Saturday, February 28, 2009

raccoon

the day just keeps getting more and more exciting here at our house. we were just getting ready to sit down to dinner when i looked out the living room window into the back yard. there, sitting on a tarp (yes, we're rednecks with all kinds of trash laying around....) was this raccoon.

at first, we were extremely quiet so we could get a few shots with the camera before he bolted. but, he didn't bolt. as a matter of fact, he was there to stay.

he balled himself up on the tarp, just like rosco trying to sleep, and appeared to hunker down for the night. in the middle of my back yard.

well, i knew this was NOT going to sit well with the dogs. and i knew that, after rosco's fiasco with the possum, things could get ugly. so we made some real noise. nothing. there he sat. we took the dogs to the window and opened it so they would bark. didn't faze the raccoon at all.

finally, the raccoon got up and limped around a little. he had a bum rear leg. he hopped over to the drain and drank a little water. i suited up and went out back and started clapping and stuff. the little guy just wouldn't budge. i walked down the steps and sort of toward him (i didn't want to corner an injured animal for fear of having my face not-so-surgically removed) and he hopped under the deck. great. now i have to get him out of there, i thought. but, he continued across the yard and finally i coaxed him over the fence.

we all felt very sorry for the little critter. he was hurt and he was very calm. eli cried when the dogs went out into the yard because he was afraid rosco would eat the raccoon. it was kind of heart wrenching.

hiking chubb trail

after finding this photo of chipmunks making out on the camera from yet another elijah photography session, it was clear that it was time to take the kids out to some real wilderness and see some real wildlife
so the beautiful mrs k and i loaded up the freestyle with the kids and headed to a popular mountain bike destination. the little guy had about an 8 minute nap before we had to get out into the 33 degree air.

chubb trail has seen more mountain bikes than just about any place in our region over the last 20 years, and now it was about to meet the kakouris family wilderness brigade.

eli hit the deck 30 or 40 times. he just kept tripping over rocks and root and logs. sometimes he just fell over nothing. he's a tough little guy, and never once missed a step after falling. sometimes he just kept talking through the fall and during the time we would be brushing him off. he's a tough guy, for sure.

hanna was very happy to be hiking and didn't seem to mind that she was wearing gloves meant for shrek.

the family on a big rock close to the beginning.

we ventured off the trail a bit to find some fascinating rock formations. i have never noticed much at chubb, mostly because the trail requires your attention but somewhat because the foliage is so dense. winter time is great to explore this stuff because the chiggers and ticks are nowhere to be found.


very cool overhanging rock. this type of thing was everywhere.

the kids wanted to get under some of the overhangs. me and mrs k would go over and kick the rocks to make sure we weren't going to get caught under anything if it fell. they were all pretty solid.


so much cool stuff just a few feet off of the trail. all you have to do is look. we hiked for about 90 minutes and it was all good. believe it or not, eli did not need to be carried but the last 100 yards or so to the car. the kids were troopers.

after hiking, we drove through lone elk park. this was a heard of bison. i'm not sure what the big guy is doing in the ditch. maybe he saw something the others didn't.

we had to search for a while to see the elk. they must have been cold. but we caught some of them lounging around. i had to get out of the car and venture down a hill a little ways.

normal deer were in abundance. they lined the service road leading out of lone elk park. this guy was only a few steps from the car.
.
i'd like to thank the johnsons (heather and ethan) for the hiking suggestion. we had dinner and a great lasagna over at their house last weekend and mentioned that they frequently went to castlewood to hike when the kids were going stir crazy. it sounded like a good idea and we all had a great time!

Friday, February 27, 2009

what's on the camera?

this is his mean as a snake look. he's probably getting ready to break something here.
cars graham cracker box. this is a darn good photo.

this is a darn good photo, too.

as luck would have it, eli will have this thing figured out before i will. probably not luck, really.

notice the angle. this has to be an eli photo.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

the joy of parenting

can you see it? it's all right here. the expression that eli oli has on his face, while wearing the most hilarious get up ever, is what makes parenting worthwhile. i highly suggest you get yourself one of these.

this is why

i can't go to bed.

as i sit......

