Tuesday, March 31, 2009

tuesday night crits and wind, revisited

waking up this morning at 4am when rocky exploded in our bedroom was not a good beginning. i never really got back to sleep, and the day starts, ready or not. and it was raining and dreary, too. never mind, i had so much indoor stuff to do today i let it roll off my back. when it cleared, i decided it was a good idea to do the crits. i took to the streets for a ride before the race. i usually try to get in a good hour...it prepares me for the onslaught to come. well, tonight the onslaught was double sided; the wind was atrocious. it was bad just getting to carondolet park. once the race started, it became the the real enemy. i turned myself inside out tonight. i just couldn't get a wheel, i couldn't get myself out of the wind. i always found myself bridging a gap, and i'm sure i caused a few for riders behind me, as well. this photo was taken before the carnage ensued by the beautiful mrs k. i left my seat bag on.
while i was getting battered about the head, neck, chest, shoulders, and torso by the wind, the kids were having a merry old time. eli brought along his bike and insisted that he be able to start the race with us because he had big wheels. we declined, but he did have fun riding in the grass and on the little gravel trail. there were lots of kids there tonight to play with, which was great.

in the end, there is nothing more fun than playing in the dirt. isabelle and eli can really create their own good time. cristal gave me a chocolate oreo when i was done with the race, which was a good time, as well.

Monday, March 30, 2009

wind, riding, other

yesterday, i got a chance to get on the bike for a while in the afternoon. it had warmed up and the snow was no where to be seen. but it was windy! yikes. and it was inescapable. it was coming from every direction, i think. i took my 25 miles and called it a day.

today, i dragged john out with me for a ride through sunny wildwood. i think the wind was even worse today. several time it threatened to take my front wheel out. if it weren't so nice otherwise, i would have never ridden. again, it was only a short ride, 30 miles maybe, but it was good for my moral.

i visited my good friend paul today. it's always nice to see him, and today i visited his mountain top hideaway. a very nice visit that was good for the soul, and proof that a guy can make it no matter what he's up against.

tomorrow there is supposed to be rain. that's probably good, because i really have a ton of stuff to do here at the house. if the weatherman is correct, the crits may be dry and i may participate.

portraits of rosco

you can tell that i'm a big fan of our little dog rosco. he probably has more photos in this blog than anyone else. but my photos of him are usually pretty bad. first, i'm a bad photographer. (did you know that i wanted to be a photographer when i started college in 1985? it's true.) next, my camera is sorry. so, when mrs k was going shutter crazy the other night, she took a dozen photos of the little guy. he kept moving to get away from her and the annoying flash. in the end, i think these were the best.

awwww. such a cute little guy.

hard at work?

i don't know what i'm doing here. the beautiful mrs k went a little crazy with the camera the other night and everything in the way was fair game. there are more photos of me, but we can't talk about those.

eli is an artist

the little guy did a great job of coloring the thomas picture. mommy helped with the outlining, of course, but he did most of the color work.
after which, he had to do some full blown stretching.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

st. louis science center

what to do on a rainy saturday? the science center came to mind. i think it came to a lot of people's minds, too. it was crowded. but the only thing in the room when we got there was the t-rex. eli was quite frightened of the automated beast. he made me hold him and we could only inch forward as he became more sure that it was "pretty-tend" as he says.
this thing was was a monstrosity, for sure. i could see being afraid of it as a three year old. maybe as a thirty year old.
tyson has geologist written all over him. we had to pry him from the amateur fossil hunting job.
me and the boys, along with help from some other patrons, built the arch. the little kids just want to knock it down. and they did.
he kind of sulks around like a teenager, but he was fascinated by a lot of the things there...including the pizza place, which we declined to indulge in.
eli is a curious kid. nothing escapes this one. i believe we could have stayed until the guards kicked us out, but hunger pangs got the better of us. what a cool place. i think i want to go back without the kids so i can check out all the cool stuff, uninterrupted.

