Monday, February 27, 2017

Tucson Arizona Here I Come

 It's been a long time since I've had a vacation.  I really, really need it.  And I'm not going to visit the Bowling Museum or the Giant Ball of Twine.  I'm going to Tucson, Arizona!
 Believe it or not, the Caad12 fits in that box, and that box is going on the plane with me tomorrow.  I'm going to ride my ass off for four days, climb some mountains, ascend MT. Lemon, and probably find something to complain about while I'm enjoying 80 degree days.  Hey, know thyself, I always say.  I'll be sure to take lots of photos and relay the stories when I get back.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Lost Valley - Because Sometimes You Have To Ride Where You Don't Want To

 I never noticed this handy map at the small parking lot off of 94.  Why ride the boring gravel road from the Mound when you can just park at this handy little lot and bomb IMMEDIATELY down into Lost Valley??
Not a ton of riding today, but I did Lost Valley counter clockwise (the typical race direction) which is probably important.  I can't put my finger on exactly why I don't like CCW direction.  I thought it was Lost Valley in general but when I rode there earlier in the week we did CW and it was quite enjoyable.  One fact is that the trail is really choppy.  Getting a rhythm when not on a gravel section is impossible.  There are so many things to keep you off balance.  I like hard trails; Chubb Greensfelder, Matson hill, etc. are my favorites.  Lost Valley is different, that's all I can come up with.  I guess if I rode there enough I'd figure it out.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Cliff Cave - Because Everyone Can Learn to Corner Better

To break my Greensfelder addiction, late this afternoon I went to Cliff Cave.  Braving the traffic on Telegraph Road, the sun burst out right as I drove into the park.  I never spend much time here, as it's pretty easy to cover the trails back and forth in an hour, but it's an hour well spent.  Hitting the leaf-strewn corners at full tilt, corner after connected corner, builds skills.  I feel like a bad ass drifting through left/right transitions.  I saw one couple walking.  Other than that, I was totally alone out there.
I had to get this shot.  The super blue sky, light and puffy clouds, the steep hillside, and the old trusty seat bag.  This view and the trails made me forget about all the dumb things I've done lately.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Preparing for Tucson Road Bike trip by riding Mountain Bikes

It's true!  I've been riding the hell out of my mountain bike all winter long, and today was the first ride since November on this bike.

Why would I do this?  I've known for a while that I would be going on the trip to Arizona with the Cycling House.  But how many winters are this nice, I ask you?  I just never really got the Caad12 off the trainer. There it sat while I've worn out a few tires on the High Ball.

On the plus side, I like the Caad12.  The ride is great, it's light, it's stiff, it looks good.  And I have a ton of anger to release on the hills of Tuscon.  And perhaps Mount Lemon has a ton of anger to release on me.  Challenge accepted!

Car Watching - BMW M4

 Admittedly, I was drawn to this car initially by the color.  And the M badge on the grill.  It's none other than a BMW M4.  The M division pumps out the highest performance cars from the German maker, and the M4 is a hot one.
 This dude sports a twin turbo inline 6 under the hood with 425 horsepower.  I couldn't tell whether it was an auto or stick, I didn't want to lean in too close.
The tailpipes are massive, as is the trend these days, and it adds to the menacing look.  So do the big black wheels.  The sort of acid green color is hotter in real life, but you get the picture.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Mountain Biking is Good for the Soul

At the risk of being redundant, I have ridden my mountain bike at Greensfelder 3 times in the last 8 days.  It isn't that I'm THAT in love with the place.  Well, ok, I kind of am in love with it.  Greensfelder and I have a long history.  My first mountain bike ride, which was my first mountain bike race, was there in April of 1988.  That notwithstanding, the place has become a fantastic playground under the hard work of GORC.  And the weather....jeez, the weather.  It's been so great and no matter what there are always stretches of GF that will be rideable. 
And to add to all of the pluses of Greensfelder, I must also say that mountain biking alone, which I almost always do, is good for the mind and soul.  And those temps, tho!

Car Watching - Jaguar F-Type S AWD

 I have a soft spot for Jaguar cars.  Beautiful and perhaps misguided at times, they are always something special.  This F-Type is pretty much the top of the line.
 It's a convertible "S" model with All Wheel Drive.  Wow, a brief look at Jaguar's website tells us that this bad boy starts at $90k. 
 What do we get for that kind of money?  The beauty of a Jag.  380 supercharged horsepower.  An 8-speed transmission.  All wheel drive.  Limited slip differential.  Computer controlled suspension. Enormous brakes.....
 I can't find a bad angle on the convertible.  I wish the lighting was better.
 On the coupe, the roof line melds into the boot (English for Trunk!) a bit more elegantly than the convertible.  Then again, I didn't see the car with the top down.
Meow, roar, whatever your feline sound is.  Those exhaust tips mean business.