...the dishwasher is going for round two. it doesn't clean dishes so much as make noise.

...i'm still thinking about how nice my ride home was today. i'm not in the kind of shape i would like to be, but that's the fun part about the rise and fall of fitness: the best is still to come.

...i am freaking out on the reasonable bill i received from jt dunn heating and cooling. my buddy brett works there and did an excellent job of squaring away a furnace problem and i didn't pay a lot for that muffler, let me tell you. eli kept calling him burt. that's funny.

...here at the computer, i would like to thank all of the people who called and mailed me about my previous post. some people read this thing, and some people care.

...here at the computer, i would like to propose that the person or persons who commented so harshly about my last post come talk to me in person. hey, if you're going to be mean, why not get maximum effect and tell me off in person? don't be afraid, i'm no tough guy.

...on the couch, i'm thinking it may be the first time i have relaxed all day. and

...on the couch, i'm still tense.

...here, i'm dreaming of a vacation. deanna and i have talked about arizona. too bad schvonzie had to ruin a good thing and move back to stl.

...and wonder about the bald tires on my car, i can't help but to think i'm tempting the lords of the freak snow storm to chase me like the hounds from hell.

...and listen to the dishwasher, the clothes washer, the drier, and the furnace, i can't help but to think it's still strangely more calming than when the boys are awake.

...and type, i'm wondering why i can't get the dogs and kids out of my bed and go to sleep?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

kindness = weakness

my initial inclination is kindness. i see a smiling face and it makes me want to smile. i see a sad face and i wonder what upset the person. i see an angry face or gesture and i wonder how to fix it. i don't usually wear that on my sleeve, however.

what i wear on my sleeve is caution. i usually wait for some sort of kind gesture from another person before i show kindness myself. it's a protective mechanism and it can make for a lonely, pathetic existence. being in the audience instead of in the race sunday, i was able to let myself be the kind, thoughtful person that i want to be several times. to say that it felt good is an understatement. it felt great, and very natural. i felt more worth while than racing makes me feel.

so what would cause a person to not show kindness and love toward others? the world has a way about it. it has a way of turning kind gestures into opportunities for personal gain. it has a way of taking advantage of kindness. it turns kindness into weakness.

this is not an original thought. someone i know used to say this to me on occasion and i thought it was a way of speaking that just justified weakness. years on, i can't believe how true his statements were.

why post this now, or talk about it? it's been coming on for a few years now. having kids and a family and a career minded job makes a person care a lot. and not only about the kids and family and job. having a lot to care about seems to flip a switch that opens the mind to others and their struggles and their feelings. at least it has for me.

i have felt the problems associated with showing kindness. it is euphemistic to say that it feels unpleasant to be considered weak and to be taken advantage of. i have felt it more in the past few years than in my entire life, mostly because i feel that i have exhibited kindness more than in my entire life. i think it adds up. more kindness means that there are more opportunities for people to mistake it for weakness and attempt to exploit that.

a pity party? woe is me? no, quite the contrary. being taken advantage of makes a person harder, makes the facade of not caring a little tougher. and that, in turn, makes it harder and tougher to go with my first inclination.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

2009 froze toes race

the beautiful mrs k, all psyched up to race froze toes. surprisingly, she wasn't as nervous as i get when i race. and believe me, when it's 20-some-odd degrees, i don't race. i was in the service of the race queen today.
the normal carnage from the scene of registration. we preregistered, and flew right through. that's the way to go! we were able to see tons of friends and riders that we haven't seen since gateway cup...or even longer.

mrs k, warming up on trainer in the sun. it was still only 26 or 27 degrees right here. it was hard to tell who people were outside because everyone had on the heavy winter gear. i only know that this is my wife because she was bossing me around. nah, she was very gracious.