we have friends

julie invited us to her house last night. she made a great dinner for us and didn't seem to mind that the kids were trying to wreck the place.
while the kids ransacked the house, eli made out with a cool bob the builder motif. he was psyched.
isabelle did the same with a princess outfit. she was clopping around in some plastic heels and trying to stay clear of the onslaught of the boys.
i wanted to take these cool spy goggles with me, but no dice. eli had them get stuck on his head, and i couldn't get them properly because my head was too big. bummer.
yeah, right. i have no idea when this photo was taken. the noise level alone was enough to send me to the insane asylum.
thanks julie for the nice evening!

lost valley photos

i know, these are a week late. but i didn't even know that mrs k had them on her camera until now. obviously, this is a photo of the cheering section. they make sure i keep going, and that the rest of the audience doesn't fall asleep.

i'm done with the race here. obviously. but, i'm 42 and i still race with experts, which is a feat in and of itself. yay, me.
and these guys think i'm really good. they tell everyone how good i am. it's embarrassing. but, they are proud of me, and that encourages me to bring them to races. luke, this outfit is for you. i was certainly the most festive guy at the race. i'm diggin it. maybe i'll continue to race in this kit.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

afternoon bike rides

the beautiful mrs k and i joined a few of our friends for a great afternoon ride in wildwood today. we were late (naturally) because we planned on attending at the last minute (of course).

geoff "i like to grill" wolf taunted us the whole ride with thoughts of lunch. it was tough climbing reiger road while thinking of a bread company sandwich, but somehow we did it.

i kept the girls pushing the pedals even when they didn't want to. riding through rockwoods was fun, as i was trying to pull them along. when they couldn't go anymore, i told them to grab my arms. i'm telling you, i had a great workout.

yesterday, i hit out on my own to do some climbing. my time was severely limited, so i just repeated marshall road 5 times. did you know that it is exactly .62 miles from the street sign at the apartments to the no parking sign at the bridge?? it's true.

probably no bike riding tomorrow for me. i have a full, full day.

Monday, March 23, 2009

my new business

i've hinted around at this for a few days now, but i'm ready to let you all in on what i plan on doing with my life. my work life, that is.

i want to sell your stuff.

i've been dabbling with ebay and other online selling venues for a while now. and, our recent job...ahem...change has brought about a big change in the way that i'm doing things. so, i'm beginning to run my own online resale business called pedal brake pedal, just like this blog name.

my focus will be products from people just like you and me who need to get rid of merchandise before they buy anything new. or, people who just need to clean out the garage. along with personal stuff, a big part will be working with bicycle stores to clear out their excess stuff and offering to make trade-ins possible by selling a customer's bike so they can buy a new one. and lastly, i will be working with manufacturers and distributors to help them clear out dated merchandise like clothing.

a big part of my business is making sure it doesn't interfere with the normal retail channel. i worked bicycle retail for 25 years and i know what it's like to have mail order or internet competition. quite the contrary, i want to work with the retailers to get rid of stuff they don't have the time or patience to get rid of themselves. i will not have any retail store or business whatsoever. everything i do will be online and it will all be serving the people around me so that they can get cool new stuff with the money i can make selling their old stuff. any new merchandise i will sell will be dated so as not to interfere with current stuff in retailers stores.

sounds neat, doesn't it? i hope you think so, because i've been working at it from first light until midnight most days.

today, it is working through my normal ebay username, tskakouris. in a couple of weeks, that username will change to pedalbrakepedal, and my e-store will be pedalbrakepedal.com. i still intend to keep the blog personal, and there will only be links on the side to access the business to keep this from becoming a spam fest.

i wanted to get this out there since so many people continue to ask what i'm doing. thanks and wish me luck!

i'm a man about town

man, that must have been some GOOD chocolate pudding....

i was all over this town today. i was here, i was there, i was everywhere. i went to the post office twice today. i was in the city, west county, south county. whoa.

