Forrest Taft on Virginia Ave.
Lewis & Clark statue almost completely under water.
Mason trackstanding for the camera.
Nice view of the city from the MRT.
Our weapons of choice.
Mason riding up Washington Ave. towards home.
This just in - Team Kits, and they look even better than we expected! Newly received from Borah, get your order asap - just in time for both Syllamo's Revenge and the May 10th NORBA race at Castlewood! (Both of which we'll have many soldiers on the starting line.)
I can say that from my 3.5 hour test ride, they are going to coddle our t'aints quite well.
In other news, Non-Race #3 scheduled for tomorrow afternoon at Matson Hill has been postponed. Matson isn't known to be a great wet-weather location, and there has been a lot of rain this past week, AND the weather is calling for even more rain during the day on Sunday. We've already had enough slop rides/races this year (St. Joe, Lost Valley, Rim Wrecker, Ouachita Challenge) and we're not anxious for another.
That's a hydro-formed down tube, no need for gussets here.
I'm gonna need some fancy Bontrager H2O cages, Gino Felino or Jack Taggert please hook me Up.
Team Seagal has some really great sponsors.
There it is, just hangin' out in the breeze, enjoying the view from my upper lip.
- 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:
What do you do when the weather is gorgeous and you have the day off? You invite a bunch of people to go for a road trip with them and their bikes, that's what.
Six brave soliders ventured out of the city limits in search of epic conditions, and we what we found was a mix of awesomeness, and potential awesomeness. Starting at the Brazil Creek campground, we set a clock-wise course for pain. We certainly arrived at our destination before any of us could have imagined.
Here you see Mason Storm and Nico Toscani negotiate a twisty uphill of doom.
Nico destroys this creek by using his superior attitude and superior state of mind.
The same creek is attacked by today's guest mountain biker and flatlander-extraordinaire, Sherrid:
Most of the trail was full of sweet sections like these:
Unfortunately, the rest (probably 1/3) of the trail was NOT picture-worthy. After all the horrible weather this year, what with the flooding, record-rainfalls, high winds, and equestrians not respecting soft/muddy trails, much of the trail surface had been washed away to the point where it more closely resembled a creek bed. There were constant signs of flowing water having been on the trail, and having been on the trail for long periods of time. (I've heard of hub-deep creek crossings, but hub-deep leaf-deposits?) Anyway, the bottom line is that our beloved IMBA-Epic Berryman is in bad shape. Fortunately, we're not the first to diagnose this. The good guys over at GORC have a rather extensive project in the works. The Berryman Trail has some of the best sections of trail in the state, and is gloriously connected to the Ozark Trail and all of its glory (Middlefork, North/South Trace Creek, Curtois, Council Bluff, etc...) It can certainly be brought back to the trail that it is famous to mountain bikers for being - all it takes is some manpower and time. There is also a much-talked-about endurance race coming up, similar to the Ouachita Challenge or Syllamo's Revenge. The Berryman Epic should bring a lot of attention to MO trails and MO Racing. If you ride these trails and have more time than money, then please consider helping out with a GORC workday, or at least getting involved in some way.
To highlight another great trail system in the area, Greensfelder is a prime example of what can be done to make an existing trail even better - if you haven't been out to Greensfelder, in the last couple years, put it on your short-list of must-rides, as it is a gem for local mountain biking, without all the crowds of Castlewood. While you're there, here is a challenge for you: try climbing the Monkeyhead Section. After much effort, 2 Seagal Scouts have determined that an uphill no-dab Monkeyhead run IS possible, even on a singlespeed. Go try it, then report back to us. In the meantime, stay tuned for a Mustache Extravaganza.
What: 2 man relay race at Matson Hill. Each team will ride ? laps in whatever order they decide. The race will start at the Matson Hill Katy trail visitors station. Laps TBD.
Where: Meet at the Matson Hill parking lot just off the Katy trail. Only the first racer of each team will start at the bottom and climb the fire road. All other racers will ride to the trailhead to start their laps.
When: Sunday April 27th race starts at 1pm. Racers meeting/check-in at 12:30pm.
Why: Come out and meet other local mountain bikers, have fun, and hold onto you money.
What else: After the race Team Seagal will be having a "FREE" BBQ for all the participants at Klondike Park. Come enjoy some ice cold PBR's and some food with us after the race. We will also have prizes for the 1st place team.
Okay, the route isn't quite the full 100 but we can add on the few we need at the end. As previously posted the route begins and ends at the corner of Big Bend and Clayton. There is a large parking lot in the vicinity, we will meet in the Office Depot parking lot on Ethel and Big Bend so we are not standing around in traffic. The ride begins at 8:30am. That way we only hit the tail end of the morning traffic and the beginning of the afternoon traffic. The pace will not be a crawl but this is a no drop ride. This ride is open to everyone. Bring food, water and money for more food and water, as well as a Superior Attitude. Be sure to check the elevation at the bottom of the interactive (Ooo, interactive) map.
It's time to earn our Bread 'n Butter
Greetings Loyal Team Seagal Fan! A weekend like this only comes around once in a while. So when the opportunity presents itself to ride all day on some of the most epic trail systems in the country, with your best riding buds, in the best weather imaginable, you grab the neck of that opportunity and crush its trachea.
Amidst a flurry of concerns regarding trail conditions, ridiculous facial hair, energy drinks, Tijuana Mama, potent intestinal gases, delicious Pabst, dryer sheets in the pants, Charles Bronson quotes, Chinese herbs, and pain, we did manage to snap the wrists of all that laid before us. No one was safe, not even the guy on the makeshift recumbent:
7 newly-mustached soldiers did indeed journey down to Oden, Arkansas in search of glory. Yours truly - Casey Ryback (now Coach Ryback), Gino Felino (now Chico Felino), Dr. Wesley McLaren (now an Arkansas Native), Shop Minister (now an Old Timey Grifter), Nico Toscani (now Officer Toscani), Lt. Col. Austin Travis (Village Person #4), and Marshall Lawson (still Marshall Lawson due to lack of ability to grow significant facial hair, and also under DRJ disguise) all emerged victorious for good and bad reasons.
Dr. McLaren, Lt. Col. Travis, and Nico all went down on friday night with plans to get in a little bit of non-strenuous pre-riding on Saturday, and then be ready to snap wrists all day on Sunday during the race. The power of the 'stache made its presence known quite early, at the hotel on Friday night. Whilst enjoying a quiet and relaxing hot tub soak, our 3 quick-thinking soldiers made the decision to not stick around once the pool and hot-tub area became invaded by some, shall we say, "young" girls. It is a widely known fact that mustaches and young girls do not mix well, and it is best that we don't find that out for ourselves. All parties escaped safely, and were met up with the next day by Gino, Casey, Marshall, and Shop Minister.
After signing in, asking the Tour guys about trail conditions, and a eating delicious calorie-laden spaghetti meal at the Oden School, the Team retired to the rental cabin for the night to work on bikes:
eat homemade smoothies:
...and watch Charles Bronson movies to put us in the kick-ass mood.
We awoke early Sunday morning to the sound of Avril Lavigne's song about your girlfriend. (Thanks, Marshall.) Before we knew it, we had eaten a lot more food, got the bikes loaded, dropped some major pre-race bombs, got to the start/finish line, forgot shoes, went back to the cabin to get them and then back to the start line, ready to go by 8. Spirits were high at the line, and so were the temperatures. Everyone was poised making small talk, eye-ing each other's meticulously prepared bikes, trying to psyche each other out, going over everything in their mind (did I remember the spare chain-links/patches/zip ties/multi-tool/front wheel?) and trying to come to grips with the fact that there was no more prep possible. All we could do at that point was wait for the roll-out!
There haven't been any races yet with this many Seagal Soldiers on the line - we actually looked like a real team, and even felt like one on the first fire-road climb before the singletrack started. If you can pedal the hill, a singlespeeder will almost always ascend faster than a geared bike - this was evident on that first climb as we all bobbed and weaved around everyone in their granny gears. Farther up the first climb but well into the singletrack was the location of the first rider to be passed puking on the trailside. Poor bastard - didn't even make it 20 minutes!
The Sunday race course had us riding the Womble Trail first, and then the Ouachita Trail. This was a great way to ride this course, as we were totally fresh for this amazingly flowy trail. The descent off of the Womble trail is truly memorable. The mountain bike orientation really shows with the gradual climbs, excellent drainage, and smooth transitions. The bottom of this trail is where we got out first taste of slop. This year has been a wet one for everyone, and the rivers, creeks, and mud-puddles were definitely up to the hubs fairly often. Want to know why it is a good thing to get mud splattered onto your teeth? It means you are smiling when riding - and there was plenty of mud on our teeth by the time we hit the first aid station.
At this point, Shop Minister, Gino, Lt. Col, and Nico had put a healthy gap on Coach Ryback and The Good Doctor. They kept the pace high and rode as a group for a good percentage of the miles, spearheading the assault. Coach Ryback settled into a steady pace of annihilation behind Marshall Lawson (who was just a hair behind the first group) with The Good Doctor finishing off any survivors who made it past the first two waves of destruction.
Mini Steven was all smiles through the muck:
Blowout Mountain should be re-named to "Soul-Crusher" or "T'aint Destroyer" or something along those lines. The ascent up this beast was not kind to anyone's legs, and the descent off of its peak was not kind to anyone's wrists. Those rock gardens were a veritable playground for those with the chops to keep the pedals moving over basketball-sized rocks, often covered in mud-water. Much walking was to be had, and those that pedaled up in granny gear didn't really go any faster than those on foot.
The combination of Blowout and Big Brushy is a one-two punch the likes of which can only be withstood by those who have Superior Attitude and Superior State of Mind.
The final ~10 miles of fire-road and pavement went by in a blur of pain and victory! By now, our Team Seagal peloton had stretched out a slightly, which meant that our finishing order was Shop Minister, Lt. Col Austin Travis, Nico Toscani, Marshall Lawson, Gino Felino, Coach Ryback, and Dr. Wesley McLaren. Official results have yet to be posted, but we do know that Shop Minister showed off his bread and butter by Getting Awesome all the way into 4th place in the Singlespeed class with a time of just under 5:20hrs, about 6 minutes from 3rd. That means that Lt. Col took 5th, Nico took 6th, Marshall Lawson took 36th overall (5:35 hrs), Gino took 8th in SS, Coach Ryback squeezed in just under the 6 hour mark at about 5:54, and The Good Doctor with a time of 6:23.
We're also happy to report that 1st and 2nd place in the SS class, for Team Seagal were Matt Keeven and Carey Edwards. (*Team results and affiliations becoming retro-active once joining our team.) There were unconfirmed reports of the Trek Factory riders (with gears and suspension) having the major hurt put on them by one Matt Keeven. We're just sayin', is all.
Despite being 6 or 7 miles shorter this year due to flooding, our times were much faster than last year, by a margin greater than the time it would take to ride those 6 or 7 miles. Coach Ryback had his time drop by nearly 1.5 hours.
Our Kona's all worked beautifully, despite looking like a sewer afterwards:
Here Nico points out the major casualty of our opponents:
Overall, we had an extremely successful trip and race, in spite of many seemingly insurmountable equipment related setbacks for Marshall. Considering he was riding on a fork and drivetrain that were 1 day old, it worked amazingly well with only one snafu on the trail. We also gained much wisdom on this trip, which we hope to someday instill in our offspring with statements like this:
"Son, as you get older and go forward in life, remember: Truckers love porn."
Stay tuned for Mustache Mania, and official
-Coach Casey Ryback
*EDIT* Photos posted!
*EDIT* RESULTS POSTED - We did pretty damned well!
With all this talk about excellent road rides, wrecked road bikes, new road bikes (both handmade and factory made), and singlespeed road bikes, we've decided to take action and consolidate our powers, and do something about the lack of Team Seagal road rides.
What: ~90 mile road ride, might turn into a century depending on how awesome we get.
Where from : Starting at (the late) Richmond Heights TC (possibly subject to change)
Where to: Westward over hill and dale, possibly extending over into the next county. An exciting and difficult route of most major climbs in the West County region. Beautiful roads, smooth pavement, light traffic, and lots of chicks.
When: Wednesday, April 23rd (specific time TBA - probably early to mid morning)
Pace: A steady but no drop pace. If you go too slow, we'll get this woman to tow you:
What To Bring: full range of gears, skinny tires, superior attitude and superior state of mind, food, and money to buy more food.
How: Get awesome, like Steven Seagal:
What not to do: Fail at life, as shown below:
Stay tuned for more details.
honky tonk: a rough establishment, mostly in the deep south and southwest, that served alcoholic beverages to working class clientele
The Gios needed to be replaced so I looked to one of the highly revered sponsors of the Mighty Team Seagal, Kona bicycles. I entered into negotiations with their top brass and we came to a quick agreement. After an exchange of important numbers my selection was final - a 54cm Kona Honky-Tonk frameset was bound for Missouri.
The Honky-Tonk is Kona’s new "utility road frame." It is a geared version of the already popular single-speed Kona Paddy Wagon and named for Portland's’ Erik Tonkin, a local shop owner who caught the eye of Kona after converting a few Paddy Wagon's from single to geared use. Crafted from Dedachi COM 12.5 butted steel tubes, this frame is just what I was looking for – something practical for everyday use with a little dent resistance. The Honky-Tonk is painted a real nice red color with white panels, the Kona decals are printed in retro-style font that looks very fast. The frame comes as a "set" complete with a lugged steel fork (1 1/8” threadless steer tube) and a FSA aheadset. Rounding out the package are numerous braze-ons and useful bits including 2 bottle cage mounts, rack / fender braze-ons at both the dropouts and also on the seat-stays, a pump-peg, and a chain hanger. There is generous room for larger tires; Kona says the frame will accept up to at least 28mm wide rubbers.
The Honky-Tonk frameset was carefully packed and arrived without a scratch. The FSA headset cups were already installed, nice for those without access to expensive shop tools. I was in a unique situation; the 54cm Honky-Tonk frame dimensions were quite similar to those of the Gios, so the parts swapped over pretty easily. I used the stock steel fork and a very solid parts build consisting of mainly Campagnolo Centaur 10-speed components: pre-QS ergo levers, derailleur’s, brakes, 32h Velocity Aerohead rims laced to Centaur hubs, Veloce 12-25 cassette, Chorus crankset and BB, Race Face Cadence stem, and Campy carbon seatpost.
The build went very smooth as the gruppo was pretty new with limited use. The cables and housings were still in great shape and the frames were so close in size I was able to re-use them. The Gios frame utilized a braze-on FD, and the Honky-Tonk takes a clamp-on style FD. It’s easy to convert a braze-on FD to a clamp-on style with adapters but Campy doesn’t make them in the 28.6mm size anymore…that’s OK Nashbar does! It was on sale too, only $3.99!
The Honky-Tonk frameset became a bicycle in just a few hours, there were only two small set-backs:
1) The frame calls for a long-reach brake in the rear, my Campy rear brake was a standard model. I was hopeful and it almost worked, but it didn’t work. I pilfered the correct model brake from my single-speed road bike.
2) I don’t do gears very well. My teammate and very good buddy Wes McLaren, MD had to be called in to tune the derailleurs.
The final result is quite beautiful. I commuted for a few days, and had the opportunity to hammer out some Southwest Ave Hill Challenges™ as training rides. The real test came on Saturday March, 22. I was visiting my parents in Kansas City, KS for Easter and I brought the completed Honky-Tonk along for the trip. I woke-up before the sun and left the house by 6:00am. Sunrise was scheduled for 7:17am, I was riding in the dark for almost an hour before everything lit up. What a cool route. I went south from my parent’s house at 119th St. and State Line, within 8 miles I was cruising along smooth country roads intersecting farmland landscapes complete with mooing cows, barb-wire fences, and even roosters. I hadn’t woken to see the sun rise on purpose for quite some time; it is quite an experience to do so while atop a bicycle. I spent around 5 hours in the Honky-Tonk saddle pedaling about the Kansas countryside and must say it was a very comfortable journey. I rode 75 miles, with about 4,000ft of climbing across a wide variety or road surfaces. I am very pleased with my new road bike. The steel frame is both stiff and compliant; with a very solid feel overall. I came across some pretty big hills and had to get out of the saddle and really mash a bit– this frame definitely offers efficient energy transfer. Between 5 to 10 miles of the ride ended up on gravel roadways - the further south away from KC I traveled the worse the surfaces got. Fearing a puncture I was never completely comfortable on the gravel sections with my 700x23 tires. The bike handled these surfaces admirably and I was lucky that I never needed to break out a spare tube.
Let me tell you what I have gotten myself into here people: this is the best road bike any single-speed mountain biker could ever want.
Good luck at Ouchita this year everybody. Look for our Moustaches. Thanks for stopping by.