Tuesday, August 29, 2006

finally finished it

we moved into our house in december of last year. it was cold, i didn't have much help, and deanna was pregnant so she couldn't help me move heavy stuff. all that meant my work bench and tool wall for my shop area had to be put up hastily. with everything that has gone on around here over the last 9 months, it stayed that way...a mess. i built and tore down umpteen bikes over that time, too. ug. i hate working in a mess. but, i finished it today, a positive consequence of being off work.

Monday, August 28, 2006

our little kindergartener

today was the first day of school for tyson. he was darn excited to ride the school bus to kindergarten. he fared pretty well for his first day. no calls from the principle, no uncontrollable crying, no soiled underwear. he even made some new friends.

little does he know he has TWELVE MORE YEARS of this before he gets to close the door on primary education that he has just opened. poor kid. good thing he is smart. maybe he can teach me and the missus some things?

a long ride

sunday evening i put in about 20 miles on the homegrown and felt pretty good about it. so, i decided to put in a long ride on monday.

long ride on monday? yes, i'm on vacation. i decided it was a pretty smart idea to take a bit of time off between jobs. not long, mind you. i start the new job september 5th.

my new job will be at ghisallo sports in chesterfield. as of yet, the guys there are going to let me take out the trash and get coffee and sodas for everyone. if i do a good enough job, then we're talking REAL responsibility....

so for my long monday ride i decided to go check out the new place of employment. i have been there before, but i wanted a little more indepth look, and it would give me an excuse to get in 50 miles. i outfitted the homegrown with a smaller street tire, a 1.25, since i was going to be putting in some more serious milage until i get a new road bike (and mtn bike!). it was a nice change from 1.9's. the bike really behaves more like a road bike, albiet wtih little wheels.

it took an hour and a half to get to ghisallo. i arrived a soaking mass of sweat. it wasn't hot at all, but the humidity could support carp. i rapped with johan for a while. he and i go way back, and he is a stand-up guy. i also met a new future co-worker, anthony. i'm pretty sure i'm going to have a great time there.

i headed home, with a bit of a tail-wind. i chose a different route home, just to change it up. i was getting a bit tired, since i hadn't ridden in the 10 days prior to sunday. but, it was a good tired.

older women

they're always trying to take charge!

our little first grader


Sunday, August 27, 2006

ford concepts

the new ford fusion got it's face (grill, headlights) from this ford concept car, called the 427. it was a rear-drive platform with a 427 cubic inch v10 40v monster under the hood. the car got rave reviews on the show circuit, and tons of interest from enthusiasts concerning the platform and the engine. ford responded by producing the front-drive 3.0 fusion, based on a mazda platform. huh??
even more trajic than the 427-to-fusion metamorphisis is the ford forty nine concept. this car is so beautiful, it hurts. long, low, sleek, very american. sort of like the final generation thunderbird with balls. again, public reaction to this concept in 2001 was overwhelming. it was a tribute to the 1949 ford, which was a big hit. this car had many of it's design cues taken by the 2002 two-seater boutique thunderbird, which was too watered down to become the classic that the originals had become.

proof that ford has great minds at work, but they don't get to design cars for you and me.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

bronco concept

i still think ford should do this. here is another visual, this time with a half-back, like the full-size bronco's of old sported.

chavas mexican food

"i like tacos and burritos"

after a long day of chores, the beautiful mrs k and i decided it was time to treat ourselves. doing laundry, dishes, vacuuming (along with a side trip to buy vacuum bags and filters), and even power-washing the deck and a trip to the gas station after running out of gas...it's enough to make a grown couple weep.

pooper safe with a sitter, we headed off toward soulard. we didn't know where we were going to eat, but we knew we were at least going to try something in soulard. we drove up and down a couple of streets, and then we saw it on geyer: a new mexican place. well, new to us anyway. chavas mexican, it said.

whoa. seriously good stuff. the salsa was killer, and so were the margaritas. they had different flavors, like strawberry mango. deanna had the tacos, and i had the burritos. we had to force ourselves to stop eating, lest we roll out of soulard instead of drive.

a new mexican place on the list, one that seems to top even the great pueblo salis!

