Why You Should Attend Cedar Cross.

Greetings, loyal Team Seagal minions! This is just a friendly reminder from your neighborhood band of merry jerks that the arguably-greatest, most grass-roots ride in the state, Cedar Cross, is on the horizon. "But Crotchy, is there some sort of a sign-up cut-off?"  I have no clue, because I can't go. But I need to make sure that in my abscess (or is that absence?) there are like 500 moar people that do show up to show our boy, the esteemeed Mr. Borb Jorkins (name protected from future internet-search-engine results) the gooey, sticky love that I would normally provide:

I mean, look at those eyes, you can totally trust those eyes:

Those are the eyes of a guy, who doesn't give the awesome gift of a free roof rack to the rider who won, but rather, to the person whose car has the shittiest looking roof rack, in most desperate need of replacement. Or who gifts the frame to the person who finishes last, so that they can have a better bike, in order to do better next time. Or the guy who would have the common courtesy to reciprocate at least a reach-around.

"But Mr. Ryback, I haven't been riding this year at all! In fact, my legs are currently about as useless and without-purpose to me as a helmet visor! What chance do I have of being victorious on such an arduous journey?" The chances are 100%. In fact, just by showing up, your will have achieved victory, because the atmosphere is one of good nature, joviality, and probably some stinky farts (but at least you'll be outside, so they can't linger for long.)

By embarking on this route, you will be even moar certain of higher glory. But you will have to undergo many challenges, such as staring up, from the base of a monstrous gravely climb, and have to deal with the same level of intimidation that a front-row female concert-goer would have had when seeing Led Zeppelin live back in the 70's; just imagine staring up at these pants on stage, and seeing every wrinkly detail of that ridiculous hog:
Nice belt buckle!

In addition to being a superior route full of challenges, it will be a new starting venue full of badassery, comradery, and 100% lacking in douchebaggery - the newly-relocated Red Wheel Bike Shop in Jeff City. And, with Nick and Bob's uniting of their awesome powers for one common goal, does this mean we'll have a 2011 Binder-Brawl Re-match? We can only hope so - but a little encouragement in the form of moonshine may help to ensure it happens. And if so, please have a camera ready, so that your pal Crotch here can enjoy too.

The day may be a day of contrasts - so much pain and suffering on course, all while enjoying huge amounts of superior attitudes and superior states of mind with the people around you. But don't let the bad outweigh the good. Take your hairy pal Crotch, for example - he knows all about contrasts, being a clydesdale singlespeeder who prefers lycra to baggy shorts. That's like being a roadie with hairy legs. Or like being a recumbent rider with carbon soled clipless shoes. Or like being an upper-middle-class bike racer who complains about the cost of their carbon mountain bike wheels. Or like being an straight-edge juggalo with a college degree (or even a high school diploma, for that matter.)  So he knows a thing or two about contrasts, and knows that it isn't *always* a bad thing.

Even though I am unable to attend this year, I am still able to find satisfaction in life with the knowledge that I may have introduced C-Dubs to the concept of shower beers. (You're welcome.) But aside from that, I'll find even moar satisfaction in knowing that boatloads moar people showed up for this year's Cedar Cross after having read this bl0rg. (There isn't really a good feedback loop for that though, so I'll just imagine it.)

Speaking of imagining things, imagine my surprise at seeing the un-altered packaging material used upon unboxing a new tandem bicycle the other day:
I did not alter this in any way - it was the chainguard protector!
"Experiencing" that cardboard trouser snake would have you shitting pancakes for a week!

I'll leave you to think about that photo for a while. More to come...

-Casey F. Ryback

P.S. Here is why you should watch the show "Silicon Valley" right fucking now. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pE4LVSESyXc&feature=youtube_gdata


2015 Tour of Hermann - C-C-C-C-CRUSHED IT!

Greetings, Gravelly Team Seagal comraderinos! What a weekend it was. For we had deployments in multiple sectors - The Castlewood Dirty Spokes mountain bike race, we had small strike team take the beaches at the Czech Festival, we had yet others on the Berryman blastin' out new nips AND singletrack, and still others (including myself, the Coarch) deeply entrenched within the bowels of the Tour of Hermann Gravel Challenge - a gravelly paradise that would make ole' Crazy Jim hungry.

The loops conceived by the ToH overlord, Jeff, are truly something to behold. Even if he wanted to make a relatively easy route involving very mild climbing, it would be nearly impossible to do so, given the terrain on which the Hermann region sits. That is, unless you just scooted your tender t'aint across the bridge and just did fun loops with the family up and down the Katy Trail all day long. Good luck with that though - your family probably already thinks you're a gigantic loser for riding bikes. I mean, let's be honest - we are huge dorks. To the rest of humanity, we look like this:

While Skeezy was busy getting back-handed comments and causing jam-jobs on the downhills at the surprisingly-dry Castlewood Dirty Spokes race, I woke my ass up well before the crack of dawn (inside the crack... of dawn?) to strap into the Crotch-Mobile (read: rusty Nissan) in order to be in the hamlet of Hermann with plenty of time for lift-off on Saturday morning. And after topping by the gas station for provisions and coffee, I set to planning my next summit attempt of Mt. Kohler - an attempt that wouldn't be realized until I reach the town of Hermann, or more specifically the Hermann Hardee's.

Having finished filing my morning paperwork, it was game on. Being the only one with our kit that day, I was charged with flying the stinky flag of doom alone. And having just freshly applied a liberal dollop of tingly t'aint balm to my undercarriage, I was ready to carry the flag all day.

The Paris Roubaix starting pits are a sea of 30mm FMB tubulars glued to carbon box-section rims and inflated to 63 psi, intermixed with more cushy layers of bar tape than there are beer snobs at your local mountain bike race. Well, gravel events aren't so different, but the tires are more like 40mm, the pressure dipping into the 30's, and there are a lot more hairy legs.

After a few kind words from JY, and we were off through town center. I was surprised at the speed at which our initial roll-out towards the Katy was moving - 22/23 mph, and I later learned that our boy Peat was choo-choo-ing at the tip of the spear with Butthead in the 28 mph range. Yowza! They were moving faster than technology in the eyes of that flat-pedal using, friction-shifting, boner of a retro-grouch that you don't want to talk to. So I was taking full advantage of the free speed afforded to me by the draft of other big hairy dudes, and by my still-working big ring. But it wasn't long before the pace-lining would come to an end, and we would be in the hills. So as we passed the big stuffed carnival bear in the rock-face, I knew the hills were upon us:
this is real, I swear. shut up.

The roads on the north side of the Missouri River seem to be more hard-packed, with a finer grit of gravel. Most of the time, they are so groomed to the point it could probably be suitable for one of those Rapha Vanity Races Gentleman's Races. So the first loop, while stacked with some gnarly climbs, flew by. For a brief period, I had a near-shitting-myself moment where I found my front Ultegra 6800 shifter stuck in the big ring. The thought of attempting this full day of climbing steep bullshit with a 50t ring had me thinking about committing seppuku by turning my bike over and impaling myself onto my grimy chainring. Fortunately, a swift kick from my carbon shoe sole put my chain where it belonged, and where it would stay for the next 130 miles, the small ring.

Arriving back at the car, we topped off bottles, ate some shit, got freshly-doped blood, and then proceeded to make like a fetus and head out. Loop two starts with one of the longest climbs of the day, it's only saving grace being that it is paved, which allows for some much-appreciated out-of-the-saddle-climbing time. Loop two and loop three are quite similar in fact, in that after the initial climb, they mellow out for a little while before repeatedly punching you directly in the nut-sack/v-hole. That isn't to say that there wasn't plenty of beautiful scenery. After the long cold months, it was a pleasure to see some great color out there - MANY big fields that were blanketed with a sea of these purple flowery plants:

I carried just enough food with me on the second loop to keep my from bonking before finishing back at the car, where I smashed a surprisingly delicious Gigi's turkey sammich on a pretzel bun. It was so satisfying, that I didn't need to eat much at all for the next several hours. Ooooo-fucking-weeee. That is good, because after pulling out for the third lap, I had plenty of time to think, rather than talk to the no one around me, and the last thing I wanted to think about was being hungry. Loop 3 I was Mario Van Peeble style, although I did briefly encounter some other people on their own solo mission, not to mention leaving olde man winter in my dust on one particularly long descent. The entire time though, I was counting down the miles until the most notorious climb from day 1 showed up: Bickmeyer Road. If you did loop 3, you remember it well - it was the only climb anyone talked about from that route. It was probably ten minutes of being in my easiest gear at about 3mph. After 80 miles. It was harder to ride up that hill than it is to listen to some douche-nozzle brag about their fucking downhill strava segments at Castlewood Park.

