Sunday, August 31, 2008

more bike racing, gateway cup part three

the hill. the giro. it's always been THE race for me. never because i've won it or anything like that. i came in third in 1995, i think. it's THE race because everyone i know is always there. before i had a family, i would always arrive hours before my race so that i could see and talk to all the people. the crowds are awesome. the neighborhood is totally south city, and south city is really in my heart. since my family has grown, so has my crowd. i have more people rooting for me than anyone else out there. i'm sure it annoys some of the fast guys out there, and probably some of the slower guys like me, but it's the only reason i keep going as hard as i can the whole race to finish 75th place. it's just magic.

hanna and tyson are just soaking in the whole weekend of racing. they were just as serious today as they were friday night. they typically do very well at the hill, and having cousins in the races today was a big bonus. this is the obligatory alley photo, since the poor kids have to be corralled in the tight alley awaiting their call up to race.

cousin max was serious about racing today. he was sporting a thf racing jersey and those disco green pants. i think his success can be attributed to the green pants. he was one of the only older kids on a single speed bmx bike, and he spun that thing out halfway down the hill. next year, watch out.

hanna was cool as a cucumber on the line today. it was all girls again. they don't let us hold the kids anymore, but hanna and tyson have their standing start technique dialed. no need for dad or mom to hold. isn't she beautiful?? and such a stylish kit, too!

the beautiful mrs k, giving tyson his motivation speech. not like he needed it. he was focused on his race and had his gear selection down pat. another stylish kit!

since i couldn't be two places at once, i didn't see the finish, but i could be pretty sure she smoked in for another win. mcd shot this photo for us as she neared the line. if you blow it up, you can see that she actually has her eyes closed. she's probably dreaming about the endorsement contracts. a woman from the post dispatch interviewed her after the race, so we'll be looking for a story on the bike race in the coming days in the paper.

tyson had a great start, too, and hoofed it all the way down. he got another second place, getting nipped at the line by another strong rider. he's got a string of seconds going for the gateway cup weekend, so we're betting he's got something up his sleeve for the last day. thanks mcd, for the photo.

proof i was racing. if you blow this up, you can pretty much tell i am hurting here. i have to tell you, i suffered more this year than i did last. i spent a lot of time in the back half of the race, and it's no picnic back there. no one ever said racing was a picnic, though.

thf did win the race, despite my anonymous performance. colby took a flier and you can see in this mcd photo that he built a nice gap. dan sprinted against henk vogels for third. all in all, a great couple of days for thf...1st friday, 2nd saturday, 1st and 3rd sunday!

hanna held the little general tonight until he fell asleep on her shoulder. what a precious little duo those two are. he calls her sissy, just like me and my brother called our older sister sissy. eli didn't race today. he just woke up from his nap when we whisked him off to the hill, and he never got interested.

day three, in the books.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

hot rod wagon

i have this weird thing for hot wagons. i think it started way back when after riding in an old country squire wagon with a 428 in it and a killer set of pipes. i thought back in those days that if someone could create something like that with a real suspension under it, it would be the greatest automotive product...carry everything you want, sound good, go fast, and go around corners.
since then, numerous companies have created hot wagons. volvo r wagons. various audi wagons. the wrx derivatives come to mind. more recently, the dodge magnum rt's, which don't really carry much but are really cool, hit the spot and the sound meter.
i spied this little gem on autoblog today. it's a total custom job, mating an old nash with a ferrari 360 drivetrain. i'm smitten.

gateway cup part two

nothing like a nice shady place to relax before a tough race, huh? dan, miriam and samuel.
the washington avenue race venue was dropped for another downtown course. i wasn't pleased with this one, either. too many sketchy turns and gravel and manhole covers for this old guy. so, rather than start a race that i would end up watching with the family, i just decided to cut out the middle man and coach the kids in their races and watch with the family....see? same end result, less sweat and anguish.

i broke out the camera sometime in the evening only to find countless photos of random stuff. obviously there was an eli at work. i kept this gem just to remind me of how funny he really is.

the beautiful mrs k walked the little guy up to his starting line. he was adamant about not racing today for some reason, but changed his mind and happily rolled out with the rest of the little cuties.

