Nevermind that though - for, to be assaulted with hills the likes of which we see on this ride, means your legs become ready to mow shit down later in the year, much like Dutch, Billy, Hawkins and Mac did to the forest in Predator:
|"Up in dem trees..."|
(Fun fact, that .gif syncs up pretty well with Mortician's "Drowned in Your Blood.")
Back here, deep within the sprawling Team Seagal Worldwide Headquarters, we had been working hard to ensure a lack of precipitation. Because nothing rains on a parade of people on bikes like actual rain. Our efforts must have paid off, as the roads were drier than the inside of Criss Angel's whitey-tighteys after mistakenly hiding in the girls' locker room all day.
Gathering at Kehr's Mill and Clayton, it was clear that the numbers of the ride were not as high as I had been expecting, most likely due to the island-paradise-like conditions inside many people's gashes. But no matter, it isn't like total participation makes any difference one way or the other to a free group ride. So we rolled out our Train of Flesh and actually managed to stay together all the way down Clayton. Despite picking up a few extra riders en route, we made sure to send them back to the beginning for registration and then allowed them to catch up.
|All photos courtesy of the fastest camera-slinger in the west, Nico|
After some drama half-way up that hill was sorted out, we continued onto Mitch's Secret Training loop, where we were greeted by some encouragement from one Steve F., left in his absence while he was busy shredding Arkansas trails like a jerk. In an effort to present full transparency, I must admit that I did in fact skip Starwoods Dr. in the hopes of staying with the/any group after having been delayed unexpectedly at Bartizan. I know, this is highly blasphemous to skip a hill from our own ride. But it's done and over with, so I hope that this transgression can be overlooked this time.
As the miles clicked over, I was happy to see that there were little to no big issues with traffic, particularly on Alt Road, which is always a bit of a Japanese-style shit-show. The Allenton Loop did in fact present many people with reasons to doubt their courage, yet all that entered did leave victorious. Briefly regrouping at the Motomart by Six Flags, it was more than a little awkward how everyone was hanging out inside the place. No worries, as I had bigger hills to crush, loftier wrists to snap:
-Allenton Rd: snapped
-Scenic Loop: snapped
-Woodlawn Meadows, a.k.a. the "Goat Trail": snapped
From the top of Melrose, we had some nice rolling pavement all the way to Hwy T, which lead us past the Bank of St. Albans (there is a lot of money in St. Albans.) and then up Bassett. Of course, 1/3 of the way up St. Albans affords everyone the chance to climb Cremin's Green!
Nevermind the fact that Cremin's is half-way up another hill, which is already huge in and of itself. No matter, that hill allows us to bomb down the other side, and affords us a close pass to a local monument of St. Louis Cycling history, one which we have visited before:
Bouquet Road: snapped, though the landscape has changed dramatically since the last time I visited - the powerline strip that crosses the road has been completely clear-cut, giving the hill a Mt. Ventoux-esque feel. (Not that I've ever fucking ridden that climb.) I can't help but think that all of those trees seemed to be much shorter than the power lines themselves, and now that they are gone, I can only imagine how badly eroded that hillside will be in just a few years.
Onward - we had to go crush the Wildhorse Creek Vallley flats, which meant a top speed run on Babler Forest Salt Flats:
|proof that it can be done on a SS.|
After a quick lap of Babler State Park, one dude Tokyo Drifting his fart-can'd NSX, we crushed out Doberman Hill, had some great service at the gas station at 109/WHC Road, and then continued to snap the rest of the route before climbing the home stretch of Kehr's Mill towards victory.
What a great ride - I would like to thank my 11-34T cassette, XT derailleur, and extended jenkem high for providing me with the means to endure the continual assault on my quads. It was great to ride with lots of people from all over the region coming to ride some of the smoothest pavement around. I was also glad to see that our very own Roland Sallinger has progressed his fitness so far already, that he didn't feel the ride was hard enough, thus electing to install some bottom bracket bearings that were so completely roasted and packed with crunchy-style peanut butter, that extra wattage required to spin them (and his 40psi tires) all day probably equaled out to an extra climb or two by the end of the day. Nice work! Truly superior state of mind.
I was slightly disappointed to see that the closest we came to having a fat bike class were dudes on CX tires, however, I was then made happier upon learning of this early ancestor of the modern fat-bike - it was cool WAYYYY before it became cool:
This concludes today's session,
-Casey F. Ryback