Of course, this is also the time of year where the Tall Oak Challenge rears its drunken head. Having not missed one of these since we first started attending a few decades ago, I was sure mark this as "Top-Steven Priority." I mean, how can you not want to take part? It's not that far of a drive from the STL, and the race loop is just like one of my least favorite hook-ups in college: "Tons Of Fun." (Funny thing was, she wasn't *technically* a ton, and she wasn't much fun either.)
Over the course of 6 hours, you can get in some big mileage, without having to be hours and hours away from the start point. Then drink afterwards. Everyone has a genuinely good time, except for that dude who snapped his derailleur hanger before even entering the singletrack at the start. Poor bastard.
The wheels were set in motion at Team Seagal HQ, and the plan was to deploy 5 members of our elite strike force. Punch0r, FrozenPizzaPie, KneeCorn, Sandwich, and myself, CFR. Unfortunately, due to one of the very few forces beyond our control, Punch0r was called on to a different mission of an even higher priority, thus getting served by the best. Needless to say, he was no longer going to be part of our Jefferson City Landing Party. Myself and ItsNotDelivery would be in the 6-hour Mario Van Peebles Class, while Kneecorn and Titty would be in the 6-hour Danny Devito/Arnold Schwarzenegger (Twins) class (The Duo class.) Our man Scooter was also riding dirt bikes this sunday, but his bike was equipped with drop bars, and he was riding in the Alton Superprestige CX Race at La Vista Park. 11th out of 18 in the Super Badass Class. Nice fucking work. May your post-race turds flow like lava out of Krakatoa.
I rendezvoused with the other three at an undisclosed location, where we set sail. On the way over, we passed a tanker carrying what must be a load of "Unobtainium" from Oakley:
We took a southerly route to our destination, and arrived on target just in time to not have to play catch-up with the rolling start. All business prior to the start, we had no time to schmooze. Didn't need any arm warmers or emBROcation, as it was perfectly mild. Tons of dudes lined up, and I got to see Peat for the last time for the next 6 hours. There were tons of people, which was awesome, and Larry Pirtle sent us out.
Usually I end up jam-jobbed for most of the first lap at this race, but this time I put myself in a good spot in the open field which had me into the woods ahead of the bulk of riders, and both Titty and Grorg were just within sight of me. I also managed to keep my effort reigned in so that I didn't bury myself into a hole too early. Didn't even have to drink much.
Quick Product Review Section:
What was a little sketchy was riding on two brand new tires, not knowing how they handled yet - Continental X-King 2.2" with the "Protection" Sidewalls, which I had never gotten a chance to ride prior to mounting them tubeless 3 days earlier. The mounted up easily to my (dinged-up) Velocity Blunt SLs, and I started the race at around 28-30 psi (according the the pump that I borrowed from some dude who didn't even know it.) The tires un-mounted are very stiff, and un-flexible. They easily keep a round shape in your hand without folding over. I may have had the pressure a little high, but I'm also like 215 lbs, so I err on the high side. I was expecting a softer ride, and was wondering if my fork was even working. Maybe it was the fact that I haven't really had much time on the MTB at all in the last couple of months, but the bike was feeling a little nervous-handling. I wasn't pushing into the corners as hard as I would like to. I eventually learned how to ride them properly after a few laps. They did roll fast, but then by the 2nd lap I had to stop briefly and burn a big air co2 cartridge to replace the air that I had been burping out in the rear tire. I had to stop one more time to top off my tires 2 laps later due to burpage. I'm ok with that, as long as they don't get sliced to death, which they didn't.
Anyway, laps rolled by, eating gross Clif-Shots that I got for free, and downing water, Hater-ade, cute little mini CocaCola cans, chocolate milk, and Bolthouse smoothies. I haven't done any endurance mtb races this year, so I didn't really have much of a plan for this event other than eat and drink sugary/caffeinated bullshit each lap. My teammates were using this race to get a little more dialed for the upcoming Burnin' effort, whereas I was just riding since I sadly can not make Burnin' this year.
Whatever their plans were, they worked beautifully, because by the end of the day, Gino had placed fucking 3rd in the Mario Van Peebles class behind two seriously fast dudes - one dude on a Felt, and another dude who is the newest cutie-bumpkin on DRJ. Nico and Titty got 4th place behind the Ethos twins, Ploch and Albert, and two other broski's. I don't know where I placed, but it was somewhere in between the two Peats - one place ahead of Peat Goode, but behind 4th place Peat Henry.
I managed 9 laps, while Gregward and the Twins got 10 laps. That's a lot of fucking mileage. More impressive, was Nico's mustache winning the prize for best mustache. It was especially meaningful with previous facial hair champions Josh Carroll and Peat Henry in observance.
The post-race much enjoyable with lots of beers being drank, lots of meat being consumed, and much discussion had. Our van had one more destination in it's sights: Shakespeare's Pizza for the best fucking pizza, the JOBS:
Holy shit, that was good fucking pizza, accompanied by 22oz Ranger IPAs and 22oz Bell Two Hearted Ales. And a homeless guy in the shitter.
We decided that for Burnin', we decided that Taggort, Punch0r and C-Dubs should be on a team entitled "Crotchety Old Fucks." With an emphasis on the crotch.
On a side note, this blorg has seen much activity, and I feel that we are fortunate to have been able to keep at it this long. But alas, this post marks the end of an era - the bachelor Crotch. In a few weeks, after returning from honeymoon, I expect to not be able to write worthwhile posts any longer, the life having been sucked from my married ass. Hopefully I shall overcome.
-Casey F. Ryback
P.S. After a 6.5 hour thrashing, my hands are more tired than that time I downloaded those topless photos of Bea Arthur.