he smiles a lot when he's riding. it's like he's really enjoying the freedom he's got on the bike. i'm telling you, i was no natural on a bike (still am not!), but somehow he's just taken to it like a fish to water.

after a promising start, he again was overcome by the clapping and cheering crowd, as well as the booming announcer. he was star gazing.

the big kids were determined to win again. today's crowd was very small, with only 7 or 8 kids in the 7-8 year old bunch. that meant that boys and girls raced together. hanna and tyson bolted away from the line, with hanna grabbing an early lead and increasing it to the line. if you look closely just over hanna's left shoulder, you can see tyson battling it out with to other kids.

hanna has already gone over the line and out of the photo, but tyson kicks it into overdrive and finally shakes the other kids for second!! he's a tenacious one! that's two seconds.

meanwhile, back at the ghisallo tent, we had a nice group of friends gathered. on the left is chris, the endurance mountain bike fiend. he's working his way back to a good place on the road bike after a LONG hiatus. straight ahead is mrs k and miriam. sitting backwards in the chair, naturally, is eli.

there was actually other serious racing going on besides the kids. stefan and dan headed up today's thf effort. somehow, even without my help...awkward pause...the team managed a second place behind the powerful brian jenson. dan flatted at an inopportune moment, which i'm sure he wasn't happy about.

day two, over and done.

gateway cup is here again!

just like so many years past, labor day weekend for the kakouris clan is for bike racing. the focus has certainly moved away from me (because i go around in circles for 75 +5 without really getting anywhere) towards the kids because they have such enthusiasm for it. this time, not only were the veteran big kids racing (hanna and tyson), but so was newcomer elijah oliver! this is a pic of the kids at registration. they are beaming with excitement. i kid you not, i always ask them if they SURE they want to do this. it takes NO prompting on my part to get them to do bike races. tyson is rabid about it, and hanna never declines an opportunity. they have been practicing their sprints lately on the geared bikes, and it appears to be paying off. i walked away from registration without getting eli's number. i had to go back...i have to remember we have 4 bike racers in the family now, and 5 once the beautiful mrs k decides it's her turn.
all suited up and ready to rock and roll. tyson is trying to swat a fly with his tongue.

eli was all atwitter over the crowds and the bikes. he fits into the cycling clothes that tyson wore when he was four, if that gives you any indication of what sort of brute we have on our hands here. he's only 2 1/2, so he was one of the youngest kids in the 4 and under training wheel class.

let us race, let us race! the ghisallo kids were chomping at the bit to get out onto the course, but those pesky cat 5's were still racing. there were tons and tons of kids. so many, that i made an executive decision and separated boys from girls. the parents seem to agree with me, since there were 30 or so kids altogether in the 7-8 year olds.

kapow! hanna took off like a rocket and never looked back. this is her lead at the finish. it was crazy. she's smiling in this picture, too. i guess our sprint workouts have paid off. yaaaay!

tyson put his looking around days behind him and put his head down for a solid second place. he starts very well (ahem...thank you) and spins his little legs like a blender. he's a small 7 year old, and he makes the best of it. when he hits his growth spurt, maybe he and i can do some beat down rides together in wildwood. until then, he'll just keep racing with kids twice his size and doing very well.

after a great race where he practically waved to the crowds, young eli found time with the big kids and mom to play on the swings in the park. i have no idea what he's doing here, but it looks fun...or dangerous, i don't know which.

hanna: what do you think is over there in the dark water eli?
eli: monsters?
hanna: no, silly! they're swans!
eli: hanna, what are swans?
hanna: monsters!
eli: mooooooooooooom!
eli, over and out. and that concludes the lafayette square bike races for 2008....and yes, i went in circles for 60 minutes plus 5.
and tyson's comment?
mrs k: tyson, get over here and watch the bell lap!
tyson: it's kinda boring.
mrs k: !what do you mean it's boring?!
tyson: because you always know dan's gonna win.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

eli loves the camera

and the camera pretty much loves him, too. i broke out the camera and he immediately went into ham mode.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

mountain biking greensfelder

it's hard to believe that in april of 1988, greensfelder was the sight of my first mountain bike ride, as well as my first mountain bike race, all in the same afternoon!

