Wednesday, April 30, 2008
i pulled into the parking lot just before 6pm and there was marty, just finishing his ride. he looked a little beat, which is to be expected, because he, like me, has had very little actual mountain bike time. he said the trails were in great shape, and that they were packed with people. right on both counts.
weaving in and out of riders and hikers is commonplace at the 'wood. in any and every direction. i tried to follow the route that is supposed to be the race course on the 10th, but i'm not sure if they have solidified the course plans yet. no worries, i think i can remember my way around castlewood. in the dark. with a blindfold on.
it seemed pretty much like i couldn't do much wrong tonight. my skills were not as bad as i feared, and even though i had the rev limiter on, i felt like i was moving pretty well.
i plan to go somewhere again tomorrow, maybe there again, maybe lost valley, before i have to head into work. we'll see.
he grabs his pillow and blanket and drags them both along with him, seemingly so he can go to sleep in our bed with his "piwow" and "banky" and he calls them. tonight he just marched in, tossed his pillow and blanket down, sat down, threw on his micky mouse hat and began singing "micky mouse house." while deanna and i were laughing at him, i grabbed the camera, and he even stopped to say "cheeeeese!"
how long can you stay mad at that?
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
i like road racing. it's a rush. it can even be fun, especially if the fitness is there and you have teammates to race with. but enough is enough. i need long bouts of mountain biking between the endless miles of road riding to keep my sanity, to remind me where i started riding bikes and why.
my best years of racing either bike may be behind me, but nothing gets me jazzed more than good weather and some good trail riding.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
a race i'd rather forget about, forest park has never been my favorite. it's rained on my race there twice in the last 3 years. not that the rain factored into my race, though. oh, no. the only thing i can say about my race is that it was rotten.
we, and i say that with all do respect to my tough thf teammates, got in the break and got another good result today. again, no thanks to me. the wonderful photo above shows me just behind none other than brad huff, flanked by more of my friends, nate, kevin eubanks, and kurt fletcher. don't get excited. my proximity to brad and company has no indication whatsoever on how bad i was.
are you getting the feeling that i sucked today? good. i hope you do. cause i did.
strange, because i set 30 minute and 60 minute power records today during the race. that must mean that i was doing my usual stupid cornering, stupid half-wheeling, stupid letting-the-wheel-go riding style that gets me no where but off the back.
the only good thing that happens after a good road race beating is that my off-roading usually goes stellar...and today i got a good freaking beating.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Thursday, April 24, 2008
well, i have to say the FWMR post from monday has gotten more comments than any post i have ever done. i've posted the ones that are nice and constructive. i deleted the ones that called me names for picking american cars, the ones that called me various names questioning my sexuality, and the ones that just called me assclown. what? why the hate? don't like, don't read! jeez!
anyway, it gives me all that much more pleasure to talk about the subject, then.
we all have to remember the FWMR's purpose: family, cargo, mileage, fun. pretty much in that order. neumann knows what's best for a man...the dodge magnum. why, there hasn't been such a manly car since, well, since ever! and it's got to have the hemi. maybe even the 6.1 hemi. but i gotsta remind neumann (and some of the others that called me names) that 3rd on the criteria list is mileage ($3.49 a gallon, and worldwide that's cheap!) and that trumps fun and manliness couldn't even be put on the list.
why no mazdaspeed3? why no caliber srt? why no gti? number two on the list, cargo. the hhr is a small suv type thing with a large cargo area, especially with seats folded. bigger, by quite a margin, than the other super fun cars i just listed. and, again, the turbo is something that can be fun yet more economical if you keep your foot out of it.
i think the trend is going towards my needs. the suv/crossover (hate those names) offerings are going for smaller yet more space efficient shapes and sizes. and v6's (which i've always considered to be a compromise) are giving way to turbo 4's. i guess my hhr posting wasn't very clear: i'm not buying one today, i'm just beginning to search out the possibilities.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
i think we were paying something like $1-$1.25 around the st. louis area for gas when we set out on the journey. we pulled into a gas station the next morning after entering colorado and i distinctly remember my double take at the gas pump. it said $2.01. i felt my heart sink a little, because i only brought so much money, and we weren't winning money at the races at that time (still amateurs)...that meant i wouldn't be able to help as much for gas.
