Greetings and good day. Nico Toscani here. Over and over, again and again, my brain has replayed to me the events and goings ons of the past week (my minds speaks to me with a Chinese accent, btw). I had the opportunity to play the staring role in a Team Seagal Arizona production, a week-long desert blockbuster conceived by one of our closest and most trusted allies, the crafty Dr. Wesley McLaren:
As you can see, Doc is a huge jerk. So is his dog, Taco. Unfortunately, both dog and man were all types of laid-up when I came knocking at their door. Dr. McLaren's wrists are strong as quantanium and his skills in Stemware Jujitsu are superb. I have been told his mind also speaks with a Chinese accent. Despite possessing these wonderful qualities, Dr's left clavicle really sucks.
When I left for Prescott (pronounced press-kit), AZ the weather in St. Louis, MO was sunny and 70 degrees. When I arrived in Prescott the weather was...
This did not affect us in the least, instead of whining we had a glorious afternoon consuming delicious PBR and then green cans of IPA. Our activities' list included city-touring and private Chinese language lessons. Mrs. Dr. then made us a wonderful dinner and we watched a straight-to-DVD major motion picture staring The Master. Very pleased, we then retreated to our quarters. Sleep came easy as we dreamed of breakfast beers and more Chinese lessons.
The next morning, UPS delivered my bike to Dr's new employer, Ironclad Cycles. The build went very well I set my wheels up tubeless [for the first time] on the first try! During the next few days the weather became warm and sunny and all the snow melted. My bike was working awesome so I went on a little ride around Dr's neighborhood.
I climbed the hill behind his house:
Several hundred vertical feet later I found two things:
1) Excellent view of Prescott and 7,000 ft mountain peak:
2) Monster Truck!
Look at how much bigger this persons monster truck is compared to the other persons mazda sports car. Rediculous, except for the one time during my visit that I wished Doktor did own a monster truck.
Myself, Dr, and Mrs. Dr decided to go and watch the sun set over the Verde Valley from "The Overlook." Up and Up and Up we kept going for like 45 minutes, the three of us traveling in their '95 Jeep Cherokee. The road changed from pavement to dirt and looked like this:
No problemo! The Jeep handled that like a champ. Soon though, the road changed to this:
Ohh man. The Jeep was still scootin' along until we took the wrong line and ate shit in this rutty sonofabitch:
High Mountain Rescue came in the form of another Jeep, a seriously jacked Jeep, equipped with a winch. In like three minutes, we were pulled free from the rut of despair and much cheering ensued.
Let's get on to the race. HOLY SHIT! Sedona is amazing. We arrived around 6:10am, almost an hour early. The sun was beginning to rise and the surreal Mars landscape was lit-up in a crazy purple glow. By 7am, 29 racers (over 10 riding SS) had gathered in the IGA parking lot. We were ready, Scott M. addressed the crowd. He promised that much fun was to be had, and wished everyone a most superior attitude. After a short neutral roll out, we were off! Immediately, two large groups formed. I found myself directly between the two groups, keeping the lead group in sight while distancing myself from the rear group. The trail and slickrock riding was perfectly flowy and spiced frequently with technicality. The soil was red and tacky, my tubeless, high volume tires hooked-up like crazy.
This scenario continued on for a couple of hours as the Sedona landscape unfolded in front of me. After a while though, well, I fuc*ed it up. Oops, I rode th Llama trail three times instead of once. Then I got really lost. I was never scurred about being lost though, I was running a fancy new GPS. Although I was having trouble linking together the race course I knew that I could find my way out so I never got panicky.
A little under six hours had passed when I reached the finish line at the Bike and Bean: (also a Kona dealer and the best bike shop in Sedona.) Unfortunately, I did not finish the race course; FORTUNATELY, I was the first person to show up for the after party! Dave Aholt, PBR rep to the stars, made magic happen and arranged the donation of SIX cases of delicious 16oz PBR cans to be enjoyed by all.
Over 50 people showed up to the party to enjoy the tall cans and cheer on the finishers. Here is the view out the front door of the Bike and Bean:
Dr. had a great time too, Sedona is an alright place to be stranded for 8 hours when the weather is 64 degrees and breezy. He went on a 10 mile hike of the race course and made new friends with a fella named Randy...reports indicate Randy is also very fluent in Chinese so they had much to converse about. In addition, Randy and his crew were definitely finishers of this brutal race. There were six finishers in all, kudos to each of them. Of the six, four were riding SS - the winning time was just over nine hours, the final finisher crossed the line in just under eleven. Holy shit!
The drive back to Prescott totally blew my mind. we descended from Sedona into the Verde Valley and drove 30 miles across the desert floor towards the 7,000ft Granite Mountains in the distance. As we began to negotiate the twisty highway switchbacks scaling Mt. Mingus the sun began to set behind us. Nearing the top of the pass, built right into the hairpin turns is the incredibly impressive town of Jerome, AZ. Jerome is an old copper mining town, once home to over 15,000 people. The entire city is built right into the hillside, hardly clinging to the cliffs. They have one big-ass view of the Verde Valley stretching all the way to the red rocks of Sedona with the snow covered 12,000ft San Francisco peaks (Flagstaff) behind it. That shit will be hard to forget, thanks so much Doc.
The next day me and Doc drove 3 miles from his doorstep to the Granite Dells, for a 2hr hike among the billion year-old rock formations. Taco the dog came with us on the hike and I think we wore her out - when we came home Doc forced her to put on this strange, sand-deterring diaper:
By this point, vacation was almost finished. I was flying out the next day in the late afternoon so I figured I had time to go for one last ride, a mtb ride! I woke up early, suited up in my Team Seagal Kit and donned a Hi-vis yellow vest. I made my way out of town, climbing on the Senator Highway in order to link-up with the 396 Trail, a popular XC orientated trail that bears an uncanny resemblance to both Middlefork and the Lone Wolf Trail. I felt right at home on the flowy trail and my tires were still tubeless so I began to smile. After 20 miles and 3,000 ft of climbing I returned back to Dr's house. He handed me a green can and asked me to take a seat. I did what he said, and with a thick Chinese accent The Dr. began to tell me of his most recent encounter with Energor. The two of them had come to a consensus, Dr. revealed that I made the team, I was now a member of Team Seagal Arizona!
I am home now, the next obstacle to overcome will be the Lost Valley Luau on Sunday March 28. I must encourage your attendance at this most excellent event. I will be racing SS, but there are rumors floating of Seagal soldiers signing up in *different* categories. This means beware and take cover now, no wrist is safe!
Thanks for stopping by,