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



Robort Eats Dark MEat (during a Vampire Century)

First of all, do what Coarch says and show up this Friday 4/24 for the Double Middlefork Fantasy Ride of both Hope and Despair where you may need to change your socks* All you need to do is bring your Superior Attitude and State of Mind (and your hill-going bicycle) to the intersection of DD and 32 by 8:59am on Friday, cause the ride leaves at 9:00am with or without you.

Back to the lecture at hand,

Tuesday 4/22/09: 10:13am...By this time, four hardened soldiers have all punched in at their respective day jobs, fooling the general public into believing they possess only "standard" attitudes and states' of mind.

Tuesday 4/22/09: 7:51pm...Evidence of the sun's existence is vanishing. Your four heroes have completed a long day filling employment obligations yet are unable to relax and un-wind. That's right, an aire of exciting anticipation has swept over the four handsome soldiers, they try to sit still but are feeling kind of antsy.

Tuesday 4/22/09: 11:24pm...The past 3 hours have taken their sweet-ass time to tick past. I stand alone outside Dr. Gosciniski's Office and am quite happy with the beam my light my projects in front of me. The Dr's figure appears in the doorway, I am immediately pleased to notice his beautiful Ouachita Mullet is still intact. I ponder to myself in the moonlight, will Dr's demeanor throughout the ride be more "business" or more "party?" Either way his head is dressed for success.

Wednesday 4/23/09: 12:08am...Four soldiers have united in the darkness at Tropical Mullet Midget Mason Storm's house in South City. We are certainly a dangerous crowd, full of chinese herbs and armed to the teeth with a hankerin' to breathe that sweet west county air. The pedaling begins...

Doctor, T.M.M.S.M., Nicorn, and RoBORTion outside of the Storm's lovely Southside home.

The Vampire 100 heads westward along Midland Ave.

Self portrait whilst on Midland...look at Nicorn over the shoulder. He was very pleased to be a part of the 1st Vampire 100 of 2009, and for good reasons!

Doctor is currently trying to escape from RoBORTion who suddenly mistook Dr. for a young Puerto Rican school boy.

RoBORTion showing his "Thankles".....I bet under those tights we would find some dark meat!?! I can't believe I just wrote that.

Tropical Mulleted Midget Storm Mason & Doctor Gosciniski

What a "Predator" from How to catch a predator looks like....be warned!

Looking up a very dark Marshall Rd.

Feeling the burn, or taking a huge dump...you make the call.

Marshall Rd.

Post "Dump" face

Here comes the Sun!!!

Chasing the guys on Loughburrough Ave.

Carondelet Park

Nicorn showing how "Pro" his ass is while he prepares to make it rain from Lil' Nico all over Broadway.(Sorry RoBORT but this photo is G rated)

Robortion. WITNESS IT.

House in the Mississippi.


Nicorn self-portrait

Weapons of "Ass" Destruction

Sign on RFT, that we found to be funny...maybe the lack of sleep/100mi was setting in!?!

Doctor looking all kinds of EURO during our Victory lap on the Hill.

The Goods.

Wednesday 4/23/09: 8:30am..Four Soldiers arrive back at the Storm residence after what was agreed to be the best Nightime 100 to date. We immediately lit the grill, cracked some APA's, and proceeded to replenish all that was left on the many highways and byways of this great city of ours. In order to keep what little integrity the four of us have I will leave you with this image. 3:15pm I awake on my couch, Nico is asleep in the chair next to me, and Dr. was out cold on my back porch. 100mi, gallons of redbull, 2 dozen burritos, 12 brats, waffles, burgers, 27 APA's, chinaman herbs, and 1/2 of a lap of Mario cart(Nico fell asleep before completing his 1st lap), and last but not least Robort eats dark meat. Till next time.

-Mason Storm, feat. Nikorn


Gotta Share This Video.

To quote a customer of mine today, the guy in this video, Danny Macaskill is pretty "dec" as in, short for "decent."

After watching this video, I am ready to put away my bike since I am not worthy to even be watching this guy. 3:05 and 3:13 put my brain into a garbage disposal and turned my mind into slosh. The level of trials skill in this video is better than any I've ever seen...

Friday, 9am, DD/32. bring food and water. And maybe extra socks.

-Casey F. Ryback


Big Middlefork Ride Time

D00dz, we're rolling AT 9AM, Friday. That is, be READY by 9 - so aim to get there around 8:30 or so, if you're one of those lackadaisical types when getting ready, like me.

***edit*** starting at the trailhead at DD and 32. Yeah, that tiny gravel lot.


Bring food, supplies, CHAIN LINKS, tubes, dirty magazines, water, etc...

On this ride, we will be like Arnold in Commando - huge and badass. If only we could get Power Station to ride with us, the whole time blasting their immortal song "We Fight For Love:"

In other unrelated-to-cycling news, congrats to Mrs. Toscani and Mrs. Ryback for completing the Half and Full Marathon (respectively) on Sunday, in the most rainy, miserable conditions possible. It can be disheartening to still be running even after all the water tables have been taken down (not joking), but even more inspirational to finish nonetheless! That truly embodies the TC MAN Motto - "Fuck 'em!"

