To say that this year's Burnin' at the Bluff was a remarkably enjoyable bicycle race would be like saying that I wouldn't particularly care to be in the crowd of a Criss Angel performance at a gathering of juggalos. Or like saying that Crank Brothers pedals have a somewhat questionable record of reliability. To say it is and understatement is, itself, and understatement.
This race is always highly anticipated, and few people have been anticipating the race like our very own Lawman, who, in the last few months alone, has spent more time at Council Bluff than Criss Angel has spend coaching middle school boys swim teams in the last year. But what has he been doing down there? As an official trail steward, he has been clearing the trail and just engaging in general "trail foreplay" in an effort to get the "trail juices" flowing, so that it can more easily handle the repeated pounding from hundreds and hundreds of dudes and ladies on Saturday. But he hasn't been the only one working to ensure proper conditions for this year's Burnin'. As part of a recent directive passed down from Team Seagal HQ, our team collectively engaged in the most ambitious secret weather dance we've evar undertaken. In fact, as part of this effort, we actually had an entire herd of Himalayan Yak (the most manly of all yaks) brought in so that we would have enough of that... secret ingredient. Nothing was going to cause this year to be anything less than perfect.
We had our work cut out for us this year. The competition level would mean that this year would be no picnic, despite what the right wing media would have you believe. That is why we made sure to not fuck around (well, maybe we fucked around a little bit), and sent one of strongest fighting forces evar to engage in battle on the shores of Council BLUFF Lake. In the Singlespeed class, we manned two squads: Team Singlespeed Jerk-Off, consisting of Nad "Internationally Renowned Bathtub Mary Artist" Snurb, Orin "Arm Baby and Leg Titty" Boyd, and the Ultimate Jerk - Nico "That Solo Business Is For The Birds" Toscani; and Team "Jerks Effusing Noxious and Keenly Euphoric Madness" (or J.E.N.K.E.M.) consisting of Casey "In Fact, Did You Know That..." Ryback, Gino "I Used To Wear Rings On Every Finger" Felino, and Jonathon "Stoveward P. Stovington III, Esq" Cold. In the Solo classes, we fielded the power trio of Capt. Jack "Trek Speed Concept Handlebar Expert" Tagg0rt, Cock "Stag Beer Is Better Than Stag Movies" Punch0r, and Sasha "The Great Thing About Losing That Weight Is That My Boobs Didn't" Petrosevitch. And of course, we had our hand in the Clydesdale (or All That Is Man) class with "Trail Fluffer" Lawman teaming up with allies Keith "Hollywood" Weinkein and Brian "Gun Show" Busken, all under the tutelage of their coach, Jason "I Know The Most Interesting Man In The World Which Makes Me The Second Most Interesting Man In the World" Pryor. Our man Forrest "I've Had My Fingers In More Fish Taco's Than You Could Evar Dream Of" Taft was putting the "in man" in manning the aid station at the Enough Boat Ramp. Unfortunately, not all of us were able to be on the front lines this weekend, most notably the Professor, who was steadfastly engaging in wrist-strengthening activities so as to most effectively be able to lay waste to the entire CX world in the coming months.
Our reality started its descent into twisted euphoria by Friday night. I picked up recent Great Divide Race finisher Luke "Pain?" Doney and his Salsa Fargo, then picked up Forrest "I'm 23" Taft and his brown stallion where we then proceeded to choo-choo our way down through Potosi, past the booby school, and arriving at our final resting place, Group Campsite C, where we were greeted by Orin "Jim 'Hacksaw' Duggan" Boyd:
The night progressed, or regressed, depending on how you look at it, with many truths becoming known, such as Nico's love affair with a tree, as evidenced by his hickey:
|Scooter puts the "do a kid" in "akido."|
Much firewood was burnt that night, as we discussed all that was in store. I awoke the next morning to view our expansive estate of a campsite, one that had many different areas, such as our very own hammock district:
The aftermath of the previous night was still there:
A quick stroll to the registration only helped to fuel my anxiousness and excitement, especially when I saw a trailer full of kegs, prize-boxes, and huge jerks:
|"Guess what this smells like!"|
I give you the Face of Manliness:
Not long after that photo was taken, we were off in a flurry of smoke and drama in true Burnin' fashion. Cruising down the pavement, my singlespeed and I were unfortunately not able to get the most important thing in a 12 hour mountain bike race - the holeshot. Instead, it was "All Aboard the Man-Train" and fortunately I was able to stay ahead of the caboose. Flossing the trail, I was bobbing and weaving all obstacles, happy to finally be on a tubeless wheelset - some Blunt SL rims, courtesy of one of our awesome sponsors, Velocity. The trail was pretty much like we all expected it to be: more dry than Criss Angel after a month-long sexual conversion camp. There was one unexpected water crossing, and despite being very short, it was so deep, that I thought I was in the movie Poltergeist III where that little girl was standing in the puddle but then those demon arms reached up and pulled her down. Fortunately, all that had to be done to avoid the demon arms (which may have been in there, who knows) was pull a sweet wheelie and let the rear wheel drop in, and quickly pedal away - full of badassery.