i ventured out to greensfelder this morning to scope out the course that will host the next local norba race. good lawd, i picked THE perfect morning for it. crisp and cool, and the dogwood trail has never been in better shape.

on my first race, we used the dogwood trail. don't confuse dogwood '88 with dogwood '08. the trail has been completely redone by some masterful trail builders. i can still see some of the old trail here and there, but it's masked by goodness, rather than the harsh drainage ditch that it used to be. in the old days, it only disguised itself as a mountain bike trail. 20 some-odd guys dove into the trail on that faithful day in '88 to find that, in the first 50 yards, it dropped down a rock strewn ditch into oblivion. pretty much everyone fell or stepped off of their bikes and it was ON!

not so today. it was single track heaven, i think. i still have a warm and fuzzy feeling going on. i don't believe i was setting the world on fire...i'm too tired for that. but i did 4 quick laps, each well under 15 minutes, and each got progressively faster and more fun. yes, it's rocky, but not in a '88 rocky kind of way, and not in a "east side of allenton road" kind of way. rocky in a good way, along with plenty of dirt and a few berms kicked in to remind you why you ride mountain bikes in the first place.

i think my mountain bike riding lacks that. it lacks the fun stuff. because of time constraints, i rarely get to venture out past castlwood or lost valley. it just takes that much extra time, and it's time i don't have. i've got to get out to greensfelder more (ticks, chiggers, spiders and all), i've got to get down to council bluff. any place but castlewood AGAIN.

...because this stuff is just too fun to pass up.

ogre news

back in the not-so-old days, a group of guys put on most of the mountain bike races in the st. louis area. they called themselves the "ogre's", short for old guys racing. rich pierce was one of them, and today he posted some of the old propaganda from the 2003 racing series. these were mock magazine covers that sort of highlighted what was going on month to month.this cover shot was from the ambc race that was held at the 'wood. you can certainly see another one of the classic battles that raged between john matthews and i. you can also see the vintage stage 1 jersey action. i love the captions.
here is another from later in the year. that's dan, racing a short track race in his 7-up days. and YES, that's the same red homegrown that hangs in my garage, and it's still going strong.
some very cool stuff came out of the races in those days, and the "ogre" guys still contribute a lot to our local scene. where would we be without them??

Monday, August 25, 2008

elijah : the little general

eli has become such a bossy little guy. i've been calling him the little general for a while now. he's always in trouble for something, and lately he's getting pretty defiant. yet, he can be so sweet and so cute, too. actually, if he wasn't so cute, he'd be in a heck of a lot more trouble than he already is. here, the general is checking out one of his hero's, bob the builder.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

lemonade stand

so hanna, our little entrepreneur, is fascinated by selling things. she's always setting up a store in her room or the basement and making us come buy from her. it's usually set up pretty cool, too, with a cash register and faux money for change.

today, she had the idea to do a lemonade stand. she and tyson have done it before, but this time she wanted to go big. instead of sitting on our street corner, she wanted to take it to the park.

the beautiful mrs k whipped up a couple quarts each of regular lemonade, raspberry lemonade, and strawberry lemonade. we loaded up the kids, iced up the cooler, and headed out.

it was a little slow going at first, but then the customers started coming. some would drive by and then turn around to get some cool, refreshing lemonade on a hot day. the many runners at the park were sitting ducks for a cute kid with cold lemonade. hanna started raking in the dough, and even kevin j ran by to sample some of the brew. she ran out of regular lemonade and had to start pushing the other flavors. mrs k was on hand to make sure the transactions went smoothly, just like she does at work.

meanwhile, tyson and eli were riding their bikes around the park. eli has become an instant bike rider, let me tell you. he pedaled all over the park mostly without my help. he yard saled a couple of times, once really good, but he's a tough nut and didn't even cry.

customers satisfied, we packed up and headed home, a job well done.

Absalon takes GOLD!!

this guy must be some kind of animal. 3 world championships and now two olympic gold medals. and he always has such cool bikes!