Friday, February 17, 2017

A Small Concert with Liz Longley

Continuing our revival of our social life, the Beautiful Mrs K and I were invited to an intimate concert with Liz Longley.  She has an amazing voice and connects so well with her audience.  We were floored.  The setting was perfect and we were honored to be guests.
She also plays the piano.  This was a very emotional segment for her and for us.  You can visit her at or follow her on twitter @lizlongley

Peacemaker Lobster and Crab - A Fantastic Food Experience

 My wife and I don't get out very often, so it's important that when we do that it's well worth it.  Well, Peacemaker Lobster and Crab in the Soulard area is absolutely worth it.  Brought to you by the same people that run Sydney Street Cafe, too.  The atmosphere was great and the food was better.  We were adventurous and ordered a lot of food just so we could try it.  You can spend more money at Applebee's, too, which is astonishing.
We could have been rolled out of there on stretchers.  So full of good food.  To top it all off, we had home made ice cream that was so good.  I mean, really, really good.

It gets 5 stars on my 4 star scale of places to eat.  Go try it out.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Midlife Crisis - Stairclub Record Achieved!

In an alternate universe, my younger self is really, really pissed off.  20x stairclub record, achieved!

Car Watching - 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback

 Ah, my favorite Fastback.  Well, it's a toss up between this and the 71-73.  The 67 has the little slots in front of the rear wheels and the framed Pony grill (no framed pony grill on this one).  The owner is a new mountain biker and I was able to get some shots of the car and ask him a few questions.
This is the phoenix from the ashes of a coupe that bit the dust.  He transplanted the engine, along with a few upgrades, into this Fastback.
 It has an awesome profile.   The modern wheels are actually pretty nice looking.
 If you go over the paint with a magnifying glass, you can see flaws.  But as a driver this thing is stunning.
 The concave 67-68 tail light panel gets me every time.  And the roofline as it molds into the trunk lid is awesome.
So, what's in it?  Internal combustion goodness, that's what.  Not only is it a manual transmission, but the V8 is no joke.  It's a 302 that's bored and stroked to the max to make it a 347cu in.  On top of that?  A Procharger centrifugal supercharger.  Yikes.  700-ish horsepower is what the owner thinks.  A nice catch for a Saturday morning!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Nice Long Ride At Greensfelder

Fantastic day to ride mountain bikes.  Whereas Friday the trail was a bit muddy, today it certainly was not. I went to Greensfelder again because I had to truncate my ride Friday.  My goal was to ride all of the trails there in one big loop.  It was a great ride for a total of 15.5 miles and 1600 feet of climbing.  One glitch:  My rear tire was seeping air the entire time.  It's been going on for a few weeks now, but the leakage accelerated today.  I'm blaming the tape job on the rim, because as you can see there appears to be dirt collecting on the seam between the tire and rim, both sides, all the way around.
And for all of you seat bag haters, I say BEHOLD!  Captain Seatbag to the rescue!  I topped the rear tire off and finished the ride in style.  I did, however, forget to close the seat bag.  No harm, no foul, all of my goods were still intact when I reached the car.

Bottom line:  Greensfelder has some bad ass, challenging trails with a fair amount of distance if you put them all together.  And...don't forget the seat bag!

Friday, February 10, 2017

It may all seem like fun and games, but

The Cobra has sat silent for a while.  It's a real bitch to drive a topless car past Thanksgiving, I'm telling you.  I started it last week and was disappointed with the floppy idle.  Today I made some time to get under the hood treat the beast with some loving care.
The plugs are old.  They didn't look too bad, but I'm going to replace them.  While I was in the vicinity, I noticed a lot of darkness on the plug wire boots.  Sure enough, the header bolts were loose.  That explains a lot.  Next week, I will button this up with new plugs and a little dielectric grease on the wires, along with a solid torquing of the header bolts.  Then I'm going to tame the Holley Mighty Demon.
Then I shed my civilian clothes and donned the outfit of Captain Seatbag.  Greensfelder was great for 75% of the time, but the other 25% was not so great.  My intention was to do the entire trail system from Dogwood all the way around to the new stuff and up out of Eagle Valley. I had to tread lightly on the north facing stuff that wasn't rock, so I only managed 13 miles and 1400 feet of climbing.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Car Watching - Re-watching the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta

 Hello my old Friend!  Seems Chesterfield Valley is a regular stop for this particular F12.  I blogged about it a few months ago and here it is again.  In the brilliant February sunshine, it was breathtaking.
And I couldn't resist the Prancing Horse.

