Roadie no more???

I've always enjoyed being the resident Team Seagal roadie, never a true mtbiker. I just dabble in it. I welcomed the harassment that came with being a roadie on the trails. It always gave me an excuse to screw up and endo up-hill over some small root. After all, my true sport is the road. The Hillsboro race on Saturday has given me second thoughts. I'll get back to that race report in a moment. I drove to and from WI since that race and I have come to some conclusions.

First, it isn't the competition on the road, it is the riding really, really fast. This year I didn't have any real racing goals for my own glory. I was hoping to help out teammates and be a factor in someone else's goals. Unfortunately, the season has already been very unkind to my road team. There has been many a crash involving my team in just two races.

Second, I can't afford to road race. I am embarrassed to even think about how much money I have lost due to crashes. The good thing is, I work in a bike shop, so it is only half-stupid that I have spent as much as I have.

Third, apparently I am built tougher then both carbon and aluminum road bikes. So far I am yet to be nearly as damaged as my equipment. Sore, but not broke. Although, after Saturday my right knee is a bit more grindy then I remember!

Which brings me to Hillsboro. In my short 13 month road career I have raced roughly 30 times if you count Tuesday nights and I have been in 3 crashes. All of them have taken place near the front of the pack. Two were from guys going down immediately in front of me and the other was from a guy taking out my front wheel. I'm not complaining, racing involves crashing and I signed up to race. But I have totaled two bikes. The first was aluminum, the second was this fine dedaccai carbon frame.

10 miles into Hillsboro the guy in front of me took his right hand off his bars and all of a sudden both of his wheels flip up to the left. I was boxed in on the left so I head right. The problem is, that is wear he slid. My front wheel hits his downtube, I go over the bars, and as usually, akido role out of it. Someone behind me plows into the pile. My bike is totaled, the second guy's body is totaled, and the guy who falls for no reason gets up and rides away. This was going 25mph on a straightaway. Road racing.

So, I'm done road racing. I am going to focus on mtbiking. Now when I crash, and I will crash, I can only blame myself. I don't think I can give up the speed though. So I am still going to ride with my road team and anyone else who wants to join me for a long road ride with some serious speed mixed in. You might still catch me at a Tuesday night crit, but I'll be in front, pulling.

Shop Minister

Team Seagal Racing Weekend Part Dos

For all of the fans out there, there are not one, but two race reports from this weekend. Early this Sunday morning Nico Toscani and I, Gino Felino, set out for a battle of epic proportions against the marathon field at Rim Wrecker and the driving wet forces of mother nature. We encountered much rain along the drive, but mother nature gave us a brief respite for the start of our race.

I believe they're were a dozen or so competitors in the marathon class today looking to take on the weather and the trail. Nico and I felt quite confident in our wrist-snapping capabilities today, but just to be sure we downed 2 delicious PBRs at the start line while waiting for 11am to roll around. We then found a good receptacle for the waste in the form of Bobby Underpants who was quite mellow today. Perhaps fearful of a wrist-snapping for acting up.

At 11am we were off, heading down the gravel road, water already spraying us in the face, but I was feeling pretty good, with Nico just a little ahead of me. I think we made it a few hundred yards before Marshall Lawson in DRJ disguise had his first mechanical. Unfortunately it was not to be his last today. Nor the last out on the trail today.

The first lap went pretty smooth. Everything was pretty wet, slick and soggy with standing water on numerous parts of the trail though. For the second lap Mother Nature decided to take up a notch and bring back the rain. A good steady, cold rain. Now the trail was turning into a series of flowing streams interspersed with mud bogs getting churned up by tire after tire tearing trough them. Towards the end of that lap I reached Mr Toscani who had been a little ahead of me ever since the start. His brake pads were fried and he was riding brakeless. With nothing I could do I continued on churning through the water and muck.

