Greetings, Team Seagal Fan. I... I uh... I don't know what just happened. Seriously - what the hell was that? As Mitch alluded to, this race and course might be considered a prelude to the Death By Hills ride. There was something like 2300ft climbing per ~1 mile lap. (Plus or minus a couple thousand feet.) It was as if we took the course from last week, and removed most of the "fun" and put it into the "pain" column. I could be found before the races started trying to warn people that I knew NOT to race. As we were setting the course up, my quads were trembling in fear, as we pushed into the ground each wooden course-stake. (The hammer was not usually needed due to the amazing softness of the ground. It was so soft, it was like Robort putting his... well, nevermind.)
Due to the layout and size of the Mt. Pleasant Winery grounds, it made for many fantastic views and viewpoints from which the many spectators could see probably 90% of the course at all times. The layout also made for a truly stupid amount of pain-filled run-ups that allowed for the kind of off-the-bike action that in the realm of Missouri Cyclocross, has recently only been seen in Hermann on those infamous stairs. I mean sweet Jesus. We should have installed a winch to help people up. Either that or offer Samurai swords with which people could have used to commit seppuku. Then, the blood and intestinal juices would then flow onto the course, making an epic mud-pit.
Myself, Sasha Pestrovich, Gino Felino, the Professor, and the Great Punchor of Cocks all engaged in an untimely race of destiny that put a new pain into our backs, legs, and especially t'aints. Sasha in the women's race, myself and Punchor in the SS race, and Gino venturing into the A class for the first time to do epic battle alongside the Professor, who gave a riveting lecture today on how to snap the fuck out of everyone's wrists.
There was an uneasy sense of looming death on the start line - kinda felt like a music video for some Nordic death metal band. The whistle was blown "sometime in the next 30 seconds" and we were off in a flurry of wailing guitars and double-bass kicks.
Turn after turn, the course pointed us up and up again, with only a few seconds of descending-rest in between. This course was easily the softest, most speed-sapping yet. No sandpits, but 2 stairs, 2 barriers, and 2 grassy run-ups. And a lot of up.
Our good buddy the Professor, however, didn't seem bogged down by the soft climbs. He doesn't weigh that much, so he kind of just rides over the top instead of sinking down. He climbed quite well today - so well that he had one of the most epic battles yet. He put the hammer down early on and led by a sizable margin, at a pace that some weaker men doubted could be kept. For a little over a lap he was off the front. It didn't take long before the Loco SoBoCoMo Kid, Jon Schottler, decided he wanted to win instead, so he went... well... faster. After 3 laps, Schottler pulled out front and never looked back. Also chasing the Professor down from behind was Butthead, who bridged the gap, but then had trouble pulling ahead. And anyone who has seen Butthead dropping the hammer knows that it is essentially an unstoppable onslaught of pain and suffering, from which no one is safe. The Professor wasn't having any of that though, and traded punches with BH lap after lap, unable to be shaken off.
On the steepest, longest grassy climb of the course, our Professor utilized much in the way of superior attitude and superior state of mind, and rode the whole thing, each time putting at least 5 seconds on BH, who was on foot. I'd like to think that his ability to effectively attack up that hill may or may not have been helped by a rabid, frothing-at-mouth-and-horn cheering section, populated by myself and a number of Red Wheel Usual Suspects which may or may not have been fueled by sweet spumantes, Rieslings, and Merlots as the hosting venue wasn't very friendly to our beloved PBR. After realizing what our Professor was teaching, I had to go and scream encouragement to the point where my voice didn't work anymore. His ability to climb like a scalded monkey lap after lap seemed to wear down on the Mighty Butthead, who had lost a fair amount of time by the last couple laps, and led him to a 2nd place finish!
I'll repeat that - 2nd place finish in the A Race on arguably the hardest course of the year! That's essentially 1st place, because if Steven Seagal himself were racing, he probably would not have been able to catch Schottler either.
But let us not forget Gino, who, despite not being in contention, also had to endure our... "encouragement" while climbing that hill. Encouragement = constant ass-slapping with plastic horns, being sprayed with $20/bottle spumantes, and us yelling right in his face. He can't complain though - he got paid from our dollar hand-ups.
Also seen on that hill: the first ever reverse-dollar-hand-ups courtesy of Jeff Yielding, an unintentionally-hilarious "water bottle facial" on Martin Lang, one guy on a silver mountain bike who rode the hill every time except for one despite being way-last, a nut-grab from Chris "I'm also racing in the A race on my singlespeed after winning the singlespeed race on the hardest course of the year" Connolly, and just altogether way too much smiling.
Also seen at this race:
-Mitch the Masher riding a CX bike for the first time ever while in his first CX race ever, and then actually getting DQ'd after a couple of laps for taking a wine-handoff. It's a good thing too that he was DQ'd, because after a white zinfandel, he would have had a clear advantage over the rest of the field.
-(forward to :56 seconds)
The looks on everyone's face as they crossed the finish line was pure hate. Some of my favorite views taken from the race, courtesy of GoPate and MikeD:
Punchor and I attack the stairs
Sasha attacks the descendy-corner
Here is where I attacked Nick
Punchor attacks teh corner
Moob Jenkems attacks the ramp with a sudden acceleration that wheelied his front wheel
From the A Race:
Dolla Dolla Bill ya'll!
Alex "Air-Jordan" Grrman
NO SMILING IN CYCLOCROSS
See? Pure hate at the finish line:
The Professor celebrates with a little air-violin
We also managed to get a couple of photos, courtesy of one of our in-house photogs. One shows SS-extraordinaire Chris Connolly who can always be relied upon to take a wine handoff, though thankfully he managed to NOT get DQ'd:
The other shows DaveyB at the moment of spiritual ascension:
After the race and teardown, a number of us gathered in the parking lot across the street for general recklessness, mischief, and push-ups for some reason. And pretzels. Holy shit, those were some crunk-ass grown-ups drinking in a parking lot in rural Missouri. We couldn't have been anymore euphoric had we been hanging out with a bunch of street children in Zambia, huffin' the "might." Special appearance by DRJ.
Only one moar Bubba race left, and then it's the state championships! Prepare your livers, minds, and t'aints.
Oh yeah, and don't forget this Thursday the Chubb Trail will be the scene of the annual HUGE group ride. Show up in the morning at some point, and give thanks to Energor for all he has given us.
-Casey F. Ryback
P.S. There was sand-colored bag stolen by some shithead at the race, containing a very expensive SLR-style camera. Any info, contact Big Shark.