Laps ticked off. At one point, I encountered Jim Krewet, my arch enemy, having snapped my wrist at 2.5 mph last year on the last climb - I resisted the urge to engage in Geneva-Convention-violating acts of sabotage.
In between laps, it was relorxed and awesorme back in the Hammock District:
One of my favorite quotes of the day came after I had been on the side of the trail fixing a broken chain (pretty good after 4 seasons of use) and watched Peat pass by. Getting the bike back in order, I hopped back on my brown rocket and started moving down the trail, post haste. Snapping the wrist of a couple of other dudes, I wondered how long it would take, if even possible, for me to catch up to Peat. He's definitely a faster rider than me overall, but I was counting on his steadier pace due to his entrance in the Mario van Peebles class, and my fresher legs. I caught up with him after a little while and rode with him for probably a good 20-25 minutes - this being his *7th* lap, I on my 3rd. And he was not screwing around - I was working quite hard to hang with him. Anyway, at the dam I offered to pull in front and take lead for a while, to which he answered "I dunno man, I'm pretty fast through this next section." Truly, Superior Attitude and Superior State of Mind.
I unfortunately was not able to fully enjoy a night lap, which can be one of the most awesome mountain bike experiences. However, I was able to get back and fully enjoy the spoils of the Team Seagal and Burnin' sponsor, Pabst Blue Ribbon. And it wasn't long before I was seeing this image, and with a similar level of focus:
It was close to the 8 o'clock hour before the Tropical Storm made landfall, and did indeed proceed to set one of the many records that were broken/set that night: least amount of time between stone sober and properly euphoric. Mason and I made an excellent stop off at the Mesa campground where we found Zach, Drewballz, and STLPAF Dave, among others, gettin' their food on. I had to help them regulate some fat ribs, while Mason and Dave did the same to some fresh oysters. Potentially the first oysters to be eaten at Council Bluff. The word "pioneers" comes to mind.
Have finally met some badasses from the elusive South City Cycling Club, I give them the highly-prized Team Seagal Seal of Approval:
PBR Dave always hooks this race up, with enough beer to get refill Council Bluff Lake. Also, being tons and tons of schwag, this most odd one being the Pabst Topsy-Turvy:
PBR Dave tapping the second keg:
That IS a discman, with 45 second skip protection, and we played some Witchery on it:
2011 SS Champs:
|We've all got vans.|
"Looks Better In a Skinsuit Than You'd Think" Lawman and his squad with Keith and Brian smashed their way to the top of the podium in the All-That-Is-Man Class as well - but then, how could they not. Have you seen them?
Jack "Pancake Breakfast" Tr0rggr0rt got in more laps on his SS that he'd evar done, at 5 which is a huge amount of laps, no matter who you talk to - even getting in the all important night lorps. And from all of this gloriousness, things went downhill quickly. Or uphill, again depending on how you look at it. Peat "Slash" Henry had to continue to hydrate himself after completing a simply Predator-like 9 laps on his rigid singlespeed:
Another record being set was by the Dream Team of the Ploch, Steinmetz and Donn of doing 12 laps. To go any faster, they'd need to have beards. When Garrett passed me, it was akin to two satellites in orbit passing each other in the opposite direction - the relative speed being something like 34,000 mph.
Before too long, we retreated to the Hammock District in order to make the best TC Man Food:
Mason's record-setting transition from sober to euphoric was moving along at a surprisingly quick pace - I had lost track of him until the next morning, when he poured out of the back of his car. Stories of finding him at 3:30 am sleeping in the field were circulating, along with golf claps of approval.
Waking up the next morning, there was much to share amongst our motley crew of jorks. We sported some fresh schwag, like in this photo, if you can find Nico, you'll notice his sweet camo shirt. That's IF you can spot him:
Still in a bit of a daze from the prorvious night, I ventured down to my fortress of solitude, or the Zambian Hut, to engage in some personal reflection and my morning constitution. I arrived to find Norcword trying to fend off his female admirers. You'd be surprised how much his fan club has grown:
It's like I always say, you can't drink all day if you don't start first thing. And being a Coach, my advice carries with it a certain weight. This being Lawman's own Burnin' Coffee Stout:
Whew. Looking back, I believe that there are more photos with middle fingers than without. Mission: Accomplished. What a great time.
Another mission that has been accomplished: a badass Burnin' courtesy of a true OG, Farinella and the rest of the Mesa jerks. We all managed to survive. Super pumped with only one mtb race left on the calendar - the BT Epic. And then... CX.
In order to continue to elevate ourselves to the next level, we will be following the Gray Wolf's lead, and using his training program:
That program includes:
-taking the bus up hills
-not carrying water
-using a belt for all items to carry
-spending at least $6000 on wheel (otherwise, don't bother)
-make all our own custom lycra bike clothing with our names written in acrylic paint
-remove the granny ring from the bike, and mate it to an 11-21 cassette
-always attack the pack
-spend 1.5 hours the night before every ride figuring out what to wear
-don't wear a helmet
-eat only sugar
-Casey F. Ryback