Saturday, September 30, 2006

greensfelder

one of the kids snapped this shot of me today at the final race in the state off-road series. greensfelder is the mountain-top of technical off-roading in the st. louis area. rock, speed, climbs, and grinds. it'll grow hair on your chest, if you don't already have too much.

11 guys showed up for our little adventure today, all of them fast. notably absent was plochmeister, who was being a sissy because he just got back from vegas. so did i, dude! and i didn't want to race, either. baseball game till late tuesday night, flew out to the show wednesday, on my feet for 10 hours each day, then home at midnight last night. i was tired, but the kids wanted to see me race one last time this season, and i love greensfelder.

love/hate is more like it. i love it because it's hard, and i hate it because it's hard. this course will do it to you. bob arnold, after a blistering first downhill, crashed out on the second downhill. the kaiser sliced a front tire straight away, only moments into the race. rp blew everyone away by the time the first climb ended, and never looked back. i rode with mushmouth and john "i gots me a lightning pickup" rines until they both slowly crept away by the end of lap 3. laps 4 and 5, i was in slow, suffering cruise control. the kids yelling at me to keep going and holding up their "go dad" signs made me feel better, if not go any faster. not bad, but i would've loved to have done the race in better form. the good thing: not even close to crashing, even though i hadn't looped greensfelder in a year or so. maybe that's not good? maybe i was riding with my skirt on?

i'm looking forward to finalizing my mountain bike for 2007, and my trip to vegas has warmed up my creative juices to make it happen.

viva

while most people that went to the las vegas bike show took roles of film of all the cool bike stuff, i didn't. i hate carrying things. so, i decided to take shots of the city that my kids would like to see. this is the city from my hotel room at night. it turned out pretty cool, i thought.
we stayed at the mandalay bay hotel and casino. it is so big, that even the drive-up in front is monstrous, almost gothic. these ceilings are 30 feet high.
a nice daytime view of vegas. the luxor is the oddball pyramid building. the scale of these buildings is decieving, and only after you walk by them do you get a sense for the size. they literally cover acres and acres of land. and each new casino is trying to be more outragous than the last one built, in an ever escalating war of investors wallets. you have to see it, if only once.

we went to vegas for business. yes, there was shinanigans, but we had appointments and did real orders and made real deals. lots of people go for the cool stuff, but that wears thin pretty quickly. standout lines, to me, were orbea, titus, sram, hope, parlee, salsa, quintana roo...i could go on. i still love bike stuff, even after all these years.

can't do without these

a very rare shot of pooper in the early stages of crawling workouts. he looks so surprised that i caught him training.
here, pooper is recieving the "flying airplane" treatment. babies always seem to open their mouth when you make airplane noises while shoving some battered paste resembling foodstuffs into their little mouths.
pooper is obviously annoyed that someone snapped a shot of him post-feeding. he is a train wreck.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

sunday is no day of rest

sundays around our house are not rest days. and i don't mean rest from working out, i mean rest, period.

the mrs. and i (and pooper) started the day by going to church. top down even though it was a dreary day because if you own a convertible you have to become one of those weird families that drop the top each time the car is driven. otherwise, a quiet guilt begins to creep over you as to why you have purchased such an impractical automobile and you begin to search the want ads for more family friendly rolling coffins, er, cars...church has been a bit nicer lately since we don't have to spend it in the cry room with poops. he goes down to the nursery and plays with the nice people there. the girls there seemed to really enjoy pooper and we are more than happy to deposit him there for an hour of peace and quiet, er, i mean a peaceful sermon....

after church, the little guy was way crabby and we were way hungry, so we went to bread company to eat. poops went right to sleep, so we had a nice, quiet lunch. the day really did start off well! after lunch we wanted to get some things done, like clean deanna's car, which has done a lot of moving duties and transports the lawn mower over to mom's house every couple of weeks. it's amazing how quick a car can go to hell when you put lots of stuff and kids in it every day. that's when pooper started in. he was so crabby. he was sooooo crabby. aaaaaaarrrrgghh.

i also needed to clean up the mazda for delivery to it's new owner. yes, i sold it one day after buying the 'vert. yay, me.