i didn't mean it

someone posted this on the net somewhere and i thought it was funny. i don't have anything against cats. but, i can just hear the conversation going on here:

dog: take it back!
cat: make me!
dog: why i oughta...{chomp!}
cat: ack! ack! ok! i take it back! i didn't mean it!

hanna's speedster

this is what hanna's bike looked like when we got it for her last year, a raleigh retro. she had only learned to ride without training wheels a month or so before we got this. she learned on the barbie bike, a 16" that her grandma bought for her. we got so many comments on the raleigh...people would stop as we rode through neighborhoods and ask where we got it, and more than a few older people commented that they had bikes like this when they were kids.

but, y'know, those fenders and kickstand and big balloon tires are heavy. and those wrap-around bars are kind of klunky, and that spring saddle is huge! hanna has been asking me to remove the fenders and make her bike lighter so she can pop wheelies. actually, she calls it a popawheelie. like, "dad, i can do popawheelies really good on conner's bike!"

so, with a few small purchases, we have the hanna-issue speedster:

1.35 tires (slicks, no less), no fenders, no kickstand, a double-clamp stem along with answer aluminum mini bars, and a racier saddle. probably took off 5 pounds.

really, she asked for it!

Friday, August 25, 2006

a nice goodbye

here is a picture of all of the goofballs that i work with. they bought a big cookie with "good luck tim" on it from mrs. fields. god bless mrs. fields and her cookies.

all in all, it was a pretty normal day. i'm proud to have worked there, and i'm glad to be moving on.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

labor day weekend preparation

this is the new ride. it's a raleigh mxr, complete with custom handlebars, low and cut.
the first ride up the street. he looks really tiny bobbing back and forth on the pedals. he only started riding without training wheels a couple of months ago, so the jump to the 20" is quite an accomplishment. his last bike has been around since mid 2004, and it was of dubious quality. this raleigh should help him vault into the bigtime.

in the next day or so, i'll reveal hanna's race machine. she won't see it until race night at laffayette, so she'll be surprised. she's been asking for me to remove the fenders and put on smaller tires. i think it looks trick.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

life isn't fair

elijah: "woo hoo, i'm so happy to have my new big bird. i just love big bird."
rosco: "tough, kid. get your own toy."

i can't sleep

funny thing about insomnia...it doesn't make you tired until you should be doing something other than sleeping.

i used to be a chronic insomniac, from about 13 years old. i blamed it on racing. i was always so keyed up about it. i would lie awake in bed and hear our grandfather clock bong every 15 minutes until the wee hours of the morning, and then i would pop out of bed like a jack-in-the-box by 7am. i'd be thinking about races and training and bikes. soon, i added girls to that list. then cars. then money. onset insomnia, i think that's what it's called. as i got older, that eased somewhat and except for the occasional night, i go to sleep fairly fast.

besides onset insomnia, i've always been a very light sleeper. anything can wake me up. then i have the type of insomnia where you can't go back to sleep, or i sleep so fitfully i may as well be up watching trucker commercials on tv. that's the type of sleep trouble i've had the last 6 months to a year. no trouble falling asleep at night (or feeling like i'm going to fall asleep ALL DAY LONG!) but anytime after midnight, it's bad news.

one of my favorite books is stephen king's insomnia. after the main character's wife dies, he finds that he is getting less and less sleep every night. eventually, he is up 24 hours a day. after a while of this, he starts seeing creepy things in the night, and then in the day time. only they aren't creations of his sleep-deprived mind, they are real. like all stephen king novels, they start off with completely believable characters that end up doing completely unbelievable things in completely unbelievable situations, only you believe them because king has such a way with weaving a story. at least i think so.

or, maybe i'm just sleep deprived enough to write completely unbelievable things?

