Greetings, Team Seagal Minions! If you weren't outside Sunday engaging in spirit-lifting activities under the seldom-seen-this-year sunlight, then do yourself a favor and start drinking to forget. Forget that you missed out on an unbelievably beautiful day - a day that finally allowed the Lost Valley Luau to be held AS SCHEDULED for once! This was almost as rare as our Good Doct0r riding a road bike anymore.
Not only was the weather cooperative, but the trail conditions could not have been better. In fact, not since Mason Storm and I took 3rd place at the much-ballyhooed 2008 Spoke Pony Showdown in beautiful Landahl Park have I experienced a trail surface with a more optimal ratio of tackiness-to-buff-ness. These were the conditions about which I have recently dreamt whilst chasing the brown dragon on the ethereal Zambian plains - hittin' that sweet jenk' so hard that my breath repelled even the saintly Mrs. Crotch for a full week.
We as a team, still reeling from our podium domination at the 2008 Truman's Big Love (also at Landahl) - seen here, sent quite a squad to crush souls, snap wrists, and chew bubblegum - those who attended todays proceedings included myself - Casey "The Doughy Rider" Ryback, Gino "I Passed Crotch Twice" Felino, Harlan "So Much For Those Sidewalls" Banks, Simon "Who Needs a Rack When My Trunk is as Big as Your Garage" Ballistor, and finally Nico "Ardent Fan of the Maxxis Ardent" Toscani. In case you haven't noticed, 2008 was a big year for us, and not unlike Al Bundy continually recalling his 4-touchdown high school football game, we shall forever look unto 2008 as being "The Year." Or maybe that's just me.
Also in attendance for immoral support was Roland "Late for the Race But Not the Beer" Sallinger, Cock "Processing Horses for Meat Creates Jobs" Punch0r, "Resident Alcohol Connoisseur" Pry0r, and lest we not forget, the recently returned from the VDS-sand deposits by the ocean, "How Do I Make This Slow-By-Design Fatbike Go Faster?" Lawman! Honorable mention on account of an *intent to race* but was not actually there, Orin "AWE HELL NAW" Boyd.
Pre-race, it was truly amazing to see many players in our local game, specifically the rarely-seen-in-the-wild Nate Green Beans who was dressed to kill, as usual. He and I had a moment, where we discussed our potential needs to take yet ANOTHER morning duece. This was something we were worried about because there was less than 10 minutes to the start of the race. Fortunately, we both had TP on our persons - I have some in my hydration pack, and he carries some in his baggy shorts pocket. (No hydration pack or anything like that, but TP in the pockets. Hardcore.) I had some "rumblings in the lower decks" myself, which frustrated me greatly, as I had already summited Mt. Kohler twice that morning, and would normally think that would be sufficient. (If I were C-Dorbs, I wouldn't be ready until the 3rd summit was achieved - a "triple Lindy.") Anyway, only so many people abide by a dress code at bike races that involves mother fucking collars, son! Keep that shit up, Nate!
I, the C"rot"ch, was a little apprehensive about toeing up to the start line, seeing as how this past year I "catted-up" to the Team Seagal P/1/2 Elite drinking team, where I will now be able to engage in team tactics with Mason Storm, Snurb, and our own Mr. Sallinger while leading into the final sprint to complete liver failure. However, since the Luau had the advantage of actually being on a SUNDAY this year - unlike Saturday, as are most mtb races around here, I actually could attend this time - and wanted to try to start a thinking seriously about that whole 100 OT race.
Not to mention that a swollen, rotting singlespeed dude such as myself in a class full of geared racers doesn't fair too well on a 2-mile drag race on gravel roads to open up a race. No matter, I managed to stay attached to the large opening (wo)man train at least in some way into the singletrack, even though the majority of competition had easily left me behind to rot.
Crushing out that singletrack found me hitting my brakes a little too often as a result of several descent-related jam-jobs, and my slowest lap. This karma was repaid by jam-jobbing people behind me while ascending... well, pretty much anything. In fact, my speed regularly was averaging 3-4 mph on some climbs. It's no wonder Jim Krewet grabbed 2nd place SS from my clasp at Burnin' in 2009, not unlike the Springfieldiens snatched the Lemon Tree back from the Shelbyvillians:
I must admit, there was a moment of humility, in my already humiliating outward appearance, when on the first lap, I was easily passed by the one and only, Peat, who was not only "hella late" but is also now half-man, half-machine - he passed the shit out of me and everyone around me. Truly, an inspired performance. He has little kid energy.
Onward I pressed, and by the end of the 2nd lap, my chronic brown lung, a result of hittin' the jenk', was starting to ease up, and my breathing became moar controlled, and my speed increased. Recalling my Steven Seagal training sequence, I employed those techniques to great success:
The hills seemed to get steeper, yet Superior Attitude and Superior State of Mind prevailed, just like Steven predicted:
Keeping a steady intake of 1-2 gels per lap, plenty of water, a bottle of Haterade (mixed strong), and an occasional pull from my custom E-balloon (a device very similar to an e-cigarette but built for discrete jenkem dispensing) I kept the mind right, and the muscles un-cramped. Fortunately for me, my superior tire selection kept the air in my tires, though I'm afraid that our very own Harlan Banks was not as lucky, despite his Superiority. He had to be left in my wake. If only he could have accompanied me on my way to completing 4 laps - I wanted him to share in the misery on the big gravel climb with me. By the 4th lap, I had more difficulty ascending that big gravel climb than a Juggalo with meth mouth has eating corn on the cob.
My race ended up being a lot of flip-flopping back and forth with a man twice my age, one Rich P., and I must say, I can only hope to crush souls at that age. All around good guy - make sure you buy him a beer next time you see him - just look for the bar ends-turned into aero-bars on his mountain bike. Truly, the embodiment of Superior State of Mind.
Having crossed the finish line after the race, I was happier than Criss Angel when the new issue of Boy's Life Magazine shows up in the mail. Immediately, I was treated to fellow like-minded individual Vince handing me a bottle of his private stock, a bomber of the Boatswain Chocolate Stout. Oooooweee, it was just as good in the warm sun as it was under a bleak, frozen sky at MO State CX Championships at St. Vincent - another epic race, where we watched as fellow mountain biker Garrett Steinmetz showed he can beat anyone on any wheel, anytime. Once that stuff was down the hatch, the PBR was ready to flow freely and directly into my throathole, which, after nearly 4 hours of riding with little food, I was buzzed more quickly than Criss Angel's little league team that time he took them to dinner.
After much tomfoolery, one that was lacking in much SCCC or Red Wheel d00dz which is too bad because they put the "foo' " into "tomfoolery," it was time to pack urrveything up and get outta there. Upon arriving at the car, I may or may not have seen EK and David Frei leaving on what looked to be a trail run of some sort, no doubt not returning until dark. Hardened, they are.
Managing to fold myself origami-style into my car afterwards, I choo-choo'd my way home, all the while enjoying the sun's warmth, the ability to have windows down, and a favorite slow jam:
Arriving at home, there was only one thing left for me to do - fiend on some pickles (which goes well with tasty beer):
Truly, Energor has smiled on us this day - Praise Be Unto Him. But More importantly, praise be unto Torrez and the rest of the Quantum Mesa crew, for putting on a singularly perfect event. Nice work, jerks!
-Casey "It's Not a Belly, It's a Firecrest Profile" Ryback