finally, after the beautiful and crabby mrs k put the cute and crabby elijah down for a late afternoon nap (she fell asleep too!), i was able to get out onto the bike. i did a new loop that i really like, down into fenton and back. as i was pedaling through tapawingo, i came upon 3 deer that could have been lawn ornaments. as a matter of fact, i thought they were, as they let me get within 6-8 feet before they moved! i got honked at by a guy on 141, who then drove through valley park on marshall road and stopped off at the liquor store there to get his favorite beverage that he was probably already enjoying. i was glad i didn't give him the finger when he honked at me. he was 6'6'' or so, drunk, and pretty stupid looking. precisely the kind of guy i would piss off, it's just my luck. i pounded up marshall road instead of taking a pounding. probably a better trade off. i was tired when i was done, having ridden about 45 miles or so with some good climbs.

home and showered, i took tyson for a ride in our new drop top. he and hanna so enjoyed the cobra 'vert, and he was very happy that we now have another. we went to target (i usually don't spend $100 there, but $14 is some kind of record low!) and i opened up the v8 on the way home so tyson could grow up right in the world knowing the difference between v8 power and 4/6 cylinder pretenders. mrs k had spaghetti and meatballs ready for me when i got back, my reward for having married the right woman. kids in bed, deanna took pooper in the running stroller for her evening run, and i set about putting my custom hitch on the mustang for my bike rack. i almost finished it, but i need some self-tapping screws to finish it up. nothing says "idiot" louder than having to shove your bike into the back seat of a convertible. it's just not right.

another shower, crabby pooper finally in bed, i can write about all the drivel that fit to print, and then some.

nope, sunday is no day of rest.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

goin' to a weddin'

here is a shot of the beautiful mrs k, pretending she wasn't just applying make-up. we were on our way to a wedding (congratulations, anthony and lacie!) i thought this was a good opportunity to take a couple shots of the new ride.
in this shot, mrs k was ready for the picture and gave me a coy little smile. here you can see that the car has been lowered a bit, evidenced by the non-4-wheel-drive look that is so depressing about most sn95 mustangs. before i bought the car, i took a gander under the car and noticed the red springs (eibach, mac, no-name?) and subframe connectors. what are subframe connectors? all mustangs (with the exception of the new s197's, which are 2005 and newer) are flexy fliers. the '99 plus cars, called sn95/new edge, are the stiffest of those, but in convertible form they do the mombo over bumpy roads and in hard corners. subframe connectors are tubular metal rails that are welded or bolted on from front to back to stiffen the chassis so the suspension can do better work. also, there is a "roll bar". not just cosmetic, this attachment braces the car just behind the doors, across the back seats to keep twisting forces down. and, it looks sort of trick, with led brake ligthts on the backside. plus, it looks like a basket handle.

the absence of any power-producing modifications, along with the presence of the handling modifications sited, tell me the previous owner was a bit more interested in the mustang's real shortcomings. too many owners (myself included) figure more of a good thing (power) is better and neglect the piss-poor ride/handling dynamic of these antiques. i vowed never to fall back into that trap, and power modifications can come only after all handling issues have been addressed.

all your base

ridiculous cult internet stuff, but i find it so hillarious. i found the link on my friend furby's site. i still laugh when i read the horrible syntax.

http://allyourbase.planettribes.gamespy.com/video1_view.shtml

history repeats itself

when i rumbled into the driveway tonight, rosco and rudy were unimpressed. they had, after all, seen it before. they have been around for the first '99, the '95, the '98, the second '99, and the '96. old news. next.
pooper was a bit more excited, or so it seemed. turned out to be gas.
it started to rain as i reached home, so this is all i was able to come up with as far as photos. but you get the picture. it's a 2001 gt convertible. it only has 32k on the odometer. great red, brighter than burgandy, with a black top and grey leather interior.

oh, how i missed my v8...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

ahhhhh the beauty and the fury

jag xj13, photo courtesy of autoblog.com. such beauty, and 500hp rear-engined v12 fury. 1966 race-car concept.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

don't-care legs


i don't know why, but my ride home wasn't nearly as enjoyable as the ride to work. maybe i was tired.

i got a new thomson stem to match my seatpost, a new X2. it's black and oh so cnc'd goodness. i think the look of fine cnc'd products is about the prettiest workmanship you can get.