By the time of my third lap the rain had stopped, but the course was the wettest and boggiest it had been and the going was slow. In the middle of that lap I didn't see another rider and with the beating my hands were taking and trying to hold on with rain soaked gloives I was churning along pretty slow, but I made it to the finish line still feeling pretty strong. There I learned I got second. Yes second. Most everyone else had stopped due to the conditions and broken bikes after 1 or 2 laps. Total number of wrists snapped: 11 (10 competitors, I think, sorry Nico; and mother nature). Nico did end up in what we guess might have been 4th or 5th. We're still awaiting the results.

This is what 2nd place looked like today:

Who knows how to get a jersey back to white?

This race was truly awesome though. I love riding in conditions like this. Unfortunately it's just not possible most of the time without absolutely destroying a trail.

Along the drive to the race and on the way back we encounterd an interesting fellow who goes by the name of Furby. He found us while we were leaving after having another outstanding meal at Dos Primos. We also spotted him earlier at the Tesson Ferry QT.

We'll ignore any parts missing on this vehicle, but how does one get mud stuck right in the middles of ones car? Fortunately this Furby can be a generous fellow and provided us with several beers througout the day to supplement or own PBR. Thanks for that. Also a congrats to Carey Edwards winner of the Marathon class, also on a singlespeed, and Dave Breslin who finally managed to finish 2 laps in a row at Council Bluff for the first time in a while and win the expert race.


Spoke Pony Showdown!

Greetings, rabid Team Seagal fan. Casey Ryback here, along with teammate Mason Storm. In the last day and a half, we have been through a lot - more specifically, our minds, wrists, and t'aints have been through a lot. We just returned from the Spoke Pony Showdown 3/6 Hour race at Landahl State Park near Kansas City, after having entered into glorious battle in the 6 Hour Duo Open category (and the only 100% singlespeed team to do so, as well.) Tell 'em how we did, Mason! "Holy crap, the competition was fierce, but due to our Superior Attitude and Superior State of Mind, we finished 3rd place out of 8 very worthy opponents! See fo' yo'self:"

But saying "3rd" place is only a small fraction of the story.

Spoke Pony had originally been scheduled a few weeks back, however due to inclement weather and trail conditions, Heartland Race Promotions were forced to reschedule to Saturday, 3/29. Has anyone ever said just how badass of an event promotions company Heartland Racing is? This is one of the reasons why - they really look out for the trails, and this weekend it paid off in droves. What I mean by this is that the Landahl race course was in PERFECT - I REPEAT PERFECT - shape! There were maybe 3 tiny mud puddles (that had already been armored with large rocks) other than that, the surface was extremely fast, grippy, and dry without being dusty. You could rail your front end into corners with nary a fear of washing out. People often talk about suspension forks/frames being very forgiving of rider mistakes - the same could be said for these course conditions; go into a turn with too much heat and slam hard on the brakes a little too late, turn the wheel, lean in, hit the gas, and you'll come blasting out of the turn. I remarked to Mason that I felt as though I had a tailwind at my back on most laps, despite being a very calm day. These were the conditions that you dream about.

Optimal trail conditions only added to the fun at Landahl. This *may* be the best mtb race venue in the state, with 24/7/365 camping, a huge staging area, endless route options that never have to cross a road, and a perpetual state of flow that will put a smile on your face even in the heat of and epic battle for 1st place. As best as we could tell, the only "east-side" people willing to venture over there for the event were ourselves, and Dwayne who came in 2nd against a deep solo field. Seriously people, St. Louis riders need to wake up to this trail system and all the BADASS races that are held there! Rapture in Misery and 24 Hours of Landahl are happening later this year - don't miss them!

Oh yeah, what about the race itself? Mason and I arrived late on Friday night after a harrowing journey across I-70. Setting up camp by propane light, we quickly proceeded to quench our thirsts using the best tool for the job: Pabst. The night was cold, but our sleeping bags were warmer than a Pabst after it's been sitting on my dashboard for an entire day in the Castlewood parking lot in August. We woke up with the sun and the sounds of other racers arriving and setting up their camps, none of which looked as good as ours:

We both ate some not-home-cooked food all the while hoping for the sun to come out and warm us up. No dice. Before we knew it, it was time to line up for the Le Mans-style start:

If you look closely at that photo, you can see my middle finger. That's right.

