Sunday, December 31, 2017

Last Post of 2017 - I Know You're Happy!

As you may know, I'm fond of my daughter. One of my Christmas gifts this year was a canvas photo of the two of us.  It's wrapped around a wooden frame.  Thank you Flannery Allison, who also took the photo.
This 1999 Big Shark Racing jersey has made it back to me.  At some point over the years, I had given it away to someone.  Who gave it to someone else.  Who then gave it to me.  It's kind of like a lost puppy (or a bad penny!) who found his way back home!
Baby, it's cold outside.  That means I'm on the trainer.  You probably can't tell, but that's Micheal Rassmussen dropping Alberto Contador in one of the final stages of the 2007 Tour.  I finished the year off with minute on/minute off intervals.  Yay!  And yes, that's a Mustang clock.
 I mentioned it was cold outside.  Yep.
But I've never seen a day too cold to run stairs.  I haven't ridden my BMX bike to the stairs in a couple weeks, which hurts my heart.  Certainly today wasn't a day to ride to the stairs.  So I drove.  I'm good with that.  No ice or snow on the steps...I did bring a broom last week to sweep, mind you.

So that is it for 2017.  It has been awesome and awful, just like every year! 

Friday, December 29, 2017

The Hazards of Driving a Car Past it's Prime

The Fusion has 157,000 miles on it.  It has been exemplary in it's service, but the miles...the miles.  They are adding up and now is the moment that anything except total engine failure can happen.  And it always, always, always happens when it is BUTT ASS COLD outside.  Cue the massive coolant leak that popped up today.  I made it home from Chesterfield with the heat going in and out, a sure sign that there wasn't enough coolant to do the job.  I pulled the old jalopy into the garage and figured out that it wasn't major, but a major pain in the butt.
It's called a Water Outlet.  Pretty simple, but it plays a big roll in passing coolant between the head, the radiator, and the heater core.  Apparently it's a common failure in the 2.5 liter.  I was so worried that the freeze plug you see above that nice little clean coolant passage was the culprit.  Nope.  But it was a bear to get everything out of the way to remove this thing.  I pinched my right index finger with needle nose pliers in the process.  Grrrrr.
This is the dumpy little creature.  Not much to it.  Plastic, with a giant red O-ring to seal it to the head.
And that O-ring is what fails.  You can see the distortion.  This part cost $35 and the coolant was $30.  The price of my time and my pinched finger cannot be calculated, however.

Monday, December 25, 2017

A little Christmas Past

 What would Christmas be without a little blast from the past?  Enjoy the walk down memory lane.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Closing out 2017 With a Photo Essay

 I tried to expand my horizons a bit this December.  Yes, those are old running shoes, and I'm standing on some hallowed ground....
 ....the parking lot at the Beulah Trail inside Greensfelder.  There is a trail run here in February and I'd like to do it.  It will probably prove too much for me but a guy has to have goals, you know?
Speaking of Greensfelder, there has been some pretty big controlled burns there lately.  The bowl inside the Scenic Loop is pretty burnt up.  It looks eerie and cool at the same time.
Another look at the burn.  There were enough leaves on the mountain bike trail to warrant a burn there.  Just sayin'.
I did some more plumbing work, too.  It's amusing to me that pulling the cover off to expose the plumbing is usually harder than unclogging traps.  Deep down I know what the black stuff is in those traps, but I don't let myself think about it.
I parked next to a fine Bonneville last night, whose owner did a bang-up job of keeping the passenger side mirror on with just a dab of glue.  Well done!
Some poor soul found Xmas shopping too strenuous and it looks like a call went out to the paramedics.  This happened right outside the shop yesterday.  Hope everyone is alright and the ambulance ride doesn't cost more than a luxury vacation to the Bahamas.
I cut a big hole in a wall the other day.  Not because I wanted to take a look at these wires.  I wanted to install a doggy door.  The wires said otherwise.  Until you've done this, I don't know if you can possibly feel the disappointment I felt RIGHT AT THIS MOMENT.
 I felt better after patching it up.  It still needs a coat of paint.
 Every time I go to visit my Dad's gravesite at Jefferson Barracks, I get lost.  It's a big maze over there and for the life of me I can't get the streets straight.  So I took a photo of the map at the entrance and went with it.
Boom.  Found it pretty quickly.  I didn't end up on the other side of the cemetery this time.  I thought the rows and rows of head stones would be depressing in the snow, but quite the opposite.  It was a beautiful sight.  It was very peaceful.
I said a few words to Dad and brushed the snow off of the stone.  I cleared a little snow out and called it good.
I had a great workout on the trainer.  I think it's silly and awesome to be in great shape with no races or reasons in sight.  I did my hour of power and came out really well, even including my warmup.
Oh, I'll take that 20 minute power inside of an hour workout.  I had a Monster Mean Bean for breakfast, I'll have to remember that the next time I go for a power test.
And some creative person built this creepy little snowman on an outside table at Bread Company.  Good job on that.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Car Watching - Ford GT40