i was hoping installing it for the ride home would spice up my ride. i did feel happy when i glanced down at it, but it didn't really do anything for my legs. they still went around in slow, tortured circles, as if i DIDN'T just put on a hot, sexy, cnc'd stem. they didn't care at all.

there are two kinds of don't-care legs. first, there are the kind that don't care how tired you are or how many miles you've gone or how many gaps you've bridged or who's chasing you or how big the hills are. they just don't care, and they keep going. we would all pretty much call those the "good" kind of don't-care legs. very rare, very elusive. the second kind of don't-care legs are much more common. these kind don't care if you've been training all year and doing a perfect peak program, or if you've just gotten a new cnc'd stem or a new titanium bike with your gosh darned name carved into the top tube by the hand of god. they just don't care, and they don't turn very fast or push very hard and if they could, they'd probably even go "poof" and turn into big-bird legs just so everyone could see just how much they don't care and give everyone a good laugh. i guess we'd all pretty much assume these don't-care legs are "bad".

it doens't take cnc machinist to figure out what kind of legs i had tonight.

riding to work

i used to ride to work in ucity and it took about 20-25 minutes. that was only 8 miles or so. this morning i rode to work and it took 1 hour, 22 minutes. that's because now i live 24 miles from work. the plus side? riding to work and riding home nets me a 48 mile day!

it was only 46 degrees when i left the homestead. pretty cold, especially since i have been used to riding in nothing less than 60 degrees for months. it was quite sunny though, and not much wind, so it wasn't bad at all. i was dressed well, probably over-dressed. i'll fine tune my clothing to the conditions as the fall goes on.

here's hoping for a nice ride home!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

ick

i saw this guy on my training loop at the 'wood saturday. it's a copper head snake. going backward up grotpeter, i was stopped dead in my tracks by him. he was coiled up, so naturally i mistook him for a pile of dog poop. as i came closer, i realized i was looking at a rather mean looking critter, all coiled up and looking right at me from ground level. i stopped, rolled backward, and got off my bike. he was about three feet long, i thought.

hmm. i need to finish my ride, i thought. so, i threw a couple of rocks at mr. copper head. he just uncoiled and lay across the trail, as if to sun himself. not good, i thought. i'm not riding over him. i threw more rocks, which pissed him off, so he coiled again. it's amazing how hard it is to hit a snake with a rock. who'da thunk it?

along came a guy i race with. he thought i had fallen and hurt myself. no, you just rolled over a snake that i'm scared of, i told him. oh. he grabbed a stick and flung mr. copper head off of the trail. i thanked him and we parted ways. i'm hoping he didn't tell the world what a bufoon i looked like, standing there, pitching rocks at a gardner snake and running like a school girl.

i finished my ride without seeing anymore venomous reptiles.

why oh why

seriously, i have no idea why i keep riding bikes off-road without suspension. i hate it. it is no fun. none. saturday was the worst mistake ever, riding the homegrown off-road.

yes, the homegrown. my street/mountain bike with slicks and a RIGID ALUMINUM fork. i did put on knobby tires for the adventure, but that was like putting a pillow on top of your head before a piano falls on it. after i rode with the kids and mrs k, i rode my training loop at the 'wood. my time for the long lap was 51 minutes...only a minute slower than with the rush. the kicker? i was so pulverized by the event that for a few minutes after i was done, i wanted to quit mountain biking. quit. stop. never do it again. that's how much i was punished. i actually slowed to a crawl when i came to some of the roughest stuff. ack.

give me suspension or give me death.

saturday with the kids

this was the dynamic duo after the moutain bike training day and before the soccer game. we did some more trails this time. i took them across the grotpeter field and across the creek to go back to the road. no, they didn't ride across the creek, but they did think it was fun to jump across on the rocks. they had a great time. i would yell out "rocks!" and "roots!" or "hill!" and they would repeat it. i'm getting so excited for them to eventually get real mountain-type bikes with gears and all. hanna is bugging me to get clipless shoes and pedals already.
this is after the soccer game. tyson's team ran over the other team, 2-0. i don't think the other team ever had the ball in green territory. he took the ball most of the way down the field and was within inches of scoring. on the way, he got a little rough with some of the kids. we're still working on the sportsmanship/aggressiveness ratio, which is important. in the photo, he is holding a bite of crunch bar, his reward for a good game.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

