Monday, November 26, 2012

Spanish Lake Gravel Cross

Mike Dawson's Photo provides documentary proof that I was there.

Spanish Lake is home to a unique mountain bike race every now and then.  It's got short stints of tight single track bracketed by super fast sections of gravel.  We have also had cyclocross races there that used a bit of that gravel, some of the rolling grass areas, and even a bit of the single track.  But yesterday's 'cross race there was a complete departure.  We used a 1 1/3 miles of gravel every lap.  Needless to say, it was fast and I was completely out of my element.  I finished a demoralizing 15th place.

Next week is my last 'cross race this season.  That's at St. Vincent.  Let's hope it stays true to it's roots and provides a fun, technical course.

Onward and upward.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Closure

I'm ready to give myself closure on what has been a painful subject for 25 years, BMX racing.

I defined myself early in life by my racing.  I started when I was 12 for two reasons:  I wanted to be different from my friends and I wanted a good reason to stay away from home. 

I accomplished those things.  And....here it goes...I got GOOD at it.  Yes, my big problem is that I have never been able to say that I was good and actually mean it.  I wanted to be the best.   I wanted to win every single race.  I could not accept being beaten, ever, by anyone.  If I did win, I wanted to win by a larger distance.  By my own definitions, I could not have been GOOD...I wasn't the best...I didn't win every single time...and there were people that could line up to race and beat me.

I rode my bike constantly.  I lifted weights hard three times a week.  I ran stairs three times a week.  I did intervals on rollers twice a week.  I did sprints, twice a day, three times a week. I did practice gate starts almost every day of the week.  This went on almost year-round. Once I got a taste of winning races, I couldn't bear NOT WINNING.  It was very stressful.  So stressful, in fact, that even now what I remember most about my 8 years of serious BMX racing is not the wins, or the friends, or the places that I traveled to, but the losses.  I'm no Stu Thomsen, so the losses outnumber the wins by quite a significant margin.  That means that there are a lot of bad memories that piled up over those 8 years.  Truth be told, I've hated BMX for 25 years.

But I'm letting it go.  Dear lord, it's been 25 years.  It's time to let it go and be happy that there were so many good times, memorable trips with my father, memorable people, great friends.  I won some races.  I raced against the best in the world at times and I was competitive...and dare I say it...I beat some of them some of the time.  I won money.  I won cool trophies, some of them taller than my kids are now.  I raced cool bikes, some of which were given to me by cool bike companies.  I had plane tickets bought for me by those cool companies to fly to cool places to race their stuff.  I had my name on a cool home-made bike.  I've had my picture in magazines.  I signed autographs for people, sometimes cute girls.  I signed kid's t-shirts, helmets, frame pads, and number plates just because they thought I was someone special like Eddy King or Brent Patterson or Richie Anderson.

I eventually started racing other kinds of bikes, and haven't done half bad since then, mostly because of the skills and fitness I gained from for BMX racing.  My kids think I'm cool because I'm not like other parents.  I started working in a bicycle store because of my racing, and I still work for one and it's been quite a career.  In fact, most of my work ethic and my way of regarding the world came from those very important years.

So I asked myself:  What is so terrible about all of that?

Nothing.

Thanks, Donald.

Wedde Road is Awful

Climbed Wedde road in Jefferson County during my ride today.  It is awful.  And I liked it.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

ATV Motorcycle

Man, this thing looks fun.  You know, in a "Low speed, I'm not a good motorcycle rider" kind of way.

http://www.autoblog.com/2012/11/20/brutus-motorcycle-is-half-an-atv/

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mt. Pleasant Cross Race 2012

 Big thanks to Flannery Allison for some great photos!

I've always been a fan of the Mt. Pleasant Winery cyclocross race in Augusta, Missouri.  It's main feature is the geography:  it's built on a hillside.  That means the course snakes across that hillside, back and forth, until all participants beg for mercy or death.  This year, the course was bone dry...dusty even...with the exception of a drainage ditch that bisected the entire course.  We crossed that little drain 5 times per lap, and the "A" field did 11 laps.  Doing the math, I lifted my front wheel at relatively high speed 55 times.  My biceps confirm that number as I type.
 Another feature at Mt. Pleasant that never disappoints is the steep climb.  On the south end of the course is a gut-busting 20+ percent climb.  Not pictured are the hecklers.  They heckled me.
This is me crossing the finish line.  I noticed as I approached the line for my hard-earned 7th place (out of 22 starters) that the scorers had their heads down, so I flashed them my back to ensure they caught my number instead of continuing to watch YouTube videos of cats playing bongos.  Unbelievable that Flannery caught this incredibly dumb little move.  All in all, another spectacular race put on by the fine Big Shark crew!

