The Innaugural OT-100 Race!

Greetings, Missouri Mountain Hill Bike Fanbois! I come to you today bearing news of much importance, and For Great Honor. For many of you, this will come as no surprise. But, for those of you who AREN'T completely plugged into the MO dirt racing scene like Quaid at Recall...

...then you should check this out.

Missouri may not be known around the country as a destination for mountain biking (all the better as far as we're concerned, because that means fewer people on all the awesome trails) but if the rest of the country knew what we were up to around here, then perhaps we'd see more out-of-state plates at the trailheads.

Let's put this another way. Various regions of the country have large, over-arching networks of singletrack connecting various localized systems. For example, Colorado has the 486 mile Colorado Trail, Colorado and Utah share the 142 mile Kokopelli Trail, North Dakota has the 96 mile Maah Dahh Hey Trail, the Appalachian states have the 2000+ Appalachian Trail, and so forth. Thankfully, Missouri can add its very own Ozark Trail to the list with over 350 miles of trail, and 225 of those being continuously connected! The best part is that there is even more to come as a result of the hard of work countless volunteers, and the "curating" organization - the Ozark Trail Organization, or OTA.

Much of the OT lies within the Mark Twain National Forest, and provides a stunning showcase of what the Ozarks have to offer when it comes to beauty, seclusion, and... well, uh... nature. Long have we at Team Seagal considered the OT to be our spiritual headquarters, as you can probably tell by browsing through our archives. This is because the OT, or at least the sections that allow mountain biking (of which there are many) provide the rider with a reminder as to what "real" mountain biking is - riding singletrack in the woods on rough, not-necessarily-groomed-to-perfection trails. It is about as far from "park" riding as you can get. What do I mean by "park" riding? Quick, short loops, well maintained, machine-built trails that only require a 10-20 minute walk out to the parking lot if you have a flat/mechanical; where all you need is a bottle of water and minimal-to-no supplies. The OT won't let you get away with that kind of bullshit!

This race passes through 4 sections of the OT - starting with the southern end of the Karkahgne Section, then the Middlefork Section, then the Trace Creek Section, and finally ending with the Courtois Section, which dumps you at the finish line of the Bass River Resort. This is not your many NUE-style 100 mile race that incorporates a lot of gravel mileage into the route. (And I do not mean to imply that those races are easy - just a different terrain.) This is over 98% singletrack, and instead of a handful of monstrous mountaintop summits, you'll be pummeled by 50+ short, punchy, rocky climbs under 400 ft of vertical gain, and leave you wondering how a climb that is so "short" felt so damn long.

Some of us have theorized that by the end of the first section, 50% of the entrants will have dropped, not realizing how fucking hard that trail would be. But if you can make it to either the Hazel Creek or Berryman Campgrounds before dark, you can rest for the night, and have an less-daunting ride to the finish line in the morning. (My prediction: no one finishes in under 10 hours.)

Either way, this race proves to be epic, in every sense of the word. And thanks to our very own Lawman, who knows this trail better than I know the inside of a stinky balloon, it is one of the most ambitious "one-day" races I've ever heard of - both in terms of it's difficulty (which should NOT be underestimated) and it's logistics.

Here at Team Seagal HQ, we've already put into place a training regimen involving our new secret training tool, a toilet seat that weighs our dookie:
details here.

This race will be so hard, that only the most dank jenk will have any effect on your state of euphoria after completion. Let me tell you though, if you manage to complete this adventure, you'll be happier than Criss Angel listening to his favorite LP:

In the meantime, you had best start preparing yourself for this undertaking. And to do so, we have started compiling a list of things you should start doing regularly in order to harden yourself for coming onslaught of pain you will have to endure on the OT, come Sept 6th:
  • covering your saddle with sandpaper, and start riding in cotton tighty-whiteys
  • switch from using energy gel packets while riding to packets of wasabi
  • chop down trees every day with just an axe
  • turn off your hot water heater
  • complete a Chubb Trail century
  • Incorporate more Napalm Death into your music selection:

Here is the race flyer: http://ozarktrail.com/ot100mtb/OT100-flyer.pdf  I should clarify, this isn't our race. But we're excited for it. Also on the Ozarktrail.com website, you can find VERY well done, comprehensive and high-quality maps of each trail section - these are worth purchasing if you are considering this race. (I picked up all 4, and they are seriously impressive.)

Registration opens in just a few days - June 15th!
Go here for moar info: https://www.bikereg.com/ot100mtb

Consider this to be a public service announcement, because remember, at Team Seagal, we are about education.

-Casey F. Ryback


To Hermann, and Pee-yond!

Greetings, you sonsabitches! Casey "The Doughy Rider" Ryback here. Before I get started, I want to make sure you are currently getting fucked, and know that i am very apologetic for getting this recap to you somewhat late. - and for this lateness, I offer this:

Anyway, so as you may or may not remember, due to you having probably been listening to some mall-core Linkn Park bullshit, this last weekend was mammorial/memorial day.  Few of us worked, and so that calls for an epic ride when two days off in a row were happening.

So a quartet of us were recruited from Team Seagal HQ to launch an overnight assault on the town of Hermann, on a mission of peace. And peace pipes full of Chinese herbs. Well, pipe - singular. HQ gave us the plan - to set forth on a bro-core man-train down the KittyKaty Trail, with mandatory stops at the delicious Augusta Brewery for some Tannhauser.