Monday, February 06, 2017

30x Stairclub and Creepy Photos

Contrary to most recent photos, I have run stairs mostly at night.  It has just worked out that way over the many years that I have done them. No matter which stairs I have run (MRH bleachers, West Richmond, etc.) I have never felt spooked or wary of running them at night.  Tonight I thought about taking photos of the Shrewsbury strairs and what should I find but some really freaking creepy shots!  I like the first one, the lighting is awesome.
The shot from the top looking down makes me think that Micheal Meyers from the Halloween movies should be standing down there, creepy mask and all.  But standing there taking these photos wasn't in the least scary.  Fun shots, though.

Thirty times up and down tonight, felt pretty darn good.  #stairclub !

Sunday, February 05, 2017

These can't be my kids

What are they even doing??  Fire, smoke, kids running around, dog freaking out...

Mountain Biking because I Heart Climbing

 I've spent a lot of time lately indoors on the trainer.  This last week has been good for the soul with better weather and being able to ride outside.  Today I went to Greensfelder again because I thought it would be the best chance to get in some good climbing in a short amount of time.  The trail was 80% deluxe, 20% slime.  I stuck mainly to the north and east of the grounds to avoid any real slime.  I threw in the asphalt Scenic Loop, a short 2.1 mile jaunt through Greensfelder that has some eye-popping 18% sections.  And a downhill where I topped 38mph...on my mountain bike, mind you.  If you look closely at my rotor, you'll see a lovely rainbow shade, with a lot of dark purple.  Yeah, after you hit 38mph, you have to grab a handful.  That will sand right out....right??
It was only a little over an hour for me, 13 miles and 1600+ feet of climbing.  There's another cool climb that I hit twice today, the gravel double track that climbs up from the depths of the area to the Scenic Overlook.  That climb hits 20-plus percent several times.  It's a real grunt.

Climbing day - Mission Accomplished.

Friday, February 03, 2017

Work isn't always Boring

 I can find a thousand things every day that I find interesting.  Some of those things will be work-related.  On Fridays and some Sundays during the last year, I've worked a second "job".  Money is always a draw to working extra, but I can't tell you how many things I've learned to do.  Lights, wiring, plumbing, sanding, painting, pushing, pulling, and good old fashioned put yer back into it stuff.

Remember how much I hate heights?  Once again I overcame that fear to get some rooftop work accomplished.  First....this ladder.  Hate these things.
 Once out on top, today's brilliant sunshine and the brisk air gave me some real energy.  Here I'm looking West toward highway 64.  I wish that horizon included some mountains, but it doesn't.
After some semi-skilled caulk work, I had to descend the hellish ladder again through this hellish port hole.  Man, couldn't the ladder come up and over the edge here?  I mean, I've seen enough Three Stooges skits and Road Runner cartoons to know that an ill-timed stumble sends you head first down one of these things.  Lucky for me, the gods of slapstick were not against me.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Ready for 50

At the beginning of 2016, I took stock in my health and I wasn't happy.  I had a lot of ailments and my cycling-imbalanced body needed work.  If I wasn't going to be racing, I decided I had to make the most of what I had left.

I never once visited a gym, but I have a couple of dumb bells and a pull-up bar.  Push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, planks, and a few shoulder exercises with the dumb bells.  Twice a week.

This is the result, about 6 weeks away from my 50th birthday.  This is me.  I'm never going to give in to old age.  Age eventually wins, but I want to live the way I want to live.  When my time comes, I won't be sorry.

Somewhere there is a saying, something like "It's not the number of years to your life, but the amount of life in your years."  I'm sure I butchered that, but you get the picture.

Onward and upward.

Greensfelder on a Cold Morning - Sweet!

 Warm sunshine, cold air.  It was 27 degrees when I started.  I was worried about the freeze-thaw cycle so I wanted to get out early.  But even with the sun, there was no thaw.  A little sheen on the dirt in some spots, but no mud, no splatter.  I did the Eagle Valley descent, climbed up into the old trail a bit, a loop of Fossil Ridge, a loop of Beula (sp?), another lap of Fossil Ridge, and then climbed out the final race loop climb.  An hour and my fingers were frozen.
Look Ma!  No mud!  #captainseatbag