Hey, who let these jerks in?

After a few short months here in Milwaukee a Team Seagal squad has formed. Tonight was the first time we were all under one roof. There were a couple of soldiers who could not make it, but this represents the lion's share of the team. The mood was electric as visions of race domination and PBR decimation were planned out for deuce double aught nine. Like a 16 year old girl I whipped out my phone to take some myspace quality pictures, but I couldn't get the guys to hang on each other and throw their margaritas in the air. So instead, I have some blurry shots of us drinking PBR and and having a good time in a corner pub.

Ian (look how fast he is, blurry even in still photos) and Ryan
Andy and Tony. You may recognize Andy from this, #1 on youtube.

Tony and Terminator-eyed styled Ministor

In the words of the Revenge of the Nerds hero Louis "It's going to be a great year Gilbert."

the ministor

The Early Ryback Gets The Snow!

It is certainly a rare occurrence for the conditions to be right in St. Louis for a true, honest-to-Energor snow ride. You generally might be able to squeeze one, maybe 2 of these in a year if you're lucky. Too little snow, and there's no point. Too much snow, and it becomes too deep and difficult to push. Difficult, that is unless you have friends with toys.

For the first Snowmageddon of 2009 this past Tuesday, I decided to wake myself the fuck up before dawn, pack my shit up, and ride go play in some powder, but not in the same way as Tony Montanga:

I set a course for Castlewood and got there so early that they had actually yet to open the gates, even though it was after 7am. First person at the park, and the first set of tracks to be laid!

Well, I guess I wasn't the first to be out on the trails:Normally I hit 20-25 down this stretch of Grotpeter, today it was more like 12:

Surprisingly this uber-steep section was fairly easily-handled, despite the snow:
Looks like this ride was ridden just in time, as later in the day it definitely shat out another 3 inches of snow.

Ready for Tour de Groundhog? Oh yes, we'll be there...

-C.F. Ryback


Chubb to Castlewood - The Wacky Misadventures of Nico and Casey

Few people will argue that this winter has so far been less precipitous than usual, although the temperatures have been consistently colder. It is most likely due directly to the nuclear winter that has set in as a result of this teams' constant involvement in nuclear-war-sized battles on mountain bike and cyclocross race courses across the region.

Despite this egregious impact that we have had on worldwide climate, there is an upside. That is, when the temperatures STAY super cold, the trail never thaws out and gets muddied-up. So the trails are badass, and full of awesormeness. Thusly, nuclear perpetrators Nico Toscani and myself, Casey Ryback, saw fit to do nothing else but to launch an intercontinental ballistic assault from the Chubb Trail to Castlewood this past Sunday. Temperatures were in the mid teens, due to the sun being blocked out by airborne ash from previous test-detonations. The near white-out conditions of a snow storm encountered on the drive to the trailhead was also very foreboding. However, Nico and I, being experts in extreme mountain warfare, were well-suited for riding in frigid temperatures.

We fixed bayonets and launched our charge, noting the large grouping of "SLUGS" window stickers in the parking area. True to expectations, the trail was in great shape, though some of the rock surfaces were a bit on the slick side due to the light dusting of radioactive snow. We passed many a hiker, a handful of other cyclist, but oddly enough no equestrians. I theorize that the equestrians were at their tri-weekly meeting where they discuss how to avoid adding any benefit to local multi-use trails while still taking the unwarranted-entitlement-high ground and denying the unpredictability of their beasts.
(On a related note, check out this website: http://horsehater.blogspot.com/)

We proceeded to essentially flatten all obstacles on our way to Chubb-Stardom, eventually emerging 1000% victorious in the West Tyson parking lot. I proceeded to guide myself and Nico on a painful path persistently pockmarked with pestilence of a pungent, putrid problems. Quickly conquering Route 66 State Park, we crossed the RR tracks and climbed briefly along Hwy 44. We soon had to duck off the road due to sentries sent by Reagan to capture us. The "trail" to Castlewood leads along an old-timey rail bed, crossing two creeks, and eventually shitting us out onto the Al Foster Trail.

We definitely went through an intestine-like labyrinth of downed trees, branches, and more downed trees:

We were afforded some interesting sights, in between performing gymnastic-like maneuvers over-and-under branches, and in between blitz-like attacks from various henchmen sent by Orin Hanner Sr:

It wasn't all unrideable, as evidenced by these smooth sections:

Final main obstacle:

The winds did blow, the shoe covers did rip, Zambian street children uprisings crushed, and many a zip-tie did get ripped-off. But we made it back to the car with less weakness in our system than we had before leaving. However, that last statement is actually completely fallacious because we are both completely devoid of any weakness. Although maybe that means we actually are more than 100% strength now! Think about it - since we were at 0% weakness (100% strength) before the ride, and by the time the ride was finished we had less weakness, sooo... that weakness that left our body has to be replaced by something, and since strength is the opposite of weakness, it was replaced with strength! What this all equates out to is that Nico and I are now even more unstoppable than before. And here's the kicker - we were both sportin' mustaches, both of which will be competing themselves in the MWFTS, and might actually be our greatest competition. Can you imagine a podium-sweep of mustaches? I can, and it is glorious...

Almost as glorious as Pfood's new coffee shop! I stopped by and was served a delicious beverage by none other than Marshall Lawson, and was amazed by the hard, pipe-hittin' ambiance that is strongly locally-flavored. Kehrs Mill and Clayton...
I had asked Proceed-Cat if I should go to see the new coffee shop, and he had this to say:

-Casey Fucking Ryback


Chubb Trail aka Storm the Bear mauled a tree, and then killed it on the trail while Nico Toscani rode a Mario Van Peebles Flint Quarry lap!

Salutations and a hearty hello to you, the loyal Team Seagal fan. This week has been great! Me, Mason Storm, and my Nose Neighbor cashed in on the generous outside-temperature stimulus program initiated early this week by Mother Nature herself- even she thought last week's sub zero lows and single-digit highs was teh bull-shits.

War Games were promptly scheduled at Chubb as training is underway for two highly anticipated tests of power, will, and one's ability to inflict general wrist-carnage upon their opposistion. First on the calender is Steve and Gina Driscoll' s Tour De Groundhog taking place February 17th in Williamsville, IL. Second is the Inaugural Bone Bender 3hr / 6hr on March 14th in Smithville, MO. Bone Bender promises to be a "3/6 Hour Mountain Bike Odyssey in Paradise." Based on the promoters reputation, I believe this to be a true statement. It will be the first endurance MTB race of the 2009 season for most of us here at Team Seagal HQ, we are getting quite excited to test our early season form.

Back to getting Chubby, Mason must have thought he was driving a D9 Caterpillar instead of his Big Unit as he tried his hand at Logging within the first 10 minutes of our ride at Chubb the other day. We descended from Lone Elk, crossed the first set of railroad tracks and followed the new "line" down and up through the rocky creek bed. We were moving with great momentum through the twisty dips and tight single track approaching the rock garden. Mason dropped into one steep dip a little too fast and as he launched out the other side I swear I heard him cry "Awww man, I'm coming in hot!" Storm said he blinked hard once and then his whole field of vision was crowded with nothing but the trunk of a mature tree. He slammed into that tree trunk and then just pressed "eject." The bike / back hoe stopped completely and Mason's body deflected off into space as he transitioned into an expertly executed akido roll that would have made the master shed a poignant tear. When Mason stood next he was several yards further down trail than his bicycle. I was right there on the scene but this guy was already picking the leaves out of his helmet...

The ensuing display of Superior Attitude and Superior State of Mind was truly something to behold. Mason confessed that he felt slightly concussed, but that the day was too nice to ditch this ride so early in. We were fortunate to continue on without incident, separating only briefly so I could battle the rocky accent of the Flint Quarry section.

The following footage depicts proof of victory on the front lines. Riding on the Chubb towards the picnic table from West Tyson Mason and I decided to attack some very tricky switchbacks. First up, is my best performance of the day. This is probably my 17th try, I was able to achieve around 90% switchback domination:

Next, observe our hero Mr. Mason Storm achieve TOTAL switchback domination on his FIRST try:

Here are the fantastik Kona's we were riding that day: Nico's Unit JR....notice anything new?