another K-family training day

we loaded the escape down with all the bikes today to once again have a family training day at the 'wood. the escape resembled one of the cars from the dust bowl era. we had nearly every worldly possesion in the vehicle, including a picnic basket (with tuna...mmm) and lawn chairs. that orange bike sticks out like a 4th brakelight, doesn't it??
we rode with the kids (and uncle kevin and katie, too) first. then the beautiful mrs and i took off on our own. she was riding like a woman possessed today. she really jammed through the rough stuff and went really hard up the climbs. of course, she fell hard (always does) got mad at me for giving her advice on why she fell (always does) and continued on with more hard riding (always does). i love riding with her and i know she would be a great mountain biker if we could ride together more than once a month or so.

Friday, September 15, 2006

congratulations

my friend dan is going to sign on with a new cycling team for 2007, and it's sounds like a really good deal. looks like he will get to do a lot of cool races in cool places. it's hard for even the best riders to get a good job, so congratulations!!

who? me?

curses, caught again.

i like this car

austrailian for GTO.

done

there she is. we finally got our zipp csc wheels today, and i put them on promptly. very cool. they are nearly 100 grams lighter than ksyrium sl's, even though they look like normal spoked wheels. actually, it's not done. i have a stem coming, then it will be done.

with my training tires on, the bike came in at 17.09 lbs...it will be very easy to break into the 16's with anything resembling a racing tire, and anything that isn't a third-world-country bottle cage.

sexy, sexy, sexy, i say.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

riding the new litespeed

last night i was able to put 20+ miles in on the sienna. my co-worker anthony had all of his cycling wear with him, so we set out after work for a shakedown.

seat too high. stem too high. stem too long. even so, i felt "new bike power" in spades. i just had a lot of energy, and anthony sort of paid for that. i was busting right out of the lot, which is stupid, i know, but it was a blast.

this was not only a first ride for the litespeed, but a first for me, using the new sram force group. it was a little slow in assembling, because the double tap shifter and the rear derailluer have some peculiarities. i called dan s up and asked him some set-up questions and all was good.

we took some familiar west county roads, with a bit of good climbing, a bit of descending, and some more climbing. there was a little flat ground as well.

my first impressions: titanium has a great ride. it's smooth as silk, and quiet. anyone who has ridden a carbon frame would appreciate the sound quality of a ti bike on the road. it's a little more flexible than aluminum bikes like the cdale, but feels like it responds quicker. the force group levers feel a lot like campy with better braking and better lever ergonomics. the carbon cranks look really cool going around in circles. with a borrowed set of training wheels and tires (my wheels will arrive on friday) the complete bike with cages weighed 17.9lbs. i expect the wheels to lop off at least a pound, maybe more, so the raceday bike will be at sub 17.

i got up this morning and took off in the chill for another ride. i corrected the stem and seat height, although i'm waiting on another stem to acheive prefection. i rode about 45 miles, taking some cool routes in upper jeffco. i saw dirk meister on the way home and rode with him for a bit to catch up. i told him i was extremely happy with my new job. he was taking a stroll towards marshall hill on his bitchin' camaro parlee. ooooooh, that parlee is sexy.

i'll get pics up tomorrow after i put on the new wheels, and hopefully get a weight.

a lot to do in a day

this is my new ride. it's titanium. i've never had a ti road bike before, although i have had ti mtn bike in the past. mmmm, shiney.
this is my new component group. i made the leap, just like the frog.
george hincape signed this us pro championship jersey. i like george, and it's about darn time he had a big win like this in the US.
while talking to a customer and standing next to the front windows, we heard a thunk. sure enough, this red bird had flown into our obviously clean windows and killed himself. unless perhaps he was shot while in flight, and made a desperate attempt to land safely while wounded. nah, he was just blind as a bat, i guess.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

shiver me timbers!

titanium and carbon disc brake rotor. just when you thought everything that could be made of carbon has been made...
60-something gram stem. is there a weight limit on these things?
60-something gram seatpost. is there a weight limit on THIS thing? (am i repeating myself??)

these photos have been maliciously stolen from james huang at cyclingnews.com, upon his recent visit to the eurobike show.

