Monday, December 31, 2012

2012, Goodbye or Good Riddance?

Ten things, not in order of importance.

ONE:  I lost my friend and companion, Rosco.  Hard, hard, hard to come to grips with that.  What has helped is having so many people to give me a word of encouragement or a pat on the back.  My family loved him, too, and they have reminded me of the wonderful life Rosco shared with us.  Sometimes my insanity causes me to think he's still around, and I'm not kidding when I think he's just in the other room, snoring or tearing something up.  That's what 14 years of love will do to a guy.

TWO:  My beautiful wife came to work with us at Big Shark.  There are so many things that have to be done in a growing small business like Big Shark, and to be able to do what we do best (servicing the cycling community) we have to have our time freed up from some of those other things.  That's what she does and I'm grateful for that.

THREE:  My three lovely children grew another year older.  I can't explain it, but before my eyes they change and morph into more and more complete people. I don't remember being so interesting when I was six.  Or ten.  Or twenty five.

FOUR:  It costs a lot to be sick or need medical care in America.  Insurance is insanely expensive..but you know what?  That's because health care itself is insanely expensive.  And we have had no hospital stays this year.  My advice?  Don't get sick in's a killer.

FIVE:  Once again, I raced my bike this year.  That makes 34 straight years.  I did Tuesday night criterium races, a few mountain bike races, and a bunch of cyclocross races.  It was not a bad year.  Next year will be better.  I bought a BMX bike, although I'm not sure why.  I may race it if I don't hurt myself riding it around the neighborhood.

SIX:  I met up with an old friend of mine from 20 years ago.  We used to do a lot of things together, a lot of riding included.  We started riding some old familiar routes this Fall and it's really got me thinking about how much fun it can be to hang with friends.  That's something I have forgotten and rediscovered over and over again.  And, grumble about Facebook as we may, it has kept me connected with some great longtime friends from the BMX racing days.  Those were some awesome people, and now I get to see how their lives have changed, which is fitting since many of them changed mine.

SEVEN:  We had an amazing family vacation this year, visiting with friends in Colorado.  It was nothing like Chevy Chase's adventures, which is absolutely fine with me.  We did get better gas mileage than he did.  And we had much better accommodations.

EIGHT:  We have a new dog.  His name is Rex.  He is a large, galloping, floppy, stinky (the gas, my God, the gas!!) puppy.  Rosco didn't like him very much.  Lucky for Rex, I like him.  I lot.

NINE:  I traded my convertible for a boring family sedan.  With a four cylinder.  Yes, I groaned like that, too.  And I rolled my eyes.  And fell to my knees and cried out "WHY ME? WHY ME??" several times.  When I arose, I realized that gas mileage and lower ownership costs were just what I needed.  15 years (or longer) ago, I called my friend Todd's Cavalier "SS", short for Sensible Shoes.  It was half joke, half serious.  Turns out that he was years ahead in his thinking, and I just now caught on.

TEN:  I have a great family, both inside my own home and beyond.  No, I don't do much to keep in touch with most of them.  But I never have to wonder if I am loved.  I am.  For whatever reason.

Happy New year.  Onward and upward.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas and other stuff

 Hanna opening one of her many gifts.  She appears to like this one.
 I'm wondering if I actually made her laugh for this photo, or if she is goofing for the camera.  Either way, she looks like she's having fun.
 Grandma and Grandpa always have an amazing spread for all of us.  There is no better place to be on Christmas.
 Eli was doing a little differential work on the car at the Magic House.  I'm so proud.
 His hair wasn't standing up so much in this photo.  I don't think it works as well as it did when I was a kid.
The boys got matching coats.  It looks as if Tyson is quite unhappy about this.  Or, he is starting his brooding teenager act a couple of years early.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A little bike stuff

 The old Fastback has been resurrected as the trainer bike.  And why not?  It fits me perfectly!  A little black spray paint makes all of the faded, blemished anodizing go away.
 This is the new love of my life.  The new Giant TCR SL.  Yes, it's aluminum and it's fabulous.  Yes, there is a seat bag on there, and yes, I have nicer wheels than those pictured.  With my "race-day" wheels and minus the seat bag, it's 16 pounds, 4 ounces.
My lovely wife's Christmas present.  It's a Raleigh Capri Carbon 4.0.  Yes, it has Ultegra Di2 electronic shifting.  What a gorgeous machine.  I'm jealous the the Di2, for sure.

