Sunday, March 30, 2014

Lost Valley Mountain Bike Race - Great Weather Shocker!

You have to start somewhere.  No matter what you do, you have to have a starting point and move forward.

I admit to being very reluctant to race this year.  For a variety of reasons:  We're having financial hardships, can't afford to get hurt again, much turmoil at home, and plain old fear of getting hurt again.  But I knew that I had to start racing sometime, and the weather was just too good to turn down the opportunity to get started off-road.

Huge crowd today.  More than 200 people showed, which is some kind of local record for this decade.  I had a great start, and hung in 4th place until the last couple of miles when I just didn't have the gas to hold off another rider.  So 5th place it was.  30+ miles and 2+ hours.  Wasn't really prepared for that, but it was vindication for suffering a long, cold winter with a broken leg.

That 5th place envelope did not come from training and good fitness.  It came from 35 years of riding and racing bikes.  I will have to get some sort of regular training going (or at least regular riding!) or I will find out pretty quickly that residual fitness and muscle memory can only take a guy so far.

Onward and upward.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Hanna and the Cupcakes

This was just a short while before Hanna and Flannery began the cupcake-a-thon.  They were good.  Well, I think they were.  They smelled good.  I didn't get one.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spring Break means Unpaid Labor

Eli, flashing us the horns.

Spring Break week for the kids.  That means a lot of idle time.  Eli, however, has been pestering me to allow him to come to work with me at the store.  I gave in and brought him along today.

Our first order of business was sweeping and cleaning.  We swept the rugs and the floors, we wiped counters, took out trash...that was all before opening at 10am.  After that, he test rode select models of bikes to ensure their solid build qualities.  Then he supervised the guys in the service department (while sweeping there, too) and cleaned up after Chris Ploch's messes.  Add in a bit of playing with the dogs (and a little computer time) and we called it a day.

He only has 8 more years before I can pay him.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Chubb Trail: West Tyson and Flint Quarry on a Cold Day

 It came to me as I was complaining about it being so cold:  I could go ride my mountain bike!  It's dry!  So, I did.  I went to the West Tyson side of the Chubb trail because ain't nobody got time for the flat section along the river.  I was in need of some rocks, and there are no rocks like Chubb rocks.
 The trails were a delight today.  Not one speck of mud, nor a speck of soft dirt.  In fact, there was a hint of dust in the air.  Dust and Stan's sealant, as I sliced a crappy OEM tire on P.O.S. Blue.  Flat fixed, I enjoyed the rocks.  I did some exploring, too, as there are a couple of off-shoots of trail that I wanted to check out.  They became too rugged to ride and became mostly hike-a-bikes so I turned back to the main trail.
There is something special about mountain biking when the trees are still bare.  The sight lines are so good, and views from the ridge tops are spectacular.  All in all, a great day at Chubb Trail.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Car Watching: Lamborghini Murcielago

 While I was in the rest room today around dinner time, I received a text message from the Angry Asian about a Lamborghini in the parking lot.  I had to hurry out to see what the fuss was about.  There, parked across two parking spaces, was a Murcielago.
 These cars are very rare, as only 4099 of them were made in nearly a ten year production run.  In typical Lamborghini fashion, the size and scope of the Murcielago can only be appreciated in person.  In this photo, Chris Ploch's car is parked behind it for reference.  It's a Dodge Caliber, which the Angry Asian likened to a booger.  The Caliber is more than a foot taller than the Murcielago.
The rear view is perhaps the most striking.  The clear slats show the engine underneath, a V12 of between 570 and 670 horsepower.  If you right click the photos, the last one is enormous and shows a lot of detail.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Rustoleum Rattle Can Blue

Easily recognized as the blue spray-painted frame that I used during the 2013 cyclocross campaign, P.O.S. Blue will be the "B" bike this year, second to the hand-me-down rocket ship that the Angry Asian has gifted to me for 2014.  Despite it's humble skeleton, Blue has a cornucopia of good stuff to pump it up. 

With the hefty winds today, I opted out of the Tuesday Night World Championship races and took Blue to Cliff Cave for some shaking down.  I'm happy to report great trail conditions, no flaking spray paint, and a rapidly improving ancient rider.

Onward and upward.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Mountain Bike Coming Together

I still have a few days of work left, but my mountain bike for 2014 is almost ready to go.  I'm not sure if I am ready, though.  I have yet to test the leg on anything difficult.  It's still stiff and hurts a bit when I stand to climb.  I have to be patient, though.  This is my 35th year of racing and missing an event or two while ensuring my health will not ruin my season. (Egad! I sound like my mom.)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Hanna's Volleyball Tournament

 Got a few shots of the young woman warming up for the tourney today.
 Hard to believe that she's been playing for 5 years now.
 And between games, they have to ref for other games.
 The played 10 games today, won 5 of them.  That was good enough for 2nd in their division.
And they were happy about that.

Car Watching: Dodge Viper in Flat Black

Although I like the GTS hardtop Vipers a lot more, there is nothing wrong at all with this drop-top in flat black.  Of course, his parking job leaves a lot to be desired.  But hey....I got a better photo out of it.

Rex the Athletic Dog

Such a nice day on Saturday.  Deanna and the kids were able to get out for a while.  Oh, and Rex, too.  Deanna caught Rex bounding over one of the park benches at the Webster Groves Community Center.  He also jumps over the back of the couch in our living room.  He's like Rosco, only in Rocky's big body.  No wonder our house is always trashed!

Friday, March 07, 2014

Something I have to Say

What can I say?  Nothing.  No excuses (again) for not posting anything on my blog for a month.  I have a reason, but no excuse.

The reason that I have neglected to post is my wife, the beautiful Mrs. K.  She is 51% of this union, and she has been seriously ill for quite some time.  It's been really hard on her.  She no longer works for Big Shark, or anywhere else, because many days she can't make it out of the front door.  We don't know what the cause is, and it's taken considerable blood and treasure to hear every health professional tell us just that: they don't know. 

We have lost a lot of friends over the last couple of years.  We just can't keep in touch the way we want, we have disappointed people who have counted on us, we've made promises that we couldn't keep, and we have stopped being the active and social people that we want to be.  It is very isolating. It's something that crept up on us.  We just kept trying to be normal, and we're not.  Chronic illness does that.

We're not beaten.  We'll do what it takes to find out what's going on and we will do what it takes to fix it.