We were too busy going fast to take pictures during the race. We put in some excellent lap times, especially when you consider how piss-poor this year has been so far in terms of being conducive to riding and training. Exercising the greatest of passing etiquette, we clung to 3rd place for basically the entire race. 2nd place was pretty well locked in by two very strong and cool guys - Joel and crap-I-forgot-his-name. 4th place was constantly keeping us in sight, never more than 4 or 5 minutes down, so we knew that we could never rest. No problem when Superior Attitude and Superior State of Mind are on our side. In fact, it appeared as though the teams in 4th and 5th place were more focused on each other, as they had a very close race going, with sometimes less than 1 minute between the two.

Things were going fairly smoothly for most of the race - we both ate well during our rest laps, and we stayed dressed to impress. One lap on, one lap off. Mason did find himself on two separate occasion staring into the face of flat tires, but expertly handled them. There was a scare during one of the flat fixes when he was passed by another racer in our category. Fortunately, he was completely aware of all surroundings at all times, like a true ex-Navy Seal. He was able to pull his way back onto his tail, and then proceed to pass and put some time on him.

I found myself unprepared for Mason's face-meltingly-fast last lap. As he jammed around the corner on his way to the start/finish area, Cow-town in tow, I looked up in horror, realizing that I still needed to change shoes, don my helmet and gloves, and get my lazy ass to the staging area where I could get the baton and start what would be en extremely exciting final lap. I knew that he had our competition on his tail as he was pulling into the staging area, but I wasn't sure where this particular racer stood - was he in 2nd? 4th? I was assuming that I now had to play catch-up to this guy in order to either bump us up to 2nd place, or save us from falling off the podium into 4th. I also knew it was one of the Cow-town dudes, and I could see him up ahead fairly early on. It took me quite some time to make any headway on this guy who was fully suspended, and with gears. I realized that he must know I'm gunning for him, as he was running a pace that said "you're going to earn this..." So I kept on the gas, and was getting worried that I wouldn't be able to keep much of a lead if I were to pass him at some point - but I knew I had to pass him at some point before we finished this final lap.

I thought, "So this is what REAL racing is."

He eventually let me pass, as it turned out he didn't know I was a direct competitor. I did not see him again on that lap, but the thought of him being not far off of my tail kept a fire in my legs. Or wait, maybe that was the lactic acid? Whatever it was, it hurt. I finished the lap, having completed my goal of what I thought to be at least keeping us on the podium, maybe bumping us up. Turns out, he was actually a full lap ahead of me, and was in 1st place, which means it didn't really matter if I passed him or not. So what - it was good to have to dig a little deeper than I was planning. Here we are on the podium, the 1st place rider in my little story is the 3rd from the left:

Mason is VERY happy with both our results and mustache, and has to share with Mini-Steven:

A trip to Council Bluff requires a meal at Dos Primos. While that is essentially Team Seagal hollowed-ground, Shakespeare's Pizza in Columbia is AT LEAST as delicious, and blew both Mason's and my mind:

Stay tuned for reports from Rim Wrecker at Council Bluff, and for more pictures and full results and lap times from Spoke Pony!

*EDIT* Results are up! Shit that was fast! RESULTS


The X-Men of NYC - Watch this and thank me later

We should really be wearing neon hockey helmets and body armor in order to be extreme!

"We don't like to brag or nuthin', but we're second to none."

White tube socks ho!

-C. Ryback, who now wants to be called "Pistol Pete 9MM"


Tour of West County, now with 30% more flooding

Greetings to you, the rabidly loyal Team Seagal Fan. Casey Ryback here. Today, Thursday, was unlike any other day. It was chock full of glorious weather, and completely lacking my need to be at work. So with the day off, I found myself needing a lengthy ride under the belt. The trails were muddy if not completely submerged thanks to several inches of rain, so the road bike was calling my name - it said, "Casey - come straddle me!" And who am I to resist that siren song? So I embarked from my apartment on what would prove to be a great ride full of strange sights.