and through it all, i managed a recovery ride at castlewood. i can't say it was that fun, though. at first, i just hung around the love and roller coaster, just taking it easy. then i had the bright idea to try out the blue ribbon. big mistake. i can describe it in two words: drainage ditch. the whole thing is the remnants of running water and horse hoofs. throw in rocks, dead fall, big honkin' roots, and you have the blue ribbon. i walked a lot to get over the fallen trees. and i found a tick on my leg. a tick in march. jeez, man, what is going on out there?? i'm going to have lyme disease before easter.

i saw big john merli out there and he had the same nice things to say about the blue ribbon. ah, well, i still found it hard to really complain about a day like today in march.

lost valley and other things

it turned out to be a stellar sunday for racing bikes. i loaded up the freestyle and headed to lost valley where the gorc crew and matt j have been doing wonders for the last couple of years. this year was no exception.

it was a nice turnout, having over 30 experts total (17 young'uns, 13 old guys, and 3 women, i think). it was a nice surprise. it was also nice to see my old bar banging buddy, john matthews with a number on his bike! after a completely gut wrenching start (aren't all mtn bike races that way?) we dove into the new single track and drj's own bob arnold led john and i away from the field. we extended the lead once we hit the gravel. whoa, john can ride singletrack! we began to pick off the younger experts pretty quick, and we settled into a nice pace. by the end of the second lap, it was just john and i. oh, man, i can't tell you how many races over the last 15 years have been like this! sadly, i couldn't take it to the line with him. he had good legs, and i cramped the living daylights out of my left quad and hamstring. i watched him pedal away. grrrr. second place it was, then.

i was spurred on in my second lap by well wishers, which i'm always grateful for. not the least of which was the kakouris family. they drove all the way out to weldon spring to watch me go by twice. now THAT'S dedication. the kids had a lot of fun afterward throwing things at each other and undoubtedly pissing off some of the spectators. sorry about that.

not bad, but room for improvement.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

surprise 40th birthday

deanna's sister denise turns 40 in a few days, so her hubby jim threw a surprise party for her. she was surprised (we think) and there were tons of people there to celebrate with her. there was the coolest power point slide show going of photos from denise's life. pretty neat stuff. there was even a photo of denise and deanna from 20 years ago. yes, mall hair was in effect.

happy early birthday, denise!

gather the crew for a run

the beautiful mrs k rarely likes to run alone. so we all got it together to ride along with her for a short run this afternoon. hanna was quite excited about the new carbon bars that went on to her steed last year. well, new to her, anyway. hey, i'm a bike guy! why can't my daughter have carbon on her bike??
eli was naturally very excited to ride along behind me in the trailer. not really. he crabs the whole time in the trailer. he crabs about everything. go this way, no that way, let's go home, no i want to follow mommy, etc. kids....what can you do?

mrs k after the run was over. well done.

tyson, replacing a valve cap on hanna's bike. hmmm. maybe i should check that out later.

Friday, March 20, 2009

always a party around here

as you can see, i got really dressed up and got my hair did for the evening. after a great meal at bandanna's, i didn't think i'd have to look good. my home made cards are better than anything store bought. eli can't really wait to blow the candles out. tyson is thinking about the brownie cake. hanna just LOVES a good party, even if it is just the five of us.
we got a box in the mail from my sweet sister. she is always sending the kids stuff. anytime a box shows up from her, it's like christmas. this time, the box was for me, but we knew there would be stuff for the young'uns in there regardless. what's in the box? what's in the box??

ok, so eli wasn't really in the box as it made it's trip from arkansas. but, there was a great card and cool stuff for all of us. i'll get a photo of my main gift tomorrow in the sun so you can see it in action.
every birthday that goes by, i'm reminded of how much i am cared for. it's a mystery to me...but someday i hope to truly deserve all that i have.

happy birthday to me

i hadn't thought about it until sometime yesterday afternoon, but today is my birthday. the beautiful mrs k and i have been so busy that we really haven't had time for such frivolity. of course, the moment i visited facebook there was a barrage of birthday messages. leave it to my friends to cheer me up!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

big boy haircut

he looks pretty crabby here, but eli and tyson got their hair cut tonight and they look so cute! eli looks like a little man. he was complaining earlier that his mohawk had come out. apparently, the stylist humored him and made it into a mock mohawk, but it sort of fell out on the way home. or he played with it too much. you can barely see the carnage on the right side of his face where he hit the deck yesterday. ouch!