-Casey F. Ryback


*Big* Ride "coming" up

Alright chuckle-heads, a couple of us at Seagal HQ have a ride in the works, to which you are invited. It'll be a long one, like really long. Think John Holmes long.

When: Friday, April 24
Where: Middlefork Trail
How: victoriously
Who: you, as long as you aren't a douchebag

The ride: A double-lap of Middlefork and fireroads. We'll ride from the DD trailhead down the trail, "bailing out" on the gravel road at Strother Creek (at about the 20 mile mark.) We'll take the gravel roads back to the vehicles where we will refuel and have a short lunch. Then we'll do it again. It's about a 32-33 mile loop, done twice. Figure a ratio of 2/3 badass singletrack, and 1/3 gravel road (mostly flat with one MONSTER climb.)

We'll want to be on the trail as early as possible, and we will also want to bring a shitload of food and water. Expect like 7-8 hours to do the whole thing. The more the merrier, though everyone's pace might be different, which can be discussed ahead of time. We won't be running race pace, but rather trying to keep it steady.

To mentally prepare your mind for the level of awesomeness that you are likely to experience, watch this video 5 times a day until the ride. I am...

I think that's all I've got...

-Casey F. Ryback


I Couldn't Help Myself.

Whenever you're feeling low, keep the Doctor in mind, and he'll put a spring in your step!

(this was too good to pass up...)

- Casey F. Ryback


2009 Ouachita Challenge 60MI SS Race Epic Post of DEATH

Greetings Team Seagal Fan,
Tropical Mason Storm at you service. This past weekend we (Nico, Wesley McClaren MD, and yours truly) found ourselves in the Ouachita Mtns of Arkansas. We made the drive down Friday night and called Ft. Smith home for the evening. We were greeted with having more dead fruit flies in our bathroom than Robortion has young Puerto Rican boys hiding behind his parent’s house...that's means a TON! Seriously I was getting the feeling that either the Marriot Courtyard in Ft.Smith either hates handicap people (Our room was Handy certified), or one look at 2 of the 3 of us and they did what was in their best interest and decided to hand over an alreay filthy room. Well played Marriot! Either way dueling Mullets & Staches slept soundly whilst Nico in a big beautiful bed all to himself wore no stache/mullet but moar underwear that evening than I think the DR and I had with us for the whole weekend. After a most amazing of breakfast meals consisting of at least one and possibly more of each of the following….Coffee, Milk, OJ, Biscuits, Gravy, Sausage, Bacon, Eggs, Waffles, Made to Order Omelets, Muffins, Yogurt, and a banana! We loaded up the Kona’s and continued on to Oden Ark. 3 years ago I attempted this race on a tiny ss bike fully rigid and with rim brakes!?! Let’s just say I didn’t make the cut-off time to call it a short story. Last year I was cheated out of this race when on New Years morning 2008 I ruptured 3 discs in my lower back like a bitch. 2009 was not going out without a fight. I went 3 months w/o my beloved BEER in preparation for this piece of shit, and I was not coming home a defeated man. 1-2-3 G0! We head down the road and right away I am thinking, “Holy shit this is really happening, time to show up homey & pimp slap the shit out of this race. I had the good fortune off starting and the dead fucking end of the line, but once the roads started to tilt up I passed people like crazy. I settled into a good pace, put my head down, and went to work. I knew what the first 6ish miles where about from our pre-ride the day before, and if I attacked every climb I would crush some mofos and move the fuck up quickly. This Ouachita was easily better than the course I had rode previously. The Womble was super buff and I never busted a sweat on that bad boy….straight flossing at full speed! My Big Unit was riding great, and my tires where hooking up super good especially since I have been running some dangerously low psi’s(well dangerous if u weigh 225lb like my ass).
I stopped at aid station 2 and saw Todd Holtman in jeans! He started the race, but crashed out early & stuck around to cheer on his wife…hope all is well w/ your shoulder homeboy! From #2 I took off on the rode/fire road portion of the course, and was able to pace with some Doodz from Mobile Velo. We entered the first fire road and I started to pull away, across the creek, and off to the doom that lied ahead. Once I hit the “Hill with No Name” I felt really good, and I was ready to kill this shit. I took off up the climb with a few SS’s in tow. I spent the next 15 min pulling these fools up the climb when *!*CLINK*!*SNAP!*! My chain snapped. I was ½ way in mile 30, 2hr 50min, and feeling like I could pull off a sub 7hr OC! FUCK! That option was out immediately, so I quickly cut the chain and tried to fit it back sans 2 links…my dumbass didn’t have a link in my bag! Chain was too short, so I starting hiking and then rolling what I could of the downhill. When I finally reached aid station 4 and had the good fortune of having someone put a chain on my bike I had hiked over 2 Mountains and covered 13mi w/ 2mi being flat fire road. I got that ballerass hollow pin 9spd chain on my bike and was luckily able to finish the final 15mi of the race well before the cutoff, and actually still in front of a lot of peep’s. I feel bad for having such an expensive chain given to me for free, only for me to never use it again…I am surprised that shit didn’t snap but the KMZ BMX chain exploded…go figure. Anyways big thanks to the bike mechanic at aid station 4 for the hook-up. You are the reason I was able to finish that shit. I thought once I hit the last 5 mi I was free, but soon I came up on the Hometown Hero Matt Keeven. I thought I had bad luck that day. Homeboy was easily crushing the SS 80MI Class, but was plagued with too many flats to remember, and when I caught him the last time he was riding dirty! See photos. Matt you truly are a solid mofo, and even though you had like 20 more miles in your legs I still crossed the line before your ass…ahahahah I make it rain!!!! Seriously bro that sux, and thanks for not crushing me to the finish w/o a rear tire….because let’s face it you could. Overall It was an amazing weekend, and I am so glad the MTB season is back in full swing….I don’t know what I would do without this shit sometimes other than weigh 450lbs. BTW The picture of the Dr’s new whip almost cost us a night in the slammer from kicking the shit out of a Sonic Drive-In Manager. Your welcome! I learned that 2 dinners is a good thing, Nico's butt smells like old Sonic, Dr. looked suspicous the whole time, I scored a sweet ass dream catcher key chain for $1, Team Trail Monster knows how to hook you up(Thanks Again you 2!) Kona's are the shit, So is pabst. If this race is the same next year I will be back, I want some Kryptonite!
Thank you Arkansas!