The Spoede overpass of Hwy 40 allows for a view of the progress:

I wound my through towards Kirkwood, with a brief jog down into Sugar Creek Valley, and then a short but steep climb out via Couch:

The plan was to cut over to Marshall Road, bomb down that Euro-tuck style, and then continue through Valley Park, and cross over 141 onto Vance. No dice:

So instead, I turned right onto Marshall (something I've never done) and that afforded me a sweet view of Fenton, and the Chrysler plant:

I made my way down Big Bend, turned onto Forest, cut underneath the RR tracks, and then went ALL the way down St. Louis Avenue to see if the flood wall was closed. It was, and there were Police on top, telling people with a bullhorn not to go on top of the levee (even though there is a pedestrian path up there.):

So I turned around, course set for Castlewood. I wanted to see how flooded it is. Coming down Ries is a great place to go fast, and this time I hit over 45mph. I can normally hit 49 no problem, but my early-season confidence being what it is, the last left-hand turn had me a little skittish. They closed the whole damn park down! So again, no dice:

Can you tell me from where this view of downtown is possible? I'll give you a hint, it isn't anywhere near downtown. You can see the Arch, directly to the right of the chimney:

I continued my path of destruction down Old Manchester, all the way across 109, and turned left into the top of Rockwoods Reservation. That place is amazing, and has some great memories attached to it. I love stopping by Smokey the Bear for water, but he's not able to speak right now...

There is a very picturesque spring (first picture) right on the side of the road inside Rockwoods, it makes me want to drink from it each time. I figure I'm probably better off with municipal water. Looks inviting though! The second picture is of a spring is on the side of 109, visible from the paved extension of the Al Foster trail that runs up to Woods Road:

Speaking of the Al Foster Trail (you can just imagine how Castlewood will be, and how much farther the trail will erode on the River Scene):

I hopped back onto 109 and turned onto painfest known as Alt Road, which takes me past Hidden Valley and into downtown Eureka, and past a TON of new housing developments. I was both dreading and looking forward to doing the Allenton Loop across the highway from Six Flags. That would mean two more notoriously painful hills that would have me seeing spots, especially being at mile 60. Once again, no dice:

So I removed the arm warmers, and turned around to climb slowly back out of that valley. I was really starting to get hungry, despite having eaten fairly consistently up to this point. The gas station next to Six Flags made short work of that! I love refilling my water bottles there, because the water comes out of the tea nozzle, and even if you only dispense water, there is ALWAYS a slight hint of tea mixed in. Every time. Some Nabisco crackers and a can of Mountain Dew later, I was feeling pretty f***ing extreme. There was a lady getting into her car who paused to make small talk, saying it was a great day for a ride, and asked where I was headed. "Creve Coeur..." It must have not have dawned on her how far away I was from that area. The funny part was when she cautioned me about a big wreck on 270 that had traffic backed up pretty badly, and that I might want to try and avoid that highway. That's right, avoid riding your bike on 270 because of the traffic. Being as EXTREME as I am, I could totally do that, but I wasn't headed for 270 until later when I had to cross it via Conway. Onward!

I Continued out on one of my favorite stretches of road to ride - Fox Creek. Very smooth, rolling, and promises some big hills once it crosses Hwy 100 and actually turns into Manchester. Even though the Allenton Loop was busy getting its wrist snapped by a bunch of water, forcing me to skip those hills, I still had to deal with Bouquet - what cyclist doesn't know this hill? This turn-off has struck fear into the hearts of many, and I was about to kick its ass - slowly:

This hill is a multi-stage hill. Within the first 100 yards it throws you directly into the fire by exposing you to its steepest grade which mellows out slightly, and climbs around a couple of corners. I was seeing lots of single digits on the Cateye. It then tricks you by turning downhill for a while, all over very nice surfaces. It has a couple of decent rollers, before bottoming out into a narrow valley. Then it lands its finals blows right to your face. This climb turns so many times, that unless you've done it before, you have absolutely no idea when the top will come into view. You really won't see the crest until you are basically on it. Picture staring at this for like 10 minutes:

Of course, I had a superior attitude and a superior state of mind going into this hill, so no problemo. What a great climb.