2 miles into it, i stopped to get a photo of the cat 4 women flying down the road. of course, deanna is pulling. i shouted out to her not to do that. she listened, somewhat. but still pulled too much. i drove the entire course ahead or behind them. i picked up a guy who had lost a derailleur pulley and he had to listen to me babble for the whole lap. oh, well, he got a ride back to the school!

couldn't resist taking this photo while driving on the course ahead of the girls. these are all birds. it was an amazing sight. i've never seen this many birds in my life in one place.

the after race pow wow. deanna, julie, and cristal made the final selection of about 10 girls after the initial 30 started. they battled it out until the last quarter mile when some girls went down. julie and cristal went down hard, and deanna did a 2003 tdf lance armstrong move and rode through the ditch to avoid the carnage! i was very happy to see her come to the line unscathed and in 9th place, but very unhappy to see the other girls misfortune. last year, she threw her water bottle at me because she was cold, tired, and dropped by mile 25. this year, she was in it to win it, or at least fight for it. she was 1.3mph average faster this year. now that's improvement!





Friday, February 20, 2009

breaking my own rules

well not really my own rules. rules that i set down for other people. you know, the people that want to make changes to their bikes or gear the night before racing? yeah, you know who you are. changing saddles or gear cables or chains the night before a big event. it usually spells disaster.

never, ever do that. change things a week before, make sure you do some shake down rides, and leave the stuff alone!

eh, not me. i'll change stuff. i might even change it back. but if the idea hits me to change something, i MUST do it. call it OCD, call it insanity, call it dementia. if i think i should put on new parts or different parts before a race and i don't do it, it will drive me crazy!!! granted, i've been a self-taught bicycle mechanic since 1975 or so, and a pretty passable one since my buddy todd taught me the right way to do things since 1981 or so. given the time that i've been doing it, i feel pretty confident that what i do change will work solidly on race day.

so tonight i changed cranks, chain, and handlebars on the bike i intend to race on sunday. stupid? absolutely!

but i had to do it. my brain said so.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

valentine's video

video

i never know what i'll find on my computer after a weekend with all the kids. i just found this and it is too sweet!

armstrong's tt bike found!

....and like i said, it was stolen by some knuckleheads who didn't even appear to know what it was.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

ewwwwww

at 9:59pm i realized we didn't have any milk. by 10:10pm i had arrived home with a new jug. by 10:15pm i had poured myself a delicious glass of the cows liquid. by 10:16pm i was on my way back up to the store to exchange the sour, vile substance for a new jug that wasn't spoiled. oh, the horror.

air 9 and other projects

my small basement workshop is at it's most cluttered state since moving into this house. i just don't have the time to do everything i want to do, so i get a few minutes into each of them and then i'm off on a diaper adventure or a sippy cup disaster. this is my racing bike for this year, the air 9. it's beautiful.

i just got the fastback together on saturday and it needs a few finishing touches. the bars are wrong and that means retaping. that will take me all day. mechanical stuff = good, taping = bad.

i acquired this from some cannondale people. it's the heavy duty american made aluminum frame. i have a few ideas for the direction it should go in, but that's all for now...ideas. those bars on the ground are supposed to go on the fastback, the carbon tubulars are supposed to go back to dan, and the green pump doesn't work.
dura ace 7700 cranks, circa 2001. these were on the schwinn, and the clearcoat was all crazed and peeling. i think if i can just spend five minutes a day, i can get them sanded and polished by 2011.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

old bikes, recurring respiratory issues

i polished up the old fastback and put her back into racing form. it was pretty much a time capsule, so it needed to be updated. i swapped off anything that was really long in the tooth (shifters, rear derailleur, wheels, cassette, bars, stem) for newer stuff that was at my disposal. pretty much, it's a mixture of shimano now instead of shimano/campy. it's for the best.

i took it for a short ride on saturday. i've always wondered why that i have never been blown away by carbon bikes. after saturday's ride, i pretty much know why. the old fastback was (and is) a wonderful bike. it's light, very quick on it's feet, and for some odd reason the ride is quite smoove. say what you want, but it's hard to improve on this thing. i may have to have some custom builder replicate this thing some day. i found myself really wanting to ride more, but...