which brings me to my gas fill up today. $3.49, and a total of $58.59 at the pump. i don't think i have ever paid that much money in my life for gas. good thing we're not traveling to bmx races now, especially not in an early 80's conversion van!
newsflash: gas is expensive.
first, work. being short a couple of hands now that there has been employee attrition at work, that means more work for everyone there. ok, we can do that. it just takes more attention to detail, and perhaps some creative job sharing. schvonzie and i glued 4 tubulars today...ok, he did all the hard work and has the blisters to show for it. work, check.
second, ride. today was special. schvonzie and i were graciously replaced at work tonight by mrs k and devlin so we could race. but not just race. ride from the shop to the crit at carondolet. that takes planning, but deanna made the arrangements for us and it worked. so, ride to crit. check.
third, race. it was nice to see lots of my friends and people i had not seen in a while. and it was better than tilles for this because of the low pressure of the tuesday night worlds. schvonzie and i chased down things for the first 15 minutes or so. then i got tired. then terry went with a group that stayed away. after that, i stayed close to the front, went with a few moves, went for (and lost miserably) a prime, went for (and lost miserably) the field sprint, but felt very good about it. race, check.
forth, ride home. as we were riding back to my crib, which is only 15-20 minutes max, schvonzie cramped. and cramped more. we finally hobbled into my home and fueled up. i drove his busted ass to his sisters house in st. louis hills. race over, home, check.
fifth, grocery store. i was hungry. i still am. stomach grumbling...check.
last, boys asleep. god bless the beautiful mrs k. check, and check.
Monday, April 21, 2008
that creates somewhat of a quandary. what to drive? so i've been paying attention lately to things that can satisfy all of my criteria, and there aren't many options that can do it all, especially not well. so i'll highlight some of the choices here once in a while when i think of them as "family worthy mini rods", or FWMR's....because, you know, pantera's don't haul much.
the 2008 hhr ss starts as a homely little people mover and gets transformed by a 260 hp turbo 4 and a lot of suspension works. add some good brakes, and you have the first FWMR. being a chevrolet, there are a host of aftermarket goodies straight out of the blocks to pump up the turbo and the suspension. it's a cavernous little wagon, especially with the seats down, tall and deep, and it'll lay strips of rubber like there's no tomorrow. gas mileage climbs as the boost gauge doesn't. it sells in the low $20k range.
i rode home from ghisallo yesterday, although the extended southern route designed to add miles to the normal ride home. during this ride, i traveled up BA, the road outside of babler park. BA is perhaps the worst stretch of pavement in the wildwood area. it's horrid. actually, second to BA is just about any road or street in kirkwood and webster. it's pretty amazing that such affluent areas have such cracked up pavement. at any rate, from the 109/100 area i traveled a bit farther south, through the castlewood area, then through kirkwood and home. nice day, nice ride, a little tan going.
today i rode home from work again, this time from actual work, and with schvonzie. it's about 25 miles for me, but he rode with me for 3/4 of it and then turned back toward the store to get in his 3 hours. i got home in great time, perhaps fueled by having a riding partner, perhaps just happy to be riding in shorts and jersey two days in a row.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
actually, that pretty much ends the successful preparations. eli had let it be known on friday night that he wasn't going quietly. saturday, he kicked into high gear. crab. crab. complain. pitch a fit. crab. complain.
by 9:30, he still wasn't giving in. deanna and i were furiously trying to get everything together. we were supposed to pick up cristal and her daughter on the way, and that meant swapping the freestyle family truckster for the minivan. packing bags full of toys and food for the toddlers. water bottles. gu.