Monday, August 21, 2006

i like this

you know you're getting old when a minivan-like thing is something you're interested in. this may be what the 2008 ford fairlane will be like. more stylish than the rolling testament to bad detroit engineering (freestar/windstar/aerostar), the fairlane is said to employ the new duratec 3.5l, 265hp v6 and more than a small dose of driving excitement. 3 row seating for 8, choices of hose-out interior or luxurious leather, or complete removal of all seats for true panel-van utility. it may be show-car hype, but a vehicle whose time has come.

the kaiser drives a minivan, and it's a darn handy device. i'm forever hitching a ride to the races out of town with him. lunch is usually on me, which is a fair tradeoff for the utility of his 200,000+ mile caravan.

now, if i could have one of these AND a sporty something-something convertible in the garage, THAT would truly be automotive nirvana.

bmx, only not

my friend todd and i were talking the other day about rc cars. he used to have some pretty cool ones when we younger. actually, he always had the latest toys...the new walkman, cool stereos for the car, nice bikes. i usually got his biking cast-offs, which was great because my dad was always complaining about the money we spent on bmx stuff.

one day in may or june, i was coming back from a ride in jeff co along marshall road. on the river side of the road, there were tons of race vehicles parked in a big lot. there was an anouncer, and all kinds of activity. it MUST be a bmx race, i thought. even the trucks had racing logos.

only, they weren't bmx racing logos. i got off my bike and walked it up to the edge of the fencing that lined the track...these were off-road rc cars, racing on a 1/4 scale bmx track! i was blown away. i must've had my mouth hanging open watching some of the cars battle it out over the jumps, because a nice guy came up and asked me if i had ever seen this before. i said no, and told him how similar it was to bmx racing, only with little, fast, motorized off-road cars. he said that his son raced bmx, and that's why he and his whole family came out to race these too. crazy. it seemed like a family affair all around the track, with the kids doing a lot of the driving, the dads doing the tuning, and mom tending to the pit area.

super cool. and i bet my dad wouldn't have been so upset at the cost of my bikes and gear if he had checked out some of the price tags on the rc cars.

at the conrols

wheels, buttons, horns, squeekers, rattles....and they're all mine.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

wow, we did it!!!!!

saturday workout

i don't mean a workout like you think i mean. saturday's are always a workout. we end up doing so much, especially when hanna comes up.

this saturday was a trip to the science center. what a cool place. mrs. k and i quietly confided in one another that we want to come WITHOUT the kids so we can check out all the cool stuff that the kids don't care much about.

after that we ate at subway. nothing like watching the girls working there lighting up in the back between sandwiches. ohhhh, niiiiiice.

moving right along, uncle keith came over to watch pooper so we could go on a training ride. now, a kakouris family training ride is pretty fun. we go anywhere from 5-8 miles these days. hanna has been learning to ride with only one hand these days. she learned to drink from a bottle while riding saturday!!! and, she pulls both of her hands off the bars super quick, too, just for fun. tyson has been learning how to pull out of the yard sales. or garage sales, as hanna calls them. see, he falls a lot. so, to keep him from freaking out, we make a big joke of it. for some reason, he thinks this is sooo funny. fine by me, laughs mean no tears. mrs. k did have to show hanna the meaning of speed a couple of times, as hanna is really into this racing thing these days. mrs. k even spotted hanna 50-60 yards and still caught the little goober.

it's so cool to see all the things the kids are learning. they are climbing hills, riding out of the saddle, mimicking dad's goofy sprinting style...i love it, i tell you.

uncle keith was to have an open house for mom's house on sunday, so after showering off the grime of the k-family training ride, i drove over to make sure it was clean and ready. there is always something to do to a vacant house. mow the lawn. sweep the dust off the floors. flush the toilets. open the windows, air it out. get the mail and the utility bills. i swept a little in the basement, opened up some new air fresheners...and called it a night. i wasn't about to spend more time hanging out, spit shining a vacant house while the kids were waiting for me to get home and tuck them in. some things in life are just more important.

i'm pretty sure

dan's 4th place finish at the national critirium championships at downer's grove is not his idea of a "great race", but i'm super proud of him. he is always tough on himself. he's a tough character and if you had to have someone holding your hand as you dangled off of a cliff, well, i couldn't imagine anyone more capable of pulling your sorry ass up to safety. i wish i could say deanna's chicken pasta on thursday night was the reason he did so well...?


Friday, August 18, 2006

changes happen

in february of 1995, i asked mike at big shark for a job. i told him i just needed part time, something to pay the bills for a while.