That was just about the last notable hill on my Tour of West County. I crossed T and bombed down Ossenfort (passed one of the Mesa guys who we always see at the endurance races on a singlespeed - Jim? Steve? He was suffering his way up to victory at the top of the hill.) I cruised through Wild Horse Creek Road, passing many a cyclist, including one group of like 7 or 8 dudes, who were being lead down the road by a bald guy with no f***ing helmet on. They looked like serious business. I passed by this house that was being renovated, and wondered how many corpses are decomposing in that tomb of a cellar:

I didn't take any pictures after that, even though I had 15-20 miles left to go. Once I turned off of Wild Horse Creek onto Centaur, away from the hillside, the wind hit me right in the face, and continued hitting me in the face and snapping my wrist the rest of the way home. The worst, most consistent headwind I've had yet this year kept me struggling to hold 2-3 mph below my overall average speed - and this is all in the Chesterfield flats! Olive Street, Airport Road, and Edison were just an exercise in pure futility. Now I know what it's like to live and ride in Kansas. The climb up Old Chesterfield Airport Road was quite a grinder... come to think of it, every incline until I got home, no matter how bad, turned into a long, punishing grinder.

It is always a good ride when you ride until you bonk. 5.5 hours of ride time, 6.25 hours from start to finish, and a very hilly 88.5 miles. Had I left at noon instead of 1, I'm sure I could have made the full 100! And I probably would have done it anyway in spite of the setting sun, had I not had plans that evening.

Something Ouachita This Way Comes...

-C. Ryback

P.S. Who's up for a road(?) ride Easter morning? Is that blasphemous?


It's rad and it involves a ball

That's right I'm talking 'bout Radball. It's the two on two fixed gear soccer match that has taken the world by storm...or a least small parts of Germany. There are no words that describe Radball that give this art justice so check it out.


So STL clearly needs a Radball league. We'll call it "No Dice" (think Charles Bronson) because the only thing harder than acquiring the bike skills for Radball is single-handedly taking down a hardcore street gang dressed like extras from Mad Max. Thankfully these German kids made a video on how to train for Radball. Seriously, these kids are ridiculous!


-Shop Minister


Fit-Kits are here from Mt. Borah!

Alright Regulators, time to Mount Up. Mount Borah, that is! Manchester TC has a full line of the jerseys and bib-shorts that will be produced. These isn't an early production run, just blanks so you can determine what size you'll need. Bib shorts range in size up to XXXXL. Come by and try 'em on, and see what fits you best. I'm not sending these anywhere, so you'll have to come here.

I'm so excited to get the finished products! We're going to look so much better than that fruitcake Bikerfox:

Geez, what a fruitcake.


Fellet Done it Right & Geared Road 100

Fellet Brazing's Chris Fellet (Shop Gnome) has developed a custom brew that is likely to become a new standard with the good folk of Team Seagal, and then the rest of the world. Crafted from double-butted Dedacciai chromoly, Fellet makes a wonderfully compliant steel frame, but with super efficient energy transmission when you want to hammer.

The newest Fellet Brazed production: Shop Minister's Royal Blue Road Deluxe:

Pros: Lightweight, Fast, Sturdy, Fast-Back Seat Stays
Best Uses: Serious Racing or Training, Sprinting, Climbing, Rain
Bottom Line: "Yes, I would recommend this to a friend. It is laterally stiff yet vertically compliant" - Shop Minister.

It was time to put the new frame through a real world test, Shop Gnome and Shop Minister picked me up at 10:45am- both on new frames from Fellet Brazing . Shop Gnome is a grinch and personally prefers lugged construction and classic Campy 8 speed drivetrain to all modern componetry.

We took off east through Forest Park, encountered a bit of the CWE, took a right on Compton then a left on Choteau and then north on the MRT. We rode to Alton and then turned around. On the way back, approx 4 miles south of the Chain of Rocks Bridge (safely within the Missouri Border) we ran into the only person we saw the whole time while on the MRT...