Camping in Hermann City Park is most excellent. Sitting around a campfire, we discussed many things, the least of which not being why anyone *cough cough Adam C. cough* would want to ride their singlespeed mountain bike (with trail gearing) down the Katy from StL all the way to Columbia. It is my belief that I would rather use the shitter immediately after post-Dos-Primos Borb Jorkins blows it up than do that ride on the SS mtb. Amirite?

Day two, reinforcements arrived from Team Seagal HQ in the form of Mr. and Mrs. Orin Boyd. It was certain to be a glorious day, though one loop was about all I had time for. The first loop was a rolling start of about 17 miles of training down the Katy in my granny ring:
It immediately got nice and climby once we exited the Katy, and never stopped until we got back onto the Katy, near the cliff-bear. Each climb was slow and steady, always keeping the cramps at bay. But the views and scenery were never ending, such as smoke from the Callaway Nuclear Reactor over the horizon:

...not to mention beautiful roads like this:

Over the course of loop 4, I was mostly a part of a loosely-congealed group involving a handful of Momentum d00dz, Snurb's inked co-worker Justin W and his buddy (both of whom are admirably training for the Louisville Ironman), Titty and his better half, not to mention a cool cat from Quincy, Jacob S, on his sweet, vintage TCX disc. There were several hills out this way that were simply brain-scrambling. It certainly helped to have some company of similar ability to stick with, especially once we returned to the Katy for time on the Wo-Man Train express:

Our grouplet coasted into Hermann City Park, oozing glory out of our pores, and most of the orifices. And what do I find upon arriving back at the park, but our good friend, Nico Toscani! He has been solo-missioning his way westward via the Katy Trail since early that morning. He truly is a massive jerk, and one who knows his frozen pizza.

What a great ride this was - near perfect, I would say. And what a fantastic deal! Two days of nearly 200 miles of supported riding available for $40? How can you beat that? There is even the chance of getting wine. Just in case, I brought plenty of Stag, that I will drink the fucking shit out of. What's next on the agenda? Only a little thing called the Cedar Cross! The most crunkenest time you'll evar have on a gravel road. Mr. Jorkins is a true honorary jerk, of the highest order. This much has nevar been in dispute, especially since his initial throwing down of the egg nog gauntlet, many moons ago. And as only a true jerk would do, his fantastic event, Cedar Cross will be one of the greatest things that you could ever imagine doing in your entire life. Bearing children included. Word is that Superkate, crusher of shit, is bring homemade cookies. Trust me when I say you want Kate's soft, moist cookies, bruh.

Unfortunately for me, my hairy wanna-be ass will be unable to attend the Ced0r Cr0ss, as a result of legitimately important family memorial on the same day. However, fear n0t. There are moar events this year to attend, and more things to crap all over. Rest assured, this year is becoming more and more full of victory as we speak. Additionally, both I and C-Dubs are becoming more and more full of turds as we speak, which will inevitably result in multiple summit attempts before the day is over. Now, I had better finish this fucking post before I start making grammar and spelling errors that autocorrect isn't able to account for, on account of a few too many of deez:

You still out there, Doctor?

Don't forget, as Sully in Commando sez, "Get fucked!"
-Casey F. Ryback

P.S. Look at who took 3rd at the Snake Creek TT, and made it to the Kona Cog - of Team Red Wheel, and and all-around nice-as-shit guy, Turbo! http://cog.konaworld.com/march-madness-with-kona-grassroots-rider-cory-rimmer/

Had he been on a Kona, who knows what would have happened.