on the plus side

this guy looks sort of like i did during my test, only not quite as good looking....

the friday before labor day i had my VO2 max/ekg/stress test thing at wash u medical school. it was the last evaluation for my breathing issue. it was pretty straightforward: take blood, get on bike, pedal against gradually increasing resistance, take blood again, pedal against gradually increasing resistance, etc. all this while hooked up to machines everywhere.

there were the ekg sticky pads on the chest attached to wires. the kind lady in charge had to shave some little holes in my hairy protective barrier on my chest. then there was the head band that was attached to some other device. also, the little monitor on my finger for O2 levels. lastly, but certainly not leastly, was the mask with the breathing tube along with the nose clip. i have to admit, i looked pretty professional.

well, i looked like a professional athlete who was being tested so that scientists could glean some sort of valuable information so the plebian athletes of the world could benefit from the information. in reality, i just wanted to know why i breath like wheezy joe in "intolerable cruelty".

all was good for the first 13 or 14 minutes. they used 30 watt jumps starting at some ridiculously low level. i was pretty happy keeping an average cadence of 85 or so. it was neat to see the wattage climb. they poked and proded as i went along. in the high 200's, i was lance armstrong. the way i felt, i could go to about 600 or so. the attending doctor, a cyclist himself, was pretty impressed, so were the nurses, who are used to seeing a high of about 90 watts from little old people with one lung.

then, around 315 watts, i didn't feel so good anymore. i kept going, knowing that feeling of "getting there" was coming. that was precisely the time the nurses decided more blood was needed. i was sweating like johan in a mountain bike race, so they had to wipe my wrist down to get to the artery. she missed it. oooooouuuuuch. again. ouuuuuch. all the while, i was reaching my limit. i had not much clue where it was because i was looking at the ceiling, trying not to think about the chinese fighting sword being shoved into my screaming wrist.

done. wet, drippy, sweaty, sticky electrodes everywhere and a big tube in my mouth held there with a neoprene mask not unlike the winter face masks some people use. i was glad that was over.

fast forward to today, the evaluation of the test with my doctor. his name is dr. warren isakow. he is one of, if not the, best doctors i have ever had the pleasure of speaking with. why? because he took the time to listen to, and answer, every one of my ludicrous questions.

on the plus side, my wattage at VO2 max was 356. not nearly as bad as i thought. that was at 162 bpm. i can live with that. (especially if i lost about 15 pounds) on the down side, nothing in the test was out of bounds. the only issue that could be derived from the pages of data was the dip in my breathing test. it's the graph created by breathing in super fast and out super fast and hard. it shows a little physical blockage, but still above normal overall.

"you are a very fit man," was his comment. "your problems don't seem to be coming from your lungs."

fatigue? age? too active of a lifestyle? yes.

alrighty then.

Monday, September 11, 2006

what the things look like

this is the modern "hemi". note how high the camshaft is in the block, and notice the nearly-horizontal pushrods and shaft-mounted rocker-arms. deepskirt block keeps it stiff, aluminum makes it light.
the legend. note that the heads themselves are not as large as the valve covers! nothing but business going on under those....
...and this was the business. shaft-mounted rocker arms on the classic. it was noisy and consumed a lot of oil. pretty ruckus for the street, but just what the dr. ordered for the 1/4 mile.
now THESE are hemi-spherical heads. just like the name implies. you could eat your soup out of these bowls. these are aftermarket aluminum versions, but the shape is all hemi.

what is a hemi, anyway?

i'm sure most of us by now are tired of hearing all of the hoosier-speak like "dat thing gotta hemi". but, have any of you gear heads asked what a hemi is?

the original hemi idea was bounced around in the 50's by chrysler. it reached full tilt in the 60's with the 426 cubic inch "elephant" motor. the whole deal about this engine was the head design. the combustion chambers in the moster sized heads were literally shaped like half of a grapefruit...hence, hemi-spherical became hemi. this MAJIC shape yeilded lots of power and torque, but at the cost of major compromises. the valvetrain was uber-complicated, still being a cam-in-block, or pushrod overhead-valve, design. to have more quench and create a high enough compression ratio, the pistons had to be domed. there were cooling issues along with much valve clatter, horrible milage, and completely uncontrollable emissions. but when tuned properly, they made enormous amounts of torque and power. the basic hemi design is still used in drag racing circles around the world.

