- a newly-intensified cycling tan
- white and crusty sweat-streaks running the length of your face
- increased camaraderie
- discovering your limits (as Ted found out)
- a lingering sense of accomplishment and euphoria (deliriousness?) afterwards
- stronger legs, lungs, and body as a whole
- even more superior attitude and state of mind
Yes, Loyal Team Seagal Fans, you will not be disappointed today. For today, Team Seagal has reached into the road cycling world to flex our massive quad muscles and instill fear into the hearts of those without the same attitude and state of mind. Well, we wanted to do all that, and also do a long, super-badass ride, on a gorgeous day, with some other riders with whom we may not normally ride.
We amassed a substantial group of badasses at the Clayton/Big Bend Office Depot by 8:30am. Myself (Casey Ryback), Gino Felino, Shop Minister, New Balance Store Shop Minister or NBSM (Ryan Alvey), Jeff Kloha, worthy singlespeed-class adversary Mike Barrow (training for the Leadville 100!) and his buddy Ted set out to see if there was any pain to be felt in West County. Turns out there was...
Most of the prime cycling-friendly roads with hills are to be found in West St. Louis County (don't listen to what those Illinois riders, aka Furby, tell you.) And if you're starting from a more urban location, you first have to find a good route by which to escape the stoplights and traffic. For us, that route was Clayton and then Conway towards Chesterfield for the rest of the way. A surprise awaited us on Conway, as one Mr. Jack Taggert was pedaling his way to work via a more northern-route so he could pass by us on his way in - totally cool!
The portion of our ride dedicated to just getting in and out of the city was a pretty good ride in and of itself - that is if you were to turn around before hitting any of the significant hills. But we wanted hills - the kind that will make it hard to ride for several days. So to give you an idea, our first noteworthy hill (Shepard Rd) didn't even come until we'd been riding for nearly 1.5 hours.
Shepard woke our quads up quite handily. At this point, NBSM made a fashionable exit, as he is still nursing a broken collar bone which is slowly but surely healing; however, it sure didn't stop him from showing everyone how to climb. From there we headed over to BA, which lead us eventually to climb Rieger. (Hill count: 2) Turning right at the top of Rieger allowed us to descend Wild Horse Creek Rd (a lot more fun than climbing it!) and then turn left onto Ossenfort. (Hill count: 3) Ossenfort crosses T and brings you to a 3-way intersection at Melrose. We turned right on Melrose, and were all impressed with Ted's descending abilities as we crossed the wooden bridge before turning left onto T, and heading for the worst hill yet: Bassett. Gino sums it up pretty well in this picture:
Hill count: 4
Once regrouping at the top of Bassett, we descended to Manchester Rd which turns into Fox Creek south of Hwy 100. It was on Fox Creek that Mr. Ryback's rear shifter finally gave up the ghost and decided to not shift up anymore, leaving him in 3rd (19t.) Turns out that Dura-Ace 9 shifters have a life span of about 14-15ooo miles, which meant he had a 2 speed road bike for the rest of the ride. It's amazing what can be done when you're with good company on a beautiful day.
Fox Creek dumps you out in front of Six Flags, and a McDonald's/gas station which is a GREAT refuel point. When in Eureka on your road bike, be sure to do the "Allenton Loop," which is a short jump across 44 for a 7 - 8 mile loop which has 2 or 3 major hills, depending on which direction it is ridden. Clockwise gave us 3 solid hills (one of which is a MF'r.)
Jeff on Wengler (note Six Flags in the background):
Hill Count: 7
Out of the frying pan and into the fire is how you can describe our exit of the Allenton Loop but then jumping right onto Allenton Rd, climbing up to Greensfelder. (Hill Count: 8) This road allowed us to burn down Melrose and enter Rockwoods, refill some water, and climb up Glencoe Rd to Old Manchester. (Hill Count: 9) Making a left onto Old Manchester, Shop Minister promised a nice little offshoot onto Woodlands Rd which "should be through a neighborhood" that is "mostly downhill!" Yes, there was a STEEP downhill, but there was also a STEEEEP uphill. (Hill Count: 10) This put us right across the street from Melrose again, so we rolled those super-sweet rollers:
Melrose of course leads you back over to Ossenfort, which we descended and took to the flats of Wild Horse Creek for some fast rollers:
Wild Horse Creek made us pay for those flats by attacking our minds and legs with the infamous "Doberman Hill":
After about 75 hilly miles, that one hurt even more than usual. (Hill Count: 11) A quick refuel at the gas station at Eatherton and we were rolling again towards the next soul-crusher: Orville coming from Old Eatherton. (Hill Count: 12) Regrouping at Shepard and Strecker, we decided to head up Kehr's Mill (Hill Count: 13) and take Edison over to Old Chesterfield Airport Rd, which climbs out of the valley all the way (Hill Count: 14) to Swingley Ridge. This turned into Conway, which we then took all the way back (shooting over to Clayton via Warson). Don't forget about the climb up to Hwy 141 on Conway. (Final "Major" Hill Count: 15)
With all the targeted hills behind us, we now faced another challenge - rush hour traffic on Clayton Rd! No photos were taken of this jugf*ck, as we switched to "survival mode," which meant sprinting to beat lights, trying to stay as close to the car ahead of us as possible, and also spending every last bit of energy keeping our cornholes puckered as tightly possible.
Shop Minister put together a spectacular route through some of the best roads that the Greater St. Louis has to offer. (More interesting than MRT or Forest Park centuries at least...) We'll definitely have to make this a re-occuring event once Mason Storm and Marshall Lawson have their road bike situations ironed out (in-production and wrecked, resepctively.) According to some of the GPS unit's on the ride, we did over 6300 feet of climbing in the span of exactly 100 miles, though it certainly felt like a lot more. Now we're all stronger.
Next Event: Non-Race #3 at Matson. F***ing Be There For More Fun and Fabulous Friendships. No really, it'll be even more tons of fun than this these tons of fun: