Greetings Loyal Team Seagal Fan! If you heeded my advice from the other day telling you to stay home from this week's Bubba CX race due to the extreme difficulty, then you may have made the right decision. I mean, it was really, really, really hard. Like porno-hard. But it wasn't just hard. It had big climbs, and they were soft. There were a lot of turns, and they were tight. There was deep mud, and it was fucked. There was speed, and it was fast. There were a lot of trees, and they made for nice scenery. In fact, the only thing that today's Bubba Race didn't have that would have completed the whole Euro-experience was cold rain. (But from someone who was helping set everything up and take everything down, I'm very thankful for the lack of rain.) Only a person with true legs of Quantanium could dominate this course.
St. Vincent County Park is located up on the St. Charles Rock Road, in an area that you probably don't go. The park is super nice, and it was quite obvious during our scouting mission that it was going to make for the best course yet this season. There are tons of features that can be used - a magical staircase straight outta' Harry Potter, endless windy open tree sections, sandpits (yes, more than one), some pavement, moar elevation change than you can shake a can of Batter Blaster at, and a metaphorical black hole which is used to suck the soul right out of you.
With a little bit of inter-team hype about this place, we had a strong showing of out own dark minions on the starting lines. In the SS race, Jonathan Cold, Punchor, T-tocs and Masson entered into glorious battle, only to find that it would have been easier to just pay the $20 race fee to a prison guard and have him just pummel your face along with the your t'aint for 45 minutes. In the B Race, Gino and myself duked it out; and by duked it out, I mean he lapped me. Of course, The Professor also had office hours during the A Race.
The day started out early. This means I woke up to use the bathroom over 2 hours before my alarm was to go off (around 3:50am), and upon laying back down, I started thinking about course routing, and before I knew it, it was time to get up. Awesome. Get up to the park, and with the help of Mike, Surly Merli, Devin, and Patrick, we had a good course marked out just in time for the XC run to start. But then Mike suggested that we extend the course up the hill for the bike race. (So blame that last wrist-snapping climb up to the trees and then onto the street right before the finish line on him.)
I was seething at the thought of what would be going through people's minds when they first cross the single barrier and looked up at the stairs that lead to the old hospital-turned-community-center. I envisioned horrific gnashing of teeth and gears - perhaps people stopping and mindlessly pulling their hair out, wailing uncontrollably. But no - they liked it! I expected to have people coming through the start/finish area flipping me off, but no - just that pain-cave determination that sez "This is fucking awesome, I'm going to snap the shit out of this course!"
Punchor and Mr. Cold were observed trading punches in the SS race, and I watched them and the rest of our squad churn up the wooded trail into brownies, setting it up nicely for us in the B race. I was racing in the B's simply by default, having been too busy prior to the SS race to be ready. Gino however, belongs at the head of this race, which he was. When he lapped me at the end of the race, my body was in the process of rejecting all of it's organs and muscles via my mouth, and he was out the saddle chasing down his nearest opponent.
Since my camera seems to have gotten scared of all the awesomeness that I put it through, it has hidden itself from me. So these photos are courtesy of MikeD and DennisF:
I don't think that this photo does the full staircase justice, as it is only part of it.
LC makes a great showing on his 2nd CX racer evar!
Zach is usually used to races lasting 12 times as long as this one did.
Boz has been off the CX bike for so long that it looks like he may have forgotten how to handle adverse conditions.
Fun fact: A lot of that mud was actually caused by fluid leaking out of my own wrists. I mean, there wasn't that much moisture there before the races started...
Boz must have decided to wait up for me, because we ended up man-training for the last lap and a half along with Bill from Mesa. (You may have mistaken Bill on Halloween for Matt James.)
I'd like to think that the A racers were trembling with fear after having watched the rest of us turn ourselves inside out on this course but I know bettar than that. These guys are serious business. Some moar photos:
What a cool shot of Alex, going Michael Jordan style!
The Professor, mid-lecture.
I think this may be the most "metal" shot of the day - Schottler climbing towards the ominous former hospital...
Wait a sec, didn't I somehow beat Furby at the Bubba #3, and now he's mixing it up with the A's?
Can all roadies do that?
Professor eats this shit up - one of the only dudes to actually smile as we slogged his way through the slop!The pros might not do this, but this truly is how you get to be St. Louis-Pro-As-Fuck (STLPAF).
Too bad Mr. Pain himself, Jeff Yielding, wasn't able to attend this week. It would have been interesting to see his reaction. This whole experience leads me to believe that anyone who enjoys - truly enjoys - this cyclocross thing might have something wrong with them, such as this guy:
"Soon, my pretties..."
Be there next weekend - where the course will actually go through the bar. You think I'm joking?
-Casey F. Ryback