so how does chrysler get away with that sort of engine today? simple. it doesn't.

the modern "hemi" is hemi in name only. it's actually better than the famed hemi of old. to make monster power from such a lightweight, compact design, chrysler engineers have resorted to tricks beyond those that basic hotrodders can play. the cam, still in the block, is mounted so high that it pushes more OUT on the pushrods than up. this keeps the pushrods short and valvetrain inertia low. the rocker arms are shaft-mounted, very low in the compact heads. the pushrods enter the heads at such an angle and at such a postion that they intrude much less on the intake and exhaust ports than any other pushrod engine. the kicker? the combustion chamber is not even remotely hemi shaped. it has two spark plugs in each chamber, firing at different points to create both more power and lower emissions.

the result is an engine that is both lighter and physically smaller than overhead cam engines 3/4 of the size. if not for it's length, it would conceivably fit into areas that would normally house dohc V6's.

hmmm. the old, much maligned detroit V8 turns out to be more advanced than plenty of new-age wonder-motors. i just wish they didn't call it a hemi.

Alfa Romeo 8C Competitzione


i'm not a huge european car fan, at least not a supercar fan. i like the small-car, hot-hatch euro market of cars. but, this thing is gorgeous. 4.7 liters of italian V8 and good looks to spare.

spanish lake

i look like i swallowed a bug.

photo courtesy of john m from stlbiking.com

Sunday, September 10, 2006

ford 49 sedan


this is another car that, in show-car-photoshopped form, i find very lustworthy. only this time, it's in 4-door guise. ooh, lala.

Spanish Lake mountain bike race

somehow i have now talked myself into racing again. i know, i know. i have oscillated between wanting to race and not wanting to race for a while now. i tell you, after watching the kids at the gateway cup, i realized my enthusiasm for racing runs too deep to be a spectator.

my first race at spanish lake was in 1989, i believe. it has changed a bit since then. it used to go pretty much around the outside of the park on the grassy fields and finish in a little flurry of singletrack. not so much anymore. there is a perfect mix of single track, gravel, and grass.

today's race skipped a little of the grassy field stuff which made for a quick lap, only 12 minutes or so for us. only seven guys showed up to race Open Expert. what a shame. but, in those seven, there were some darn fast fellas. Plochmaster was there, and so was Luke, and even Nate Rice showed up, albeit on a cross bike. (a side note here: the kaiser had an equipment failure about 90 seconds before we were supposed to line up. i gave him my ideas on a McGuyver fix. but, since he is a better mechanic than i am even when he is sleeping, he came up with a brilliant fix, electrical tape, moments before we started) the race, with Luke being there, started out in typical wicked fast fashion. Luke and Nate were showing Plochmaster and i the fast way through the first section of singletrack. i was feeling quite plucky, and was very happy indeed to find out we had already dropped the rest by the time we reached the gravel road. instantly, Nate flatted. ah, those cross tires were a little lean for spanish lake. still leading us, Luke was pouring it on. after the next bit of singletrack, though, Plochmaster opened it up and went by. Luke didn't respond. huh? well, i did. i got back up to Plochmaster and realized that i had just made "the selection". i haven't made a selection in a race in a long time, and i was still feeling good. i hung on until the end of the first of six laps, and then i had to bid farewell to Plochmaster, but i was firmly in second and building more of a gap every pedal stroke.

it pretty much stayed that way for the short race. i ended up 2 minutes or so behind Plochmaster and 3 minutes or so ahead of Luke, who outsprinted one of those pesky DRJ boys for third. the kaiser and his electrical tape finished in fine form, too.

the mrs and pooper were very happy to see me after the race, and i was happy to see the proud looks from them. some of the best racing is when you surprise yourself, you know?

a ride on the metro

some may find this odd, but i've never ridden on the metro link. i've ridden on light rail systems in atlanta and chicago and san fran, but never our own. why? it hasn't gone anywhere i need to go. but recently, the new extension has opened a hop, skip and a jump from my house. and i had a reason.