11:30pm was the witching hour. eli still had some kick in him, and we didn't. we called it a day. as nice as an 80 mile road race sounded with good weather, it sounded like torture after nearly two days of constant eli-patrol and a few stressful days at work.
the best laid plans, ad infinitum.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
returning for the wednesday night beatdown were myself, anthony, and devlin. shawn didn't come along this time, something about racing 3 times last saturday... but taking his place was the other thf realty rider at the store, schvonzie. and at the last minute, nice guy and furious pedaler john lynch rode up. now we're talkin'.
the beatdown starts faster and faster each week, mostly because i hate traffic and want to get out into the boondocks away from it all. pedals were mashed, climbs were climbed, wheels were sucked, gears were ground....it was a blast! it was the most fun yet. we all bragged when we were done about calories burned and average heart rates, you know, bike geek stuff. one of the most pleasant surprises yet was devlin hanging on this time until the bitter end. you gotta love progress.
which all means that anthony and i will have to find another night to ride together so we can have those nice, quiet, private rides where we kick the crap out of each other. maybe mondays??
Monday, April 14, 2008
this is an interesting article about six cities that have been busted for doing just that: red light scam
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Saturday, April 12, 2008
i rode over to the race on my bike, complete with severe weather clothing. i looked like an eskimo. i was warm, though. mrs k and the kids registered me and brought my thf racing clothes along for me to change into. it was a great idea. after kisses and good lucks from the family, i lined up nice and warm and stayed that way during the race.
the wind was a factor, but thf guys were always in the front and always in the moves. nolan hit out on a great two man break with justin from the shark. when he was brought back, terry, austin and brian did more front work, with brian finally getting off for good by himself. i was satisfied with being able to stay at the front of the race most of the time and close gaps, and a nice last lap flier that dirk called a mike weiss glory lap.
a first and a fifth for the guys, and i got to parade my cool new clothes in front of my personal fan club. what more could i ask for?
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
hanna: no way. trust me, even people as old as daddy can still have fun on their birthday.
eli: awesome, cuz i'm lovin' this stuff.
hanna: great, but you're still not gettin' any of my coke, so beat it.
so tonight i had some riding to do. i had to make up for not racing. so anthony and i embarked on the wednesday night ride, edition number two. this wednesday, we were joined by devlin and none other than shawn o'neal. any ride with shawn promises to be a hard one. he doesn't have such things as easy days, nor does he use a little chainring.
devlin hung in about 30 minutes, but hills are his nemesis and we were hittin the hills...and the flats, and the downhills, and the turns...
it was fun and hard. we rode about 35 miles and pretty much let shawn pull as hard as he wanted to, which is pretty hard. when we have more daylight, we'll mix it up and kick the route up a notch.
i've got to do more group rides. there is nothing like being pushed by other riders.
the trails were in fantastic shape monday night. love, rollercoaster, grotpeter...all in good shape, no mud to speak of. i even went up lone wolf backward to the top of the climb and back down...same thing, no mud.
mountain bike riding is so fun. i rarely get to do it anymore. i guess absence truly makes the heart grow fonder.
Monday, April 07, 2008
Sunday, April 06, 2008
cliff cave was the site of many off-road battles over the last 10-12 years. we haven't raced there in a couple of years, probably a combination of poor parking facilities and lack of interest by the cycling community. a lot of the cool trails have been flattened and smoothed. but, much is still there, and certainly much for the kids to enjoy hiking.
hanna and tyson were amazed by the caves and the rocks and the views there. we climbed up to and past the caves and into the mtn bike trails. there wasn't much mud at all, only in the typical places that always were left wet after rainy periods. we were able to avoid most of that stuff, even if we had to take excursions into the woods. eli walked much of it, but the beautiful mrs k and i both had to carry that little sack of potatoes more than once.
the kids finally got to digging for bones on the rocky side. there is so much cool geography there. really, it's everywhere at cliff cave. funny, i had never noticed how cool and dramatic some of the landscape was. after a nasty little yard sale by tyson (running on some wet, slick rock) and then by eli (running down the big asphalt hill!) we had seen enough. luckily, the ever prepared mrs k had a backpack full of snacks for us, which seemed to make the tears go away pretty fast.
the little guy isn't actually two until tuesday, but for obvious reasons we had his birthday party on saturday. it was quite the birthday bash.
all of his favorite themes were represented: trains, cars, trucks, and bikes. it's pretty amazing how the family spoils this little guy.
