Monday, November 30, 2009

what is a billikin anyway?

hanna is very cautious when approaching the creepy smiling "billikin".

it's been at least a month, but we took the kids to a billikin's soccer game one cold night. i think it was actually in october. anyway, of course eli got all jazzed up about the freaky billikin mascot guy. here he is keeping the creepy guy company. we were dying laughing.

Friday, November 27, 2009

new camaro convertible

in spite of all of it's faults, i am still quite a fan of the new camaro. and the forthcoming convertible will be icing on that cake.

ford gt (i still want to call it gt40)


some character named geiger painted a perfectly good ford gt this crazy green, and pumped up the power to nearly 800. i kinda like it.

photo courtesy of autoblog.

my new favorite hat

i went riding today with ethan and he brought along a very nice gift for me. the outdoor exchange was his brainchild back in the 90's. it was a sporting goods consignment shop in webster groves, and one of his specialties was bikes. he did camping stuff, some ski's, and various other outdoor goods. of course, my interest was the bike stuff. i would go in there and hang out with he and mr. pat collier, usually after a good ride.

i have been drinking out of outdoor exchange glasses for years now, but one of my boys broke the last one just recently. and, i had been wearing some socks and arm warmers with the logo's, too, but they all finally bit the dust. so imagine my joy at having one of these babies.

thanks, ethan. i'm back in the outdoor exchange promotion business, even if there isn't an outdoor exchange to promote!

Monday, November 23, 2009

wonder woman

when the beautiful mrs k and i were dating, i used to call her wonder woman. she worked, she took care of tyson, she was training for a marathon, she mowed her lawn, painted her apartment, cooked dinner every night, and still had time for me. this is a photo i took of her at castlewood one day in december of 2004. isn't she cute??

couple of photos from the phone

every now and then a cool mustang will be in my neighborhood. i couldn't resist taking this photo of a 500 horsepower mustang taunting me in my station wagon.
and though it might be more of a trim package than substance, i really like this orange california special. something about orange that i really like.

now i am reminded that i'm supposed to do a little research for my friend anthony. he's got a new gt and is itching to hot rod it.

christmas lights are up

at least on the outside of the house. the beautiful mrs k did this all by herself. yes, risking life and limb to get out on the roof, she hung the outdoor lights. i thought this photo, showing really only the lights was pretty cool. you can see her peeking out of the front door, wondering what in the world i am doing out in the street.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

mount pleasant winery cyclocross race

--this is how the entire race felt to me--
(again thanks to pdaddy for the great photos)

i knew it was going to be a special day when the beautiful mrs k told me that she wasn't going to be my cheering section today at the cyclocross race in augusta. i understood why she wouldn't want to spend her day chasing the little general around while i had fun racing, so i hardened up and went by myself. forgetting my helmet.

the helmet issue was resolved moments after arriving at the gorgeous mt. pleasant winery by the generous rich pierce. thanks rich!! augusta as a whole is a really cool place, and mt. pleasant is the perfect, pristine little piece of property to make a hellish race course upon.

good lord. had the ground been dry and fast, the course would have been wicked with it's off camber downhills and nasty switchbacks. but no. the ground was the consistency of rubber cement that was not quite dried. what would one expect after all the rain we've had? curiously, pedaling was necessary going DOWNHILL! there were some bright spots, such as the first switchbacks and the stairs with the screaming hoards of people. adding insult to injury, though, was the super steep section on the backside that sapped the will of anyone who fancied going faster than a walking pace.

poor positioning at the start and a bit overgeared...i sort of put myself in a position to do poorly. but it wasn't so poor. there was no way i was going to get a top 5 finish, but i had the plan: don't blow up on the myriad of gut wrenching climbs. and i didn't. a bleak race turned brighter near the end when i began to catch some guys that had gone out too hard. 12th place isn't all bad. i wish to master this evil, godforsaken sport one day, and the only way to do it is to suffer through these sadistic races first.

i was very impressed with the turnout. the course was built on a hillside and it was littered with people during all of the races, making a very cool scene.

bring on the next one.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

2 x 9 chainring insanity

30t/40t 2 x 9 xt 737 crankset

i don't really work anymore. i don't do housework, either. i don't really do much anymore. except...