Nico Toscani's Take on the Racing Action:
The M&M (mulleted and moustached) boyz and I lined up next to each other at the starting line, strategically positioned at the back to create the most destruction across the wide field of competitors. The shifty click-claks and knobby road-buzz of 350+ riders (60 and 80 mile races mass start together) on the smooth pavement lead-out was deafening awesormeness. After cruising the first fireroad section a little SS climbing put me in good position entering the first section of single-track. The trail was super buff and in great condition; everyone around me was just hammering. We flowed through and entered the next fireroad section and I followed the wheels of a few geared guys over a couple miles of rollers and a section past the lake. The road flattened out and my train slowly began to pull away. I could see them and a few others up ahead, 200 yards or so; at the base of what I knew was the last climb before entering 8 miles of Womble single-track. No wrists were safe on this Terry-esque stretch of gravel; I put my head down and starting spinning. I beat all of them to the single-track at the top of the hill and didn’t look back. I quickly hopped around 3 or 4 more riders and settled into a great pace right behind 360 Racing/ HSP Front man / Bad-Ass Dude Scott Capstock who was in the 80 mile race. We rode together very successfully up until the first aid station, where our courses split off and it was time to say sayonara.

An uber-friendly volunteer quickly took my bottles from me and filled them with delicious cytomax, then told me empty my pockets of any trash and drop it onto the ground. She exclaimed that SHE would pick it up and that I should get the hell back on the course! I began the extended road section with 3 other riders and we formed a pace line into the wind. Out of nowhere Team Ergon/ Topeak rider Sonya Looney bridged up to our group and latched on for good. Everyone took turns at the front, I found myself pulling up the hills. Still working together, our group turned right off of the pavement and onto a super-fast fireroad section leading towards Fiddler’s Creek. The creek was running near waist-high and unrideable so...bike on the shoulder we all wade across and then Sonya straight drops us- I mean, POOF! GONE!

I was first of the remaining group to reach the next single-track section, beginning my time spent on the brutal Ouachita Trail. After some more SS climbing, I found myself coasting alone into the next aid station at the base of Blowout Mountain. I am amazed that the race organizers had the foresight to incorporate a sadistic cyclocross race into the middle of their MTB race. That is pretty much what the section of racecourse crossing Blowout Mountain really is. I mean, holy shit. Crossing it takes about an hour,you ride for a while then there are towering run-ups and countless dismount-forcing barriers (huge 30-yard stretches of kankle-swallowing boulders and razor sharp rocks).

My soul and t’aint were both very pleased when Blowout ended and only partly saddened when Big Brushy Mountain then lay before them. Although quite tall and rocky to the extremezorz, Big Brushy was the final obstacle to overcome. I still felt strong and was forced to walk only the steepest sections. After passing a few more geared riders I made a left on to the last section of fireroad and pedaled hard all the way to the finish. My time was 5:46.26, good for 22nd place overall and 2nd in the SS catagory. I won some money and a Kryptonite Trophy, I am still so stoked!

PS, my fully rigid Kona worked F'ing awesome on this course

Please visit the Dr's new blog which he pirated away from Robort this morning somewhere off the coast of Mogadishu for his race re-cap. Dr. Has a tale to tell, and so does his beautiful mullet.