes care of itself in a couple months time. the lasting effects may be a slight lack of sharpness in the vision. my eyes are pretty darn good now, so i'm not going to cry around about that. (i have never been to an eyedoctor before) but, the annoyance of the spot cannot be denied.

i can speed up the disolution of the spot by having laser treatment, but that can have complications. or have an injection of a drug used to treat macular degeneration, but that's not covered by insurance, and it has a set of complications, too.

so, i guess i'll just live with my "i just looked at the sun" spot and hope that it goes away sooner than later. if you see me squinting, it's not because i have the sun in my eyes.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

in my spare time



of course, that's a joke. i really don't have any spare time. not a square to spare. but, i digress....

i have been renovating my family home. my ma and pa bought the place in 1968, when i was in diapers. it was built in 1937, a two bedroom bungalo. how 4 of us lived in that little place is beyond me, but we did. mom was a stickler for maintenance, but her style was, um, er, '70's. the hvac systems were always in top notch shape, new roofs when they needed it, paint when it needed it or even when it didn't...but the paneling. yes, paneling.

it was 1972 or so, and i distinctly remember carpenters everywhere and this dark, dark brown paneling going onto the walls, along with new deeppile green carpet. i don't remember what was there before, i just remember those couple of days. so, after mom died last year, i set about getting the place fixed up for sale.

first order of biz, carpet and paneling removal. off came the paneling, up came the carpet, and, to my amazement was hardwood floors. the plaster walls were in bad shape, and the floors were a bit beat up from years of carpet and staples, but me and the wife saw a diamond in the rough. we hired a couple of friends we know in the renovation biz, and had the walls and ceilings redone, and of course, a floor specialist got started on the floor. the results are stunning. the place is beautiful. i knew the hardwood was there, but never thought much of it, or the cool tile that we found under the fireplace.

there is a ton of painting to be done in the other rooms, and i have to remove a bathroom in the basement that won't pass code, but the house is really coming together. i spent a total of about 10 hours there this weekend, and i'm beat, but i'd say i think mom would like it, even though it's not really her style.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

the dalmation


rocky is an 80lb. dalmation. his bark is legendary. it is so loud, my hearing has gone south just in the two years i have known him. mrs. k had him since he was a wee pup with a pink nose. he bares his teeth like an angry bear when he is happy, sort of like smiling. this picture is a very, very rare sight...rosco is no lover of the dalmation. he snaps at rocky to warn him that he has stepped into yorkie territory. we find that hillarious, but rocky seems humiliated after being pushed around by what really amounts to an afternoon snack.

sleepy rudy


rudy is about 13lbs. of mostly fat. he is like a little round gremlin. he is 7 years old, and most of that 7 years has been spent sleeping. he is incredibly cute, and incredibly sweet...he loves everybody and even loves other dogs. he has this funny little greeting when we come home...it's like a little howl, but really low and gravely, like a growl and a howl all at once. roo-rooooo. it's even more funny, because he rarely makes any noise otherwise.

this is the killer


you may not realize it, but this little 11lb. yorkie is a killer. yes, he is a 80lb. fighting dog trapped in the body of a large, hairy squirrel. rosco p. coltrain is his name, and patrolling the back yard is his game.

twerps


this is hanna and tyson, my precious little twerps.

hanna is six, and she has a really small head and really big eyes...sort of like an anime character. she was in town today to check out a modeling agency. even if she doesn't make it onto a magazine cover, she's still the most beautiful girl in the world. her report card from kindergarten was stellar. she climbs hills on the super-orange retro raleigh better than fb does.

tyson is four, and his birthday is two months away. he has a really big head and little eyes...sort of like his body hasn't caught up with his head yet. he is really cute when he smiles, like the character on mad magazine, only smarter. he adds and subtracts as well as some of the guys i work with, and his handwritting is better than ed's or eubanks'.

