Greetings Loyal Team Seagal. Since the mountain bike racing season is NOT (I repeat NOT) over yet, we feel it is necessary to partake in those races which are provided to us whenever possible. The roadies have up to 4 races a week throughout ALL of the warm months, and the CX fans have up to 2 races a week plus a number of weekly practices throughout that season. The MTB season actually does last for a while, but the races (especially the endurance events) don't happen with the same regularity. So when they DO happen, we believe it is our duty to make sure that we are present for snapped wrist distribution. After all, mountain biking is simply moar fun.
That being said, this weekend was a long-anticipated race for us - The Tall Oak 6 hour. For Energor did declare, "You shall embark upon the city within which dwells the Lake of Binder, and upon arriving you shall know no limits to the heinous carnage delivered to all competitors by your mighty hands. And t'aints."
With many Soldiers down for the count, it was up to myself, BMX'er extraordinaire Peat, and our newest recruits - Jim and Wendy (you need better names, by the way) to make it rain. Sure, Lafayette Square was a fun race to be at late the night before, and sure it was fucking pouring down the morning of the race... but since when has a late night and poorly-timed rain ever stopped a mountain bike race?
Peat and I man-trained over to Jeff City with just enough time to wait in line to register, and then set up our new Kona tent which looks better than everyone else's tent (she came in the box with the tent): We set up camp next in between Dan Miller's home base and the Momentum tent (respectively:)
Peat offered to do the le'man's start, and had his trusty early-90's Stumpjumper singlespeed laid carefully with the rest as the racers death-marched their way up the hill:
Seriously, that group of racers in that photo looks as excited as an Emo "scene-kid" in a razorblade store.
The first lap was super fast, although as the day wore on, the 7 mile loop got faster and faster as the morning-mist-covered roots and rocks became less slick, and the ground got more and more tacky. Peat came in a little later than expected due to a couple of first-race jitters that set led him astray, and a broken chain that had him pressing the "pause" button on his own personal wrist-snapping soundtrack. Being the Jedi-wrench that he is (at a nameless StL shop) he had his chain fixed lickety split, and it lasted him the rest of the race. He came through on his first lap looking like this:
Next it was my turn at the helm. This trail is so consistent in terms of the intensity and pace that you can keep, that it literally feels like a long dirt crit. The smoother you can take a turn while at the same time setting yourself up for the next turn, the faster you will go. There are so few spots to actually rest on this trail, and I ended up finishing my first lap nearly ready to collapse like I had just finished an entire dirt crit:
Meanwhile, while I was on course, little did I know the type of grab-ass that was going on back at the tent:
...and little did they know the type of grab-ass that I was doing solo:Maybe I've just been watching too many Schwarzenegger movies. Wait... no. That's impossible. I should actually go watch a few more. And so should you.
A lot of fast dudes showed up to this race, and we got to hang out with a bunch of them which was as awesome as a orangutan fighting a honeybadger. Red Wheel Overlord Nick Smith was keeping things running smoothly, obviously drawing a great deal of power from his Alaskan snow-shoveling power-boots (turns out they're not SPD compatible, so he couldn't race):
Also got to hang out with Christian a bunch, who managed to keep his back from doing a Pizza-the-Hut and eating itself to death. Christian is seen here, directly behind the guy who could have won the "douche-iest facial hair contest:"(I don't like goatees.) If you look closely, you'll notice that Christian had a certain "card-like" apparition of himself wedged in between his spokes:
I snagged a photo of Ralph, the namesake of Team Beat Ralph, apparently sticking his tongue out or something:
This trail really takes it out of you. Peat had to rest by demonstrating how best NOT to fall asleep in a truck-stop bathroom:
Peat and I traded laps very consistently for most of the day, though it got more difficult to keep the bone fragments and eviscerated muscle tissue of opponents from clogging up our brakes. Fortunately for us, we didn't use our brakes much - at the end of each lap as we stopped for the transition, and that's about it. Utilizing my highly-tuned superior state of mind, I was able to crunch the time numbers and figure out how to do our last couple of laps. It worked so that I would do the last two laps back to back, leaving my trusty feat. rider with 4 laps and I with 5 laps. The last lap was an surely an exercise in patience and using my mind to stave off cramps. I never felt uncomfortable in the least in the "saddle-region" though - ever since I put installed this Fizik Alliante XM saddle, I have yet to feel sore, even after several 3-5 hour rides. I've always said that a good saddle is one that you never think about while riding, and this is one of those saddles. I sent a letter to Fizik suggesting that they make a custom-embroidered version that says "T'aint Guard." No word back yet.
The rocks on this trail are just like I like my women - round and immovable, as opposed to like at Castlewood, where are sharp and loose. This caused a lot of water bottles to be strewn about the trail. Poor bastards. Another observation was how cordial everyone was on the trail - excellent etiquette was practiced at all times! No one was a dick unlike some gray-haired go-fast wannabes; amirite, Christian?
Big props go out to that little kid who rode the entire trail on his 24" mountain bike - how old was he, like 10? He seriously finished all 7 miles of that fucking trail, and it didn't take him several hours to do it, either - he almost pulled me into the finish line.
Post race, the beer flowed like wine, and beautiful women flocked like the salmon of Capistrano. Peat won the prestigious Best Facial Hair award, and the emotional Transferring of the Tiara ceremony had us all choked up (especially Bob Jenkins, who was choking back actual tears from not being able to race) as we saw a new Champion crowned: However, if he were to be tested for illegal substances, his testosterone levels would be super high - lucky for him it is all natural. He is all that is man.
In the Solo category, new heights of epicnicity were achieved. Last year, our very own Lt. Col. Austin Travis snapped the shit out of the solo class as the only racer to make 10 laps. This year, first place Jeff Winkler did fucking 11 LAPS! Dan Miller did 10! What is with all this fast business?
Speaking of new heights, our team has also reached new heights with the recent assimilation of Team Trail Monster into the Team Seagal Global Corporation. They raced together as a badass Duo, going out and keeping the all-important consistency things down. I mean, they're no stranger to long time in the saddle, having just completed the Berryman Duathlon which saw them in the saddle for 48 miles, and running 18. The happy couple, sharing in the ecstatic exhaustion of the Tall Oak Challenge, and sportin their hard-earned kits:
'Urvyone involved with the production of this event did a phenomenal job of scoring and producing large amounts of epic win. And moonshine disguised as bottled water. Remember, the mtb season ISN'T over yet, as we still have a couple of awesome races - most notably, Singlespeed World Championships and even closer to home, the legendary Burnin'. Oh shit, things are about to blow the fuck up.
We have a crazy week ahead of us, as next weekend the CX season finally kicks off with Pride CX in Alton, and then Bearcat Cross in Hermann, which will see a VERY significant Team Seagal deployment, as we are just itchin' to try out our new Kona Major Ones. I'm also itching this one spot on my lip... that'll teach me to fall asleep in a truck stop bathroom again.
Stay tuned for a pre-SSWC post, detailing the cast and crew of what will no doubt by a defining moment in our singlespeeding lives.
By the way, Nico found his "call-up" theme song:
-Casey. Fucking. Ryback.
***EDIT*** Results now up on MWFTS Site - Peat/I got 10th, with Jim/Wendy getting 18th - out of 28!
To easily calculate lap times without having to do stupid time-subtraction, check out this website I found: Time Difference Calculator
Peat/I lap times (Peat started first lap, we switched each lap, and I did the last two)
L1 - 48:05
L2 - 37:29
L3 - 40:47
L4 - 37:58
L5 - 40:16
L6 - 37:37
L7 - 43:56
L8 - 38:04
L9 - 40:10
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