Big Shark Women's Ride is Alive and Well

Cold?  Windy?  Doesn't matter to some of these women.  They put in the time and want you to put in the time with them.  Come out and ride, they love you!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Photos from Concordia Seminary Cross Race

 Beautiful weather, beautiful setting at Concordia Seminary in Clayton.  I got a good start, and hung at the front most of the time.
 The mountain bike friendly course had much dirt singletrack, plus this fun dirt mound.
The sun and wind made for a summer-style day, and Mike Dawson caught the late Fall colors just right to contrast the Big Shark Shop kit.  Love this one.

Josh Johnson was superb yesterday.  Pure class, pure strength, as always.  I said if I couldn't win on a course like Concordia, I can't win a 'cross race.  Right here, right now, I top out at second.  Here's to 'cross racing in 2013 and hopefully a new reality...one that might include the possibility of winning.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

On My Phone Today

 I
 Love
You

Rex Loves Peanut Butter

Rex is just like most dogs...he loves Peanut Butter.  Once this jar had been virtually exhausted, we let him have at it.  He has a very long tongue.  Mmmmm.

Hanna and Tyson "fix" Eli

You leave three kids alone in a room for a while, and strange things can happen.

Veteran's Day, 2012

We took a trip to visit my Dad's grave at Jefferson Barracks.  None of my kids were even a twinkle in Dad's eye when he died, way back in 1991.  But, I was 24 years old and I have all of those memories to share with the children. 

I laugh when I think of how my Dad would have received the kids.  Half of me thinks he would have been really, really annoyed by them, and the other half thinks he would have adored them.  In reality, it would have been both.  That's just the way he was.  He and I are not much alike, but that's a trait we most definitely share.  I write this with love and a big smile.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Concordia Cross Race

Every now and then, a 'cross course comes around that is made just for me.  The race at Concordia today was just such a course.  Seriously, it was way mountain bike friendly.  For a brief moment, with 3 laps to go, I thought I might win.  Josh Johnson thought otherwise, as usual, and won.  But, I took second and I'm proud of that.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Sylvan Springs, Race Two

 Photo Courtesy of Dan Singer. 
Photo Courtesy of Eville Mike Dawson.

Sunday was the second race at Sylvan Springs.  Man, I love that place.  The terrain is so much fun.  My placing (11th) wasn't so great, but I have to say that I had a great race and I enjoyed it. 

Enjoy is a funny term.  In fact, my new Garmin 500 computer recorded an average heart rate of 171bpm.  Given that my maximum heart rate is only 180, that means I spent 1 hour and 1 minute at 95 percent of my max.  When I say I'm going as hard as I can possibly go, I mean it!

Thanks to the great photographers that spend their weekends taking photos of a bunch of amateurs having fun on bikes.  It's a nice way to look back and relive a bit of the action.  You guys rock!

Monday, November 05, 2012

Words to live by

When I was 19 years old, I really got down on myself.  Gee, imagine that.  I sat down and wrote a note that said basically the same thing and pinned it above my study desk.  I have forgotten this more times than I have remembered it. 

That was one wise 19 year old.

Adult Volleyball


These are terrible photos, but nonetheless they document the beautiful Mrs K playing volleyball.  Sorry, no action shots.  But, she did not break a hip.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Cool Halloween Stuff

 Hanna made for a very convincing zombie.  Who's that dude in the Mario outfit??
 Eli was a ninja, and he had the throwing stars to prove it.
 Tyson was ninja of sorts, too.  And here he was enjoying a nice bowl of chili on his way to another adventure down the hall.
 Max was Max.
 The beautiful Mrs K was handing out candy at the church Halloween function.
 Even ninja's have to stop and refuel on candy.
Rex just wanted it all to be over with.  And he wanted to soil the clean whites, too.

Cycling runs in the family

I began rebuilding Eli's hand-me-down BMX bike a few weeks ago.  His old Raleigh was Tyson's first 20" bike, but it still works.  But since Eli has never had a bike of his own, I figured it was time.  I tricked out a new Raleigh for him.  It's lighter, fits better, and it's hand-brake only.  I picked him up at the bus stop last Friday and he zoomed up the hill to our house.  He loved it!

Rex the floppy dog

Sometimes I just hafta let it all hang out, ya know?