work work work

wednesday was not a day for jack (me) to play. it was all work and no play. but i don't think i'm dull...yet.

the beautiful mrs k and i made a business trip to the loop, and then the gorgeous day deteriorated into a cloudy mess. ah well, perfect weather to spend time working.

eli took a dive from the car yesterday and landed on his face, which wasn't pretty. he was ultra crabby for a little while, then went to sleep about 7pm. he woke up a few hours later and wanted to watch thomas videos, naturally, and had no problem with his bashed face whatsoever. he's a tough guy, i tell you.

today i managed to squeeze in a ride between woodworking, post office, computer, and a rally burger. and what do you think i was humming along in my head? that's right...the tune to thomas and friends.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

tuesday night worlds

rocky: don't take my photo, i've done nothing with my hair!
rosco: this spot gives me a better view of the toilet.
i raced the tuesday night training crit for the first time in a year tonight. it seemed like such a nice day that i couldn't miss it. it was great to catch up with old friends and see some new faces. a lot of people commented on the old schwinn, and i think ryan pirtle would have actually ridden off on it had i laid it down...he's a little big for it, too, so i'm safe.
it was a big night, with tons of riders present. for me, at least, it was hard. i never like to ride in the back, so i found myself near the front but not quite doing any leading. i really just followed moves and bridged really short gaps. that was enough for me, i was spent. i did have fun, even if ryan hermsmeyer pimped me at the line for 20th or 21st or something like that. i vow to get him back in the coming weeks. either that or i will make him ride mountain bikes again. that'll teach him.
i think i rode better because the kakouris cheering section was in full effect. the beautiful mrs k and friend cristal brought the kids over in the bike trailers. tyson, the big boy that he is, rode his own bike. as we started home, it was getting dark and we even ran into grandma on her bike! well, we didn't physically run into her. she was out on her Lime getting some exercise.
once i got home, i had to leave again to visit the mad professor and that's always a treat. he gave me armloads of stuff to sell and we had some laughs as usual.
ah, the day is long. this was a good long.

Monday, March 16, 2009

people of influence

if you look back at different segments of your life, you're sure to come up with different people who have really impacted you. just look back at your teenage years, your college years, your first real job, etc. all of those time frames will have someone who, although you didn't know it at the time, shaped you.

some of mine are people i didn't even like at the time. my working life is full of people that i didn't really like at first. slowly but surely, over the years, i have grown to realize how much i learned from them. does that mean i like them now? yes, it does. you tend to like those you admire, and of course you try to be a bit more like them.

but mostly, i think we really like the people of influence in our lives. for me, right now, there are a few incredible people who make me want to be better. who would i be without them? where would i be without them? things would be different, and they wouldn't be as good.

thank you, i hope you know who you are.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

it brings joy to my heart

to see someone enjoy my bed so much.

mountain bike riding and more

saturday, after running around quite a bit, i met the kaiser at lost valley late in the afternoon. a very positive side effect of daylight savings time is the late afternoon mountain bike ride. the trail was in excellent shape, with very few soft spots. it was a great day for a race!

i only had time to do a lap with marty and then i had to bug out. (but not after he had his first near-miss of the year, which i didn't witness.) he soldiered on and i drove home, quickly, so as to be ready for the church trivia night. we've been going to the trivia night for a few years now, and i don't think our table has ever done well. but last night was different, and we finished 4th out of 19 tables. we should have done well, considering we had two doctors and two engineers at our table. and i think a school teacher, too! now WHY didn't we win??