11 years and 6 months later, i'm still working for him. but, not much longer. i gave my notice, and my last day at the shark will be the 25th of this month. the wife and i are excited for me to follow an opportunity.

i'll miss big shark. lots of things have happened during the last 11 years. enough things to fill a lifetime, really. i met so many cool people, learned so many valuable skills and learned so many valuable lessons.

i wish everyone there the best of luck, and i hope that i have made the same impressions on them as they have made upon me.

adult interaction

our good friends dan and miriam came to dinner last night. we had a really nice time. sometimes you forget how it is entertaining adults instead of children. it isn't necessarily better than entertaining kids, but there IS less crying.

they are using the "m" word a lot, and are waiting for the proper immigration papers to pull the trigger. they said it wasn't difficult to get through the process, just time consuming.

i'm thinking good thoughts about the downers grove race for dan, hopefully things go well.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


this will make her very, very mad when she is a teenager. that gives me 7 more years to enjoy it.

the return of the couples ride

(note: this illustration may or may not depict author and spouse frolicking about on bicycles)

sunday deanna and i did a nice road ride together. we haven't been able to do that for a while. we got a babysitter and left pooper with her and hit the pavement.

we pedaled down the river desperes trail, over holly hills and around carondolet park. it was a nice day, not too hot, not much traffic. we came back down the trail and added a little extra to get in over an hours worth.

that might not sound like much, but it's something we love doing together and rarely get to do these days.

ok, maybe one little race wouldn't hurt...

"whoa, dad's racing in the tuesday night worlds!!"

i don't really want to race these days. scratch that, it isn't true. i don't want to race poorly, nor do i want to feel as bad doing it as i have over the last 4-5 months. but, i really, really want to race. it's in my blood, what can i say?

i wasn't even thinking about racing tonight, but my good friend dan is in town this week. he and his sweetie are staying here with his family between the chicago races. we talked today and he was going to do the worlds, and i live close, so, you know, i raced.

it was painful. there was a frightful few minutes in the first part of the race where i thought i was going to need CPR. it passed, but needless to say i didn't do much heroics the rest of the race. it is not fun watching guys launch attacks and counters while gasping for air.

so dan won, and overall it was pretty fun. the beautiful mrs. k brought pooper along and i got to look over at them every lap, which always keeps me going. i'm getting a little desperate for answers. my blood test came back nearly perfect; no red flags, and i even have a pretty high hermatocrit level...47!! i must be doping!! i took 10 days off the bike. i've been going to physical therapy to try to open my chest up and get my back to be more flexible and less troublesome.

results so far? uuuummm, none.

Monday, August 14, 2006

a damn shame

when the top-dog from the anti-doping organization has presumed your guilt before you've had a chance to prove innocence, it's time to change dogs....


do i have to go into the millions of levels of how wrong this is?

no, and i won't.

scoring a ZERO

this is the chinese-made Chery qq. china has designs on shipping this car to the US for sale. malcom bricklin, "famous" for importing such notable products as the Rabbit scooter, the Subaru brand, keeping the "hot" Fiat models in the US for a little longer under the Bertone brand name, and, well, who can forget YUGO, is using all of his vast sales skills to gather investors for THE NEXT BIG THING, Chery. (let's not forget about the self-named bricklin sports car, a gullwinged kit-car like vehicle that captivated millions...ok, not millions...maybe 10-12.)

the Chery brand has it's problems. first, it's an exact copy of cars sold around the world with a little brand called Chevy on them. that in itself is enough for pause...why not create it's own car? because it's better to just to copy a successful existing design, right? ...which leads us to the second problem...how cheap is too cheap? china knows that americans love a bargain, so getting the Chery to the market here as cheaply as possible is a must. a little thing called crash testing has proved that the Chery is too cheap, scoring ZERO stars on that crash rating that we hear so much about. (Kia, a once-discount brand, scores 5 stars on it's fast selling mini-vans) Survivability is not possible for the driver in the 30mph offset crash test of the qq.

eventually, the Chery qq will make it here. and, just like all things sold at wal-mart at unbelievable prices, consumers will be seriously interested. (word on the streets is that ol' malcom is seriously talking to wal-mart about being the exclusive Chery dealership...("clean-up in home decor! sir, would you like a free Chery with your 10-pak roll of charmin?")

