Wednesday, March 31, 2010

oh, yeah! 80 degrees on my day off!

sometimes the stars align just right. not often, but sometimes.

the thermometer read 80 degrees when i mounted the superfly on the car rack and drove out to the 'wood. wow, how did i get so lucky? the trails were so close to perfect, i dare not say otherwise. it's a crying shame that i am so knackered from the crit last night, because i could have shown those trails who is boss. instead, i rode for a solid two hours at a good pace. i have a slight sunburn on my shoulders!

about halfway through the ride, i was greeted with a little stan's sealant spraying on my calves. again, luck was with me and the hole in the back tire sealed itself. never missed a beat. i'm feeling like i am not far from being competitive off-road. of course, the first race of the year is always a better barometer than anything.

i spent the rest of my day off doing more mundane things, like housework and such. a small price to pay for such a gorgeous time outside today.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

watching tv

normally i don't get to watch tv much. it's a simple matter of time. there are always tasks to be done here at home, and tv doesn't qualify as a worthwhile task. even if there is time, the presence of the kids in the room means what ever i would watch has to be PG or better.

for some reason last night, the beautiful mrs k and i found ourselves tired, sitting on the couch, with only one child. and he was asleep! so, we just sat there and watched tv, like millions upon millions of people every night. it was relaxing.

we have like 50 different HBO channels and the tv hardly ever gets tuned to any of those. deanna perused those and came up with YES MAN with jim carrey. it was quite good, really. we laughed a lot.
after a bit of up and down with eli, mrs k laid down with eli to help him go back to sleep and i just sat there. i really couldn't move. i was indeed a couch potato and i believe my ass was stuck to the cushions.

i came up with THE WATCHMEN. i remember the previews for this a few years ago. as i have said, i was a big comic book fan until i was 12 or so. given this, i am still drawn in by super hero movies, and this new crop of them is pretty interesting. instead of being the clean cut, morally and physically perfect human specimens of 70's marvel/dc comics, they are very flawed, very human, and even ugly in some instances. so, i was very entertained and i didn't go to bed until 1:30....and eli was still having trouble sleeping.

it's going to be a long saturday.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

mountain biking is fun, i should do it more often

it's sad to say, but i hardly ever get to ride my mountain bike anymore. way back in the stone ages, when i first bought one, i would ride my mountain bike 3 or 4 times a week off-road, and once or twice a week on road. of course, that's when i had tons of free time.

however, i did get off-road today. i waited until the lunch hour, which brought along some warm temps, and then headed off to lost valley. it's quite a haul for me to ride out there, but theoretically a race will be held there sunday and it would be nice to at least see the trail before go-time. i haven't been to lost valley since the race last year.

this year's new section is almost identical to last years new section. twisty, lots of turns, a bit of up and down, a bit bumpy. however, it's not quite ready for prime time. there are plenty of mud holes, most of which have been covered in a very nice array of branches to make them at least ridable. even so, the lead up and aftermath of every mud hole is, surprise-surprise, muddy. after the new section, there were the typical muddy sections...the pines, the lead up to the rock waterfall and the climb out of it, and some sections of the gravel roads were covered with run-off. but, i made the most of it. my second time around, i ran into none other than mike barro of momentum cycles. we had a great time riding the loop together, and i pretty much forgot about the splatter on my body and bike. i always forget how nice it is to actually ride with someone. i for one really like lost valley, as it's a great race to hit wide open and there can even be pacelines going on. the new section will be a huge asset to the trail when it gets all broken in.

i'm probably not going to be too keen about racing sunday if it actually rains thursday as forecast. in fact, rain is forecast for sunday, too. certainly, i will find something else to do if that happens. i'm hoping that this year does not turn out like last year, where rain was a constant threat. i do not intend on chasing any points or series this year, so i'm not obligating myself to do any races, but i sure would be bummed to miss more races.

progress at the tuesday night worlds

the first tuesday night criterium race of the year was last tuesday. it was painful and i felt pretty slow. the second one was last night, and it was painful and i felt slow. but, the race was much faster last night by my account. lucky for me, i have the power records for both races on my powertap and, indeed, there is some good info there.

average speed: 24.42 mph
average power: 252 watts
max power: 1163 watts
peak 5 second power: 976 watts
max heart rate: 188 bpm
average heart rate: 160 bpm.

