When we first heard about the Rocheport Roubaix, the stoke-itude was uber-high. Riding around the outskirts of Columbia, MO on gravel/paved roads sounded pretty radly-like-Nadly. 70 miles? Totally crush-able. But as the day loomed closer and closer, the weather reports would be more and more focused and dialed in. And it wasn't looking good. Not rainy or snowy, but cold - like high of 19 degrees cold. I was already doing the frightened-turtle.
Whatever though, my cohort, B-Rett and the R.O.D. (Raleigh Of Doom) joined forces with me, Casey "The Hairy Glacier" Ryback, to launch a covert strike upon the banks of the Missouri River, at the Port of Roche. There appeared to be few like-minded StL compatriots that I could tell, but that was no matter. I had prepared a special butthash mixture for this ride, specially blended with a Southern Missouri specialty, just a hint of the meth. That way, the euphoria would hit that much harder, and the climbs would melt underneath me. Ooooo-fucking-weee! B-Rett and I had decided to leave the Team Noah clan, Peat, E.K., D-wayne, at peace with their 6am start for the Big Ride, which they were going to do on this very same frigid day. That sounded gnarlier than climbing the staircase at Chubb Trail on a CX bike - and then proceeding to turn around and launch the Staircase drop on that same bike, brah.
Anywho, I had set aside a number of provisions the night before, and with the Kona in tip-top shape, the only thing to do was get my bloated-carcass of an ass up early enough to get up and meet my travelin' buddy.
Crotch-mobile (A.K.A. rusty Nissan) loaded, I looked at the amb' temperature:
I gave myself just enough time for a quick stop at Donut Drive-In for some Mardi-Gras donuts:
Landing in Rocheport after seeing the biggest flock of birds I'd ever seen, we assaulted the inside-the-car changing session in town hardcore, and mounted our steeds, lock-stock and ready to rock. The good people at UltraMax were huddled together like Emporer Penguins in a blizzard trying to retain all possible heat they had left inside their tent, and running an efficient operation.
As we lined up for the 9:30 start of the 70 mile group, we were all secretly hoping that Mayor UltraMax would keep his comments short and sweet so we could get on with the ride, and get the blood flowing on the first hill, which would start about 50 yards out of the starting gate. I was able to get in a quick greeting from a trusted, and well-endowed Team Virtus emissary Lukas L., and was then in the proper state of mind for the looming endeavor.
A group formed that proceed to rocket away from my top-heavy, needing-a-haircut-ass, and we nevar saw them again. B-Rett and I settled into a talking pace, with a few bro-chacho's yo-yo-ing back and forth with us. We found the effort required to pedal at like 13 mph was similar to that required to pedal 20 mph. However, it wasn't long before that effort became the norm, and there were no more thoughts about it as we formed a loose, fleece-lined man-train choo-choo-ing down the road.
The gravel road surfaces were generally quite nice, rarely was there deep and loose gravel section that sucked the life out of me like Criss Angel upon finding a fresh glory hole in the boys room. It was pretty hard packed, and I *could* often stand to pedal up climbs, that same of which can't always be said about those hills surrounding Hermann.
Over hill and dale we traveled, unable to get a proper lock on the direction of the headwind. Regardless, it was clear within the first hour that my feet were not having any of this bullshit cold weather. In fact, they were the ones reminding me that last weekend at this same time, it was nearly 70 degrees and the Jerkward and I were getting totally served by King Pathlete on the Grant's Trail. Today though, B-Rett and I found ourselves dreading the descents and craving the ascents, with hopes of building moar warmth. I was continuously channeling Jens by yelling "Shut up feet!" That wind pierced right through my feet, much like Criss Angel using his harpoon gun to reel in the boys after they start running away upon his arrival at the playground. No matter though, because I was reminded of an old Team Seagal saying that goes back generations: "Don't be a pussy."
B-Rett and I crush out any and all hills in front of us, lickity-split, no shit. However, approximately 25 miles, we hit aids-station #2 and had decided to turn around and cut outrlosses - my nerve damage losses, and his lower-back-damage losses. Instead of continuing onto the extended 70 mile route, for which we had signed up, we turned around right there, which would give us 50. So after having buried out heads into another bullshit headwind on some river flats, we turned around and enjoyed a short-lived tailwind. Not, however, before getting some photo-evidence of what I am sure is some kind of code for...something:
|I know it's rural MO, but holy shit.|
Man-training our way back, our spirits were higher than the spirits that my parents kept on the top shelf of the pantry as a child. I could never get that sweet nectar... So like I was saying, we were, at this point of playing beat-the-
Chugging right along, B-Rett and I agreed that our bodies and appendages were actually doing very well, heat-retention wise, however the feet and backs were another issue. That being said, we were still able to full appreciate the beauty of the roads, some fresh scenery, including us passing by what must have been the local fireworks tree, and the near total lack of cars. So our return trip wasn't without discomfort, but all in all we enjoyed the trip back, save for the nut-shrinking descent back into Rocheport. Back at the car, we chronicled one of BH's secret weapons, the best looking gloves of the ride - courtesy of one PBR-Dave:
After changing back into dry clothing, and finding it difficult to put socks onto non-functioning feet, and then finding it even moar difficult to walk on those same feet, I felt kinda like Neil Patrick Harris's character in the 1994 made-for-TV movie, Snowbound:
Fortunately, The Rocheport General Store provided some tickets for free ice-cold beers that would help warm us up:
THAT Professor - for beers, food, and comradery:
Speaking of USAC decisions, there have been some crazy shake-ups and drama-filled excitement surrounding our prestigious and internationally-influential Penrose Velodrome and those in positions of helping to guide it along. Most notably, the recent removal/departure/public-sodomy of the track director, one Kacey S. Now the rumor mill has been hard at work churning out reasons for his sudden vacating of the position, and this blog is, if nothing else, a place of news, education, and more importantly - a place of complete and total truth, 100% of the time. Team Seagal prides itself on not fucking around or coming up with any bullshit. AT ALL. That being said, we wanted to posit a couple of potential reasons for this recent shake-up at the track. Much like one of C-Dubs air biscuits, these rumors are disturbing yet undeniable:
- It has been rumored that our boy KS had been getting too involved with Team Seagal, and, not surprisingly, developed an addiction to the brown dragon, dat jenk. (I don't blame him.) Even worse, it wasn't long before he was cutting the jenk mixtures with bath salts, leading him to develop cannibalistic tendancies while in the midst of reminiscing about his times past.
- Another rumor had that fucking long-haired jerk taking rental track bikes on joy rides through through St. Charles County, stopping off at select business districts to propose re-location of the 'Drome to places such as "downtown" Winghaven, "downtown" New Town, on the banks of Lake St. Louis, and even St. Peters in hopes of re-locating to the median of any St. Peters divided highway, with the new equipment building being clad in 100% vinyl siding.
- It is no secret that homeboy is dedicated to the track. SO in dedicated, in fact, that he had been burrowing underneath Turn 2 with plans to make this burrow his new home, that way he could live AT the track, giving him convenient, easy access every day. Unfortunately, due to his complete lack of education as a structural engineer, that hole collapsed before he could install the stage for the *underground* punk shows, or even the hooks for spare cogs and chainrings.
Don't forget, it's going to be an uphill party next Sunday - so keep an eye on the weather, and hopefully we'll be getting totally pitted on some paved waves in Wildrock.
-Casey F. Ryback
P.S. Look at this badass Ford Festiva: