2010 Midwest Singlespeed Championships - Our Very Own Personal D9 Bulldozer

Greetings Team Seagal Loyalistas! In case you hadn't noticed, all the races lately have been rickdeezulously hot. It has been more consistently and oppressively hot and humid than any summer heat that I can remember. So hot in fact, that this heat actually has it's own Wikipedia article. But then, what doesn't have it's own Wikipedia article? Even the cat-piano has an entry. And so does un-comb-able hair syndrome. And after last weekend's race towards the center of the sun, we at Team Seagal HQ were looking up to the sun, middle fingers held high, thinking "Is that all you got?" So we packed our shit up once more, and jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire that is otherwise known as Binder Lake in Jeff City.

We had so much fun last year, that it was only bound to get bigger and moar better. This race also marked a return, with beard, for Forrest Taft to his own personal hallowed ground, for last year at this very race was where he did in fact pop his mountain bike race cherry for the first time. And when you pop that cherry, you generally get a mix of PBR and dirt that oozes out.

Deployment orders were sent out to The Seven Soldiers of the Seagal-ocalypse who were already ready: Masson Storm, Forrest Taft, Casey F. Ryback, Gino Felino, both Mr. and Mrs. Trail Monstor, and Professor Robert Burns. We had quite the showing, though you might not have known it - more on that lator.

We packed up the party wagon early Sunday morning, and even though it was only 80 degrees at like 9AM, we were still already sweating like a gerbil in a gay bar:

Making our way westward, learning the finer points about what Whole Foods customers might do with turkish figs, I was reminiscing about thoughts of tubed meats, and of Borb and Nick in the Octagon. Whew.

Before we knew it, we rolled up lakeside, where Professor, fresh off of his recent walrus-knee implant surgery, came up and offered to help me properly prepare myself for the day in the saddle:
It was also about this time that I was learning that both Masson and Gino both had devious plans to pummel the competition into submission with their pasty and hairy weapons of mass destruction:
Immediately Turbonegro's song "Back in Denim" was launched into my head on a never-ending loop, which is all I would need to get me through the race.

We also found the rumors to be true, that the Mesa contingent was indeed present; including the elusive, no-longer single, and never-before-seen "STLPAF Dave on a 29'r SS." Such a thing was only rumored to exist. Later, I managed to catch a shot of him digging into his carefully measured out nutrition plan - mustard with a side of brat:

We lined up in the field for the le'Mans start once again. I found myself standing in a group of guys who are fast - they even stand faster than I do - Dan "No-Destroyer" Fuhrman, Garrett Steinmeitz, STLPAF Dave, and even Jesus with his SPD compatible sandals. The gun went, and I found myself in the woods less than 10 people back from the front, man-training down the trail at CX speeds. In fact, the start of this race was much like that of a CX race - going from resting HR to vomit-threshold within 15 seconds. Fortunately for me, I'd already seen the movie "The Human Centipede," so I knew exactly where my vomit threshold was.

Slowly settling into a more sustainable pace, I made sure to always be sipping the water and the super-potent, sludge-like Gatorade brew that I'd mixed up for myself. My thoughts eventually shifted slightly from Turbonegro to thinking that Masson and Gino were probably wanting that Chamois-Butt'r-filled Never Reach that we'd discussed on the way over, with the tube inserted directly into their denim shorts right about now.

The temperature seemed to only inch it's way upwards, unlike last year which was mild and had a nice breeze coming off the lake. It must have been impeding people's better judgment, as I witnessed a plurality of wrecks, including one where two people attempted to go off the same jump at the same time. OMGWTFBBQ.

