Greetings, loyal subjects. As Team Seagal's extensive and militaristic empire continues to encompass more and more trail systems and races, we work hard at skirting the line between benevolence and oppression in an effort to not forever eliminate all competition. And so it was, Top Secret Orders were given for there to be a 9-soldier "murder" to participate in this year's Syllamo's Revenge race. This year's murder consisted of the Trorpical Strorm, Forrest Torft, Pizza Time, Nicorn Torscani, Sashlor Portrorsorvortchz0rz, Tagg0rt, Punch0r, Oron Boyrd, and myself, Corsey Rorborck. And don't forget the loudest man in Arkansas, Lormorn, for moral support.
Last year was a slop-tastic, to be sure. We had our best meteorologists assigned to this project, and the few days leading up to the race were very promising. However, we couldn't overlook the weeks leading up to the race, which saw northern Arkansas getting enough water to flood the town of Memphis, TN. So either way, we were as optimistic as Criss Angel walking backstage at a Jonas Brothers concert.
Friday, we all had our course plotted into the Team Seagal Supercomputer, which then directed us towards our temporary cabin fortress, or in this case, a "bro-tress," for the weekend, perched on the side of the hill, with an unobstructed view from all sides, allowing us to see enemies advancing on our position. The ride down was full of anticipation, as we tried to distract ourselves with various things seen on the drive. For me, the drive started by rendezvousing with Mr. Toscani at his home base, where I promptly was shown an example of his un-fathomable power, the toilet seat which he had cracked:
As you would of course expect, I was impressed with the sheer power of his ass. I consider myself to be a man of a rather... sizable constitution, but I had never achieved something like that. However, I did wonder if Lynskey had branched into making toilet seats, after having also seen Toscani's cracked Pro29 frame in the next room. Pulling out of Jerkward's place, we proceeded to pick up Orin Boyd, and started on the choo-choo-ing process. The drive down was quick and painless. It was not without irony though, as we were definitely coming in hot into the town of Houston: On the road, I was pleased to see a plethora of Xlerator hand dryers, which is one of the only hand dryers that doesn't fuck around:
We pushed through, only to meet our co-murderers at Blanchard Springs for a pre-ride before fortifying ourselves in our cabin-base for the night. At the cabin, we discussed many things, and Nico showed me his shirt, which is amazing for many reasons:...not the least of which is that it is "home pay-per-view, June '91."
You want to know a Team Seagal Race Secret? Of course you want to know a Team Seagal Race Secret. For proper hydration, bro-conut juice does the trick:
A couple of blue-ribbon-winning night caps later, and all 10 people were on the the Snooze Train to Snore Town, ready to wake up before sunrise in order to be race ready in the morning. Morning did indeed come, at which point some of us did imbibe huge Chipotle-sized burritos for breakfast that had been made the night prior. Of course, the morning of a race also means that we test the fortitude of the nearest toilet. I, for one, did my best imitation of an in-ground pool concrete blower whilst perched atop Mt. Fuji. Punch0r showed us that he owns the only "henley"-style base layer on the team:
Onto the race. I left early with Toscani and Boyd, as their race started an hour earlier. That gave me time to leisurely hike/ride to the top of the first climb to see the 125k group enter the singletrack, and I caught video of it as well, which shows Orin Boyd as the Team Seagal pointman this year:
I returned to the car to get ready to stand on the start line. Lining up, it was good to get to see lots of "allies" on the line. I couldn't help but be a little amused by Greg Schmidt's concern about making the time cut-offs. I spoke a but with Corey Case, who was still on a contact high from MFXC (ahem, and the only Red Wheeler to get that treasured MFXC contact high...jerks!) and I was glad to hear that he also had also had a similar Syllamo's training regimen as me - basically none, except to ride when the opportunity arises. So halfway up the hill, I was pretty happy to still have him in my vicinity. I wasn't too jam-jorbbed entering the singletrack. Jamming along, I figured that Digiorno was well ahead, as I didn't see him again until the end. Punch0r was just a few cars ahead of me in the man-train, as we choo-choo'd along at a steady pace, that only became more and more punctuated with dismounts.