except think of ways to get the exact gearing i want on my mountain bike.

not exactly true, but i have spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about it for the last year. putting myself onto bigger wheels has caused me much weeping and gnashing of teeth. i don't even know why. look at all of the fast single speeders and you'd think i was a pretty big fool for thinking more than a minute about my crankset and associated chainring choices.

i've always been a crank man, though. they've been the most fascinating bike part since i started riding bikes. so naturally i think about what ring sizes are on them. and, q-factor as well as aesthetics play a big part. today's cranks just don't allow for much tinkering.

over the past 6 months or so, i scrounged around on ebay and found a couple of square taper, low profile 58/94 bcd xt cranks. the 94 bolt circle allows for as low as a 29t middle ring, any number of big chainring sizes, and there are still a ton of good rings out there. little chainring choices are pretty much irrelevant to me. salsa makes a bunch of rings for the 94 bolt circle, so i've been using a 30/42 combo most of the year. just yesterday, i picked up a couple more 30 tooth rings for spares and finally scored the 40t big ring that i've been wanting. i would probably do well to use a 29t for my low, but they're harder to find and the chain actually rests on the spider arms instead of nestling down completely on the teeth, so i can live with a 30t. i ground down the little chainring bosses to allow me to keep the crank in as far as possible, as well as avoid any nasty chainsuck issues. let's face it: if i am using a little chainring, i'm off the back.

probably considered the low point of the whole deal is the square taper spindles. it's only a low point because they aren't quite as stiff as the current crop of overbuilt, integrated pipe designs we see now. the only low point for me is finding new or lightly used un72 or un91 shimano bb's. shimano hasn't made the high quality square tapers in a lot of years. but, they are almost indestructible and the wide variety of sizes is awesome. with the superfly, i can use a really short 110mm and keep things in really tight.

for the weight weenies, i'm sure the whole deal just gives them a bad case of whooping cough. cranks, rings, chainring bolts, un72 bb and crank bolts brings the grand total to 846 grams. heavy to the weight weenie, but about 10 grams lighter than the newest xt crank and bottom bracket. a inconsequential weight savings, but in immeasurable difference in versatility as far as i'm concerned.

if you're still with me at this point, you probably have some insane bike fetishes too.

Monday, November 16, 2009

disney 2005 (not 2009!)

probably my favorite photo of all time. same exact spot on the beach that we went to on saturday (cocoa beach) in 2005 with tyson and hanna. look how tiny those squirts were!
us in front of the castle at magic kingdom. it's hard to believe how big they've gotten.
and the waves came crashing in! they enjoyed the water more than eli did, he was PISSED that the water tasted so salty!
a fun photo from the hotel/condo that we stayed in. i embellished the photo because i thought it looked like flames were coming from tyson's fiery red hair.
castle.
deanna and the squirts taking tentative steps toward the water for the first time.
poor little hanna was so easily spooked in those days. she was very wary of the water. she has grown so much, and now she is quite daring in a lot of ways.
i'm so glad i had these photos left over from that trip 5 years ago. it's amazing to see the changes and the similarities. tyson was no older than eli was when we hit the beach last weekend. i'll see if i can steal some of this year's photos from deanna's camera and post them.

ah, cars

while i'm on the subject of super wagons...yes, i was on the subject...let me present to you another enticing choice coming down the road. the cadillac cts has been a great vehicle. so why not make a stylish wagon out of it? and it looks like it will be offered in a "V" version...you guessed it. high performance.
and then there is the challenger. i turn my red neck every time i see one. and i'm particularly smitten by the SRT-8 version with the hot, hot 6.1 hemi.
my favorite view. credit the autoblog-ers for the photos.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