no crits for the beautiful mrs k and i this morning. you know why? because. it just wasn't in the cards. we've had a ton of 20 hour days lately and that's enough to spoil the racing spirit. however, it didn't stop me from hitting lost valley again today for some hot laps. i wanted to do three laps fast, and that mostly happened with the exception of talking to friends on the trail. i crossed paths with mr. ott, fresh off of his 7 hour riding day yesterday. then i saw the twister himself, looking so-pro in his mesa kit. then, after seeing hikers and walkers and an older couple doing the trail on 700c hybrids (!!!), i closed in on a rider that looked a lot like the mad professor, ethan. and it was. i finished my three hot laps in a respectable 1:35 including all the jawing and hooked back up with ethan for the ride to the car.

true to his nickname, which i'm not so sure he remembers, he's always full of knowledge and i'm grateful that he dispenses it so willingly. he no longer has the mad professor hair, which was the original impetus for the name, but he's still got the big brain, so it sticks.

i need a job so i can stop working so much.

Friday, March 13, 2009

coraline with hanna

after starting the day with deck screws and sawdust at the show me cables world headquarters, things just got even more busy. i dashed home (after eating a gyro from the pita company...i know, i know, i'm SO greek...) to shave my 5 day old beard. not really dashed, because it seems that this friday the 13th was bad for traffic. i sat on 270 for some accident in the OTHER lane.

after kissing the beautiful mrs k goodbye in a flurry of activity, i then sat on hwy 55 for construction. late, i finally reach the junior rock star and pick her up from school. we goofed off for a while, i played guitar hero on her wii, walked her dog oliver, ate at a tasty greasy spoon, stopped by to look at baby chicks at a pet store, and went to see the movie 'coraline'.

although it was an animated movie (in the vein of the nightmare before christmas), it was quite graphic and pretty scary at times. i had heard that it has been shown in 3d, which would have made it more so. that said, we loved it. it was quite entertaining.

i was quite sad to drop of the little princess. it's so nice to spend some quality daddy time with her.

but, as i write this, i also can't believe that it's nearly midnight. the screws and sawdust, i think, were the easiest part of this day.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

weather shenanigans and such

just tuesday deanna and i were out in the glorious weather, doing a little crit practice and enjoying the day.

now look at what we have here.

it's cold. it's dreary.


anyway, the trashman just picked up the nasty yard carnage that has been there since late fall. the beautiful mrs k went out into the back yard and gathered it all up into 7 bags. way to go, honey! hopefully, that will keep the neighbors from calling the county on us. that was only sort of a joke.

Monday, March 09, 2009

more mountain biking

after the showers yesterday, i thought for sure that the trails would be unusable for a while. however, as john 'let's ride' lynch and i found out, lost valley was primo.

more than a year ago, i built up this cool carbon orbea mtn bike for john. today was it's maiden voyage. it's sad, i know, but at least we finally give it a workout. i took it easy on him since he was busy playing mary lou retton before hand.

the gorc people must have pulled some all-nighters out at lv, because the trail conditions have never been better. much of the loose garbage that makes some of the technical sections unpleasant is simply gone. and the rain? maybe it rained out at lost valley, maybe it didn't. there was so little water that one could guess that it was merely the freeze/thaw cycle.

it did rain tonight, however, and i doubt that lv avoided it. i'm betting, though, that the place will be in good condition in just a few days if there is no more rain.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

king of the hill

why lay on the carpet when you could lay on a queen sized bed? better yet, why lay on a queen sized bed when you could lay on a comforter on top of a queen sized bed? best yet, why not lay on top of a pile of warm clean clothes on top of a comforter on top of a queen sized bed?

ah, this is the life for a dog.

our weekend

hmmm. i wonder who had the camera this morning?

even though things are really different around here, the weekend was no less chaotic than normal. we had a lot of projects to do around the house (i.e., cleaning) and began to run into the deadline for finding a babysitter for eli. it's always hard for us to plan things on the weekends, and it's always complicated by the babysitter factor.

some of our dearest friends had invited us out to dinner last night, and we finally had to drop the little guy off with grandma, who herself was attending a function. if it wasn't for friends and family, i don't know what we would do.