this perplexing respiratory thing keeps coming and going. i've had it six times since september. it's more or less the same scenario: heavy feeling in my sinuses, scratchy throat, cough, maybe a little rattling in the throat/chest. onset can be hours, and the process takes anywhere from 1 to 3 weeks to go. but, it can return in another week or in three weeks, too. somehow, i don't believe i'm getting colds/infections that often nor that quickly. i'm leaning towards an allergy of some kind, but what? this happened in the summer, fall, and winter. surely it's not seasonal stuff. maybe something i eat? maybe something in the house? maybe i'm allergic to housework?? this latest bout is maybe 11-12 days old. it's slowly but surely leaving me.

whatever the case may be, it complicates my already hectic work and home life.

armstrong's ttx stolen!


no doubt, whomever it was that stole several of astana's team bikes must have balls the size of grapefruits. there is no way anyone could ever sell such a supremely custom bike as this. but, as far as criminals go, where there is a will, there is a way.
let's hope, at the very least, the jokers KNEW what it was they were stealing. otherwise, this thing might end up in a pawn shop in stockton for $50.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

birthday celebration, redux

every year, since hanna and max have very close birthday's, we do a dual party for them. it was a family shindig, full of pizza and ice cream cake.
my stupid camera is never on time, but this caught the little darlings in mid blow. they are so typical for their ages. hanna is a little rock star with impeccable clothing taste and max is the junior athlete who knows the stats and scores of all the games. they are both wise beyond their years.

and this little guy is not wise beyond his years. he's the cutest little mess you've ever seen. what is that on his face, you say? oh, it's icing from the cake. uncle kevin thought it was funny that he had so much icing on his face, and then suggested he use it with his little thomas the train shaving kit. and here we see him playing out that little skit...icing as shaving cream. nice kevin...nice.
i believe his face is still blue, even after his bath.


man, this guy knows how to relax

this comforter is stuffed into a laundry basket. we turned around and saw that rosco had jumped up and began to sink down into the comforter. he remained there for quite a while. i could take a few lessons from him on how to relax.

Friday, February 13, 2009

levi leipheimer tour of california tt bike

and this little bad boy is levi leipheimer's tt bike for the tour of california! coolness, for sure!

lance armstrong tour of california tt bike

apparently, this gem is lance's tt bike for the tour of california. thanks to chris brewer for the heads up!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

thinking about facebook

eli took hundreds of photos with the camera and one of them caught the beautiful mrs k deep in thought. i bet i know what she's doing here....probably busy on facebook!

dad and elijah stretching

he is so much more limber than i am. after this photo he pinched me with those plastic pliers. mean as a snake.

my jerseys, edition ten

i started stage 1 in 2002 after i raced for the thf team. a few guys i know didn't really want to race for any local teams, so we got together and made it happen. the first jerseys were just stock cannondale stage 1 jerseys. that's ok, we matched. we had myself, luke m, john rines, doug scronce, brian "call me aflack" alferman, tom "el ranchero" lebeouf, dan bischoff, jason, and a couple others that i just can't remember. it was fun to be a part of something different.
in 2003, we got custom jerseys. i, for one, really liked these. now they seem a little busy, but it was just enough different from the other kits out there. the team sort of fell apart over time, as most hodge podge teams do. and i just didn't have the guts to keep it going. i did keep wearing the stuff for a couple more years, though. so, like usual, i was the only one in the kit unless alferman showed up, too cheap to buy anything new. i guess i was, too.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

schwinn fastback ltd

friends, you are looking at my 2001 thf team race bike, the schwinn fastback limited. yes, it's actually the one i used. the kaiser has been caretaking for it since that time. with his newfound penchant for carbon road bike madness, this one had to go. and i got it back.

look closely. yes, that a syncros titanium seatpost. and campy proton wheels. oh, that odd mix of campy and dura ace that i used to favor so much is present also. wow, what a time warp.

what are my plans? immediately, i said ebay. now, i think i might ride it for a bit.

just because i can.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

bike racing in perspective, RLT max

this is a little bit of introspection, and a little bit of frustration rolled into one.

i know to be a top level cyclist, a rider has to put in an enormous amount of time on the bike. what's enormous? i don't know, really. i've heard tell of 20+ hours and even 30+ hours. needless to say, i have NEVER, EVER put in more than 15 hours in MY LIFE.

