Greetings Team Seagal Fan,
Tropical Mason Storm at you service. This past weekend we (Nico, Wesley McClaren MD, and yours truly) found ourselves in the Ouachita Mtns of Arkansas. We made the drive down Friday night and called Ft. Smith home for the evening. We were greeted with having more dead fruit flies in our bathroom than Robortion has young Puerto Rican boys hiding behind his parent’s house...that's means a TON! Seriously I was getting the feeling that either the Marriot Courtyard in Ft.Smith either hates handicap people (Our room was Handy certified), or one look at 2 of the 3 of us and they did what was in their best interest and decided to hand over an alreay filthy room. Well played Marriot! Either way dueling Mullets & Staches slept soundly whilst Nico in a big beautiful bed all to himself wore no stache/mullet but moar underwear that evening than I think the DR and I had with us for the whole weekend. After a most amazing of breakfast meals consisting of at least one and possibly more of each of the following….Coffee, Milk, OJ, Biscuits, Gravy, Sausage, Bacon, Eggs, Waffles, Made to Order Omelets, Muffins, Yogurt, and a banana! We loaded up the Kona’s and continued on to Oden Ark. 3 years ago I attempted this race on a tiny ss bike fully rigid and with rim brakes!?! Let’s just say I didn’t make the cut-off time to call it a short story. Last year I was cheated out of this race when on New Years morning 2008 I ruptured 3 discs in my lower back like a bitch. 2009 was not going out without a fight. I went 3 months w/o my beloved BEER in preparation for this piece of shit, and I was not coming home a defeated man. 1-2-3 G0! We head down the road and right away I am thinking, “Holy shit this is really happening, time to show up homey & pimp slap the shit out of this race. I had the good fortune off starting and the dead fucking end of the line, but once the roads started to tilt up I passed people like crazy. I settled into a good pace, put my head down, and went to work. I knew what the first 6ish miles where about from our pre-ride the day before, and if I attacked every climb I would crush some mofos and move the fuck up quickly. This Ouachita was easily better than the course I had rode previously. The Womble was super buff and I never busted a sweat on that bad boy….straight flossing at full speed! My Big Unit was riding great, and my tires where hooking up super good especially since I have been running some dangerously low psi’s(well dangerous if u weigh 225lb like my ass).
I stopped at aid station 2 and saw Todd Holtman in jeans! He started the race, but crashed out early & stuck around to cheer on his wife…hope all is well w/ your shoulder homeboy! From #2 I took off on the rode/fire road portion of the course, and was able to pace with some Doodz from Mobile Velo. We entered the first fire road and I started to pull away, across the creek, and off to the doom that lied ahead. Once I hit the “Hill with No Name” I felt really good, and I was ready to kill this shit. I took off up the climb with a few SS’s in tow. I spent the next 15 min pulling these fools up the climb when *!*CLINK*!*SNAP!*! My chain snapped. I was ½ way in mile 30, 2hr 50min, and feeling like I could pull off a sub 7hr OC! FUCK! That option was out immediately, so I quickly cut the chain and tried to fit it back sans 2 links…my dumbass didn’t have a link in my bag! Chain was too short, so I starting hiking and then rolling what I could of the downhill. When I finally reached aid station 4 and had the good fortune of having someone put a chain on my bike I had hiked over 2 Mountains and covered 13mi w/ 2mi being flat fire road. I got that ballerass hollow pin 9spd chain on my bike and was luckily able to finish the final 15mi of the race well before the cutoff, and actually still in front of a lot of peep’s. I feel bad for having such an expensive chain given to me for free, only for me to never use it again…I am surprised that shit didn’t snap but the KMZ BMX chain exploded…go figure. Anyways big thanks to the bike mechanic at aid station 4 for the hook-up. You are the reason I was able to finish that shit. I thought once I hit the last 5 mi I was free, but soon I came up on the Hometown Hero Matt Keeven. I thought I had bad luck that day. Homeboy was easily crushing the SS 80MI Class, but was plagued with too many flats to remember, and when I caught him the last time he was riding dirty! See photos. Matt you truly are a solid mofo, and even though you had like 20 more miles in your legs I still crossed the line before your ass…ahahahah I make it rain!!!! Seriously bro that sux, and thanks for not crushing me to the finish w/o a rear tire….because let’s face it you could. Overall It was an amazing weekend, and I am so glad the MTB season is back in full swing….I don’t know what I would do without this shit sometimes other than weigh 450lbs. BTW The picture of the Dr’s new whip almost cost us a night in the slammer from kicking the shit out of a Sonic Drive-In Manager. Your welcome! I learned that 2 dinners is a good thing, Nico's butt smells like old Sonic, Dr. looked suspicous the whole time, I scored a sweet ass dream catcher key chain for $1, Team Trail Monster knows how to hook you up(Thanks Again you 2!) Kona's are the shit, So is pabst. If this race is the same next year I will be back, I want some Kryptonite!