Living to Shred Another Day - Also, We Get a Man on the Inside

Greetings, Uber-gnar-tastic Team Seagal Jerks! We come bearing good news. Yours truly, Crotchward F. Crotchback, Orin Boyd, and our comrade-in-arms B.H. are able to report that Council Bluff, and North Trace (at least up till the big chimney) are in excellent shape. Inspired by the events of last weekend, where our 4-man man-train conquered the Bluff loop and Middlefork all the way out to Wolf Pen Hollow, we decided that it was worth doing once again, but heading out on North Trace instead. Titty especially needed to have some good gnar-time after a less-than-enjoyable experience at last weekend's Ouachita Challenge. Talk about great decisions.

Launching from the paved boat launch, we were immediately transported into a Ozarkian Paradise (sans the crystal meth) once entering into the Bluff trail. Nothing was going to stop us, except for the need for snacks, and a quick rip off my pocket E-balloon - something that has become indispensable on long rides. Hanging a ralphie from the Telleck Connector onto North Trace, we ascended to Hwy DD and then further on past Martin Road where Snurb and I dispensed aids at the OT 100 last year. And THAT is where the terrain got even moar awesome - controlled burn city! Any overgrowth was gone, leaving nothing but a white line of gravelly singletrack goodness unfurled before us. Praise be to Energor, for we transformed into "Prince Shredward the Turd" on each charred descent.

 How ironic that, a controlled burn surrounding a fireplace.

look closely - two of our heroes are visible

what an amazing sign
Never pass up a chance to see a wet beaver in the wild.

Council Bluff snapped my t'aint's wrist, but my superior state of mind was still well intact. From there, we departed for Caledonia BBQ, but were thwarted by a closed sign. Which meant that Dos Primos was next on the list.

Speaking of next on the list, the next ride on the list is Tour of Hermann - a supremely well-run and well-attended event these last two years. We here at Team Seagal HQ have procured a new source of go-fast blood that will be transfused at the base of the first climb each day, but will be completely undetectable due to the extremely high levels of alcohol, butthash, chinamen, and re-circulated intestinal gasses that skew the results of any blood tests.

Who else is coming? Word is that a healthy murder of Seagals will be in attendance, possibly camping friday and saturday night. With the move of the start/finish from The Stone Hill Winery to the Hermann City Park, that guarantees 5 fewer climbs over the course of 5 loops. So there's that. I've made sure that my small ring is in good shape, as it will be the only chainring that gets used this weekend. Yes, feel free to shit all over me and not offer me beer, as I will be riding gears this weekend - the SS CX crusher, the S.S. Major One, in a pretty advanced state of decomposition. My back would be more fucked than Criss Angel's cub scout den if I were to attempt to do big mileage on the SS around Hermann, again. No it isn't for sale, because how else will I hang onto the notion that I can ride SS CX?

I'll actually be using one of these bad mofo's:
...yeah: it's an e-bike, fat bike, and a trike. You absolutely can't not fail miserably on it.

Finally, there is some big news having just come down the pipeline from Team Seagal HQ. After years of trying to infiltrate their ranks, we now have an official member of Team Seagal in the employ of our favorite bicycle company and purveyor of two-wheeled fun - Kona Bikes. Our own Mason Storm, A.K.A. The Tropical Storm, A.K.A. the Ultimate Jerk, A.K.A. Stinky Butt-a-cheekio, A.K.A. The Bearded Salmon Slayer, will be the store manager in the first ever, long-in-the-works Kona Bike Store - a full service shop, owned and operated by Kona Bikes, that sells exclusively Kona Bikes. (And if there is one thing he is good at, that is "service.") Talk about heaven on Earf. This will require a relocation from Seattle to the picturesque little hamlet of Bellingham, which is essentially Kona World HQ.

This is huge news! Some ridiculously awesome things are in the works for sure - just make sure to stay tuned, and more importantly, make sure to offer that jerk a heartfelt congratulations, or at least a heartfelt kick in the nuts next time you see him! Perhaps with enough pressure, we can convince them to open one of those stores here in the StL!

More to come...
-Casey F. Ryback