perspective: i'm not sure i ever had any more talent than a good regional cyclist would have, so hours invested per week/per month/per year may not have had much more effect. but maybe it would have?

so, it should come as no surprise that i don't really ride at a level that i am pleased with now. i mean, lots of weeks i get in five hours. sometimes i get in eight. in the height of my glorious (ahem) 2008 season, i hit 13 hours one week. alas, there have been many zero hour weeks due to recurring illnesses. i'm sort of a sickly guy at 41 going on 42.

i'm displeased.

this whole post is brought on by a conversation i was having with a coworker about my displeasure with my time investment in cycling and my declining performances. i was saying how hard it was to juggle my life and not let too many balls drop while i play lance armstrong/ned overend on my bike(s). he (and others, many others) have pointed out that not many people can do it successfully.

right. most can't do it successfully. but, then, there are those people that can. there is always that guy (or gal) that brings home the bacon, fries it up in a pan, and eats everyone else's lunch at the races. full time job, busy family life, hobbies, friends, and a successful training/racing regime...how in the world?

to heck with a killer vo2 max. i would rather have a super high RLT max....real life tolerance.

Monday, February 09, 2009

facebook

i'm simply amazed by the numbers of people who use facebook. the beautiful mrs k has been using it for a while and i have marveled at it's novelty. but, i have up until this point refused to get involved with more computer/internet stuff. this blog is enough.

yesterday mrs k tells me that she made a facebook account for me. wha-wha-whaaat? at first i was incredulous. i mean, why? but i must admit, i not-so-reluctantly logged in and checked out my new account. suddenly, i had tons of friends and people from days gone by right at my fingertips!

ok, so i'm not thrilled to have more internet in my life. but, i think i'm going to like keeping in touch with people.

rosco is home!

my little buddy is home tonight! he spent last night at the doggy hospital and i know he didn't like it. there's no way he slept in the lap of luxury like he does here, and i know he didn't get to snuggle up to the nurses like he does to us. here he is now, warming up for some serious sleep a little later.

he came home starving and thirsty. that make me happy.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

rosco is in the hospital again


poor rosco has a stomach problem again. he's spending the night with the vet tonight and i'm sick about it.

i'm beginning to feel like there is a big curse on my little family. things have been rough for a while, and it's tough to find a silver lining.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

three riding stories

i won't bore you. the quick and the dirty:

1. friday night. it was still warm, so i suited up and hung the light on the homegrown and hit the streets of st. louis. warm, yes. but it was also wet and icy. i saw my sorry life flash before my eyes several times on the icy moguls.

2. saturday morning. the "long" one. did the old sunset loop, complete with all the short steep grunts. warm, yes. wet, yes. very little ice. i got in almost 50 miles.

3. saturday afternoon. i was supposed to share a little crit knowledge with the beautiful mrs k and some of the ghisallo women that plan on racing this year. problem: only cristal and mrs kloha joined us. problem 2: tilles park is a nightmare on saturdays. mental note made. so, being blown from my "long ride", i bid them goodbye and they had a nice road ride by themselves.

Friday, February 06, 2009

mountain biking, st. louis style

maybe it's not st. louis style, maybe it's my style. when i get a chance to go off roading, i have to take it. knowing that the weather was set to warm up after thursday, i set off for castlewood even though i also knew there was ice and snow on the trails. i figured i'd just wing it.

and i did have to wing it. the lone wolf trail was ice. i wasn't doing that. a lot of the flats were ice. not doing that. but the ranger station climb was dry dirt and rock! so in old school 1997 style i did repeats. i did a bunch of ranger station climbs and some cardiac climbs with some trips down justin's.

it wasn't ideal, but i got some climbing and downhilling under my belt.

turbo tax

turbo tax is awesome. the only way it could be awesome-er? if i could get more money back.

now, THAT would be awesome-est.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

serious sleeping

you know you're sleeping HARD when your eyes roll back in your head. rocky usually takes all of tyson's blankets by the time morning comes around.

me and the boys

me and the boys were probably watching thomas videos.

ride safe - i support county police

get yourself one of THESE jerseys and keep the crazies off your tail!