Feeling my gloves getting more and more saturated with sweat, I continued to pedal through the start/finish on my way out on lap two. For motivation on those really tough spots, I thought to myself, "At least I'm not in denim cut-offs!" Then, as if I had been summoning him, Gino appeared from behind, and coming in Joe-Houston-style. I made sure not to impede the Chafe-Express on his way towards glory. Coming through to start out my 3rd lap, I received the gift of a cold, insulated water bottle from Professor, who had finished up his lecture early that day. Cold water caused my mind to start dripping out of my ears, which was gross because it got all over my top tube. Brian Busken was rocketing up behind me on the start of lap 3, and explained that he had a lucky lady with him that day watching from the sidelines, and had to make sure he was putting in an impressive performance for her. No doubt. However, once we heard the Greg Ott's creaky pain train not too far behind, Brian hit the gas and was out like the gout. Survival mode was in full swing, as I thought of nothing but cold water, PBR, and the possibility of a Nick/Bob re-match. My speed was becoming glacier-like. Climbing up the last grassy climb of the day, I looked back to see Peat Henry bearing down. It was at this very moment that Energor reached down, and in all his glory, saw fit to bestow life to my legs, which allowed me to stay ahead of Peat for at least one race this year. Energor Be Praised.

All color had left my face,but was soon restored with water, PBR, and tube steaks. Teh winnars were announced in the women's class, the not-so-fast class, and the fast class (respectively):

Out of respect for the not-present Borb Jenkems, we did partake in his favorite swill - Four Loko. Please don't drink this stuff:

It is obvious that Matt, Chris and DaveyB have great respect for the movie "Predator," more specifically the handshake scene:

More tomfoolery:

Thanks guys!:

Team Seagal, The New Generation:

Unfortunately, my worthless camera's battery shot craps before being able to immortalize The epic return of Mr. Jenkems, on a mission to consume Four Loko, and enter into some sort of "Bloodsport-esque" Kumite, with one Nick Smith. Though not as lengthy and drawn-out as last year, the words "Would someone please get my pants off" did in fact come from Mr. Jenkem's mouth, as he was on the ground, in an attempt to put Nick into submission. I wondered what could be more gay than this, but then I remembered the the magician Criss Angel... and how momumentally gayz0rz he is.

The time came for us to pull out like a human botfly, so we left Binder and headed for home, once again with a comatose Masson. He slept the whole way home, and as we rolled up to his house, he awoke, speaking in tongues. And by speaking in tongues, I mean he was actually singing Seal's song "Kiss From a Rose."

What a fucking day. It's always fun with you've got the TRW Party Co. guiding the fun, and there's always room PBR. As you can clearly see, the mountain bike racing season is not over by a long shot.

In other news, why did it take this long for this to be invented?

-Casey "The Crotch" Ryback, Regular Guy


2010 Rapture in Misery - Hotter'n a 3-Balled Tomcat. Look it up.

Greetings Team Seagal Fans! As I sit here, in the A/C, my mid-section wrapped in saran wrap, feeling the pounds melt away, letting my body recover, the blur that is this past weekend is sorting itself out. After nearly 70 miles of hot 'n humid singletrack this past saturay, the only thing that I am really wanting is a Desitin enema. That, and another Pabst.

The Rapture in Misery is one of those races that we look forward to all year long, and hope to continue attending as long as it exists. Here at the Team Seagal Home Offices, there is a strong desire to want to have more people from the StL side show up for this race, as it has always been loads of fun on the trails that just put a huge smile on your face the whole time. And a noon start time is also a *very* nice way to start a race. What a badass race. Doug Long and Heartland/UFD East are excellent ambassadors for our sport.

4 Seagal soldiers received orders to be deployed up to Crowder State Park on a mission to lay waste to all that stood in their way. The Tropial Storm and I, Casey F. Ryback were to be launching a frontal assault in the 12 Hour Duo Class, while Sasha was going to attempt her 2nd 12 hour Solo race. Lawman was fresh from a recent vagina-flushing ride that removed any and all traces of sand from within his cavernous depths, and entered himself into the 6 Hour Solo Pentagon.

It would be pretty hard for this year's race to end moar tragically and full-of-shit than last year. Driving up through some very intense (possibly tropical) storms on Friday night, the TSM/CFR/Soon-to-be-Mrs.CFR Party Van (read: overloaded Nissan Maxima) arrived around 10:30 at the rendezvous point, which was literally only about 50 feet from the scene of the last year's crime. If the thought of the heinously epic race wasn't enough to get me all hot and bothered, I was further invigorated just to drive straight past the gas station/fireworks store that shit all over us last year. You know the one, it's located just north of I-70 on Hwy 65, next to an adult video store, and instead of fixing their toilets, they just ask you to throw your shitty tp in the trash can. So the thought of NOT giving the business felt particularly good. But I digress. We arrived to find Lawman and Sasha having already engaged in fraternization with some other jerks at the same campsite: Mashor, Greg Ott, Jason Pryor, Brian Busken, Z.P. and Adam Rybar, although the Holtman's were no where to be found. Word was that they got lost in the lobby of an Econolodge or something.

We hadn't even arrived before snapping the first of many wrists, this time using the chair which was strapped to the roof rack:

We arrived to find Mashor getting the E-Z-Up tend wired up to code, 120v outlets and all:
This was soon powering everything from battery chargers, to surround sound and lighting, to crock pots. All we needed were some shirtless gay Mexicans, and we would have had ourselves MFXC Dance Party No. 2.

Fortunately by the time we arrived, the rain had stopped, and it was the last precipitation we would see. Not that it would have mattered much underneath the sprawling Tent Town that was springing up at our campsite - there were so many tents that it would make the homeless dudes on the MRT jealous. It was getting so big, that there were suburbs. And to add to that, we couldn't leave the most interesting man in the world at home and not bring him to the party, so we log-jammed him into my trunk and asked him to stand next to the course, wishing racers on course good luck:

With a luxurious noon start time and the prospect of many night laps, excitement was building, as was the temperature. The Tropical Storm and I went to register, the process at which I was provided a few revelations. The first was that one lucky dude got the "666" number plate, which is my holy grail of number plates. There isn't a much more 'Metal' number plate than the one that holds the number of the beast. I mean, just listen to the Iron Maiden song of the same name, and you'll see. The other revelation was the team name that the 6hr Duo squad of Green Beans and Mike Best - "Columbia Steamers." He wouldn't define exactly what it is or how you perform this maneuver, but I can only assume that it is some variation on the old standby, the Cleveland Steamer, but with a "Missouri" twist. So perhaps this means that you have to be eating a slice of Shakespeares while doing it? Or perhaps it just has to be really humid at the time? I'd love to Nate to chime in and shed some light on this, or if anyone else has a theory...

Race day was also Mason's birthday And when our teammates give you a birthday gift, you had better be sitting down. Fortunately he was, which properly prepared him to receive his gift from Team Trail Monstor:Hopefully this will help him work on his Kegel muscles.

The heat was climbing further still though there was still no sign of rain, which was basically how last year's race started - very unassuming. However, there was one difference this year - we didn't have to run straight up a huge rocky hill, just around the field. I lined up very close to Sasha who was wearing the Stunner Shades to hide her eye of the tiger. Good thing, because she was ready to break some hearts and snap some fucking wrists. The start line of a big race is a very eerie place to be, and you pick certain things up about people. I saw Peat Henry and company, ready to embark on their first 6 hour race, saying that he just plans on pedaling for 6 hours. Good plan.

Doug Long blew the horn and we were off. I tend to hold my own on short runs like this, which helped keep me in the front of the main group of riders, and I believe, ahead of some riders who would be less confident pedaling through the first section of trail, "The Boneyard," at speed. This is one of the more lengthy and consistently technical rock gardens around. Kind of like the rock garden along the river at Chubb, but 5 times longer. I was fortunate to keep from getting hung up by anyone, despite rocks that were slicker than the bedroom floor after performing a "Columbia Steamer." It wasn't long before I found myself trading back and forth with our good buddy Joe Houston. He was laying waste to many an obstacle, and as we both crossed the dam, I realized just what will be the deciding factor of the day - managing the heat.

Riding the course on that first lap, I found myself recalling quite often that the last time I recall riding a given section of trail, it was pitch black, and in torrential rain.

Of course, we all had to make it through the first lap without going down, which I did. The whole course was still feeling the affects of the previous night's rain, and even the fire roads were slick in the turns. I wasn't the only person that I talked with that day (thought I was the person whom I spoke with the most) who said that the first lap was one of if not the hardest of the day. As I came through the staging area, there was a Tropical Storm warning going out on course, and no one would be spared. Even the Mennonite women were scared away. Seen coming through in the first couple of laps:

As the day progressed, the heat would really take it's toll on almost every person going out on course. As Masson and I were not in the Mario van Peebles class, we would take the advantage to change into fresh kits and possibly even hop down to the shower in between laps. My shoes and kits were completely soggy-soaked within 20 minutes, so being able to have a fresh kit/socks/gloves to start out each lap was excellent. I was sweating like a nun in a fleshlight factory, and electrolyte-replacement was key. After returning from my second lap, Soon-to-be-Mrs. Ryback presented me with delicious pickles, which I promptly put in me:

Spirits were still high despite the it being hotter 'n two rats screwing in a wool sock. I watched as the likes of Mashor, Greg and Todd had to take longer breaks than expected in the Tent Town cooling room before heading back out. Lawman was still sand-free:

Turns out that Peat cracked his frame within a lap or two. He managed to ride it through the next 4 laps, but on his last lap, the frame had had all the Free Awesome that it could stand, and gave up. He then had to hoof it for another 3-4 miles to get back.
Another kind soul that he met on course was generous enough to let Peat borrow his bike until the end, which he readily took advantage of. He had to admit though, that he did resort to utilizing the vast array of gears that he had available to him on the new bike.

Masson had one particularly strenuous lap, as it was at the hottest part of the day. Upon coming in, he started dropping truth bombs left and right, specifically that I would have to go out for two laps in a row. No problemo. I asked to have some bottles ready. It was on this lap that my laps started syncing up with Mitch the Mashor. He was in the Van Peebles class, and even though he had put in 2 laps more than I had at that point, he was, in true Mashor style, steamrolling through the Boneyard as fast as anyone else all day. We would trade on and off, and it was soon apparent to me, due to my unanswered-small-talk questions, that he had the iPod up to full volume and was probably jammin' to one of the following bands: A) Raffi, B) Hall and Oates, or C) DJ Poopenshaften. I would grind away up the climbs at a roughly 8.5 rpm cadence, and he would catch up and blaze past me in big ring on the fire roads. I felt my wrist start to fracture when Busken caught us both and handily left us for dead on the bottoms area. It was on one of these laps that I was slowly winching my way up the fire-road climb across the dam when Wendy came into view, and it was instantly apparent to me that she had developed a second Eye of the Tiger.

Mashor, seen here, mixing up some high octane race fuel, in his old-timey Playmate cooler:

Upon leaving on my second consecutive lap with headlight mounted, I once again was pacing with Mashor heading into the Boneyard. This was also that transitional dusk lap, where we both were entering into an exciting, yet unspoken game of "Who Can Go the Longest Without Turning Their Light On." We both made it past the big open field.

12 hour races are an interesting beast. You can get your nards handed to you in a paper bag during the day laps, only to have the game totally change in just a few short night laps.
The Tropical Storm and I sat in 5th/last place almost the whole day, only to keep shoveling coals onto the fire of the Pain Train after dark. To give you an idea as to how much solid night-riding experience and oppressive heat can make a difference, TSM's fastest lap was a night lap - over 16 minutes faster than his last day lap! A combo of those two things helped propel us to a spot where we were in contention to take 3rd place away, which happened on his last lap. He made the pass about 20 minutes in, and spent the rest of the lap being chased. He returned with about 11 minutes to spare, sending me out in 3rd place, on the last lap of the race - being chased by fresh legs on a carbon bike.