Friday, February 10, 2006

jm and the meaning of respect

i got a phone call from an old friend yesterday, john m. wow, i hadn't heard from him in probably 4 years or so.

jm was my first real contact to the world of road racing. he had been racing for a couple of years already, and was pretty rabid about it, in his quiet way. jm was one of those guys that soaked it all in...he had respect for EVERYBODY who knew anything about racing and kept his mouth shut and learned from them all. he had a reverance for anyone with more knowledge than he had, and had a soft spot for anyone who knew less. he would go on rides with new riders and teach them what he knew, and go on mega-rides with riders far out of his league. he would never half-wheel a superior rider...that was disrespectful...and would wait for those who got dropped and didn't know thier way.

he took me on a ride one day, out conway road to mason...and dropped me on mason. i was on a borrowed road bike and shoes (toe clips) a little big for me. up until that time, i had only raced and ridden bmx bikes. he waited at the bridge over 270.

"sorry about that," he said, "i didn't know you weren't behind me." i laughed and cussed at him a little, and he dragged me home on clayton road and i thought i was going to die.

his bikes were alway immaculate. not a spec of dirt, yet he road for hours every day. waxed, polished, pristine. his road etiquette was always spot on...you waited at lights, you yielded when you were supposed to, you pacelined properly.

he'd humor me early on by doing sprints in forest park with me, me on my mountain bike and vans tennis shoes. i jump him by 20 feet, and he'd go by me at 30+ miles an hour after i'd topped out at less than 25. it was just fun for him...he'd never go tell his friends how bad he'd beat me, he'd just have fun and ask when we could go again.

and when it was time to go, he'd GO. in his heyday, after i had been road racing a few years, his straightline speed was shocking. intervals with john were like doing intervals with nelson vails...and johns thighs were nearly as big. he'd sit beside me for 45 seconds of a minute-long interval, and then put 6 or 7 bike lengths on me in the remaining 15. to me, he WAS power.

but john was a hefty guy, and hefty guys have trouble in the hills...or "heels" as he called them. because he would outride me in every other way, when i finally got my own road bike and became somewhat of a hill climber, i'd put the the screws to him. i'd put a minute into him out west, wait for him at the top, then pour it on as soon as he'd come puffing to the top. on short rises, i'd get out of the saddle and launch mini-attacks to break him down. i'd pick the hilliest routes i could think of so that i could have the advantage, sometimes riding away and calling him the next day to see if he made it home alright. he knew the way, didn't he?

it wasn't until later that i realized how much of an ass i was for treating such a graceful rider with such disrespect. i learned so much from his behavior, and put none of it into practice until years after i had learned it. i admired all that i observed, yet chose to grab a little glory by taking advantage of weakness.

that's something you do to enemies, not good friends. what i wouldn't give for one of those epic days in the saddle again, jm and i, riding to god-knows-where.

happy pills


i hate testimonials. i really do. these days, they're virtually worthless, and none are more worthless than testimonials about supplements. even worse are the testimonials about athletic performance inhancing supplements. this one works, oh no it doesn't- it causes the rickets, yes it does...

"i tried hyena semen for two days. on the third day i swam the channel after not having swum for years, and had a tea with mr. bean afterward."

"hail, naw! don't use nona that hyeeeena seemin. i swallered a lil bit a that junk, nex day mu eyeballs fell out and rolled round on da flo. mu ol lady hadda pop em back in fo me."

so it doesn't matter what someone elses experience is with a supplement...it's still a mystery as to whether or not it will work for you, we're just all that different. me, i can't take vitamin supplements of any kind. i get nausiated almost immediately, and it lasts for a day or two. most protein booster stuff (weightgain 4000, beefcake!) has a variety of amino acids and, of course, vitamin supplements. can't use them without nausia. even flintstone chewables will do it. if little debbie nutty bars don't have enough vitamins, i'm just not going to get vitamins, i guess.

a few years ago i read a little about glucosamine/chondroitin, and how it MAY or MAY NOT be able to ease joint pain and help repair joint damage. blah, blah. i was pretty sure it was another perfectly false claim by a perfectly useless product designed to seperate me from my money. but, like any good lemming, i bought some.

