Greetings Loyal Team Seagal Fan! And do we have glorious gossip to regale upon any guys and gals gazing at our... race report! Three troops were deployed to the eastern edge of Kansas to compete in the inaugural mountain bike race (of any type) at Shawnee Mission Park. It happened to be a race hosted by the the Seagal-esque badasses of Heartland Race Promotions. These are the same sadistic bastards that host pain fests such as the Dirt Kanzaa, and the Rapture in Misery. The difference is that when you enter either one of those races, you know you're in for a copious allotment of suffering due to the length of time, and the course layout. However, Heartland showed their devious side with this race. In a less-intimidating format of 3/6 hours, with a fairly short course, there was a claimed 200ft of climbing per lap. To put it in perspective, the Rapture course has a claimed 900 feet. Other riders gave us a heads-up regarding a "rock garden" about halfway through the course. No problem - we can handle a rock garden. This should be a hammerfest.
Talk about being set up to underestimate the course! When you think "rock garden," you usually think of something that isn't terribly long, something that of which the end can be seen from the beginning. Well, this "rock garden" turned out to make up possibly a good 1/4-1/3 of the course. The word "relentless" comes to mind. In addition to that, another good chunk of this course was out in the sun through fields and down a powerline strip through freshly cut grass that radiated heat in the same way that Nickelback radiates gay-ness. This is with temps in the upper 90s.
The rest of the course, however, if not in a searing-hot field or on rigid-fork-pounding rocks, was amazingly fast, flowy, fantastic, and fabulous, from which the fun flooded forth to our faces.
Nico Toscani, Mason Storm, and myself, Casey Ryback, arrived at the elder Toscani residence late on Friday night, where we would enjoy soft beds and unbeatable hospitality the following morning in the shape of home-cooked waffles, ham and eggs. Talk about race-prep! It sure beat setting up a crap-filled tent by the light of crap-filled car headlights, then sleeping on the hard ground with 1-2 sweaty dudes who are less than a foot from being all up in your business.
We arrived at the park and set up a prime spot along the course for mid-race goodies. Mr. and Mrs. edler Toscani came to cheer us on and snap a few photos, which was much appreciated.
Here, you'll find Mr. Ryback utilizing his new and admittedly-dorky canopy chair even though it turned out to be the only shade to be had in the absence of a big Kona race tent (man what a tasty Toscani smoothie, btw):
"HAY GUYZ!! WISH YOU WERE HERE! XOXOXO"
Your heroes, along with Mrs. Toscani, proprietor of Nancy's Fancy Sweaters:
Either Mr. Ryback or Mr. Toscani on one of the biggest (and hottest) hills on the course:
Of course, the real action came in the form of results, which you can always rely on with Team Seagal. Are you ready? Nico Toscani came in 2nd place in the men's 20-29 6 hr solo class! The only other guy to beat him: Cameron Chambers. Never heard of that guy? Look him up. He finished 9 laps (just over 6 miles), whereas Cameron finished 11. The only way second place could look better is with a mustasche:
Our good buddy Christian was riding in great form as well, with a 3rd place finish in the 6 hr solo 30-39 class (cool t-shirt!):
Unfortunately, a not all St. Louis riders fared as well. Matt Keeven was also on hand to check out the new venue, though he lost communication with his feet, and had to pull the plug pretty early. St. Louis' own Scott O. also had a ridiculous run of flat tires, (6?) which took it's toll on his patience and inner-tube supply. Take it from a racer who passed many other racers on the side of the course - the so-called "rock garden" was NOT friendly to tires.
For instance, this guy (didn't catch his name) had some pretty terrible luck, and was even lent a co2 on the trail by our own Mason Storm. His last lap took an extra long time, behind which I'm sure there is quite a story. I wanted to mention him though because he still came into the check-in area and finished, even though the awards had already been given, the course was already being torn down, and most people had already left. Way to persevere,man!
The ride home provided nearly just as good of a time as the race itself, in the form of nerds like this. Note the gayz0rz license plate and the earpiece-headset:
This abomination shouldn't be allowed on public highways, and the father of this family probably has a fanny pack:
Despite these other threats on the roadways, we set an iron-clad course to Shakespeare's Pizza in Columbia for some healing of our minds, after we just had our wrists and minds snapped for over 6 hours in the blazing hot Kansas sun. It was a regular t'aint-holocaust out there. How delicious does this combo look?
When all was said and done, Nico finished with 9 laps and just over 51 miles, while Mason and myself both had 7 laps and just over 43 miles. Not bad for a days work in July... Don't forget - Next Sunday is Non-Race #4 at Matson Hill!
I don't think I've forgotten anything... Anyway, it's late and time for bed.