indeed, last nights race was not only faster, but i was putting out more power.

average speed: 26.08 mph!!
average power: 256 watts
max power: 1419 watts!!!
peak 5 second power: 1270 watts!!! (new personal best!)
max heart rate: 183 bpm
average heart rate: 163 bpm

and while my max heart rate did not hit the crazy 188 bpm, i did average a higher heart rate. personally i find that to be a victory.

still, it was a tough night for me, and i was 4th wheel until the backside climb. pity i just didn't have any more left. i guess things are looking up.

although i get excited over the numbers when they are good, and depressed over the numbers when they are bad, i do realize that they are merely a guideline and nothing more. they are a means to an end, which is to get better with the limited amount of time i get to ride and exercise.

Monday, March 22, 2010

i hate to say i told you so

a few times in this blog i have warned of the coming ultra cheap cars from both india and china. i am going to harp on this again because history has shown that no matter how bad the cars are, if they are cheap people will buy them. and time and time again, history has shown that the result is less than pleasing.

i present to you, the flaming tata nano. click here for the full story on autoblog.

while you're at it, check out another perfectly fine, cheap car that paved the way for such disasters HERE.

if you still have to be the first on your block to own one of these gems, please, please, please....don't drive it near my home. don't drive it near my kids. best yet: don't drive it at all.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

my birthday

it turned out to be a pretty nice day.

before everyone really got up and running today, i headed out on my bike for a short spin. it was just what i needed to put the week behind me.

we ate lunch at red robin. and since the beautiful mrs k told them it was my birthday, they embarrassed me with a song and an ice cream sundae. note to self: don't eat out close to your birthday unless it's alone.

tonight we went to game night at our church. it turned out really nicely, including an intermission that featured (what else?) ice cream birthday cake.

it seems this birthday's theme has been ice cream. now i have 364 days left to decide what the 44th birthday theme will be.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

why can't i go to castlewood?

awww. eli was so sad that he couldn't come with us to ride mtn bikes.

eli: dad, i want to go with you and tyson
dad: but honey, you still have training wheels on your bike
eli: but you can pull me in the trailer!
dad: hey, you want some cookies?

mountain bikes at castlewood with the boy

tyson has his spring break from school this week, so it seemed like a darn good idea to take him mountain biking at castlewood. after a cold start, it turned out to be a great day, so we broke out the fat tires and hit the trails.
after some brief reconnaissance, we found the trails to be completely accommodating. there really was hardly any mud (not like sunday's mountain bike race, which didn't have any mud but REALLY, REALLY had a lot of mud) and the grippy dirt made for some awesome conditions. perfect for the little grommet to learn the ropes. here he is pedaling furiously up the love trail. lucky for you all reading this, i did not crash while taking the photo.
he was pooped, but he did very well. after we ascended the love trail, we blasted back down it. he only took two small diggers, and those were at low climbing speeds. well done, lad!

Monday, March 15, 2010

remembering last summer

eli, tyson, gus, hanna, and max.

i was perusing some photos from our camp visit last summer and came across this gem. they all look so tiny! it's only been a year, but hanna has shot up quite a bit. really, they all have. eli looks like the pesky little brother that tags along with the big kids on their adventures. which, in face, he is.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

my philosophy

the supa fly was hiding behind the homegrown this morning

the first mtb race of the year was today at st. joe state park. that's nice. good for them. i didn't go.

first off, there has been very little off-road riding for me during the last few months. the horrid winter just made it too hard to get out. secondly, let's be honest...i'm a fair weather rider. it's been raining. i don't care what the race promoters wasn't going to be dry today. sometimes it seems as though the truth gets stretched when there is iffy weather in the run up to local bike races. i'll stick with what i know. just as they have a right to put on a race whenever and however they choose, i reserve the right to race when i want to. enough said.

i'm looking forward to racing when it's nice outside and the trails are dry. i've raced over 1500 motos of bmx, over 300 mtb races, and probably 300 road events in my 30+ years of racing. many, many of those have been under adverse weather conditions and i believe i have paid my dues. i don't have to race when my heart isn't in it, so i don't.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

fun at the department of motor vehicles

this is not a post to deride the attitudes of the typically rude and careless employees that we have all encountered while visiting the dmv. on the contrary...the people at the affton dmv were very nice.

no, this is a knock at the system. it's confusing, contradictory, and downright paralyzing at times.

who can name the exact forms and documents you need to get your license plates? if you can, you have been to the dmv recently. that's because it is a constantly changing mix of items. not long ago, you needed:
1. form that was mailed to you from the state concerning renewal
2. personal property tax receipt
3. auto inspection
4. auto emissions test
5. proof of insurance
6. cash or check

things changed over the years. since you can get two years of renewal on a given year, you need the past TWO pp tax receipts. the emissions tests became a nightmare, because they were taken away from the place that does the mechanical inspection and given to a network of emissions testing stations, themselves a nightmare. that meant two trips to have the car inspected in different ways. and somewhere along the line, a few of the dmv's (but not all) were taking discover cards. discover? of all credit cards to take, why take that one??

now, the emissions testing has been given back to the local repair shops and can be done while you have the mechanical inspection. but, if your car is less than 5 model years old, you don't need a mechanical inspection. and, remember to bring cash or checks, because they don't take no stinkin' cards anymore.

think that's confusing? get your driver's license renewed. before today, i would have believed that all one needed to renew the license was the old license and twenty bucks. nope. i think we can thank the department of homeland security, or some other completely invasive entity, for making us have to bring our birth certificate, too.


lucky for me, the affton dmv is only a mile and a half from my house. after squeaking by with all of my paperwork (i couldn't find my insurance card, which was craftily hidden right in front of my face in the car), i still had to jam home and search for my original 1967 birth certificate.

$24 for emissions inspection, left the car at repair shop while i rode. (no mechanical needed)
$63 for two year license plate renewal.
$20 for driver's license renewal.
lots of headaches getting paperwork together.

nice. all this work to get the car and person legally driving, yet hardly any real preparation for actually driving, and no retesting as a person gets older. unbelievable.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

radio controlled cars

what joy a simple set of toys can bring! the long, long winter of being inside has made moments like this so much more fun. a couple of 'tesla' rc cars and some soccer cones have provided endless entertainment for the dynamic duo. they have gotten pretty good with them already, and can thread through the whole set of cones.

it was nice to see these smiling faces after a long day at work. i'm still getting used to being on my feet all day. it's totally different from getting up and down 50 times a day like the previous year has been.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

wishing for spring doesn't make it any less winter

i went to castlewood today with a small hope that the trails would be dry enough to ride. it was a small hope. and there were small areas to ride.

i knew better. i knew it would be soggy and sloppy. but, hell, it's march and i have been nearly blanked on winter mtb riding. so i was rushing the season.

i thought i'd try love trail first. i rode up about a 100 yards and turned around. it was soft, not muddy, but it was looking increasingly so as i went up. no dice. then i went up the ranger station climb. there was hope! the rock and gravel climb was solid as a rock. and it remained so all the way to the junction with the grotpeter and rollercoaster. ah, no dice from there. dead stop, mud and ruts everywhere. i sat a bit dejected. then i just went up and down the hill a few times, what the heck? i can always use more climbing.

bored with that, i spun over to the cardiac climb. i knew it would be as solid and forbidding as ever. i didn't expect justin's trail to be any good, but one look at it gave me the go ahead. i took it all the way to the top of cardiac and down that. nice! so i reversed course and did several laps on that, climbing cardiac and down justin's.

that was it. other than those areas, it just looked too muddy to ride. there was no way i was going to tear up the trail. i left there with zero mud or splatter, which makes me very happy since i wouldn't have the time to clean it off the bike anyway.

if this sounds like the riding of a man desperate to get out and ride his mountain bike, it is.

tire rotation and oil change

the freestyle received new tires late summer last year. i never rotated them. bad owner, bad owner. so after doing some riding today, i figured i'd at least act like i cared about maintenance and rotate the tires. my trusty craftsman jack and cheap jack stands to the rescue.
the large disc brake rotors would be impressive on a sports car, but on the 4000 pound family truckster, they are merely adequate. shockingly, i have not rashed the wheels on curbs much. it's a bad habit of mine. the more expensive the wheel, though, the more likely i am to tear it up.
then, the dirty duratec was in line for new oil. i am amused that the timing chain is visible through the oil filler hole, and that it's super shiny. also amusing is that i managed not to spill a single drop of oil this time. good thing because it was black as neumann's coffee and twice as odoriferous.