by glory! my knee pain subsided. i finished the bottle and considered it a mild success, especially since it didn't nausiate me. of course, over the course of months and years, each time my knee would act up, i'd take it again for a month or so and, by glory! the pain would ease and i would once again be myself. since december, my hip has been bothering me. when i say bothering, i don't mean it hurts, because something ALWAYS hurts and that, for me, is just life. i mean BOTHERING me. yeeeeeeeoooooowwwwwch. some motions were impossible. my streches didn't really help, ones that have always helped over the last 10 years or so. i started having nightmares about hip replacement and old folks homes and velcro shoes and titanium innards.

the lightbulb went on, i went to walgreens and spent $20 and 48 hours later the pain was gone, and it was like it never happened. i finished the bottle, just to be safe.

in my head? maybe. my hip sure feels good, though.

damn skirt


oh, jesus. i swear to god time just stands still when i'm on the trainer. tick....tick....tick. what the hell?

i wish i could take off my skirt and go ride in the cold. i'm always cold! at work, i have to fight it out with my pillow-biter mechanic co-workers. fb is always hot, and full of hot air. we argue all the time about the heat. we have one of those electronic thermostats, and it beeps every time you change the setting. fb hears the beeps and gets sand in his v and starts moaning about how hot it is. so i find myself negotiating for heat with this hydro-cephalic bufoon. i'm glad your stupid bike hasn't shown up, fb.

frickin', another co-worker, is another pain. he's always spouting off about me not having any body fat, which is why i'm cold. me? no body fat?? well, comparitively, maybe not. but frickin' maybe should be doing a little introspection and perhaps contacting ms. craig about a lifestyle change.

...the boxes, no, are not putting themselves away.

drugs are bad, umkay?


the newest velonews has an article about the jenson woman getting a lifetime ban from cycling for drug use. what a shame. she was unbeatable when she was in form...but, was that the giggle juice doing the talking the whole time??

jock-itch, a co-worker of mine, was reading that article yesterday when i was making my first trip around the shop berating everyone for some reason or another. he stopped me from some rant, i'm sure it was important, to ask if drugs were an issue back when i was bmx racing.

"jock-itch," i said, "there were no drugs that anyone could really see in 1984. but one day in 1985, there it was, plain as day."

you see, different from endurance-based cycling, bmx racing really rewarded the raw power rider in the '80's. the tracks were easy, sometimes you could get around an entire course without ever leaving the ground. freeways. a strong rider with a good gate start and reasonable cornering skills and half a brain would win. (it is not like that now!!) i guess that caught on with the strong riders, because 1985 opened with some already-fast guys absolutely dominating the pro races. and they were BIG...25+ pounds bigger than the year before. these were not the epo's or the red-blood-cell-enhancing drugs...they were the classic muscle-building steriods everyone used to know and love.

"WTF? that guy was fast last year, but this year he looks like the guy on the mister clean bottle and NOONE CAN TOUCH HIM!" that scenario played itself out over and over for the next 2-3 years, and became almost ridiculous when also-ran riders began blasting down the first straights at nationals everywhere like they were shot out of cannons. now i was still amature in '85, and didn't turn pro until the middle of '86, but even in the top amature age classes, it was evident that some previously good riders were suddenly large and in charge. i had a good friend go from hard-luck to AMAZING in a year....we practiced gate starts together before and after the juice and i have to say i was no match for the post-juice friend, and i was a top 5 national rider at the time. he went from a 150lb. guy to 185lb. block of muscle, a 180lb. squat to a 400lb. squat in a year....and i watched it.

there was no testing then, so if you were one of the guys wanting to win, your choices were to train EVEN HARDER than you already were, or join the steroid crowd....

sound familiar?