Mile 4 or 5 brought me my first and thankfully only flat this year, at which point I learned the position of Masson, T-tocs, Sasha and Tagg0rt, all of whom were now in front of me, along with most of the race now. Back rolling again and also donating my last tube, I was rollin' patch style. Didn't matter much though, as I certainly wasn't going to receive a flat tire when walking the bike over slippery rocks. And they were ALL slippery, after having had several hundred muddy bike tires and shoes drag mud and water over them to the point where they were like warm ice. The back of the race is a dangerous place. I even had a couple of "You're alright, Charles" moments.
No matter. The first checkpoint rolled in soon enough, PBJ's and all, though I knew that Nico hadn't eaten any of those, so I also ate his portion. I also had a short chat with the eventual 3rd place woman and 2009 CXMas Women's champ, Sarah Worthington, who was all smiles despite the muck. Leaving that checkpoint, and after having descended several miles and ridden for like 20 or 30 minutes, I could still hear Lawman's rebel yell through the woods, from the top of the hill. On and one we plodded through the hub-deep muck puddles, interspersed with fun singletrack and long climbs that kept prompting the decision to singlespeeders, whether or not to try and grunt up a given hill or walk.
Mrs. Holtmann was trading punches with me a few times, not to mention several other dudes on the trail, however the difference was that those dudes got their wrists straight snapped to shit. We didn't even bother to take their names as we left them in a pool of jello pudding.
I spent a lot of time this year looking at the ground and noticed, among other things, that there was a lot of trail debris. Didn't see any discarded tubes, but I DID see a shitload of food wrappers. And for some reason, the one wrapper that I saw more of than any other was Honey Stinger Waffles. Tons and tons of them. Has anyone ever tried to carry that shit out? I guess empty wrappers are too heavy for some people.
Anyway, the second checkpoint arose, and it was there that I rolled up on Tagg0rt, who brought me much news of our other co-murderers, such as their relative locations, nipple-irritation statuses, and also offered up a number of delicious French/Italian-hybrid cuisine recipes. We pedaled left the checkpoint, and slowly we separated, as I bridged up to Stormy and T-tocs just shy of the Stairway to Heaven. Stormy was riding the pain train, with his recently-doored shoulder as the conductor. However, T-tocs was riding shotgun, helping with navigation and mind-distractions. And when T-tocs is charged with putting things in your brain, you had better be wearing an adult diaper, because you'll soon be dropping shit-bombs from your shit-hole.
We slowly separated ways, and the trail really dried out once cresting the Stairway, which also upped the speed a bit. Mud was almost no where to be found approaching the last checkpoint and on the last loop. As I was at the last checkpoint, the Storm/Taft duo chugga-chugga'd up with tales of endo's, bustifications, and derailments of the pain train. Fortunately, no medevac was needed. Brofanity was spewing from their faces, as they were putting the "man" into "determination." Holy shit.
I had refilled my shit, and pulled out right behind this Kenda pro chick in the 125 class. She shot out like rocket, full out-of-the-saddle sprint from every corner, hellbent on domination. Within maybe 1/4 mile, she was out of sight. I looked down at my wrist, and it was on the verge of snapping. Fortunately, I was soon rejoined by Stormy and T-tocs, who had laid down several miles' worth of oppressive fire before reaching me. Aside from the Kenda chick, there was hardly anyone to be seen on that loop. For a while, I was feeling as lonely as that boy chained up in Criss Angel's gimp room. And so it seemed, a 3-man Seagal man-train quickly approaching glory. We soon came came up on one Greg Schmidt who had put in a valiant effort, but was in a bad spot, and told tall tales of cramps. He latched on and became the man-caboose. Our train was growing in length, and power. Wrists were snapped as we were passing riders - no time to stop now. After some rotations on the front, the cars of our train became un-hitched and were adrift. Masson put in an effort to bridge up to me, though as I came up on the final stretch of singletrack that led up to Blanchard Road, I seemed to have a second wind, and probably passed another 5 or 6 people. It was as the trail dumped onto the fire road that I yelled out "That looks like the fire road!" as I proceeded to snap someone wrist right at that very moment. From then on, I was without brakes or pedaling as my speedometer brushed with 35mph, and I passed 3 people riding down the hill seemingly at the same speed they climbed it. What a great feeling to sit back on the pavement and coast my way around the campgrounds, past a bunch of jerks who crushed my time and were already fed and changed of clothing. Done, at 6:49 which put me in exactly 100th place overall (and in the upper 50%, given the 201 finishers.)