let's hope that americans can be more discerning with their health and safety than to take china and it's automobile industry too seriously, at least in the forseable future.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

call me mountain man

an electric chainsaw sounds like a toy. i mean, real chainsaws are load, noisy, dangerous, and weilded by bearded guys named paul. but, let me tell you, electric chainsaws work.

i still had all the deadfall in the back yard from the storm a couple of weeks ago. i had cleared the front, but had no time (or will) to do the back. the beautiful mrs. k had told me that her brother had this electric chainsaw. i had visions of toy saws and perhaps cutting up some twigs with it. not so. plugged up to an extension cord, this little bad boy can cut some mean branches with ease. the wife and i had the back yard cut and cleared in no time. TEN FULL BAGS WORTH!!

sometimes progress is pretty cool. other times, it's pretty geeky. i like this geeky little bit of progress.

Friday, August 11, 2006

new mulletmobile

gm says they will have the new camaro ready for the 2008-2009 model year. it sure is a looker. and, from gm's own reports, should be a screamer, too. essentially the ls-whatever engines similar to the corvette, as camaro's in the past have had.

my question is this: has gm learned why the mustang has cleaned the camaro's clock for the last 40 years? it isn't about speed...the camaro has almost always been faster than the fastest mustang (supercharged mustang versions excepted). no, it's not about speed. it is about personality.

the base mustang has always been a solid car that appeals to men and women, and accounts for 60 percent of the sales. 6 cylinder automatics. good looks. friendly. that doesn't describe the camaro very well. it was always too aero, too cramped, to man-ish. women were a very small part of camaro sales. hence, it's demise, and the mustangs continued popularity.

i love the camaro concept. but if gm can't get the base version to sticker for under $20 grand, and can't get women to love it, they may as well not bother.

two door fusion

this is an artists rendering of ford's two door fusion, which has been given the go ahead for production by 2008-2009. if it makes it to production without being watered down too much, i think it would be a hit. the heavy, cramped mustang is currently ford's only real car with two doors. (my apologies to focus owners, but c'mon...) the fusion would be lighter, have a much bigger back seat, and certainly quicker than the porky mustang with the ancient 4 liter v6. the fusion would sport the soon-to-be-ubiquitous 3.5 duratec, with 265hp. if it came with a manual transmission, it would be one fast, fun semi-practical car.

and with rumored direct injection, it could also be economical. the 3.5 is supposed to be 15% more fuel efficient than the 3.0 duratec. that would be quite a feat. i have the 3.0 in my mazda6, and with only 221hp, it gets 20mpg city, and 25 hiway. i could certainly handle an extra 40+ horsepower AND get better milage.

don't screw this one up, ford.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

heh heh heh.

krazy krew. pooper looks like he's laughing at the big kid with the birthday hat on....

the hundred dollar store

for the last couple of years, i've called target the $100 store. every time the wife goes in, it's a $100. that is especially true since the new "big" target store has opened in south city. not like the "old" target was bad. they just needed a newer, bigger one to get newer, bigger $100 bills out of your wallet.

we went to the $100 store tonight, and, in mrs. k's defense, it is easy to spend $100. toothpaste, hair products, dog food, bath mats, mop, laundry detergent, and suddenly, you're looking at a ben franklin plus.

of course, the store itself is not without it's attractions. the really really cool escalator that also takes your cart down (keeping it parallel to the ground, no less!) is just about enough to make me go there when i don't have anything to buy. then there is a starbucks. not up to spending $100? get a double espresso latte, then you'll be on your way, $94 and counting.

the key to not spending a $100 is, well, pretty darn simple. don't go. that's all the advice i have.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


i just can't help it. he's just so cute.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

morning in the park

oh, it sure would be nice if i could run around with my brother and sister. they look like they are having so much fun! look at them go! i hope it isn't too long before i can do that stuff. i'd be jealous if i knew what that meant. just wait, soon i'll be....

child logic

tyson: my pinky hurts.
tk: well, we'd better cut it off then. (laughter)
tyson: no! it only hurts a little.
tk: but it won't bother you again if we cut it off. (more laughter)
tyson: but then i could only count to nine.

the "brake" part

when i was trying to come up with a name for this little site, i was trying to think of something that wasn't really, really stupid. i didn't really succeed in that aspect, but i think i was able to come up with something that was true.

things are hectic, thus, most of my life is in "pedal" mode. as far as cycling, things are most definately in a "brake" -ing section.

sorry if this was a big "duh" for everyone. it's always such an epiphany for me.