A few things for me

 A laptop.  It's just increasingly necessary to have my own computer.  I hate touch pads, so I even have a wireless mouse to go with it.
 My favorite movie this year. 
 Not for me, but I am very excited for Rex and his special knit stocking.
After all of the excitement, he still chews on his favorite shoe.  Typical.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Eli's School Xmas Party

Of course the same day that Eli had his school Christmas party (holiday party, or whatever they call them in public schools these days), we had an important meeting at work.  I am unsure if I broke any speed limits as Deanna and I rushed to make it to the party (I'm sure I did not.  Nope.  Not one mph over the limit...)  When we arrived, we were greeted by maximum security at the entrance, which was nice.  The party was in full swing, and they had just finished the ice cream (bummer).  Santa made a brief appearance.  Then the kids played a musical chairs type game with wrapped gifts.  The girls worked seamlessly, while the boys were a disaster.  Still, it worked out just fine.  I remember the parties back when I was a little guy, and they were not quite so cool.

Christmas Tradition, Hiking with the Family

 Even though I'm still under the weather, we could not miss out on our new family tradition of hiking on Christmas.  Ok, it's two days before Christmas, but the kids schedules dictate that we do it today.  And it was a wonderful day.  Aren't we a fine looking bunch?
 Another shot with the beautiful Mrs K holding Rex, the happy hiking mutt. 
Rex did not like to be behind in the hike.  And he had a great trail to lead us on.  We chose the Flint Quarry Trail at West Tyson park.  Except for the first hundred yards or so, it was in delightful shape.  I was really dying to ride it on my mountain bike. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Redline is not Box-Stock anymore

Man, bicycle fashion changes over the years.  My new Redline Proline came with ape-hanger handlebars.  I nixed those today, went an inch lower.  And the seat and seatpost?  What good is a seatpost if it's only a couple inches long?  And the funky seat-like device that's about the size of a toddler seat?  Gone.

As nice as the Redline Flight cranks are, I'm a bit averse to the 180mm length.  I'm going to get 175mm, which is the length I used at the end of my "career" anyway.

Now....just have to RIDE the thing.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Photo Bombing my Phone

So many things end up on my phone if it is left unsupervised. 

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Fun at Purina Farms

 We took Rex to a fun little gathering at Purina Farms today.  The main draw was having your dog's photo taken with Santa.  We had more fun with the other stuff.  There were hundreds of other dogs their with their owners, doing skills courses and just walking around socializing with other dogs.  This first photo shows Rex tentatively going over an obstacle on the skills course.
 There was stuff for the kids, too.  They took Rex on this little train.  He hung his head out.  Didn't hang his tongue out, though.
 Of course there was bounce house stuff.  This blurry photo shows Eli flying down the slide.
Hanna and Tyson were totally airborne, and you can sort of see that in this blurry photo.

Fun times.  And we stopped at Culver's and had some awesome Butter Burgers. 

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Putting up the Christmas Tree 2012

With all of the kids present this weekend, it was a good time to decorate the tree and get it all ready for the Christmas season.  Yes, there were shenanigans.  And Gang Signs.

Hanna is a Cheerleader

The family and I were able to see Hanna cheer last night.  Sort of like we were cheering her cheering.  She's a natural.  I told her she needs to smile more, though.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

St. Vincent Park Closes 2012 for Me

Thanks Mike Dawson for a full season of great photos

If Spanish Lake was the anti-TK course, then St. Vincent Park proved two years running to be made just for me.  Brilliant course for a guy with a mountain bike.  I ended up 4th place, which will probably keep me in the top 10 for the Bubba series for the 2012 season.

I opted out of the state championship race in Jeffferson City from the outset this season.  No reason to travel to a 'cross race for me, and no reason to race a state event with a mountain bike.  Good luck to those going.

Fantastic season this year with three poor races out of the eleven that I attended.  I am pleased and I had a lot of fun.  With the mostly fantastic weather for 2012, who can argue?