This year, the goal of this ride - a full century - would be a no-drop ride, being kept at a talking pace for the entire time. Last year, the ride put the "balls" into "balls-out," and when the organizer of the ride ends up left behind, that is no fun at all. What is more fun is being able to enjoy the ride and comradery of your fellow lycra-clad dudes and dudettes all in a group for the whole day.
I was especially excited to find out that pace would be something that I could maintain the entire day, being more man than I used to be. Not only that, but with the infamous Peat as our wayfaring guide, the route was no doubt going to be a glorious path of cycling centuriosity.
The target time was 7AM at Steinberg Ice Rink, a most glorious of starting areas. I looked around, and found that our group was comprised mostly of mountain bikers reluctantly mounting skinny tires and drop bars for the sake of paved efficiency. This is no surprise, as Team Noah itself is comprised mostly of mountain bikers, such as D-Wayne, Peat, Brett H, new-ish to StL Maria, and others. We had an excellent group starting out, and if you'll look closely, you'll see the hulking masses that are Dr. Roland Sallinger, the Punch0r of Cocks, and myself, Crotchward F. Crotchback:
|photo courtesy of Brad Baum|
It was most excellent, rolling out early in cool weather, rolling through the Loop, up Midland, and out to Creve Coeur Lake, while making sure to stop fairly often for water/natural breaks. This early on a Sunday, the roads were empty - empty like Punch0r and I were wishing our bowels were for the first hour. Fortunately, our saddle pounded those gopher heads back into their dwellings. Punch0r started out the ride having had a quick onslaught of pressure, while the pressure I was feeling had slowly built up like the caldera of a Volcano slowly rising, waiting to blow.
Before long, our group shaved itself down to the core centurious club, and after wo-man-training through the Creve Coeur flats (and getting totally served by some hardcore broski with a Sora triple laying on his rest-bars) we ascended Hog Hollow and regrouped at the gas station at the top.
Continuing on, we found ourselves on a short section of the Vampire Century course, but we would soon detour onto some secret gems that Peat found hidden away in the suburban neighborhoods. Unfortunately, D-Wayne would come to break a spoke on the backside of Orville, however our very own Punch0r of Cocks came to the rescue and landed him a replacement wheels after a short detour to Casa del Punch0r.
During this period, I found out that this was only Maria's 3rd time riding road with other people since moving up to the Mound City, and I must say she was in luck, being able to experience some of the best roads that our region has to offer - such as one of the Death-By-Hills Highlights, Babler Forest. I saw 53 mph on the way back down that hill. We regrouped with Punch0r and D-Wayne at the top of Wild Glue-bag Creek Road, before descending down Reiger.
Our next stop was the Mobile at Old Manchester and 100, where Punch0r, exhibiting a most Superior State of Mind, procured a sixer of Double-wide IPA, in which both he and I partook, though Peat served us both by showcasing a new parlor trick by inserting a straw into the neck of the bottle in order to more efficiently engage in pounding. Kind of like shotgunning a glass bottle. Meanwhile, Dr. Sallinger was spotted eating a salad. Whether or not he ate this salad to wash the taste of hobo-balls from his mouth is still unclear at this time. Departing this station, we choo-chooed around Ridge Road, passed Zombie Road, once again getting foiled by being unable to see downtown from the Ridge Road lookout due to the heavy haze in the air.
It was around this time that Punch0r reminded me that I definitely do put the "rot" into "Crotch." I could not have been happier. My happiness subsided briefly as I had to winch my ass up St. Paul Road, but it was not long before my happiness reached new heights when we had an unexpected run-in with the esteemed Tom Albert and his wonderfully hospitable family! What an amazing moment, as even though Tom may seem like a very responsible, upstanding, well-respected citizen and member of society, do not be fooled. This guy knows how to party. And from a fellow StL bike scene dork like myself, being greeted by Tom like this kinda of sums it all up:
|Why I most certainly will drink that Shift!|
|The self-lubricate as they're inserted.|
Negotiating a hair-raising left turn from Manchester Road onto Mason, we took that to Ladue, and then up the rarely-encounter "Ladue Widowmaker," and then continuing into Clayton. Realizing that we were going to come up short on mileage, we called an audible and diverted to an ascent of the last granny-ring climb of the day - Southwest. We would then pass by Orin "Mason Storm Is My Landlord" Boyd's house, ride through The Hill, back into the Park, complete a loop, lose Peat as he had to go chase down a lucky lady, and pinch off the loop to give us a full hundo.
Arriving back at the Punch0r Mobile, I was amazed that we stayed together as a group of about a dozen people for the entire ride - pretty amazing. so to celebrate, I was elated to find delicious hot dogs already grilled up and ready to put in my face. Old Guy Extrordinaire Rich Pierce had prepared amazing black beans and torillas in an iron skillet, Maria hnad brought gooey butter cake, there were donuts, beer, fizzy sugary drinks, OH MAN.
What an excellent way to spend the day. And it won't be long before we try to get a double-berryman in the books with D-Wayne. It has to happen. An awesome day, awesome ride, and I am happy to say that almost no cars screwed with us, which is pretty surprising considering that our large group was usually taking the lane. In fact, the light at McCausland and Southwest had our group receiving probably a half-dozen drivers voicing their support to us, which was super cool!
Thanks to the Goscinski Family, Peat in all his bearded (and lycra-clad) glory, the Heurrings, and everybody who came for making a glorious day, one which we'll all be looking forward to next year!
-Casey F. Ryback