Mason's BIG Unit:

Well, have fun out there in the sunshine everyone. It is safe to assume that most trails are rideable and tortally awesorme at this time. Until we meet again, take care of yourselves and "don't do anything we wouldn't do."

-Nico Toscani



Greetings loyal Team Seagal fan! It is Mason Storm on the mic, and I am asking for your help. Please keep myself and my younger brother Forrest Taft in your thoughts this week. The USPS has seemed to of lost our original attempts, and we are left with hoping our next applications find their way to beautiful Durango CO on time and before the cutoff. Let us remember our motto "Superior Attitude, Superior State of Mind" in these trying times.
Thanks in advance for your positive energy!


Poo-Brown: The Biggest Little Unit Ever

Good morrow good friend and loyal fan of Team Seagal. If you know anything about anything then you know we love the hell out of Kona bicycles. It became too much for me, Nico Toscani, to handle watching a 26" wheeled Poo-Brown 2006 Kona Unit just wallow around the TC-MAN with nobody paying it any attention. One day a few months back I got a crazy idea (after lurking and reading through the various threads in this forum over at mtbr.com) and I formulated a plan to take the beautiful Deddaccai steel bicycle into my possession.

I invested in this bike's future- it really needed a head start in order to compete with all the other Unit's. My Unit received a new set of medium-sized wheels. Take a look, everything fits very nicely into the frame with zero modification. The tires are made by Panaracer and designed by this guy. I am running the 2.3 Neo-Moto tire in the front and the 2.1 Quasi-Moto tire in the rear. The wheelset was expertly produced by Wes McLaren, M.D. using Velocity Blunt rims, Sapim Race Spokes and XTR center-lock disc hubs.

The bike climbs so well, it has to be because of the insane-short 16.5" chainstays. I also really feel that the wheels and tires deliver just as much great traction as my 29er.

My next thoughts for the bike are some pretty cool ones. As it stands now with pedals and cages the bike weighs in at 23 lbs even. I am currently running the stock Kona Project 2 steel fork, axle to crown length is 410mm. The 480 gram Ritchey / Trigon carbon fork has the same dimensions! It is full carbon including steerer, dropouts, and disc mounts - amazing. An equally amazing upgrade might be a set of race wheels built up on Stan's 380 gram ZTR Rims. Awww man, I think I would really like that. In fact, Energor would be quite proud of me. On the other hand, Mrs. Toscani might be liable to hold a 29er auction to fund all of this...

So far the bike has been shown the trails at Council Bluff, Greensfelder, and of course several laps at Chubb. Let me assure you, all is well. Thank you for your time, I hope to see you all on some firm off-road surfaces very soon. Lets hope that the only poo-brown we see will be under my legs and not splatered all over the trail!

-Nico Toscani


Crossocalypse report to come

Please stay tuned to a full report, with photos, from the front lines of the Cross-Ocalypse. Rest assured, there was much in the way of Euro-Pro stylings, in addition to much t'aint snapping on the course. Big thanks to Rich Pierce, those ICCC'ers who came out to help, and of course the City of Valley Park who also did a ton of work for the event!

In the meantime, watch this video, and ask yourself "Just how much should we try to emulate the Europeans?" (Focus on the dude who pops in around min :38, and the subsequent assistant who hands him a waterbottle)

-C.F. Ryback


I Bet Our New Years Day Was Moar Awesorme Than Yours - Council Bluff and Dos Primos!

Greetings Loyal Team Seagal Fan! When all else fails, improvise. Right? Right. So when other New Years Ride plans that had possible grand production value fell through, we at Team Seagal HQ were quick to act, and organize a trip to our old trustworthy friend, Council Bluff. (NOT Council Bluffs!) This trail nevar lets us down, even though some of us have been known to be let down on that trail due to many various reasons, i.e. broken frame, blown shock seals, cranks falling off, 8 flat tires in one ride, lost chainring bolts, and countless snapped t'aints. Today's stats were much more promising:

6 riders, 2 suspension forks, 3 different wheel sizes, 32 gears, 1 puking incident, and 0 mechanicals of any type. A nearly perfect winter ride.