This would be my 7th lap, and my energy level was higher than any other lap. Flossing my way to the dam, I was looking back as much as forward to see if there were any headlights chasing me. Crossing the dam, I was scanning the shoreline for signs of lights, and suddenly had the idea to ask the guy at the refuel tent if, on my second pass through, he could tell me how much time separated me from the next racer. The next 2 miles were spent playing mental games, thinking about all the different possibilities and scenarios. Excitement was high as I rolled up to the tent the second time, only to be told that no one had come through yet! Woo Hoo! Of course, then I thought, in my state of fatigue, well what if he made a deal with the guy and he was lying to me, and the dude is only a minute back? I finally decided that he wouldn't do that. So I pedaled in a non-cramp inducing way to through all the different sections, and finally allowed myself to walk up the really steep fire-road climb up to the rocky left-hander.

My best thought was how this was a much better way to have a final lap than last year's, which was spent in torrential rain, flowing water on the trails, and only a desire that my brakes continue to work the rest of the lap. Instead of finishing up in a downpour of rain, I finished that lap with a downpour of beer from teammates!

second image courtesy of A. Rybar

After cleaning up a bit, we went to the award ceremony were we saw StL sweep the 12 Solo 30-39 category with Z, Busken and Mashor:

StL took 1st and 3rd in the 12 Solo 40+ with Greg Ott and Adam Rybar:

Sasha crushed her way to 3rd in her second 12 Solo!:

And TSM and I, CFR destroyed t'aints all the way to 3rd in the 12 Duo!:

Many amazing things happened at the awards ceremony. First, Sasha got a fucking Garmin as her prize. Seriously, a fucking Garmin. Secondly, I actually felt my mind's wrist get snapped the instant I learned that the fastest night lap was 51 minutes, and was set by Craig Stoeltzig on a goddamned 26" rigid fixed gear. I'll repeat that - a fixed gear. And he wasn't even beard-doping.

This year's race went off without a hitch, partially thanks to a very willing yak. And not just a smoothly-run race, as are all of the HSP races, but held on trails are are a blast to ride each lap! Doug Long has a true gem of a race-venue up in Crowder, what with bunk houses, showers, plumbing, a kitchen, and above all, motivation. The only thing this race needs is more people to show up!

The next morning my weekend was topped off with Super-Sonic Burritos, a chance to not give business to the gas station/fireworks store once again,(Pyro City is what it is called, I believe) and no sleeping bag to wring out due to torrential rain during the night. We all learned many things this weekend, such as different ways to combat nipple soreness. What a great way to spend a weekend - we all can't wait for next year!

We also can't wait for next weekend, as the Midwest Singlespeed Championships are taking place in Jeff City - look the fuck out, because it's on!

-Casey F. Ryback

p.s. apparently a synonym for 3-balled Tomcat is a "dog with two dicks." Thanks, Google.



I Shall Fear No... Rain

Though I ride through a valley in the woods of Crowder State Park, I shall fear no precipitation.

Yes, unlike last year, we just might be able to bank on fantastic weather this year:

It is my belief that our sure-to-be-good-fortune is at least in some way a direct result of employing a highly sought-after and rarely-seen breed of Himilayan Yak named after the equally elusive and rarely-seen Marshall Lawson. Seen here:

With much skill, patience, and little bit of yak porn to help it get going, we were able to use the Lawson Yak to help complete our pre-race rain-repelling dance. Only time will tell if it works, but things are looking positive, and anything we can do to avoid what ended up happening last year will most certainly benefit us.

Let's keep our t'aints crossed, and our attitudes superior, and this race is sure to deal out some snapped wrists.



Prepare Yourself for The Rapture!

Greetings Team Seagal Loyalistas! RIM is a race to which we've been looking forward all year. And honestly, it will be pretty easy for this year to be more successful than last year - as long as the sequel to "The Perfect Storm" isn't being filmed directly over Crowder State Park, or more specifically, my tent, I'll be one happy racer. 12+ hours spent mowing down opponents in the heat of glorious battle sounds like pure victory to me.

We're all trying to achieve victory in some way. For us, it is atop the podium. For others, it is nervously getting into office:

There are still lots of badass mountain bike races left - CX season ain't here yet!