Saturday, April 05, 2008
Friday, April 04, 2008
at the time, i really felt like i didn't have the time to visit my mom and dad, even though he was sick and had to frequently go to the veterans hospital. i took him lots of times when my mom had to work, and i remember bitching a lot about that. i'm pretty busy, i would say. and i had even convinced myself that he really wasn't that sick, since he was in and out of the hospital so much and he always came home okay.
i pretty much remember saying that when my mom told me to visit him on april 4th, 1991. she said, "you'd better go see your dad, he is not doing well." she had just come from there. but, you know, i was tired. i had ridden 52 miles and i had to do some laundry or something. i would see him the next morning, because i didn't go into work until lunch time or so, and i could catch up on my homework while i visited.
so when my phone rang after 10pm (which everyone knew not to do in those days because i always went to bed at 10pm, being so self absorbed and self important, i needed my sleep) i figured it was mom. it was. she told me dad died. that didn't sink in.
i had been at the hospital two days earlier, and he was not awake for my visit at all. being self-absorbed, it was easy to be angered by that, because i could've been doing homework or riding or working instead. but after mom's phone call, i remember thinking about that visit, and thinking about not waking him up while i was there, or at least holding his hand or something.
guilt is a strange thing. and it's pretty powerful, too. over the next couple of days, in my head i went over and over all of the things i could have and should have done for my sick father. i didn't want anyone to know what i had done, didn't want anyone to know that i just wasn't there. it's not as if i didn't love him. on the contrary. but i just didn't sense the urgency. i thought he would live forever, and i could bitch and complain to him and about him forever. he was 71, after all, and had lived through the depression, world war II, smoked all his life, drank like a fish, smoked like a chimney, had high blood pressure, and cancer. but he still took my ungrateful ass to school and to bike races and brought my lunch to me at work and put up with my mom and me and my brother, and pretty much wiped my ass for me my whole life....what could possibly happen to him?
if i sound like i still have guilt about it, i do. he was a special man, a great man to us, and i know in my household we really took advantage of his kindness. i don't know if there is any way to ever get over the guilt from something like that. i'd like to blame it on youth, but i was 24 years old at the time, certainly old enough to know better. it was pure selfishness, and nothing more.
elijah's birthday is on the 8th, which was the day of dad's funeral 17 years ago. i guess the double importance of that date will forever remind me about children and their parents, the roles we play in each other's lives, both how long and how short life is, and to never, ever take our time together for granted.
Thursday, April 03, 2008
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
we busted out right after we locked the doors and headed into wildwood. up wildhorse, up the subdivision and onto orville. then up eatherton and back to wildhorse. i was feeling plucky...downright fast, actually. could it be?
we then took wildhorse, down doberman and through the flats along the horse farms. we took turns pulling into the wind that had no direction except in our faces. hitting the long climb up wildhorse to hardt, it was confirmed...i was riding fast today.
you know those days where your legs and lungs just keep telling you "hey, dude, we're onto something here...click that shift lever one gear higher" ? that was me today. i didn't mean to, but i was putting the hurt on anthony. he had ridden this morning and we had a busy day at work, so it was weighing heavy on him. we grouped back together going down hardt and ran into mitch the masher on the way down. while anthony and i were complaining about being cold, he had on shorts and no gloves. show off.
once we got back down to wildhorse, i had my interval workout to do. anthony stayed on my wheel through the whole thing all the way to old olive. he kept calling me names the whole way, and i took it as a compliment. it just seemed like i didn't really have much of a rev limiter.
once on old olive, i let it all hang out. yes, my intervals were over. but, so rarely do i feel this good, so i kicked in the small twin turbos that so rarely come to visit and hit it all the way past rhombachs. wow.
we trundled back to the store and immediately downed more water and a power bar. anthony was feeling bad, but he was very glad to have our first wednesday nighter out of the way.
i was sort of sad to see it go.
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
when the beautiful mrs k calls us for dinner, eli mocks her and starts saying "honey! honey! dinna! dinna!" and of course he has begun to call me honey.
he loves granola bars. he calls them "buck ocks." i don't know how he came up with that.
whenever deanna or i tell him something to do, especially if he wants to do it, he'll say "okay, mommy!" sometimes he says "okay, daddy!"
i have to be careful about my language around the boy. actually, i need to be careful about my language period, but it is apparent that eli WILL repeat things....and i don't want him repeating some things...