One by one, the finished filed in, and I was worried that Storm and T-tocs were going to be outed for beard-doping, but fortunately the anti-doping tent was busy busting the junior team from Zambia for jenkem use. Instead we all destroyed secret finisher's PBRs, and assessed the damage. For example, Keith Weinken's Gary Fischer Superfly did what it was designed to do (break) allowing him to walk out:
The Toscani Wagon cradled three destroyed Kona's of various vintages atop it's roof, and they looked good:
After retrieving drop-bags and saying our peace to good buddies, we headed out for the first of that night's dinners. We found unthinkably hot wings and other various burgers and fries, and also managed to not get kicked out, despite Lawman having cracked his first beer at 9AM that morning. Adjourning to home base, we were joined by the what seemed like a Chinese army, all of whom brought along ancient scrolls that needed to be unfurled and deciphered. We were also joined by other fellow StL jerks, which turned out cabin into a true "jerk store." Jay, Mary, Greg, teh Holtmanns, Strove and Peat and others did join us. But not before I tried to figure out how you can have a pair of socks with a lifetime warranty. Heirloom socks, if you will. The kind of socks that you pass down from generation to generation, from your father, his father before him, and so on.
The night went on, and I was fated to crack open a new product from our sponsor, called Blast. It definitely puts the "bro" in "brouhaha." And Criss Angel puts the "bro" in "broomrape." (Actually, I just looked up broomrape, and it wasn't what I thought it was. But that doesn't mean that Criss Angel doesn't use brooms when raping dudes.) But anyway, this Blast product was... definitely unique, and Peat destroyed that can. Thanks, Peat. It wasn't long before Stormy was on the verge of being completely braindead, after having read a particularly interesting Chinese scroll. Unfortunately, the party could not reach it's full potential because I had forgotten to put on my favorite album on the turntable:
Later, as the night continued, we started up an intense "ferret legging" tournament. One of the few sports, where there is an inverse relationship between comfort and fun. I think that Pizza Time won, as I think that the teeth on the ferret submitted by Punch0r were filed down to not hurt as much when bitten, despite /him having a longer ferret-in-pants time. That, and it may or may not have been a marmot.
A long night of ferret legging can make you hungry, and Nico was the man with the plan on that issue, providing us all with finisher's tots, rather than finisher's crowns, which are not made any longer:
We slept as soundly that night, only to wake up to the sound of our newly beloved Triathlon Song, only we were adding our own lyrics, most of which involved well-endowed gay black dudes doing illegal (in Arkansas) things to the people in the video, and the guy singing. With that, we were ready for the drive home, as we took the time to reflecte on our results:
Gino: 5:37, 31 overall, 7/30 SS
Masson: 6:51 105 overall, 19/30 SS
Forrest: 6:51 107 overall, 20/30 SS
Sasha: 7:53 156 overall, 28/30 SS
Punch0r: 6:16 65 overall, 19/64 40-49
CFR: 6:49 100 overall, 18/30 SS
Tagg0rt: 7:10, 125 overall, 23/30 SS
Nico 8:52 43/61 overall, 7/11 SS - 125K
Orin: 8:09 31/61 overall, 6/11 SS - 125K
What a weekend spent in Arkansas. It would be a great state, if they sold alcohol. Nevertheless, you can't fuck around when you are participating in a true mountain bike race. Only those with true superior attitude and superior state of mind finish.
Alright, next weekend is the first 3/6 hour race at Indian Camp Creek. There's no excuse to not go.
-Casey F. Ryback
In case you were wanting to know the back history on the Triathlon Song, you can find out more here. And here.