the beautiful mrs k had to do a little schmoozing at work on saturday. a little customer appreciation thing in tandem with the art fair going on in clayton. having all the streets closed down there meant it was best for me to drop her off at the metro and let her ride in. (she has been riding the metro to work everyday now and has saved a TON on gas and cut down on a lot of driving frustration!) since i was going to join her there later to check out the fair, we decided i should ride it, too.

besides a little frustration with the buying the ticket/validating the ticket thing, it was awesome! my starting point is the ending point for the metro in shrewsbury, and the facility there is super-clean and it has 800 parking spaces. there were tons of people with the same ideas as us...ride the metro to clayton, avoid the parking issues. once underway, the little train goes over hwy 44 (you get to see the progress on the redecking of the river desperes bridge on 44 from waaaaay up high) and skirts the outskirts of maplewood. across big bend and behind the old petsmart/dmv building (the metro runs straight through what was the maplewood bmx track, built in 1981 and in action until 1984. before it was a bmx track, it was called the "venture trails" by those in the know) and then to the sunnen stop, the maplewood-manchester stop, the brentwood stop, the galleria-clayton stop, then finally the forsyth stop. i tell you, having lived in this area all my life, it was quite cool to see my little world from such a view!

the mrs and i walked about the fair for a bit, and ran into the squiers (jim and danna) and the crazy johnsons (heather and ethan). we had a lot of laughs, not many at ethan's expense, and finally headed out. we walked back down to the metro stop and ran into a glitch...the ticket windows were closed (8:30 pm?) and others complained that the validators were not working. hmmm. we pondered this, and then decided that we needed to ride it to get home. we were just going to hope that, if questioned, the train police would have sympathy on us. no such questions arose, and we got on and off without a hitch.

all in all, things like the metro make st. louis a much more livable city. we need this. we need more of it. send that sucker out west, along I-64 and I-44. take a load off of those over-used highways and get rid of some road rage. polute less. makes some friends on the train. whatever. it's an idea that big cities around the world already know is a great answer to transportation woes.

and now, it goes places i need to go.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

training at the 'wood

wednesday night after work i high-tailed it out to castlewood with the rush and set out to do a tough night of riding.

when the family and i were there on monday, i only had an hour to ride, so i made it a tough one, hitting 4 major climbs and several minor ones in a criss-crossed hairy-carry ride. i liked it so much that i decided doing it twice would be a killer training ride.

start: up love trail, cross ries road to grotpeter, climbing up the backside of cardiac.
take justin's trail down, making the 180 degree turn to go up cardiac.
again take justin's down, crossing keifer creek at the bottom and taking the field to the parking lots.
across the parking lot to lone wolf climb, taking lone wolf all the way through and at the bottom skirting the creek back to the bridge and keifer creek.
cross keifer creek and go up grotpeter backwards.
when arriving at ries road, do a 180 and head down justin's.
180 at the bottom of justin's and up ranger station.
when ranger station meets grotpeter, right turn and head down grotpeter to the finish at keifer creek.

repeat.

i did the first lap in 51 minutes, the second one in 53 minutes. darkness slowed my second lap, but lack of fitness slowed it more. all in all, i'm very pumped about my ride, as i think i really went well.

i'll use this loop again, as i think it is perfect training and hard enough to make any moutain course feel more mellow.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

my first day

today was the first day working for my new employer. i never felt so welcomed at a new job before. it was very flattering. i love the place already. the people i have to work with are awesome and very dedicated.

sometimes change is exactly what the doctor ordered. it's going to be a great experience.

taking a break

mtn biking is hard work, even for the little guy.

Kfamily mtn bike training day

you'd think that the kids would be biked out from the long weekend, but no. when they heard i was going mountian biking monday at castlewood, they wanted to go. i wondered if they would be able to ride some of the trails out there. boy, could they!

upon arrving at the 'wood, hanna and tyson and i took off toward the river trails. momma k stayed with pooper. i rode with the kids through the big field and back into the trails along the river, tracing the short track mtn bike course. they were doing great and having a fantastic time. hanna was a little tentative at first, but really got the hang of it. they both got tripped up in the sand traps close to the river. we passed lots of bike riders and hikers along the way. i even took them to the scene of my accident and replayed the action for them so they could see that their dad is a bobble head and how not to ride.

