Dawn to Dusk - A Day of Middlefork (and gravel)

Greetings To You, the Loyal Team Seagal Fan. Let me paint a picture for you. I was finally pulling the covers over myself Thursday night around 1AM. My alarm was set for 5AM, Friday morning. All but two of those hours were spent coughing like one of the infected from Stephen King's "The Stand." It is hard to go to bed and wake up in the dark, especially when your roommate is *still* up. Shoving food down my throat hole and loading up the car for a sure-to-be-epic day, I had to be a man with a purpose, and not try to go back to bed. That purpose: meet teammates and other riding partners at the tiny gravel lot at Hwy DD and 32, which has essentially become Team Seagal HQ.

The ride planned for today was sure to go down in the record book as a truly epic ride, one that would surely make all who came out stronger. Two laps of the Middlefork "bailout" loop. 32-33 miles, done twice. Knowledge of this "heinous epicnicity" was what kept me focused on getting to the trail with teammates in tow. The good Dr. Wesley McLaren, Nico Toscani, Tropical Storm Mason, Gino Felino and our good friend Sherrid all met at fucking DAWN (this is no small accomplishment):

Setting a course for the trailhead, we were coerced into stopping at Hardee's for some pre-ride fuel, all of which was very serious business. At this stop, we noticed that apparently the FBC is starting a chapter in Desoto. Seems like an odd decision, but hey, I bet there are more coyotes around Desoto (click to open full size and read sign):

We arrived (on time) at the trailhead to see that tiny little afterthought-of-a-parking-lot filled to the brim with cars and riders. No fudging way. There were probably 15-20 dudes gettin' ready to go! Upon saddling up and a few introductions, we opened fire upon the trail surface. This first downhill was grin-inducing as usual. Oh mama. it wasn't long, though, before we came across some un-nerving trail damage, due to bulldozers creating fire-lines.
Fortunately, it was a fairly short section. Still sucked eggs, though.

A little destroyed trail couldn't get us down, because the weather was sunny and warm, and entertainment was around every corner. Case in point: this muffler tip fell off of a shitty truck as it passed us sitting there resting, and it fell right in front of us!

A little gravel road action two connect to pieces of singletrack:

After some extended refueling, we continued onto a nice little technical section, that lead us to the bottom of a very enjoyable, and aesthetically pleasing climb:

This lowly serpent tried to tempt us with fruits from the forbidden tree of weakness, but we resisted. Instead, we started a mosh pit right there, then beat up some dudes in a drum circle wearing "Life Is Good" t-shirts and Chacos:

This is a rarely seen view of this section of trail - 3 or 4 switchbacks in a row, and then the trail climbs up the opposite hillside, and only visible through the leaf-less trees:

Continuing on to the "bailout" point, it was time to reflect upon the numerous points along the trail at which we felt as though we were on a roller coaster. Gino and Nico crossed the creek and finished the rest of the trail, and then did some reconnaissance for the rest of us by taking a small alternate route back to the cars, which includes a ridiculous hill that is shorter and much steeper than the usual one. Their verdict: "Fucking ridiculous!" Gino and Nico also reported fighting cocks, although we chocked those weird reports up to delirium sustained after summiting that massive hill. The rest of us handled the gravel road in good time, with an 1+ mile-long hill, 40+ mph speeds reached on the other side, and the only flat of the day.

I think that many of us were contemplating just how much they wanted to continue on for a second lap after eating food back at the car, and resting so close to cold beer. Fear not, however, for 5 of us did indeed go out for a second lap - Peat, Stoney, Mason, Christian, and myself. We found lactic acid that we didn't know that we had on these climbs. Peat, unfortunately, had to peace out a little early, and thanks to the badass map that Christian had printed out a while back, he was able to find a suitable route back to the cars. The 4 of us pressed on however, though we determined that we would not be making it quite to the end. We would turn off and head home at the "muffler." We still had several miles of singletrack to conquer before reaching that point though. The good news was that we would end on one of the best descents on the trail; the bad news was that the worst climb was what takes us to that badass descent.

Turning off at the muffler, we headed home, utilizing some gravel roads that we had yet to ride. We soon found out that Gino and Nico were not bullshitting when they reported fighting cocks. In fact, we passed through a veritable "cock-farm," overseen by what I like to call a "crazy cock lady" much akin to a "crazy cat lady." But instead of pussies, she had cocks. I tell you, these roosters were seriously running everywhere.

The miles slowly ticked away, and we did make it back to the cars and beer. Quickly packing our shit up, we headed down to the boat ramp to meet up with our compatriots who had been relaxing at the lake while the 5 of us were busy being injected with the needle of victory and supremacy. We found Sherrid doing weird things with his bike:

We gathered into cars, and said goodbye to the sun as it set - not able to keep up with us:

And of course, you know what the fuck is next - the best Mexican food served with the fastest service this side of the Rio Grande:

In bike shorts for over 9 hours and 60 miles. What an epic day.

-Casey Fucking Ryback



Mason Storm said...

Holy Shit that daY was AMAZORS. DOS PRIMOS 4EVA!

Davey B said...

damn, that is a fucking tapestry of serious business!

wish i had been there!

Christian Stitz said...

The Muffler

True Story (just heard it this weekend): My aunt was partying in the French Quarter New Orleans Mardi Gras 1995 when she ran in to Mr. Seagal himself. He was hanging out with Philip Michael Thomas (Tubbs from Miami Vice). She asked Mr.Seagal if she could take a pic with him, but he must have been deep in a meditative state, because he basically ignored her. PMT obliged however, he must not have the mental abilities of Mr. Seagal.

So to make a long story short, me and Steve are buddies, practically related.

Casey Ryback said...

Christian - you guys are TOTALLY like best friends. I'm so jealous!

Doug said...

I left my soul, part of my rear derailuer, and a 4" piece of my chain on the trail that day. As I pushed my ride over miles of the trail, Master Seagal himself appeared and whispered to me... F the 27 gears....You only need one! Then like a ninja in crouching tiger hidden dragon, he elevated and drifted into the wilderness.
One gear it is...Oh, and big wheels!
Thank you guys for saving me on the trail, but seriously, haven't one of you figured out how to haul some cold ass PBR around in a BOB trailer or something!

Nico Goscinski said...

That same thing happened to me! Except I came across the apparition of Master Steven resting trailside, his breathing heavy, his sweat profuse.

"Nico," he called, "Why do you keep letting Gino snap the shit out of your wrists?"

"My mind and attitude are not quite as Superior as his," I replied.

"Retrieve from me this satchel, boy. It contains the potent herb of the chinaman. From now on I trust you understand what to do."

"Yes Master, I will do as you say...oh my God you sweat a lot," I stated as he disappeared from sight.

passage 2:18 - 36 from the book of P

Casey Ryback said...

I think that if we towed PBRs in a trailer on every ride, we'd never get very far. At the top of the first hill, we'd sit down and crack one open. This way, we have a nice carrot at the end of the ride.

Oh mama... Today I have a carrot at the end of my work shift - beer at the bar!

Big Ronnie said...

You Bitches Harden the Fuck UP!


Chris Wurster said...

And here I was believing that I had a great day getting up at dawn to ride the subway to an office and sit at my desk going sterile from all the radiation emitted from the monitors I stare at all day. The kings of pain reside on Team Seagal

Casey Ryback said...

Big Ronnie - already got the band!