Today I feel like I won the lottery.  I caught a Ford GT40 in the wild.  Well...maybe it's a replica.  Probably it's a replica.  But anyway, I caught it.  Basking in the sun at Wente's in Chesterfield Valley, I pulled a u-turn to go back and get shots of this bad boy.
Ridiculous proportions, in-your-face racing cues, crazy can you not get excited about this 1960's throwback?  Used to win Le Mans in 1966, 67, 68, and 69, it's legendary status is solid.
 Crazy reverse scoop on the hood with some pretty mean looking cooling fans.
This is a mid-engined beast.  You can see the velocity stacks through the rear glass, and there is a nifty cooling duct behind that.
 The rear glass is almost flat, probably providing zero visibility.  From this end, you can see the monster exhaust pipes.  Mean, mean, mean.
 Good view of the wide rear wheels, and more of the ridiculously proportioned body.
 Another view of that glorious engine.  In the books, this would have been a 289, 302, or a 427.  The 302 and 427 were responsible for Le Mans victories.
 Crazy fiberglass windows.  Probably hard to get a cheeseburger at Wendy's with this set up.
And.......vroom.  Lots of cars have seen this view.  I feel like at any moment flames will shoot out and the car will take off, rocket boost style.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Because Greece !

My sister-in-law was driving through Desoto the other day and snapped a photo of perhaps the most important intersection in that town.  Yes, there is a street named Themistocles...and the cross street is Parthenon. 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Couple of Thanksgiving Photos

Good at selfies I am not, but this is a good photo of Hanna and Eli.  I was in the photo too, hence the term selfie. But just barely.
Hanna is the queen of selfies, and once she got the phone in her hands, we have a legit photo.  Curiously I look like I've had too many drinks even though I've had none.  She, on the other hand, looks fabulous as always.  Look at that smile!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Plumbing - And I Keep My Pants UP!

Every toilet fails eventually.  Even really cool, chrome, auto-flush variety toilets fail.  When they do, you need to call the pros.  Or you can call me.  A trusty pipe wrench and a flat blade screw driver is all you need.  And my adductor muscles feel like I've been doing Jane Fonda workouts.
 Some steps may be omitted from this photo essay, but you get the picture.  Shut off water with screw driver, use pipe wrench to remove parts, yada yada yada, it's apart.
I forgot to mention the towel.  Pretty important.  There will be water.  Anyway, reverse the above actions, yada yada yada, and you've got a flushing toilet that doesn't leak water.  Tune in next time for more helpful plumbing tips from a guy who is not a plumber!

Thursday, November 02, 2017

I love Dogs, Even WerePoodles

I love dogs.  I've had a few dogs in my life and they have been amazing creatures which is why I was saddened when I got bitten by one for the first time a few weeks ago.

I was doing a little cyclocross action on a Tuesday night.  I rounded a corner and there was a lady walking a big ol' Standard Poodle.  He was a pretty thing, really tall, brown, and...on his hind legs.  I surprised them, and you know what happens when you surprise a dog.

I skirted him pretty well and thought I'd gotten by.  But as he came down, his mouth grabbed my leg, super quick, by my hip pointer on my left hip.  Bam.  He bit me and I never missed a pedal stroke.

I kept riding.  I was cussing of course.  It hurt a bit but not bad.  I was wearing bib shorts so it wasn't easy to pull them down and look for damage.  There was no blood, how bad could it be?

Well, it was kinda bad when I finally looked at it a little while later.

I didn't say anything really, and I didn't want to chase the lady down.  I was in no danger of turning into a Standard Poodle, like a Were-Poodle or anything.  I saw no reason to berate the woman or cause any trouble.

I will say dog bites kinda suck.  I'll have some permanent blots on my leg.  I will, however, survive.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Highs and Lows, Yin and Yang, 99 Problems

Eli broke his leg a week ago.  Sort of ankle, I guess.  The hefty little bulge at the ankle is a broken fibula.  A lot like my broken leg/ankle a few years ago.  He's being a lot better sport about it, though.
You know how kids really want to ride in those electric carts at the store that are reserved for people that have trouble walking?  Bonus!  Breaking a leg gets you a first class ticket on the Walmart Express.
And then it rained.  The night before cyclocross races in St. Louis is a good time to play amateur meteorologist and predict rain.  Because.  This time, the race was at Queeny park.  Much grass.  Much, much wet grass.  Surprisingly, no mud.  Pretty awesome, really.  And the temps were good for just a jersey and bare legs.
Things went well.  I didn't catch the leaders of the 40+ or Single Speed, but I managed another 1st in 50+ which was good for 3rd overall.  All in all, it ended up being more fun than I thought. (photo credit to Katie Van Hook!!!)
Another weird moment on the scale today.  I was shocked to see 165lbs Friday.  This afternoon it was 162.something.  What the hell?  Part of me is curious to see the 150's. Part of me is curious to not be dying.  That's a joke.  Seriously.