upon arriving back at the campsite (blanket on the ground with picnic basket) i dropped off the kids with momma k and sped off for my own ride. i did a killer hour of loops that took me to every hill in the park. i felt pretty good and didn't want to stop, but it was momma k's turn to ride with the kids. she took the kids on the same route that i took them. i ate my sandwich and walked with pooper to put him to sleep. after deanna came back with the kids, they had stories of yard sales and near misses. mrs k then took off for her own ride. it was a beautiful day to be at the park. it was a bit sad to leave, as it was pretty much the end of our kfamily biking weekend.

by the way, sunday was also our 1 year anniversary, and the best way we could think to celebrate it was with our family, doing the things we love to do the most. an unforgettable weekend!!

taking a few light steps

so cute. no hair jokes!

Monday, September 04, 2006

thanks, Todd!

many thanks to my old friend Todd Morris for providing the pictures from the Hill race. the mrs and i were way too busy with getting the kids ready to take any of our own.

winners at the Giro!

giro, giro, giro! while this staging alley may seem quite unorganized, it was only the first stage. once the kids got to the street, all was smooth. well, myself and a couple of other parents seperated the girls from boys, and the 5 year old boys from the 6 year old boys. genius!
once all the kids settled into their rows, i took a little time to say hi to some other parents and give hanna some last minute instructions. she was worried that her main competition, the girl that beat her on friday night, had a geared bike and she only had a single speed. i told her not to worry about it and pedal her heart out.



hanna rocketed off the starting line. she gapped the girls by several bike lengths, except for the geared-girl, who was about a bike behind. hanna kept building her lead on the pack, but geared-girl stayed a bike back. as the finish line approached, hanna found another gear of her own and pulled away for a convincing win! her first win! i ran down after her, and many hugs and high-fives insued.


meanwhile, the beautiful mrs k was giving tyson his racing instructions. after seeing hanna win, he was pumped! hanna and i couldn't see a thing with all the racers and confusion, but up the road tsyon launched a fantastic start of his own. he sped away from the field of 12 boys and built a lead that couldn't be touched! all i could see over the people's heads was tyson's blue helmet. i was pretty sure he was one of the first boys, but i had no idea that he won until he and mrs k worked their way through the crowd. we all jumped around with joy like a bunch of school girls.


the happy family. the kids were quite tough today, and were congratulated by their many fans. it's wonderful that so many people care about them and their endevours.

CONGRATULATIONS, TYSON AND HANNA! WAY TO GO, KIDS!!!!!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

there...

...i like this shirt better.

washington avenue races

the whole crew came out to washington avenue for the second of the labor day weekend races. this one was not nearly as well organized as the first nights race. there was much confusion at the starting line, and the 5-6 year-old's were the worst. it really wasn't a race so much as a completely uncontrolled mass of children pedaling uphill. whether the organizers of the washington avenue race know it or not, the kids wanted to race, not parade up the hill. they didn't come out for medals (which every kid got) so much as actually wanting to race against friends and other kids. lots of people think that it is parents that push kids to do these things, but i can tell you there were four kids (pictured in photo) that begged to do these races for months.

that's my rant. i understand that the kids were not the focus of the event. but, for future reference...competitive kids exist...that's where competitive adults come from. remember that.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

family reality

it's hard for me to believe that this is hanna. she looks like she is 14 years old. i start getting crabby when i think about her being old enough to go to high school and such...but by the time she goes to bed at night, i'm usually at ease. there is something about a 6 year old wearing sponge bob jammies and wanting me to read bedtime stories that makes me think everything is okey dokey.
this is tyson, he's 5, and he looks like it. he wears incredibles jammies and runs around like dash to prove he is worthy of them.
this is pooper, not yet 5 months. his real name is elijah oliver. no, we are not choking him in this photo, it's his car-seat straps. he messes with them, and anything else he can get his sticky, cute, little, fat fingers on. the mrs fed him prunes earlier today. i'm hoping that they won't have the same effect on infants as they do the elderly....
this is our new home. the kids have driven us to the poor house, only in a bizarre twist, our poor house drives us.

(many, many thanks to whomever actually owns this priceless, rusty little bit of comedy. my hat is off to you. this gave our little family much joy and mirth while looking for a parking spot in the cwe.)