That's right, it was Wes McLaren, MD. He was standing off of the paved trail by about five feet in the grass with a funny look on his face, sporting the '07 team jersey and fingerless gloves. It was great to see the Dr., but why was he so under-dressed and waiting for us in that Field?

We continued on the course towards home, stopping only in Forest Park for urinary purposes. The odometer said 71 miles, I parted ways with Shop Gnome and Shop Minister and reunited with The Doctor. Wesley and I retreated to his office for Chinese Herbs and a beer (read: O'Fallon 5-Day IPA). I visited for close to an hour, but there was still a bit of work left to do. I pedaled off towards 100 without any set route at a very leisurely pace. I let my mind drift and went for a tour of downtown Clayton, Maplewood, University City, Olivette and more. It was relaxing and I achieved almost all of the the necessary mileage. The final push came complete with a special treat at the end - I wound up at the home of Mason Storm. I was fed Seafood Gumbo, rice, coffee stout, 24oz PBRs and an ice cream Drumstick for desert. After dinner we shot each other up pretty good playing 007 James Bond Goldeneye on Nintendo 64.

This last shot is from Forest Park looking down a major street during Tuesdays' occurrence of thunder-snow; it was like being in a totally different world!

I hope to see you all again real soon.

-Nico Toscani


2008 Team Kits

Well the kits have been ordered, and we should be rolling up to the starting line in these bad boys mid/late April. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our 2008 sponsors. Kona Bikes, Pabst Blue Ribbon, and The Hub Bicycle Co. without them this wouldn't have been possible. On another note stay tuned for NON-Race # 3. I have been tossing around a few ideas/dates, and it looks like we will be hosting our 3rd installment in the NON-Series sometime this month.


St. Joe's NORBA #1


It really says "determination" (or maybe "unhealthy obsession") when one's idea of a good time is to get up before dawn, drive an hour or two, and then ride their bike in tons of slop, especially when it is expected to find slop. But that is exactly what Casey Ryback, Shop Minister, Mason Storm, Nico Toscani, and Dr. Wesley McClaren found themselves doing on this fine day. The temperature was actually in the upper 70s! Our cars were hot from sitting in the sun! We didn't need leg warmers and shoe covers!

After much discussion and pondering over just how the trails would look, it was decided that the race would for sure be held. Everyone was a little skeptical, but in the end it was worth it. We fought valiantly; and despite endo's, flats, defective replacement tubes, barbed wire in the brake rotors, soul-crushingly soft ground, and hub-deep mud holes and creek crossings, we emerged stronger for having gone through the experience, and better prepared to face the next challenge.

Shop Minister, on the other hand, still has some small lessons to learn about accepted style when on the bike, the first of which is that white cotton socks are never proper attire:

Rest assured that they didn't stay white for long. And besides, they could have been worse - sandals maybe?

Here we have the only podium of the day, Nico Toscani taking 3rd place in the Singlespeed class:

And here's an example of what your bike would may have looked like had you participate in today's events:

Btw, Hey Furby, you were driving in the same direction as us (away from St. Joes) but you had no bike - what gives? Better be at the next race...

Big thanks needs to be extended to Mark Grumpke, Bill H. and Dave Ploch (and all those who sacrificed a day of racing in order to put this on for the rest of us! Thanks Guys!


Steven Seagal makes appearance in The Onion Movie

Watch this movie trailer from satire news organization, The Onion - it will blow your F***ing mind:


Big thanks to Chris Nitzsche (now known as "Cockpuncher") for exposing us to it!

In other news, it looks like there will be a small army of Seagal Soldiers venturing down to St. Joe's State Park near Farmington, since the first Heartland Race was cancelled. 5 d00dz - Shop Minister, Mason Storm, Dr. Wesley McLaren, Nico Toscani, and myself, Casey Ryback. The weird thing though, is that we've decided that we have a better chance of winning if we all ride the same bike:

Marshall Lawson will also be there, but under the guise of another, more well-funded organization. Results and photos will be soon to follow - don't touch that f***ing dial!

-C. Ryback