Friday, August 22, 2008

BMX at the Olympics

this is not the bmx racing that i did as a youngster......

watching a little bit of the coverage of bmx racing at the olympics is like watching an odd new sport. sure, there are similarities to the sport that i participated in from 1979 to 1991...but that's all i can say. the frequency and size of the jumps...unbelievable.

jumps were a component of my sport, but they didn't dominate it. seriously, these guys are daredevils! i have the utmost respect and even awe for the riders.

times, they are a'changin'!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

belly up

these boys are laid out. they are both snoring, too.

kids stuff

the beautiful mrs k took the boys swimming on sunday while i was playing mountain bike racer in cape. of course, they had more fun than i did and stayed nice and cool, too.tyson: i'm not sure but i think i just ate a cicada.
gus: my face will stick like this if you don't hurry with this photo.
max: these nachos are....hold it...hold it...hold it...ok, i thought i had to sneeze.
eli: whoa, you guys need to get a load of the brunette in the baby pool!

eli had a grand day out while visiting us at ghisallo on monday. he rode bikes, ate m&m's and played hide and seek in the clothes. he was a very good boy for the most part. but, i did spend a lot of time on tuesday cleaning up mysterious chocolate residue on the glass cases, door handles, water fountain, etc.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

EBAY extravaganza!!!!!!!

it's time to clean house. i have more bikes than i can ride. so here is some delicious stuff for you to bid on...remember, bidding is fun, winning is even funner!!!!

bid HERE

and bid often!

mtb short track races

"gss" over on the stlbiking message board has a ton of good photos from the short track race that i did in july. here is a photo taken fairly early in the race, where the venerable john matthews and i are doing epic battle.
...and then there was schvonzie. the crickets had already started chirping before he came ambling through the creek with his road shoes and pedals.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

mountain bike racing is hard

since my training has been going so well...ok, since i have felt so good during hard efforts on my bike...i thought i would have a shot at doing some real damage at the norba race in cape girardeau today. i have been riding my mountain bike a fair amount, too, so that can't hurt.

the best laid plans of mice and men. i like that saying. i had all of my ducks in a row for the race, and i suffered like a pig and got 5th. now, i don't want to take anything away from the guys who pummelled me today. dave, john rines, chris, yogurt...they are great riders and were doing it up right today. but i never got a chance to even compete for one of the top places.

there were 21 experts on the line, a great turnout for our local races. i really wanted to bust out with the leaders, so i took the "st. louis start" a little too serious and pretty much blew myself sky high in the first 60 seconds. i never really recovered from the effort. i dropped back to 7th place pretty much immediately, and watched the front 6 guys pull away. i clawed my way back up to the 5th and 6th place riders, then dropped back again. my technical riding was going very well, though, so there was some consolation. but my legs couldn't answer any accelerations, and climbing was just torture. one of the guys in front of me was over his head, obviously going out too hard and dropped. that gave me a little hope and i spied wes from drj yoyoing in front of me. i caught him and stuck on him until the last half of the last lap and then went around. i kept him behind me until the last section and took off. i beat him to the line, but he almost caught me because i sat up too early for the finish. so, even though i felt like death the whole time, it wasn't a bad result. my later lap times were on par with the faster riders, but my goal was to RACE with the top guys, and i never did.

i got a big bug in my eye on my pre lap. a thorn stuck into my right index finger and i had to pull it out with my teeth on my first lap. my camelbak straw caught my bars while leaning forward on my 5th lap and nearly pulled the pack off my back. a bee flew into my ear and stayed there for almost a minute, despite my girlish screaming and attempts to extract it with my finger.

yep...mountain bike racing is hard.

the dark knight

i rode the scalpel at the 'wood on saturday morning as a warmup for the cape mtn bike race. then, after a busy day of house cleaning, the beautiful mrs k wanted to go for a run. she pushed eli in the jogger and i rode along side her on my bike to lend moral support. we didn't have the other kids, so it was prime time to get a sitter and head off to the movies.

we went to see the dark knight batman movie. let me tell you, we loved it. it was so intense! not everyone loves such movies, but this batman movie and it's predecessor, batman begins, are head and shoulders above. i'm really hoping this dark, brooding, angry batman continues with more sequels. he rocks, and all of the other stars in the current flick are stellar as well. morgan freeman, heath ledger, michael kane, maggie

it was well worth the price of admission, and the night out was chicken soup for the soul.