It was an eclectic mix today. Nico on his recently-completed project, a 2006 Kona Unit with 650B wheels, which made for a nice segue when looking at Shop Gnome's 26" wheel and then panning your vision over to Gino's 29" wheel:
In addition to Nico, we had Shop Gnome, Mason Storm, an appearance by Mason's brother Forrest Taft, Gino Felino, and then myself - Casey Ryback. Thank Energor.

Speaking of Shop Gnome, today's ride marked his glorious return to the dirt where he belongs. As you might recall, our hero had an unfortunate encounter with the ground (or moar specifically, his collarbone did) which left him off of two wheels for a long time, and left him without moar than a handful of rides on his 1st mountain bike frame that he fucking built himself! The first ride with his race-ready spec - truly a proper dirt-baptism: The part of the story that you don't hear though is how even though he broke his collarbone, the piece of ground that was impacted by said collarbone is now a huge crater. See for yourself: link

The way down was nearly as interesting as the ride itself, what with Nico finding treasure in the Shell Station bathroom stall:

Having made our way onto 21, we soon found that future trips to Council Bluff will be a few minutes quicker now that 21 is 4 lanes all the way to Rt. B (another 8 miles) AND that it is quicker to take 21 straight to C instead of jogging over in Potosi to Hwy. P and then taking THAT to C.

Whatever. Anyway, the excitement of this new-found route, coupled with Mason and I discussing in depth the finer points of gruesome execution videos and serial killers, proved to be a little too much for young Forrest Taft - he managed to have immensely powerful projectile vomit out of my moving car's window as we were making the turn to Hwy DD. Upon stopping the car, we found that none of the vomit had actually touched my car! It is because of this the he'll never again have raspberry-flavored energy bars chased with a Kit Kat. Unfortunately, no photos were recovered, though the Gino/Nico/Gnome car following behind had front-row seats.

Arriving at the trailhead, we proceeded to be confronted with a stiff wind coming off of the lake, which caused us to dress a little warmer than we might have needed. No matter, because the Strudel of Hate that we were baking was ready to be unleashed in a furious assault of death and destruction that would be completely encircling the lake. No one would be spared, not even this "BOD" (Beagle of Death) that we randomly encountered on the trail, and then proceeded to latch itself onto our pain-train:

Here, we had to take a small break to re-calibrate our Fists of Pain:

The Pain Train stopped just past the dam in order to hone its skills on a rock lift:

The trail was in slightly rough shape, with a some deadfall and deep leaf-pits, and maybe 2 trees for which to dismount. But it was all completely badass and a little on the crunchy side. If anything, it was actually pretty grippy, but not that fast. By the way, did I mention that we rode it the Rim Wrecker course, with a reverse Burnin' detour? That's right, we went up to the campgrounds and then DOWN the massive soul-crusher hill, which was a lot of fun. Would have been moar fun had we not had to dodge disgusting horse shit and hoof-marks for the rest of the trail. Fucking horses. Are they allowed on this trail?

From the trail:

The lulz didn't stop with Forrest's involuntary protein spill in the car though. Whilst laying waste to all within the campgrounds, we noticed a relic left over from an earlier battle in October which had taken place upon that very spot:

It wasn't long before our stomachs were on empty. Fortunately, we were nearly back at the vehicles. These vehicles would soon take us to what is collectively, our favorite restaurant - a Team Seagal Council Bluff standard:
DOS PRIMOS. The food here is ridiculously delicious, plentiful, and quickly prepared. We have literally NEVER had a bad meal there, and trust me, we have eaten MANY meals there. When you go, which you are now sure to do, order the Dos Primos Dip. Then look at the Tapatio Bottle, and tell me that Nico doesn't look like the dude on the label:

Finally, another question to ponder: why would McDonalds attach a smaller sign to larger sign?

Was this an add-on that they decided the original sign needed in order to be more visible, or was this originally erected as a double-sign? What the hell does the small sign do that the big sign doesn't? I mean, did they think that it wasn't recognizable without having the word "McDonald's" on the big sign? If so, there is plenty of space for it! Those questions are inconsequential, however. We think that if they're going to attach smaller signs to larger signs, why not REALLY make this shit stand out?:
It only makes sense.

Happy New Year, and you had better fucking be at The Crossocalypse. Expect to a barrage of Nerf arrows, you sonofabitch.

-C.F. Ryback

For full photos from the ride, here's the link.