after not much alcohol and a great time, we didn't get into bed until 1am. couple that to daylight savings time, and you have the recipe for this morning's mad dash to church. i was very glad to have gone today, as whenever my life seems to take a turn, there is a sermon awaiting that has full relevance to the situation.

crispy kreme's were our reward for being tired and crabby. then the beautiful mrs k spent the rest of the day cleaning the house and i spent the rest of the day working on bike projects for friends. i did get out on the homegrown for 45 minutes or so. lucky for me the wind died down quite a bit by dusk.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

riding synopsis

thursday i got together with john 'let's ride' lynch and aron rauls. we did some familiar wildwood/west county roads, but somehow we put together every hill in the region. we even did the scenic loop at greensfelder as a 'bonus'. it was incredible to be able to ride with other people! it's so rare for me. we did 50 miles and i was tired. at least john made me a killer smoothie when we finished to ease the pain.

friady i hooked up with the masher and mr. ott to do 100 miles. well, that's what we said we were going to do, but it just didn't work out. i had time commitments and just couldn't swing it. as it was, we did 65 miles on the monster hills of jefferson county. i have never seen some of this stuff. it was a masher special, too, as he just found them on google earth and figured they'd be fun roads. fun? debatable, but the hills were legendary. i'm sure guys like klages and the sprogoe brothers know these things like the backs of their wrinkled, tan hands. miller road? wtf?? tower road? wtf x 2??? awesome, awesome stuff. all said and done, it was 65 miles, about 4 hours of ride time, and just under 5000 feet of climbing.

i need to ride with folks like this more often. unemployed or not!

today i just had to hit the trails. of course, it was a last minute decision to do so after the beautiful mrs k did her saturday morning ride. i decided on chubb because, well, because. i thought there might be some soft ground, but i was wrong. it was dry and grippy, despite being very gravelly. there were quite a few hikers and a few bikers, but chubb is never anything like castlewood.

good times!

Friday, March 06, 2009

listings on ebay

i'm forever listing stuff on EBAY.

it gets boring after a while, so sometimes i attempt humor in the listings. mostly it backfires, and i get tons of questions from around the world.

"what did you mean by better than your grandma's chilli?"
"i've never heard of stiff sprint-tastic handlebars, vas is das?"
"what do you mean by hefty?"

sometimes, it's just best to give a boring description and call it a day.

budget chop job

since we're not made of money these days, i gave rosco a hair cut. i've done it before, so i was not surprised at all by the stellar results. i should be in dog grooming. anyway, i'm sure it was much appreciated on this hot day. the clump of hair that is left over after trimming this dog is simply enormous.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

take a picture!

with some quality photo shopping, i can post this picture. eli insisted that i take a photo of him in the tub. he's starting to get excited about seeing his face on the blog. ok, big guy. here you go. and i'm going to show your friends when your 18.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

at least someone can get some sleep around here

a big ol' pile of comforter is a great place for a little dog to take a snooze. right now, i'd like to crawl up next to him and sleep until july or so.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

county police jerseys

so, i find myself with an armful of cool "i support county police" jerseys. get yourself one and watch the extra respect you get on the road!

contact me or get 'em on EBAY
cool stuff!

photography surprise

another surprise on the camera tonight. it took a minute to decide what this was, but it appears to be photo of a web page. always a treat to pick up the camera...you never know what you're going to find!

all things change

the beautiful mrs k and i no longer work at ghisallo. life is one big question mark, isn't it?

Sunday, March 01, 2009

hanna does twister

hanna got a new twister game for christmas, and it was time to break it out. of course, eli had to show her how to play.
with tyson calling the moves, it was not long before much buffoonery ensued. she's lucky she didn't pull a hammy on this one.

a look of surprise means that there is no way THAT let is going all the way over THERE!

the pain of a well played game of twister is evident on hanna's face. no pain, no gain, honey!

and for some reason, the excitement of the game overwhelmed tyson later when he violently thrust himself upon a pile of innocent toys. twister envy can be a dangerous affliction.

and this is just downright creepy.