Titward put forth the idea to meet in Brentwood - however, in retrospect, I feel as though he may have meant that he would like to meet Brent's wood.  So it was, we were able to leave precisely after the rain stopped and pretty much avoid all rain on the way out. We threaded the needed of mid-county roads on the way to the CCP (Not to be confused with ICCCCCCCCP north of Wentzville) where we would traverse the Page Bridge, snapping the wrists of many shirtless fuit-booter dudes and aero-bar hybrids in the process.

Turning onto the Katy Trail, we seemed to reach the Hwy 40 bridge relatively quickly, where we got to see the progress of the construction and the forth-coming bike-ramp. From there, it wasn't long before we reached our first actual pit stop, at the Defiance Bike Shop, where we rested the legs, decided on the San Pellegrino over the Tab, and listened to the karaoke band around the corner:

From there, we pressed on, our sights on Augusta, where we would me the lovely Mrs. B and company for food and stuff. The trail had been relatively low on the dusty scale thanks to the rain earlier in the day, however the humidity was on the high end of the St. Louis Humidity Scale, which means that wet clothing set out on a line to dry will actually becoming wetter. So by the time we reached The Augusta Brewery (a mandatory Team Seagal stop any time we are withing 5 miles of it) we were sweatier than a fat, shirtless Juggalo in his tent trying to have sex with the ham-beast of a girl he met in the line for the port-a-john at The Gathering of the Juggalos. Despite our outward appearance, we were able to cool down with the proper beverages:

From here, with the sun well beyond its mid-day crest, we saddled up our steeds, and pressed on. The scenery became very pretty in the waning sunlight, which was pleasant, even if the trail was surprisingly soft and splattering:

As our shadows grew longer, I was wishing for more chamois, something like Designing Women-style shoulder pads:
Nice and thick padding

We managed to choo-choo all the way to the Hermann cut-off without having to destroy our night-vision by turning on our headlights. Hopping onto the Hwy 19, we rolled into Hermann, and set our internal GPS destination to Wings-A-Blahzin', only to be let down when the bartender told us the kitchen had closed like an hour ago. Truly, a crushing blow. No other restaurant was open any longer at this time of night, so we ultimately settled for some Casey's pizza, which was brought back to the City Park, and partially crushed. Camp erected, showers taken, sleep attempted.

The next morning, we had a meeting at the round table, and decided to return to the homeland on pavement rather than the Katy. Matt "Rand McNally" B set on determining our best route home, which turned out to essentially be the route from previous years' Vino Fondo from Hermann to Washington. (Strava Heat is an amazing thing.)

So our two days would be near polar opposites - Sunday: straight, flat, gravel, no traffic. Monday: twisty, HILLY, paved, and with varying degrees of traffic. And what better way to start off the return trip than with a slow, long climb up Hwy H (as seen previously at the Tour of Hermann, Loop 2) which is made even slower by having 20-30 pounds of crap on your bike. I realized that it would be a a long day of suffering uphill, especially with chasing my lean and mean traveling partners all day, so I had to set my internal soundtrack early on. Flipping through my the 300 CD changer in my brain, I selected a truly under-appreciated gem of the mid-80's thrash golden years and hit play:

Riding out of Hermann, as anyone who has done the Tour of Hermann of the Vino Fondo knows, the roads never stay flat for long. In fact, you are generally starting off each climb hoping to carry the momentum from the last bombin' downhill as far up as possible - and when my full rider/bike package is surely in the 275 lb range, that momentum doesn't carry it too far back up the hill. I did manage to hang out for a minute though:

Not long after that previous photo was taken, we found a roadside snack - baby venison:

By the time we reached Washington, we were even sweatier than the day before, having climbed more in the first 5 miles than we did the entire previous day. So it was time for a drink and a meal. This being Memorial Day, we found only one place open, and it just happened to be the Washington outlet for The Augusta Brewery. Perched on top of the hill overlooking the Missouri River, there was a great breeze, great beer, and low-key atmosphere under their covered porch area.

Our pit stop could not have been timed better, as we watched some ominous clouds roll in from the west, and as the rain started, it went from a light drizzle to "BATTEN DOWN THE HATCHES! MAN THE HARPOONS!" in about 24.3 seconds. The river scene was a near white-out:

Once the lightning stopped, we pressed on, taking some even hillier roads on the way past Labadie and St. Albans, Can't say I was regretting having lugged my fenders all the way at that point. However, having been locked down in Washington due to the storm for a while, we got old-school-Tour de France hydration-style:

We sobered up quickly, considering every fluid that went into our bodies went directly out through our pores, especially when grinding out the long hills of West County:

Riding east, we made our way towards the easy, direct route into town, Clayton Road, and I got to dispense great information about oversized apple fritters to Matt B. We eventually all split up ways, happy to rest our t'aints - particularly TakeMeDownToPizzaTown, who rode the entire way with a heaping backpack full of shit for camping overnight.

We all know that this wasn't as cool as doing the DK ride this past weekend, nor were any of us super cool on fat bikes, but 85 miles there and back loaded down, and my legs are still tired.

So if I can leave you with a parting advice, remember this: opinions are like your sweaty crying dick - keep it to yourself.

Here's the totally hard fucking core Garmin link http://connect.garmin.com/activity/508258476

-Casey "Firecrest Stomach" Ryback