Thursday, February 09, 2006

bike porn



this year i was lucky enough to hook up with KONA for a "grass roots" sponsorship...you know, corporate charity. thanks Cory!

the most delicious ride is the KING SUPREME, a short-travel full suspension bike. it's LIGHT, only 24lbs for a 19", and FAST. i really want to be fast enough to do it justice. the king supreme uses a fox propedal shock. i don't know why, really, because it's a very efficient pedaler. i set the pressure at 150lbs, backed the damping all the way off, and put the propedal on "-", which is minimal platform. whoosh, i'm flying.

my OTHER bike in the stable is an '06 SCOTT SCALE 10. now it's been 12 years since i've owned a carbon fiber mountain bike (oclv, r.i.p., good riddance), but i can tell you it was extremely hard to resist the 2lb 6oz large carbon fiber goodness of this thing. i know i will never get a chance to ride this, since i have little time to ride the KONA, but it's comforting to know that i have a 21lb. hardtail, just because......

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

tuna salad

my wife makes the best tuna salad i've ever tasted. really. not just because i love her. it has all kinds of junk in it, too. exactly the kind of tuna salad i used to run from. she first made it for me when we were dating, and i tried it to be polite. wow. i told her she could sell it. maybe that's our way to make a million...dk's tuna salad. yeah, that's it.......

cars


before the end of 2005, i had to bite bullet and buy a family car. the gorgeous mrs. k has a ford escape, which i like a lot. we load it full of bikes and kids and junk, gets decent milage, and has plenty of power. myself, i'm used to impractical and inefficient stuff. my last car was a mustang convertible. the kids were crazy over that thing! it wasn't as fast as i like 'em, but it sure was fun on a nice day. we have a bun in the oven, you know, a new family member coming soon, so i had to dig deep and do the right thing.

i started looking at a lot of stuff. what has room, 4 doors, fun to drive, NOT an SUV, american made, from an american make??? sadly, my choices were few, especially since i wanted a manual transmission. i like the pontiac G6, regardless of what the press says about it, but no manual. the new ford fusion is a cool car, but no manual in the 6cyl. model. the neon srt4 is a blast to drive, but, c'mon! the chrysler lx cars are bit old man for me, and no manuals to boot. the obvious choice was the mazda6...6cyl, 5spd, 4 doors, sporty, not expensive, made by ford in the ford plant, and has one of my favorite engines in it, the ford duratec, made in cleveland, oh hi oh.

so i've had this '05 mazda6 since december, and i'm pretty impressed by the gas milage. of course, i would be impressed by anything that got over 20mpgs on the highway. but this thing gets 20-24 in mostly city driving (about 140-150 miles out of a 400 mile tank are highway). not bad for a fun, sporty car with 22ohp.

"flurries"

yeah, flurries. that's what the weatherman said. only i don't believe him, because flurries usually result in, well, no snow. there is 2" of snow on my deck. i've always wondered how weathermen can be paid so well. we've all said it before..."i'd like to get paid really well and only get the job done right 50% of the time!"...i think the 50% part MAY be generous....

i found out yesterday that the local/state mtn bike series has sort of done away with age groupings. i know, i know, it kind of sounds like triathlon, where everyone's a winner when they age group stuff. but, it's been that way for a couple of years now. in our region, it seems like 34 and under and 35+ is the most common grouping. it's tough for older guys to beat the fast young guys, especially for the 40+ dudes. but, i've managed to do pretty well. i usually target the fastest young'uns instead of my own age group. i did pretty well passing through most of the pups...i love to hear 'em groan when they realize an old dude is passing 'em. sometimes i say stuff like, "i was racing before you were born"...i love that one. anyway, if they group us all together, age doesn't matter. let the fastest wipper-snapper win, i guess. that's fine. i think i'm game this year.

not helping my quest for whoopin' the young guys is the "flurries." well, really, winter doesn't help me at all. i'm a pussy. anything less than 40 degrees and i'm on the trainer...like i was this morning. no "good morning america" while i'm on there, though. this morning it was "korn, peachy", a throwback cd to the days when ethan, neumann and i used to gather in ethan's basement and pound out intervals on the trainer.

off to work. the boxes don't unpack themselves, you know.