disney 2009

eli's first trip on an airplane was to walt disney world in orlando. he was very excited, and wore the appropriate clothing to show his spirit.
this was teddy's first trip too, and he had to obey the rules just like everyone else. surprisingly, he didn't put up a fight.
i like planes!
when the plane was in the air, there was a short period of dead silence from the little guy. he was soaking in a lot of stuff he didn't know how to talk about yet. the situation soon passed.
our rental car, the ford edge. man, what a great ride. it was fast and roomy. i felt right at home and hardly ever gave the beautiful mrs k the keys. 22.5 mpg under my lead foot!
the gorgeous hanna k in the lobby of our hotel. she was a veteran disney chick, having already been there, done that in 2005 with us. this time, she was able to ride all of the adult rides, too.
me and the goofball crew. we were waiting for the shuttle to take us to the magic kingdom. we parked the rental car, dragged our bags up to the room, and away we went.
deanna and the goofball crew on the monorail. eli is obviously sighting some kind of treasure on the baseboards.
even though tyson has chosen to show us his best mickey rooney impression, this photo is near and dear to me because we have a similar one with the big kids from the 2005 trip...before the little general was born.
priceless. quite a few times on the trip, we would be treated to the uncontrolled elation of eli. this was the first one i caught on film. we arrived at the magic kingdom just in time for the afternoon parade. i believe this is when he saw goofy and donald duck on their float.
deanna and tyson in the tea cup. this was the first ride we rode in 2005. i have to dig out the old photos to see just how little tyson was.
the kids, sitting on minnie mouse's fireplace. eli is trying to figure out how to get some of her cool stuff on the plane for the ride home.
hanna and i waiting to see the show at the castle.
the beautiful mrs k and the boys. eli had a blast, as there were plenty of pyrotechnics and tons of action.
the boys were ZONKED on the way back to the hotel. they gave all they could and it wasn't enough.
great photo of the first morning in the hotel. the boys nearly pushed poor hanna off the bed, as they are total flip floppers when they sleep. we fashioned a little bed out of pillows and covers for eli to sleep on the floor the rest of the time. he liked it, and the other kids got more sleep.
eli really liked breakfast with pluto and goofy.
last photo with my camera, as the battery was a special rechargeable and, surprise, we didn't bring the charger. goofy was a great breakfast host. tyson is doing his best "alien" impression.

Monday, November 09, 2009

cyclocross in north county

bellfontain neighbors cross race yesterday. i had a good start. i was feeling quite good...freshly shaved legs, good weather, technical course with lots of turns. bring it on!! i was in the top three at the end of the first lap.
still concentrating hard, but beginning to fade in lap 3. those hard starts are hard on the old body.
whooosh! that whooshing sound was none other than josh johnson and kurt fletcher literally flying by on the barriers sometime in the first third of the race. josh would go on to win, kurt was top five. hmmm, maybe i should start slower like josh?
dammit, i want my 10th place! i fought it out with a couple of different groups of guys. one by one, i shed them. but drew black stuck it all the way out to the finish. i had to dig deep to beat him out of 10th. to the spectators, it may have looked like a couple of 18 wheelers drag racing backward up a mountain pass, but to us it was a battle to the death. today, i'm sore and tired and crabby.

damn, i love racing.

thanks to dennis fickinger and mike d for the photos.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

just lay down anywhere, go ahead

a pile of laundry is fair game for a nap. with all of the couches, rugs, blankets, etc., that are laying around in the living room, why choose the laundry that i'm sorting? i put this stuff in the entrance to the laundry room, sorted some more stuff, and when i turned around he was already laying there, snoring even.

keeping the little general entertained, a day with the great manipulator

when the big kids are with their other parents for the weekend, it's a tough job to keep the little general entertained. he's very intense and engaging, using up every ounce of our mental energy. above, he's challenging my sense of aesthetic by wearing his cars jammies along with his rubber fireman boots.
dad: eli, are you ready to get dressed?
eli: dad, you're in front of the tv!
happy as a clam at the playground. only, he's not happy about the playground toys. oh, no. he doesn't even want to play on them. he wants me to play hide and seek with him. i tell him we could have done that at home in our own yard. he's already counting to ten, signaling to me that it's time to hide. "one, two, seven, eleven, thirteen, seventeen, seven...."
upon arriving home from the playground, he insists that we need to buy a leaf blower. i tell him that we have one already. he says it doesn't work. i tell him that it does. he says the cord doesn't reach. i show him that it does. ah, i get it. he made me argue with him about the blower so that i would get it out to show him that it worked, and he took over after that.
he's a tough little guy. he learned how to hold it with both hands to aim it where he wanted the leaves to go. they mostly went where we could scoop them into the yard waste bags. mostly.