Thank you Arkansas!
Nico Toscani's Take on the Racing Action:
The M&M (mulleted and moustached) boyz and I lined up next to each other at the starting line, strategically positioned at the back to create the most destruction across the wide field of competitors. The shifty click-claks and knobby road-buzz of 350+ riders (60 and 80 mile races mass start together) on the smooth pavement lead-out was deafening awesormeness. After cruising the first fireroad section a little SS climbing put me in good position entering the first section of single-track. The trail was super buff and in great condition; everyone around me was just hammering. We flowed through and entered the next fireroad section and I followed the wheels of a few geared guys over a couple miles of rollers and a section past the lake. The road flattened out and my train slowly began to pull away. I could see them and a few others up ahead, 200 yards or so; at the base of what I knew was the last climb before entering 8 miles of Womble single-track. No wrists were safe on this Terry-esque stretch of gravel; I put my head down and starting spinning. I beat all of them to the single-track at the top of the hill and didn’t look back. I quickly hopped around 3 or 4 more riders and settled into a great pace right behind 360 Racing/ HSP Front man / Bad-Ass Dude Scott Capstock who was in the 80 mile race. We rode together very successfully up until the first aid station, where our courses split off and it was time to say sayonara.
An uber-friendly volunteer quickly took my bottles from me and filled them with delicious cytomax, then told me empty my pockets of any trash and drop it onto the ground. She exclaimed that SHE would pick it up and that I should get the hell back on the course! I began the extended road section with 3 other riders and we formed a pace line into the wind. Out of nowhere Team Ergon/ Topeak rider Sonya Looney bridged up to our group and latched on for good. Everyone took turns at the front, I found myself pulling up the hills. Still working together, our group turned right off of the pavement and onto a super-fast fireroad section leading towards Fiddler’s Creek. The creek was running near waist-high and unrideable so...bike on the shoulder we all wade across and then Sonya straight drops us- I mean, POOF! GONE!
I was first of the remaining group to reach the next single-track section, beginning my time spent on the brutal Ouachita Trail. After some more SS climbing, I found myself coasting alone into the next aid station at the base of Blowout Mountain. I am amazed that the race organizers had the foresight to incorporate a sadistic cyclocross race into the middle of their MTB race. That is pretty much what the section of racecourse crossing Blowout Mountain really is. I mean, holy shit. Crossing it takes about an hour,you ride for a while then there are towering run-ups and countless dismount-forcing barriers (huge 30-yard stretches of kankle-swallowing boulders and razor sharp rocks).
My soul and t’aint were both very pleased when Blowout ended and only partly saddened when Big Brushy Mountain then lay before them. Although quite tall and rocky to the extremezorz, Big Brushy was the final obstacle to overcome. I still felt strong and was forced to walk only the steepest sections. After passing a few more geared riders I made a left on to the last section of fireroad and pedaled hard all the way to the finish. My time was 5:46.26, good for 22nd place overall and 2nd in the SS catagory. I won some money and a Kryptonite Trophy, I am still so stoked!
PS, my fully rigid Kona worked F'ing awesome on this course
Please visit the Dr's new blog which he pirated away from Robort this morning somewhere off the coast of Mogadishu for his race re-cap. Dr. Has a tale to tell, and so does his beautiful mullet.