Friday, August 15, 2008

spongebob and eli

nothing says "night night" like a little spongebob squarepants.

bicycling monstrosity

what the...

someone had some serious time on their hands. i do kinda dig the wheels in a tonka truck sort of way, but after all the work involved in making this thing, why did the builder cheap out on us and put 1976 schwinn varsity cranks on it?

typical of multi-position bicycling devices, you know if you went riding with three good friends one of them is going to be sandbagging. how would you know? hell, all three of them might be out for a joy ride while you're doing all the work. maybe you can install ejection seats instead of the lawn chairs.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

rosco has big ears, dorothy!

it's not as obvious when his hair is really long, but rosco has some enormous ears. i gave him a chop shop trim job with the scissors because it had been so hot, and the ears just come out. it's pretty hilarious to see him laying behind some covers or a pillow and see nothing but his ears sticking up. sometimes when he lays down on the couch beside me i'll smooth his ears back with my hands and he'll get really comfy and close his eyes. he'll keep his ears back until he hears something, and then they'll pop forward like radar dishes....better to hear you with, my dear!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

cannondale cross cx9

my cross bike showed up today, and it's more beautiful than i thought it would be. this is the 2009 cx9 bike, with the bb30 bottom bracket and all that goodness. i won't get it assembled until after this weekend with the mountain bike race coming up, but i'll put some more photos of it up when it's done. i'm so happy that i will be looking good whilst getting lapped in the A race!

Monday, August 11, 2008

gateway cup

yeah, it's kinda corny, but it's also cool. i've already been made fun of on a CERTAIN message board for this, but whatever. it was fun doing the photo shoot and i think it's a cool way to usher in the gateway cup excitement. labor day signifies a lot of things for the midwest, but the coolest thing has got to be our great race series that just seems to get better and better.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

vacation 2008

our vacation plans for 2008 didn't work out exactly as planned. but, when do they ever? anyway, we started off with wide eyes and bushy tails on our adventure. the future was so bright...well, you know.
the first major event was horseback riding. the beautiful mrs k and the big kids were actually going to ride horses, while the little guy had his eye on a pony. isn't that helmet adorable?
hanna and tyson looked like regular equestrians with their helmets and jeans on a hot day. they totally dug the riding, a two mile loop along some killer single track. her horse was sunrise, his was silver, and mrs k's horse was blue duck.
eli's adorable pony was tornado, or as eli would say, nornado. i had the pleasure of leading his pony around a 100 yard section of single track that would've made for some awesome mountain biking. we could have gone around several times, but the little guy was getting bucked around a lot and decided he would call it good.
this feisty little goat was running the place. eli kept asking "where the little goat go?" he jumped up on the picnic table and generally had his way with the place.
while we were waiting for the big kids and deanna to finish their ride, eli got a coke and i got chiggers.

back at the condo, eli went to work on cleaning mom's diva. he didn't bother with a rag because his nose sufficed.

captain ahab, better known as mrs k, headed up the next adventure. we took a boat out on the lake to let the kids do some tubing. this is when we had an anchor.

eli was pretty frightened by the wind and the waves and the noise at first. it didn't take him long to warm up.

deanna took eli on the tube and it was a success. he loved it and loved going fast and getting splashed.

i took over and i must say that i drive a boat almost as well as i drive a car. no comments, please.

hanna and tyson absolutely love the water. they couldn't get enough of it. the weather was perfect, not too hot, not too cold. this is probably the time when we all got a good laugh about mrs k tossing the anchor into the water when it wasn't tied to the boat.

this is a group photo of the water babies. what a goofball crew. this is about the time when we discovered that the anchor WAS tied to the boat, and that we weren't going to have to buy a new one.

big kid fun. they loved hitting the big wakes from other boats and bouncing all around. i tried to keep it sane, but sometimes they would really fly.

a view of the accommodations.

ain't he cool?

on the last day, we went to a state park and enjoyed some great hiking and rugged trails. hanna and tyson are very happy being outdoors and seem to really like history and geography. it was tiring, but again the weather was on our side so it wasn't as hard as it could have been.
it was so nice to see the kids enjoy themselves. they all get along together so well and have such a good time together. i don't think they'll soon forget the trip.