Friday, August 04, 2006

six flags and the march of time

when i was but a young pup, 6-7 years old, my sister took my brother and i to six flags for the first time. we spent the night at her house, and she drove us ALL the way out there to eureka. it seemed like it was another country. actually, it was probably 20 minutes from her house in ellisville...

it was a daunting place. it was huge, with all these scary rides and long lines for all of them. the mine train, the log flume, the expensive sodas. we loved it, even though we could only go on a few of the rides. actually, i was the downer, not being quite big enough for lots of the cool rides. it really seemed like a little city of roller coasters and water rides and cool stuff.

fast forward to the future, and the beautiful mrs. k and i took hanna and tyson for their first trip to six flags. i've never seen six flags from this view. directing a 5 and 6 year old around to the rides that they can enjoy was quite a bit different from dashing about between my own favorite rides. they loved any and every one. they were excited by their first ride, the old time cars. and they loved the log flume and the tidal wave. they both really liked my own favorite, the mine train. the old thing is still lots of fun and it isn't overdone or very commercial. it's just a fun old roller coaster. hanna was sooo scared. she's scared of any ride until it gets under way. then, of course, after each one, she shouts CAN WE GO AGAIN?? tyson will do anything. if there was a ride that grabbed you by the big toe and swung you around like a puppet until you puked, that would be his favorite. deanna and i are not big "spinning" rides people. i get sick easier than her, but we really like to avoid the scramblers and stuff like that at carnivals. the kids were so darn happy to be soaking wet from the tidal wave. i've never really been happy about being soaking wet in clothes.

we had a good time, but the mrs. and i were pretty disappointed. the cost was astronomical. $4 for a coke and $27 for a pizza? you can probably get these things cheaper in communist russia. and the entry fee? fagettabowtit. and it seems that over the years the park has gone downhill in terms of cleanliness, and it certainly has gone south in terms of management...teenagers are the only ones running the place, and it shows in the service of the eateries.

in the end, those things didn't matter to the kiddies. they loved it. expensive pizza and poor service are parents' problems.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

bee stings and short seasons

i went mtn biking with some of the fellas from the shop this morning. we met up at the 'wood and pedaled around a bit. we had along a couple of young'uns, so we would stop at regular intervals (usually the tops of the hills) and wait. it was fun, but not that fun. again, i was hurting just pedaling easy. my muscles ache and burn at the slightest sign of stress, and it sucks.

and i got stung by something on the thigh. it hurt. now the area is all red and puffy and it stings. i took some benadryl. i hope it wasn't a flesh-eating insect. i'd hate to have all kinds of skin necrosis going on when i wake up tomorrow. so, yes, i'm a sissy.

at this moment i'd have to say that my 2006 racing season is over.

i don't want it to be over. i really tried hard at the beginning of the season, before pooper was born. i started doing pretty well, then the bottom fell out. i feel like i just woke up all day long. i figured it was my asthma getting worse because my breathing was so labored and difficult. but, now as time has gone on, i realize that whatever problems i have with the old injury and breathing problems are just exacerbated by this chronic fatigue.

maybe that's it, chronic fatigue syndrome. but, i feel that is a copout. oh, not feeling good? must have a virus. must be sick. must be tired, not enough sleep, too much stress, yada, yada, yada. i always tell everyone that i hate excuses, and i do. still, i find myself making the excuses.

i need to know why i feel like this. every pedal stroke on my bike is agony. every time i lift the trash bag out of the trash can and walk it out to the garbage, i'm spent. it makes me irritable and crabby...and i'm already irratible and crabby to begin with.

the season has to be over, not because i hate to lose, but because it's just to painful to continue. and that's not fun. (and yes, i do hate to lose!) this whole bike racing thing was supposed to be fun. i hate to end it now, because the kids love to watch me race, win or lose, and it's so nice to have all that support. it's tough because i'm not just racing for me, i'm racing for us...but we're not doing so good.